Thursday, June 24, 2010


I’m astonished by how ‘ordinary’ my practice is right now, despite this injury/opening/gremlin/whatever that’s happening in my left hamstring. I thought my Primary Series might feel very limited, given that it revolves around forward bending, but it’s just business as usual on my Manduka these days. I almost always tease the edge of my maximum in poses anyway, and today was no different. Now, I just feel the ‘edge’ sooner on my left side in most of the poses and the sensation is a tad more intense than I’m used to.

Overall, it felt better today! At times, I even had a feeling of ‘craving the stretch’ in my left leg, like it was okay to go deeper. I didn’t, though. I kept my knee bent and played with the edge. I’m not messing around with this one. I’ll give it a week of conservative practice and re-evaluate. I’ve heard too many horror stories about this kind of thing and though I’m not sure they really apply to my situation, it can’t hurt to be careful.

My intuition is that this is not a serious ‘thing’. I’m doing daily strength work for the hamstring, which feels fine - no sensation at all (except muscle fatigue from working the leg). I’m stretching and icing and arnica-ing. It’s all good.

I just love my practice and I’m relieved that I can carry on with it as I allow the ‘whatever-it-is’ to heal. I’m actually amazed at how adaptable this practice is to changes in the body, injuries, daily ebbs and tides.

One of my early misconceptions about Astanga was that practitioners plowed through injuries. I was afraid to go to a shala because I wondered what would happen if I got hurt. Would I be forced to practice in pain? I discovered early in my shala experience that there’s a lot of flexibility offered and care taken to ease through body-transitions, openings and injuries. And it’s absolutely possible to ‘do your practice’ every day and still honour your body.


I’m shifting a lot of my focus to my jumpbacks/jumpthroughs right now, since so many of my poses are modified.

I know I keep saying this, but I’m so close! Last night, I was visualizing my jumpbacks. I can lift up into Lolasana easily now. It seems like it would be relatively simple to just shoot my legs back from Lolasana. I mean, they’re already there!! They’re hanging out in space! Why not? I imagined myself doing this over and over again.

But imagery and reality are obviously two different things. I’m sure P was wondering what I was up to with all of the wonky jumpbacks I was doing this morning. I kept experimenting with different actions and angles. I just can’t seem to lose that ‘touchdown’ before jumping back. I have a feeling that I need to lift my hips more, but I don’t know how to make it happen. Bending my elbows and tipping forward only gets me so far. I’m pretty sure I have the strength now - it’s down to the mechanics. If I can get my head wrapped around that, I’ll be able to nail it!

Learning this has been such a process, but it’s brought so much ‘lightness’ to the rest of my practice! I almost never ‘thud’ in my sun salutations or seated vinyasas anymore. I’m shooting for more Bandhas and more control in all of my movements, but particularly the transitions. I’m astonished by how much my breath (especially puraka, inhale) can create ‘lift’.

And the jumpthroughs are suddenly happening for me! Several times, I was able to bring my feet through and straighten my legs without touching the floor. Then I lowered my legs for the hover-craft landing. Sweet!!! It doesn’t always happen, but it’s coming more often.


Tomorrow is a Moon Day at Shala Central, so I’m headed to Shala North for morning Mysore. My shala-buddy is coming with me, so I’ll have some company.

I’m so excited! I really do love DR’s room! It’s toasty, filled with nice people, and has good energy. Even though I won’t get a lot of adjustments due to my gremlin, I’ll be happy just to be practising there. The change of scenery will be refreshing and maybe I can see photos of the new baby (who finally made his grand entrance last Friday...yay!).

And my day will just keep getting better! My friend April is visiting town from the States. We had planned to meet for lunch and discovered, quite coincidentally, that she’s practising up at the Iyengar school in the same neighbourhood as Shala North. I’ll have time to shower and hang out in the ‘hood for a while before I pick her up. Then we’ll go chat yoga over sushi and I can tease her about how many blocks and straps she used in her practice, while she ribs me about my vinyasa sweatbath!

It’s all in good fun. We’re all the grand-kids of Krishnamacharya, after all! ;-)


April said...

Hello! Had a great time with you yesterday! Come see us in Philly! I'm sure there's some kind of Ashtanga conference there sometime soon!


Kaivalya said...

I enjoyed seeing you too! Hours of fun yoga-talk is exactly what I needed. Thanks for a great afternoon. :-)