Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Flying Pigs, Flying Partridges

I'm starting to feel very settled into the new shala. I feel like my new teacher has become familiar with my practice and is prioritizing adjustments to help me learn. I feel comfortable with the people practising around me. I've developed a new routine and getting up early doesn't feel like torture anymore.

I'm finding SO much joy in having shalamates again! Because talking is allowed in this shala, there's more noise, but also more laughter. There's a genuine sense of connection and fun in the room. This was rare in the last shala I regularly practised at, but it's become common in this one and I like it!

Because the shala is new, we've all had a role in creating its 'culture'. Of course the teacher sets the tone and DT has set a nice one. More than one shalamate has described the atmosphere of this room as very nuturing, almost 'motherly' (in the best sense of the word). I look forward to going there. The presence of my shalamates and their bright energy makes the difficult parts of my practice feel more do-able.

I think DT has done a good job of supporting the wide variety of practitioners who have walked in her door. Diverse practices are welcome, but she's very respectful of those of us who are more traditional. She makes suggestions, but she never pushes. More than once, I've sensed a 'thought bubble' over her head that read: "Gee, this pose could really use a prop!" But I rarely use props, and she always asks before she uses them with me.

During my first days, I had a little bit of fun adding and changing poses in my practice just because I *could*. There was more than a little bit of rebellion at work there, I suspect. ;-) Once the novelty wore off, I started adding poses more strategically. Although I came in the door determined to retain my traditional practice, I've definitely become more open as time has passed.

During the first week, I added Supta Virasana as a preparation for Bhekasana. I lost that pose during my shoulder injury and needed to lengthen my quads. It worked - I'm able to do the pose now and DT has started giving me the adjustment to go deeper.

My adventures with the Dwi Pada entrance into Supta K have been fun, but sometimes difficult. Early last week, it occurred to me that it might be easier to do Dwi Pada Sirsasana if I did a little bit of Eka Pada Sirsasana *first*.

DT spotted the change, and the next day, she adjusted me deeper on each side and helped me hold for five breaths. Then she encouraged me to do the forward fold and after I came up from that, she helped me do this thing where I lift my extended leg and try to push up onto my hands. I wasn't sure what was up with that, but it turns out that it's Chakorasana from the third series.

Photo credit: ashtangahyoga.info

Cool! Oddly enough, now that I kind of know what it looks like, I'll probably have an easier time doing it. I looked up the English translation. According to Matthew Sweeney, it's the 'Patridge Posture'. Not to be confused with the 'Patridge Family' (though that DIDN'T stop me from scouring the internet for photos of the Partidge Family doing yoga. No dice.)

So LBH poses are now a daily part of my practice and I love them and hate them simultaneously. I kind of dread Supta K now, but once I'm there, it's exciting and challenging, developing new skills for my body to do this new thing.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


V said...

I think you only call it Chakorasana if you hold it for 5 breaths...otherwise it's the normal exit from Eka Pada. So you might be a criminal in many other ways but the Ashtanga police won't get you for THAT :-D

Kaivalya said...

And then you'll tell me that from THIS wacky position, I'm supposed to lift up and jump back, right? Exit LOL!

Thanks for the clarification. :-) I had a feeling you would have the answer, given your experience in 2nd series.

Also, I remember you blogging about this before. I remember my eyes popping in amazement. Now I have a better idea of precisely how challenging it is. *shakeshead*

V said...

Well, you are lifting already (your bum should be off the floor!) so in theory you just have to jump back from there. I say "in theory" because in my case I lean forward, my legs fall down and then I do a puny jumpback-from-kneeling. Asked H about this today...he said to keep the leg behind the head there for as long as possible and bend the other leg, and from there shoot both legs back. Piece of cake :-D

Kaivalya said...

My bum *does* come off the floor, but wow, is it ever difficult to stay balanced that way! Sometimes, I feel like I would fall over backwards if someone wasn't supporting me. Where do you place your hands for that pose?

V said...

Oh, I've fallen on my bum more than once. My hands are by my hips? I don't spend time thinking about their placement to be honest, it's more like...come up hoping your neck doesn't break, palms down on the floor, lift and push your hips through but not too far so that you won't fall back (all of this on the inhale), then on the exhale lean forward and jump back (ha!).