It’s almost a shame, because I was actually getting into being ‘emo’ this week, but I *didn’t* have a bad practice this morning. In fact, I had a pretty good one! Finally, I’m feeling a bit more like I belong in my body again.
I think a huge part of this is simply an adjustment to the longer practice, the new poses and all of the weirdness percolating in my body as a result. When I was given Intermediate Series, a friend offered a few tips her teacher had suggested to smooth the transition to second series.
In a nutshell: drink lots of water, get lots of sleep, eat for fuel.
Guess what I’ve been doing? Drinking water by the gallon, for a start! I’m constantly thirsty. My stainless steel water bottle has become my constant companion.
And sleeping!!! I used to get by on around 7 hours of sleep per night, 8 on weekends. My body has now decided that even 8 hours of sleep is inadequate. I’m averaging more like 9 or 10. The insomnia, which I was dreading (and experienced during the first week of my longer practice) has not been a problem. My body wants to sleep, sleep, sleep. So I’m letting it. This morning, I turned off the alarm and slept for an extra hour!
And I’m hungry. All the time! So I’m eating when I feel hunger pangs and trying not to stress about it. Yeah, I’ve put on a few pounds, but I’m actually surprised at how well my body is absorbing the increased caloric intake. I’m trying to eat healthy snacks - fruit, trail mix, energy bars.
I’m not sure how I’ve managed this, but my practice is actually getting shorter! Yesterday, I buzzed through everything in 1 hour, 40 minutes. I thought it as a fluke, but I did the same today. And that was with two sets of five ‘Pigeon Pecks’ in Laghu Vajrasana (with a break in between), three Urdhva Dhanurasana, three dropbacks, some hangbacks at the wall, and three dropbacks at the futon, trying to stand up (I got two out of three today, not bad!). Oh, and a three-minute headstand!
There’s been much discussion elsewhere in the Astanga Blogosphere about cutting down on ‘fussing’ during practice. I can definitely relate to this. When I futz around, it breaks my flow and slows my practice, making it even longer. My practice is long enough as it is! It makes sense to stick with the vinyasa counts and keep towel-futzing, extra-breath breaks, Princess Fur ear-scritches and ‘laying on the mat and staring at the ceiling’ to an absolute minimum. I’m trying!
A note on my backbending: Last week, I was easily standing up from Urdhva Dhanurasana after a dropback to the futon, but it felt absolutely impossible yesterday. I was mystified! Today, I realised I was probably dropping back too far from the futon. I started my dropbacks closer to the futon and found it far easier to stand up. This totally makes sense. I’ll see how it goes tomorrow.