Monday, July 13, 2009

Astanga

I think today might have been the prettiest day of summer so far. It was sunny. The sky was a deep, vibrant blue and dotted with huge, fluffy white clouds. It wasn't humid. It was warm enough to be pleasant but not miserably hot.

When I got home after my morning shift, I dawdled around the apartment, avoiding yoga practice because I really wanted to go outside. Then I had this brilliant idea: why not take my yoga practice outside? I packed one of my light teaching mats along with a few books and my kite, then headed up to the Big Park with the dog.

It was marvellous! I brought my iPod with the 'Beach Beryl' recording of the Primary Series and I had a lovely, easy-going practice in the sunshine. I thought I might feel shy about practising in the middle of the park, but once I got going, I didn't notice much of what was going on around me. My biggest problem was bringing my feet together in Supta Kurmasana - the mat kept bunching up and I kept losing my bind. I finally gave up.

Oh yeah, and I felt a bit silly rolling in Garba Pindasana. :-D

I was worried about Sirsasana. I had a whole range of irrational concerns about this pose (what's new, eh?). I thought that I might have trouble balancing in such a wide open space, or possibly get distracted by the big fluffy clouds, or (this is my favourite) the wind might push me over.

Actually, I had a GREAT Sirsasana! I came up smooth and strong, felt stable and comfortable in the pose and it was a total trip watching people amble by walking their dogs upside down, watching the leaves on the trees wave around upside down, watching the streetcars go by. Upside down! Weeee! I enjoyed the smooth breeze on my legs but I didn't get pushed over.

After a long Savasana (my favourite part of Beach Beryl), I flew my kite for awhile. It was a good day for it - decent breeze. I laid in the sun and read a book.

I could totally make habit of this. In Yoga Mala, Pattabhi Jois specifically prohibits outdoor yoga practice. Maybe it's because practising outside is so addictive!

4 comments:

patrick said...

Yes to practice outside--Swenson's book hooked me on it, and it's magnificent. Welcome to the outside practice club (if there is one).

I too have worried about the wind blowing me down in Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana and so forth, and no, it doesn't. Good discoveries abound. People don't actually stare as much as I expect them to and yes, absolutely, Supta K hard to bind, either on mat/rug or in grass. It gets just a BIT harder than it already is :)

Michelle said...

Oh my goodness. I don't even know what those poses are. I tend to call them by their english sounding names. You are very "advanced" :)

Jen Stevenson said...

Just curious what BeachBeryl is.

Have you ever practiced with her in person? She's such an amazing woman!

Kaivalya said...

@Patrick
People don't stare, but they *do* notice and the exceptionally curious approach and ask questions. It's a good way to drum up business as a teacher! I need to start carrying my business cards...lol.

@Michelle
I learned all the poses in Sanskrit, so I have trouble remembering the English names! Once you learn some of the basics ('Supta' means 'laying down', 'Kona' means 'angle'), figuring out the Sanskrit isn't too hard. When all else fails, there's always Google ;-)

@Jen
I've never met Beryl Bender Birch, but I would like to. I have great admiration for her as a teacher and I've heard that she's an exceptional human being.

'Beach Beryl' is my cute nickname for the audio class Beryl recorded in the Bahamas. In it, she teaches the primary series and talks about the beach!

I often use Beryl's Power Yoga DVD at home, but when I'm away from home or practising outdoors, I listen to 'Beach Beryl' on my iPod.