The weather here has been awesomely erratic. We had an Extreme Heat Alert on Tuesday, but by Thursday morning, it was *freezing* and I needed a coat for my bike ride to the shala. The days have been really nice, though - sunny and mild. I've been going for long walks every day and, since my subway pass expired, I've been biking everywhere.
If I had a ten bucks for every person who's asked me "But doesn't that tighten up your hips!?", I could pay my shala fees for the next two months. Yes, it tightens up my hips a bit, especially during the first few days that I ride. Then, like everything else, my body adjusts to it and I'm fine.
Tuesday was an agonizing LBH day (seriously, it was painful; I reintroduced prep poses) but by Wednesday, it was better and by Thursday, I didn't need to prep - I just moved right into Eka Pada. I've been consistently holding the leg behind my head, hands-free on both sides (I have to support the left leg a tiny bit entering and exiting the forward bend; that's my 'bad' side).
On Thursday, I Dwi Pada'ed all by myself for the first time. It wasn't pretty, but I was able to hold it and lift up (didn't get the bum balance - next time!). These LBH poses are consistently improving.
Also on Thursday, DT observed me for a moment in Laghu Vajrasana, then swooped down and took away my block, the one I had been lowering down to. And *then* she moved the block all the way to the front of my mat, so I couldn't use it. SNEAKY! :-D
I've been working my way down to the lowest level of the block - about 10cm (4 inches). Going to the floor is harder, much harder - that little bit of space makes a huge difference. I kept getting stuck and DT kept rescuing me. All she had to do was place her finger tips on my back ribs to get me to started. Clearly, I have the capacity to do this, I just need to find the action.
Supta Vajrasana is getting better and better. It took me awhile to figure out this pose. DT and I haven't really discussed it a lot, short of some feedback about lifting up from the back ribs and supporting it with my arms. The adjustment is part of the pose and that's the context I'm learning it. I think I may be getting the knack. This week, I noticed that I'm coming up and down more on my own power (rather than hanging onto DT's hands for dear life).
The process has been interesting for me because it's one of my first experiences learning a pose in a Mysore room. I came into Mysore-style already knowing full Primary. Most of the poses of Intermediate are already familiar to me. But now I'm getting into some of the really Astanga-specific poses that I've never worked on before. Supta Vajrasana is one of them. The same can be said of the LBH poses. It's fascinating - and deeply satisfying - to observe myself learning these poses, progressing in them.
I was really looking forward to doing my Primary today. There's a lot of Lolasana in the first part of Primary! The other day, I asked DT if I was doing the whole Lolasana thing right - I don't really feel like I'm making much progress with it. She confirmed that I'm working correctly and encouraged me to continue. It needs six weeks! So, in another month, I'll re-evaluate.
DT and I also chatted about lotusing the legs while inverted. I explained that I was practising this in shoulderstand. She suggested I try it in headstand. For some reason, that sounded harder to me - it made me nervous. Today, after Setu Bandhasana, I came into a tripod headstand near the wall. I surprised myself. Not only was I able to get my legs into a decently tight lotus, but I lowered the lotus to my arms, then lifted up again! It was fun! I repeated it three times and on the third go, I was lifted and lowered my legs over and over again. WEEEEEE! (yes, easily entertained).
And, not so easily entertained, but certainly well-rested: Princess Fur slept through most of the writing of this blog post.
Sometimes, you need to look VERY carefully to spot Fur when she's napping! Awwww, PAWS!
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