Last night, for the first time in a long time, I stayed up past midnight. I was reading a good book and just didn't feel like sleeping. Ironically, I awoke bright-eyed and full of pep at 6:30 this morning, ready to start my day on six hours of sleep. I'm a mystery to myself! *eye roll*
Thanks to my early start, I was on that mat by 7 a.m. and I had a fabulous practice, full Primary Series (about 105 minutes with all the extras I added). I sweated buckets. My focus this week has been on the breath, so I continued with this theme. I challenged myself to follow the breath like stepping stones through the entire practice. Didn't even come close, but it was fun and kept me mostly on track.
To prep for Urdhva Dhanurasana today, I did hip openers, lots of hip openers. I covered all of the usual suspects, plus Ustrasana to prep for the back bend. As a counterpose, I did Futon Balasana, which also opens the shoulders.
Here's the basics of this fabulous made-up-by-me-but-Iyengar-probably-thought-of-it-first pose:
1) In Vajrasana (Thunderbolt Pose) face the futon (a couch might work too) and put your palms on the seat (you should be about a foot away).
2) Lower your chest towards the floor until you feel a stretch around the armpit chest.
I can get my head to the floor in this one and I *heart* the stretch.
Urdhva Dhanurasana felt really deep today, but it always does. It always feels better than it actually looks, but tomorrow will be the true test, as I'll be taking my weekly photograph.
After my 3 repeats of Urdhva Dhanurasana, I did some work on drop-backs. I can easily walk my hands down a wall into a backbend, but I'm miles away from doing it in the middle of a the room without assistance. This morning, I shot a video of myself doing the preparation - a standing backbend - just to see how far away the floor really is. *Gulp* It's pretty far.
Sirsasana was fun. I moved the pose back into the middle of the room today. To be honest, I really started to like doing it sans the wall - I was missing my daily mini-dose of terror. Today, I worked on bringing my legs all the way up until I felt the slightest bit of an arch in my low back, then pressed up through the heels. I felt very centred and I really noticed that my arms and shoulders were supporting the pose; I didn't feel anything at all on my head. This is good - it's what I'm supposed to be feeling.
I shot a video of the pose and confirmed that the alignment is much better. Mission accomplished!
Today's 1970s yoga glamour shot:
Alrighty then. Everyone who's working on Lagu Vajrasana in the Intermediate series should be all set for bikini season! ;-)