Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Another day, another practice....

I learned so much today. I can understand why you only are "given" poses one at a time - there is so much to know, so much to practice, it's as if your head would explode if you got it all at once.

So, today, due to a verrrrrrrrrry slow local bus, and a coffee stop at an East Village Dunkin Donuts, I got to the studio at 9:35. I asked Mark if I could still practice, he said, "sure....but why don't you do just 3 Surya A's and 3 B's". Well, I did four of each, attached as I am to sweating and calorie burning. Didn't matter - I still made it through the entire Standing Series in record time - less than 30 minutes. I think there is definitely something to be said for plowing through the Standing Series. It takes less out of you, leaves you more energy for the Primary Series. And if the whole system works properly, the Standing Series is basically just a warm-up - an Amuse Bouche for the Primary Series.

I do have to say that Mark adjusted me in Uttita Parsva Konasana - getting the palm of my hand to the floor and my arm pit tucked over my knee. I really really love the strictness of Ashtanga - it is what it is. All that touchy-feeliness of Om and vinyasa practice in general just rings a bit hollow now, as if we were attempting to sugarcoat the's like, come on, people, let's just do the pose the way it was intended, period.

And my new Ashtanga rug was pure poetry. Long, giving me more space, soft to the touch, and no dripping, slipping, sliding. No chaotic wiping off, no rearranging hand-towels, no using the slipperiness to my advantage in jumping through. In short, less drama, more yoga.

My new jump throughs are great now - controlled, gaining lots more air. Today, Mark showed me how to point my toes and land on the tops of my feet instead of flexing and landing on the sides of my feet. Everything is yoga in a Mysore room. Everything gets worked - your eyeballs, your feet, your fingers, the place where your wrist meets the palm of your hand....

And today Mark shoed me how to press up and jump back more effectively - it's basically inhale into Navasana, cross your shins, press up...then exhale to reach forward into Lolasana and jump back into Chatturanga. So much more effecient. So much more effective. I had so much more energy throughout the practice as a result. I often tell my own students to elimate the extraneous....extraneous thoughts, extraneous fidgeting, extraneous embellishments. And this was the queen of eliminating extraneous movements and effort. So smooth.

I was the last student to finish today. When I finished, I did a couple of handstands and realized that to stay up without the wall, I am going to need to do what one of my teachers from several years ago told me, which I never understood until today...and that is to get one leg up there, and then slowly, with control, float the other leg up to meet it. It's the only way not to let momentum push you over into a backbend.

As I was packing up to leave, I talked to one of the other assistants - I think his name is Jose. He told me that it is best not to eat anything before practicing. That is going to take a HUGE leap of faith for me since I have been stoking my workouts with breakfast and even snacking DURING workouts (during marathon training and marathon runs, for example) for as long as I can remember. But I am a VERY empty cup right now, willing to try anything. So, I can see myself being able to do this not eating thing. Tomorrow I will try it and see. I think the unspoken thing that no one is saying to me (ok, maybe I am projecting) is that what is truly standing between me and Marichi is my tummy. Now, I can't help that I have had two babies and my stomach, though flat and muscular, is draped in enough skin to fit a 9-months pregnant woman. I don't even dare mention that I plan on having a tummy tuck at the end of the summer. Let's not even go there right now. But what I can help is not filling up the organ known as my "stomach" and exacerbating the whole problem. If I can't practice Uddiyana Bhandha kriya, then something is amiss - and that something would be breakfast, I believe. Plus, he also mentioned not eating past 7 p.m. and that the Hatha Yoga Pradipika instructs us to fast for 12 hours each and every day at some point. I can do that!

And the best news of all - I think that if there is time, they are going to let me work through the poses that follow my sage friends (the Marichis). Ah, what are those sages trying to tell me? We shall see. But I think that there will only be time if I am actually practicing the rest of the series properly. I mean, if I make a habit of taking five minutes to get into a pose that should take five breaths to come into and out of, then clearly, I am going to be exhausted and unable to go much further than Navasana, and the time is going to run out besides. So, the system actually makes sense.

On another topic - I really am looking forward to Friday's led class with Mary-Beth. Hearing her teach is so important to my teaching right now.

That's all for today...


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Copyright 2005-2007 Lauren Cahn, all rights reserved. Photos appearing on this blog may be subject to third party copyright ownership. You are free to link to this blog and portions hereof, but the use of any direct content requires the prior written consent of the author.

About Me

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.


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