Wednesday, March 10, 2010


All week, I’ve been looking forward to the class with Teacher IM. In the morning, I took a hot bath and did Erich Schiffmann’s shoulder opener series while I drank my chai. I had plenty of time to loaf around - I didn’t want to feel rushed like I was last week. I arrived early and did a supine backbend over some blocks with a strap around my arms. Bliss!

I enjoyed the class! It’s such a relief to have a teacher’s eyes on my practice once a week. He picks things apart and puts them back together. This morning, he tried to tackle my arms in Adho Mukha Svanasana, but immediately backed off from that mission impossible: “Oh, you REALLY hyperextend. Go back as you were.” Yup! The expression “It is what it is” definitely applies to my arms in Downward Dog!

I got another great adjustment in Marichyasana C. I wish I had a better idea of what he does to me in that pose; it’s fantastic. It makes me feel like a spring that’s been wound up very snug. Then, ZING! Oh, to be a fly on the wall to see that!

I need a wider stance in Parivritta Trikonasana and I need to keep my hips square. Until I adjust to this change, I’ll need to come up onto my fingers to provide some height. In retrospect, I’m not sure if he meant keeping the hips square to the front of the mat, or the pelvis square to the floor. I’ll ask next week.

The class size was smaller this week so we covered more ground, including poses beyond half-Primary: Navasana, Upavista Konasana, Supta Konasana (I had the space to land it properly too!), Supta Padangushtasana, Ubhaya Padangushtasana, and Urdhva Mukha Pascimottanasana (Very nice adjustment on this pose; I understand it much better now). We also did the full shoulderstand series in closing, but no Sirsasana :-(

I had adequate time for experimentation in Urdhva Dhanurasana while the rest of the class did Bridge Pose. I worked on coming down to the crown of my head and walking the hands in (rinse, repeat). I think I did 5 backbends, though I didn’t hold all of them for a five breath count.

Teacher IM also gave me some advice and encouragement for my jump-backs. He says my lift-ups are very good. He suggested hugging the knees tighter to the chest, as if I was going to tuck the knees into the armpits and rounding my back a bit. This does give me more height.

My major hurdle with jump-backs at the moment is swinging the feet between my arms so I can shoot them back. Where does the strength for this come from? Bandhas? How? I DON'T GET IT! (but I’ll continue working diligently; ‘all is coming’).


I have just one complaint about this morning’s class: I left the class with Orangutan Hair. I know, I know: It’s dire!

Since I was teaching a class right after, I brought my Orangutan Hair with me to class, to the sweet amusement of my students (and my own horror whenever I happen to glance in a mirror).

I’m not sure how to solve this dilemma, short of going back to the Grumpy Russian Guy and cutting it all off again. That’s probably what I’ll have to do. I definitely need tackle this before Kino’s workshop - it’s terrifying! I’ll scare all the other Ashtangis!


An update on my Sanskrit/Devanagari studies:

I’m having so much fun! I’ve progressed into the long vowels now and I’m starting to practise writing the skaras in a little notebook. I feel like I’m about seven years old, practising my penmanship and it’s such a hoot!

Last night, I took out one of my Yoga books and started looking at the Devangari script, picking out familiar shapes in the words. I felt like a kindergartener looking through her big sister’s chapter books for the A, B, C’s. Reading is one of my great joys and was a hard-earned skill. This new project has unearthed sweet memories of learning to read as a child. It’s a joyful journey for me.


Julia said...

I just started learning Sanskrit/Devanagari too! I love writing out the letters and really enjoyed your post on your own Sanskrit studies journey.

LadyRayCello said...

Have you practiced Forrest yoga?

babs said...

Love the hair! As a teacher, I too relish when I get to attend a class. It is so nice. Even if we have to run to our own classes right after! I am so jealous that you are studying Sanskrit. I am in awe! Blessings

Boodiba said...

I've got dandelion hair & bad roots.

Love the pix!

Sar said...

Excellent post!! Really good advice on jump backs. For Parivritta Trikonasana, I'm 99% sure its hips square to the front.... :) I am really enjoying your blog - it's contributing lots of positive energy to my own practice!!! :)

Jen Stevenson said...

I'm so laughing right now thinking about you going to teach and looking in the mirror only to find a frizz ball of a head. I can totally relate!

Have you tried using a wide headband? Clips maybe?

Kaivalya said...

I find that writing out the letters is almost like a meditation. I kind of fall into a trance as I'm doing it. It's fun, but it's also soothing.

Nope, I've never practised Forrest. I have a feeling I would have scant patience for the 'woo woo' aspects of it, though.

Don't be in awe, join me! Learning Devangari is not difficult at all, it's mostly memorization. The online study course I'm following is very incremental. It won't make you an expert or anything, but you'll be able to recognize characters and start to 'sound things out.'

If you really have Dandelion hair, I'm impressed! I thought you could only get that by sticking a finger in a light socket and I understand the electricity isn't all that reliable over in India! ;-)

Thanks, Sar. I think you're probably right - my instincts lean toward that answer. But he seemed to be cueing to the positioning of my sacrum.

I may have to go all 'Baron Baptiste' and use a bandanna over my hair. It's either that, or visit the Grumpy Russian Guy and his eager scissors - I'm kind of on the fence. My mother likes my hair longer. I don't really care as long as it's comfortable for yoga (priorities!).