Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Astanga

My hard-partying mother kept me out last night until almost midnight so the 5:30 wakeup call was particular brutal, but I got up and did my practice. I’m so glad I did! I had an absolutely *fantastic* practice. Everything just flowed. My practice had a ‘Primary Express’ feel to it, but I was working hard and didn’t feel like I was just breezing through the poses.

It was one of those rare mornings when everything just came together and it felt like a 90 minute flowing meditation. I really, really needed that.

I’m still tweaking the heat level in my practice room. Today was absolutely perfect - just enough that I was sweating, but not so much that I was drenched.

Since I managed to get on the mat 10 minutes earlier than usual, I had extra some time for backbending. I did a few deep lunges, quad stretches and a shoulder opener before I started. I know these preparations are not kosher in a traditional shala, but they made *such* a difference. I could feel it in the very first Urdhva Dhanurasana - it was comfortable and I was able to easily hold it for 5 breaths.

Today, I spent a lot of time in Urdhva Dhanurasana pushing the hips forward and trying to push the pelvic heads up while walking my hands in. I also did this while rocking. Instead of worrying about whether my hands were lifting off the floor, I just focused on moving my hips forward instead, trying to keep my legs straighter and the heels down. My goal was to feel a stretch across my pelvis. I had mixed success but in one round of rocking I actually felt my hands start to lift, which makes me hopeful that eventually I’ll get that part back, while maintaining the upward lift of the hips.

I’m spending a good part of today sitting in a car, driving to Montreal. I’m pretty sure this is *not* going to help my hips open, but I’ll work on the lunges when I get the chance. Tomorrow, I’ll be back in a Shala for a couple of days, practisting with Canada’s only certified Astanga teachers. They’ve been doing this practice for 35 years. I’m pretty excited and grateful that I have this opportunity.

I think I’ll like being an Astanga tourist! If any of my readers practice at this Montreal Shala, please say hello! I would love meet you.