Friday, June 11, 2010


Oh, happy cork floors! I had a great practice this morning at Shala North and it was fun to be in a new place, different faces, fresh energy. I practiced near a blog reader - she was just a few mats away. I hope to be able to say hello properly next time, Sophia!

I got a whopping 10 hours of sleep last night, which I seriously needed. The insomnia problem has finally faded away and most nights, I can fall asleep without too much fuss, but I’ve been busy wrapping up some work this week and my swirling brain sometimes wakes me up in the middle of the night with Important! Thoughts! 3 a.m. seems to be a popular time for my brain to do this. I wish it would stop!

After a crowded 40 minute commute on public transit, I arrived at Shala North. I’m glad I timed it. I thought it was an hour door-to-door, but it’s actually much less, even with a long wait for the second train. Good to know! I walked up the stairs in time to hear DR leading the closing chant for the led Primary. I wasn’t absolutely sure he would be around, so that was a nice surprise.

We had a brief chat in the waiting area and I brought him up-to-date on my practice: my jumpbacks are *much* better (in large part, thanks to his workshop) and no, I’m not standing up yet. *sadtrombone* He mentioned that he might teach a follow-up ‘dropping back/standing up’ workshop in July. I would definitely attend! I need all the help I can get!

Previously, I’ve only been at this shala for workshops. The room was warm then, but nothing like this morning! DR likes to keep his room TOASTY! After the led Primary, it was so humid, my glasses steamed up when I walked in. I had a VERY sweaty practice. The heat is terrific for some things, like coming deeper into poses and really bad for other things, like Bakasana. By mid-practice, I felt like someone had dumped a bucket of warm water over my head and DR chuckled at me when I paused to sluice a handful of sweat off my face with my hands. My mat towel was soaked!

This room is busy, much busier than I’m used to, lots of people! By the time most had set up, I was well into my Suryas, so I didn’t notice very much going on around me, but at one point we all had to shuffle over a bit to make room in the row. I set up with a wall to my right to minimise the disorientation of being in the new space. It worked - I felt comfortable. The wall completely threw me off kilter in Garba Pindasana though. One of DR’s assistants had to come rescue me when I ‘ran aground’ halfway through my rolls.

I tried to keep a deep focus and work each pose 100%. DR is only the third authorised teacher to see my practice and I wanted him to have a good idea of where I’m ‘at’ so he could offer good feedback and adjustments.

The adjustments were really great! DR is firm and no-nonsense. He’s a bit more forceful than I’m used to, but I never felt unsafe with him.

In Prasarita Padottanasana C, he made a small adjustment to the positioning of my arms (I think it was a slight internal rotation of the humerus) and then pressed firmly on my forearms to bring my hands to the floor. R has me well-trained! I exhaled and completely relaxed my shoulders and my hands plopped to the floor like they wanted to be there! Then I had to work on keeping my shoulders relaxed.

I received a deep adjustment in Marichyasana C, which was very welcome. I know I can get a deeper rotation in this pose, but I need some help to do it. I also got a bit of help binding to my wrist on the first side of Marichyasana D, but the second side was fine today. That pose is coming along nicely, finally!

Kurmasana is worth mentioning because I didn’t need an adjustment today. I read through Maehle’s recommendations for Kurmasana very carefully yesterday and noted a few tips that I thought would be helpful to me:

- “On the floor, make another attempt to bring your knees right up on to your shoulders.

- “The legs need to be almost parallel, without a gap between the inner thighs and the sides of the rib cage.

These two recommendations helped solve a quirky little problem I’ve been having: It feels like my legs are squashing my arms to the point of pain. Lifting my heels feels impossible no matter how much I engage my legs. Today, I was able to lift my heels easily and keep them lifted for the full five breaths! In April, when I last managed to lift my heels, I think it might have been an serendipitous placement of my legs. No wonder I couldn’t replicate it! I didn’t know what I was shooting for!

Supta Kurmasana was an *event* today! DR came over and watched me wiggle and squiggle myself into the basic Primary version of Supta K. These days, I can almost always bind by myself and I can even get a pretty good cross to my ankles. DR asked permission to bring me into a deeper version of the pose and I told him to go ahead. Keep in mind, I couldn’t see anything, so I have no idea what he *actually* did. But this is what it felt like he was doing:

When he finished, I took my five breaths and he lifted my legs as I pressed up (weeee!) and I managed a pretty sloppy exit into Bakasana, but better than I’ve ever had before (curse the sweat-slippery legs!). I’m pretty sure this was the deepest Supta K I’ve ever found myself in, proof positive that my legs are quite happy to go behind my head if someone puts them there!

I owe my friend Globie a note of thanks for all of his mentions of the ‘finishing room’. After a fab Paschimo squish from DR, I looked around and noticed how incredibly crowded the room was. I had a sneaky feeling that finishing didn’t happen in that part of the room. So I flagged down one of the assistants and she directed me to the very back. I was relieved to have narrowly avoided a Shala Bad Etiquette Moment.

It was a bit strange finishing in a different place than I had started, but it makes perfect sense! By the time I rolled out of Savasana, someone was already vying for my spot. So I gathered my things and moved to the waiting area, where I chatted with the lovely M as I rolled up my mat.

There’s more, of course: Backbending. DR had some observations and advice for me. I’ll write about that tomorrow, after I’ve had a chance to roll it around in my brain a bit (probably at 3 a.m. because that when Important! Thoughts! happen).


Beck said...

Thank you for your honesty and insights always!! You inspire me to get to my mat and just let whatever is going to happen, happen.

daydreamingmel said...

I love that picture! It perfectly captures how it feels when your teacher starts hooking your feet over your head and you have NO idea what's going on!

Kaivalya said...

Thanks for reading! :-)

Getting to the mat is the important part, the rest is just process!

It's pretty accurate, isn't it? I think former rodeo cowboys would have a transferable skill set as Mysore room assistants!