Wednesday, May 5, 2010


My triceps were sore this morning and I can’t figure out why. I worked my quads and abs at the gym last night, so that’s not it. I was doing some handstand work at the wall, working on the lift-up like DR showed me last weekend. It could be that, or it could be that I’m using my triceps more during jumpbacks.

I’m finally getting the hang of the ‘jumping back’ part of things, even if the effortless lift/pivot isn’t happening for me. My jumpbacks feel ‘light’. And my lift-ups are stronger, more controlled.

I was in the midst of yet another jumpback this morning when Teacher R approached. She was concerned about how ‘serious’ I looked and suggested that I project a ‘soft inner smile’. Usually, I’m all “yes, ma’am, yes, sir” when the teachers tell me to do stuff, but this one had me stumped. Seriously? You want me to think about my 1) Bandhas 2)Ujjayi 3)Driste AND remember to smile more? (I’m BUSY!)

But to be honest, the whole idea was so funny to me that I actually *did* smile a bit through the rest of the practice (and started to giggle during Savasana, which is definitely not kosher; I put a lid on it). During Supta Kurmasana, it occurred to me that it’s probably a good thing that my head is tucked under my legs in that pose, so the look of abject misery on my face can’t be viewed by the teachers!

And yes, yes, I *know* that David Swenson suggests smiling as a way to enhance Ujjayi breathing (Page 8: “It is helpful to gently smile while breathing to allow the air to swirl around the back of the throat before continuing on its journey to the lungs”). But it’s hot in the Shala, and it’s *early* for pete’s sake, and I’m TIRED. And I smile ALL DAY in my classes, even when I don’t feel like smiling (because no-one loves a grumpy yoga teacher).

Apparently, no-one loves a grumpy Mysore student either, so I’ll have to get with the programme. I’m studying this video clip for pointers:

I’m open to any advice you guys have for a ‘smilier’ practice. Do they make Yoga Rugs with knock-knock jokes written on them? Maybe I should listen to comedy sketches on the way to the Shala in the morning?

At the very least, I’ll try to keep my face more relaxed. This practice is getting *complicated*!


The Misanthropic Yogini said...

Grrr... nothing burns me up like when someone has the nerve to tell me to smile. It works completely against the intended result.

I'll smile when I'm good and ready, dammit! Leave me alone!

Kaivalya said...

There you go, living up to your name again! :-D

Skippetty said...

Err... that video had me grimacing until I saw her face peek out every now and again with that huge grin. Bizarre!! (I think if you smiled throughout your practice you would probably freak your teacher out. Hehe.)

Selina said...

I have had EXACTLY the same thing happen to me! My teacher came over while I was in UHP and said that I looked too serious/stressed and basically told me to chill. That was a fair while ago, and I still can't imagine 'chilling' in that pose, haha

Tiffany @ Moving Meditation said...

Depending on my relationship with the teacher and my mood at any given moment, that could really make me crazy! Should I not admit that? But, really, I think it would distract me.