Thursday, April 29, 2010

Astanga

Uh oh. *Somebody* overdid it with the research poses yesterday. My tummy hurts! But in a good way!

My noon class was a no-show, so I played around on the gym equipment, especially a structure that’s meant for abs, but I’ve nicknamed it the ‘Backbending Machine’. I figured out a way to use it for hangbacks and I was dropping my hands back to this little platform, then coming up. Back and up, back and up. Then I did some abdominal work and experimented with the Kill Your Quads machine over in the corner.

I’ll have to remember this the next time I’m waiting for class to start and I have some time to kill. Strong abs and quads can only help in the standing-up-from-backbend project, right?

Today’s practice was good, but I was tired. And I was a space case too! I skipped Purvottanasana, didn’t remember it until I was on the streetcar going home. I *almost* skipped Bhujapidasana, which would have been a shame because that pose was terrific today! I slipped my feet between my arms without touching the floor, then back up again.

I think it’s finally safe to announce that Chakrasana has officially become No Big Deal. I just do it. If I’m very tired, I lift my legs over first and push through my hands to launch the roll, but most of the time I just roll. No more Drama. I’ll see how this plays out in Led Primary on Sunday - that will be the true test. Teacher R witnessed one of my rolls today from across the room. We were both grinning.

I lifted up on every vinyasa, but there was no jumpback magic for me today. It’s coming along though. I can lift up and bring my feet through, touch down on one toe, *then* I try to lift my hips and ‘tip’ forward to shoot my legs back. I’m focusing on doing this without pushing off from my toe. It’s not really ‘pretty’, but I’m getting stronger.

I’ve noticed this increased strength in other areas of my practice, places I wouldn’t expect. Sirsasana is SO stable now. This used to be the Drama Pose but now I look forward to it. I kind of go into a daydream fugue state while I’m there. Lately, Parivritta Trikonasana has started feeling really good! I’m less wobbly and for the first time, I feel myself levelling the hips, squaring them off while still rotating the torso. Teacher R changed the position of my bottom hand this morning. She moved my hand forward slightly, spread the fingers.

There’s a small drama unfolding over my Parsvottanasana with the two teachers giving me conflicting direction. This morning, Teacher R asked me to narrow my stance. I glanced down and noticed that my feet were no more than 2 feet apart. The other day, Teacher P asked me to *widen* my stance (to about 3 feet). Yoga Mala says the stance is 3 feet (page 57). Gregor Maehle doesn’t specify, but it looks like a 2 foot stance in the photograph of the pose (page 42). Swenson says one leg-length distance between the feet (page 42). I have looooong legs so for me, that would be slightly more than 3 feet.

And now I’m confused, which is great news because I have a juicy question to ask at conference on Sunday. I’ll let ‘em duke it out then ;-)

I didn’t have the energy to try the legs-behind-shoulder manoeuvre in Supta Kurmasana today. I defaulted to yesterday’s cheat: bringing the left leg around the shoulder, lowering down, getting the right leg in place and the ankles crossed and binding myself. But the final result is much better than anything I’ve managed so far, even with assistance, so it’s coming along. I’m going to keep working on this on my own and the next time I have a chance, I’ll ask the teachers for guidance on how to move forward.

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As of today, I’ve been at the Shala for one month. It goes without saying, but I’m staying on for May. Wild horses couldn’t drag me out of that Mysore Room right now! I’m having so much FUN! I do feel that my practice is taking leaps and bounds under the guidance of the teachers and I’m definitely working harder with their beady eyes watching my every move. It’s all good. :-)

And on a more serious note, I feel a genuine sense of safety and comfort being there. The one month anniversary of the Big LIfe Change came and went with little fanfare. I’ve handled it far better than I ever imagined I would. I’ve been doing great, keeping busy, making my own fun. I haven’t really been *sad* per se, but occasionally a melancholy mood will strike and on those days, that five minutes of Savasana at the Shala is the best part of my day. Laying there, in a cocoon of heat, and movement and Ujjayi breathing, everything feels okay again.

3 comments:

Emma said...

teachers give different instructor all the time. it's about the inner teacher, too! ultimately, she'll know where the feel "should" be :)

Boodiba said...

You really ARE doing fantastic & I think it's great you're staying on at the shala.

patrick said...

This whole post is, in a word,

RAWK!!