Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Astanga

Today, I went to the class again and it was nice, but I have to admit, the fun is starting to wear off. Now that Teacher IM has seen my practice and ironed out some of the more obvious wrinkles, he’s making fewer suggestions. I must have tapped out my Fabulous Squishy Adjustment Quota because I didn’t get a single deep adjustment in this class.

Still, I didn’t leave empty handed. Here’s what I learned:

1) In Parivritta Trikonasana, the hips need to be squared to the end of the mat AND the sacrum should be level to the floor. Both! The action of the legs keeps the pelvis stable. I’ve been doing (and teaching!) this differently for years, so I’ll need to experiment with it.

2) I’m still pulling my shoulders up and over-utilizing my rhomboids in Chaturanga. Darn it! I thought I had solved this problem, but no. Teacher IM observed it last week and forgot to mention it. He must have seen my look of dismay because he asked: “You’ve heard this before?” and I nodded. Teacher D pointed it out last summer. When two teachers notice the same thing, it’s definitely a problem.

I think part of the problem is that I don’t roll over my toes coming in and out of Chaturanga. I’m contra-indicated for roll-overs because of nerve damage in my feet (a legacy of my first career, archaeology). As a result, I don’t track my shoulders far enough over my wrists. When I lower down, it’s harder to lengthen the spine and draw the shoulder blades down the back. Also, my latissimus dorsi is probably a bit wimpy - need to work on that!

3) This action of drawing the shoulder blades down the back is something I need to work on in other contexts too, like Parsvakonasana and Parivritta Parsvakonasana (my top shoulder, with the extended arm, never seems to be positioned correctly in these poses).

4) I received more tips for my jumps. I tried to go without blocks today. It was difficult, but I think I may need to move forward in this fashion or I’m never going to get anywhere. For jump-throughs, Teacher IM suggested that I draw back and lengthen my front body before lifting up into the jump (this makes sense; it creates space for the legs to go through).

Funny moment in Marichyasana C:
When I bind to my wrist, I briefly lift my back sitbone as I make the bind. Teacher IM came over as I was doing this.

Teacher IM: You need to drop your sitbone! Why do you keep lifting it? (tone implied: You’re brighter than this, what’s going on?!)
Me: You always come over and say that when in the process of grabbing my wrist! I’ll get there! (tone implied: Be patient! God isn’t finished with me yet!)
Teacher IM: *sheepish* Sorry. Next time I’ll wait until you’re in the pose.
Me: *grin*

I’m nothing but grateful for all of the help he’s given me, particularly in the Marichyasana poses where I’ve seen my greatest improvement this month. Still, when my class pass runs out, I don’t think I’ll be continuing this particular class. There are a few reasons for this.

The biggest issue is that I teach a class right afterward and the commute is very tight. Today I arrived late to my class, which I HATE doing. I was held up in public transit, but that’s no excuse. My own students take priority.

Also - and I hesitate to say this because I don’t want to sound like I’m full of myself - but I think I may be too advanced for this class. No one else is coming into the full expression of the poses, just me. I can’t expect Teacher IM to stop the world to adjust me in an advanced pose when the rest of the class is trying to get half-Lotus. He always tells me to go ahead with Urdhva Dhanurasana, but’ I’m on my own’, which is fine; he’s busy, as he should be, helping the other students come into Setu Bandha Sarvangasana safely.

But, boy, would I *love* some help with my Urdhva Dhanurasana.

So the ‘Shala idea’ has once again percolated, particularly now that the weather is pretty and I could cycle down there in a little over 10 minutes. I’m pretty sure that I’ll get LOTS of feedback and good instruction. And the early morning time slot works perfectly with my teaching schedule.

I’m thinking of doing a ‘trial week’ of Mysore before the month is up. Then I’ll decide if it’s something I want to do in April. Keep in mind, I’m just rolling the idea around in my brain; no decision yet.

On to more important topics. I know you’re all wondering how I fared with my Orangutan Hair today. I’m happy to report that I’ve come up with a solution to tame it. It requires a bit of time, but not too much. And it’s simple: dry the hair straight and apply hair product before I head to class. It’s naturally curly, but the blow dryer seems to tame it enough that it doesn’t go completely crazy in class:


Thank goodness! I thought I was going to have to start going to yoga classes at the zoo!

3 comments:

patrick said...

Stronger lats will also give you better jumps and easier arm balances of all sorts. Just sayin'.

Kaivalya said...

Cool! All those things would be very welcome!

Any suggestions on building strength in that area?

Or do I just need to do more jumps and arm balances of all sorts? :-D

Christine said...

Go with the Mysore class Kaivalya!! It'll be worth it!

...I had a similar experience to yours at a nearby led class a few years ago. I kept hoping the class would work out because I just don't see my teacher very often and would love a teacher's help more often. The class was intended for those newer to the practice though, not someone with years of consistent practice...just wasn't a good match.

...learned a great method of increasing strength in lats and back/shoulders in general a couple years ago. It worked for me when nothing else seemed to. Email if you are interested and I'll describe. hibiscus102atgmail.com
:)