Well, that was a relief! I was really worried that this week would be a repeat of last, with sluggish, difficult practices that dragged on interminably. But apparently, afternoon naps make everything better! Hooray for adequate sleep!
I was up at 6:30, bright-eyed and energetic and my practice was great!
I’m having some fabulous Hamstring Moments these days. Near the end of last week, I stepped things up a bit, but I was initially worried when I noticed some soreness in my left hamstring. It wasn’t anywhere near the site of the injury, but rather in the body of the muscle which is TERRIFIC news! This means that when I ‘push the edge’ in my forward bends, I’m maintaining the stretch throughout the muscle (rather the attachments which could stress the injury site).
Poses are continuing to ‘come back.’ My knees are now only a tiny bit bent in Kurmasana. I’m able to do the Supta Konasana exit with straight legs all the way to the floor (instead of the bent-knee landing on my heels).
I can once again roll up to Ubhaya Padangusthasana with straight legs. Ditto for Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana (and I can even come up holding the edges of my feet). Now that UMP is more-or-less back, I’m revisiting the old struggle to balance on my bum. Darby gave me some good advice while I was in Montreal. He told me to pull my arms in and elbows down as I fold. This is such a fun, but frustrating pose. I always get SO close to the full expression, only to roll onto my back!
Yesterday, I braved the Saturday crowds at our downtown mall and went to Lu. I wanted to pick up some capris (they’re now called ‘crops’...whatever). I quickly found what I was looking for and requested a second pair in my size. While Chirpy Sales Associate #1 checked the back, I chatted up Chirpy Sales Associate #2. Before I knew it, I was getting a substantial discount for being a full-time yoga teacher. I verified my ‘status’ by displaying my website and schedule on my iPad. Technology!!!
I was kind of hoping the capris would solve my ‘slippery arms’ problem in Bhujapidasana by making my legs less of a slip-n-slide. Wouldn’t it be nice if new yoga clothes could fix all the trouble spots in the practice? I figured if *this* worked, I would go back and buy the ‘Stand Up From Urdhva Dhanurasana’ yoga top.
Alas, the capris were definitely not the magic bullet I hoped, but it was easier. There was no slipping today - in fact, I was surprised by the side effects of my newly ‘sticky’ legs. I kept catching my legs on my arms in jumpthroughs!
I was worried about Garba Pindasana, but it was fine. I needed a bit of water on my arms to get them all the way through (I didn’t roll my pants up as I’ve seen shalamates do). Kukutasana was full of awesome!! My legs stayed above my elbows instead of sliding down. I felt VERY tall in that pose! :-D
I spent a lot of time on backbending today. I did three Urdhva Dhanurasana from the floor, walking my hands in each time until it was slightly uncomfortable. Five hangbacks to the wall, coming back up and focusing on using my legs to initiate the movement. Then: more Urdhva Dhanurasana with some rocking.
Globie posted his notes from Kino’s recent workshop in London and this bit of advice jumped out at me: When rocking, Kino told him “not think about trying to come up and being disappointed because it never happens, but instead to try and rock and bounce the hands. She said eventually it will come.”
I did three dropbacks and though they were not fabulous, MY FEET WERE ALL THE WAY ON THE MAT! I’m finally losing that cheaty wide stance. I’m sure dropbacks will feel a bit weird for a while, but at least I’m making progress towards better alignment. I think the hip opening work I’ve been doing is helping!
Ending on an even happier note: The best part of my practice today was Laghu Vajrasana! Yeah, really! Surprise :-)
I feel like I’m finally understanding the pose and I’m enjoying it. Yes, it’s difficult, but now that I get the action of coming up (using the legs, leading with the chest, coming up on a strong inhalation and the head comes up last), it’s kind of awesome! Going down is even better. I can’t really explain why - it just feels good.
I set my block to the horizontal position today because it was becoming far to easy for me to come back up. The floor is now less than 10 centimetres away! Soon, I’ll be lowering all the way down. What seemed inconceivable just a week ago is now easier. I love how this practice changes my notions of what’s possible!
More than once on our holiday, my mother implied that maybe I had chosen to be a vegan ‘just to be difficult.’ I assured her that no, my food choices had nothing to do with a hidden, malicious desire to make life impossible for people around me (read: my mother).
But then again, she might have a point.
Exhibit A: Bag containing a veganized burrito from my favourite little neighbourhood hole-in-the-wall.
But extra guacamole? HELL,YEAH!!! ;-)
Nancy Gilgoff recently visited Halifax, Nova Scotia and offered a series of amazing workshops. Even a hurricane couldn't stop Nancy - she taught through Earl! :-D
A cybershalamate carefully transcribed her notes from the workshops and I'm linking to them here. They are incredibly detailed and informative (and have further fueled my desire to someday study with Nancy - what amazing wisdom about the practice!).