Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Yummy Practice

So, I started today soooo sooo stiff. I felt like my joints had been glued together with cement, and I felt like my muscles were comprised of lead. I taught a 9:15 class, and I didn't demonstrate anything, which actually is good for my teaching - learning to communicate with words and with adjustments only. After class, I took Supta Baddha Konasana with a strap and then after a few minutes, I placed a block between my shoulder blades. I chatted with one of my students, and just let my body soften. After the last student left, and I did a couple of handstands, which always helps to get my blood flowing, which is an absolute necessity for me to have a nice soft, smooth practice. Then I took Marichi A on each side, then B, then C and D, using my strap method, just focusing on the spinal/torso mechanics, more than turning my arms into rubber bands. I was sweating, and I felt great.

But I still needed to do my full practice. So off to see Sarah, I went. I am really really really loving my Sarah days. I love the fact that she lets me do my standing series without a million adjustments and comments and changes. And once again, as always seems to happen when I am there, I finished my Surya Namaskars and Standing poses in less than 25 minutes. Everything just felt "right". Even my Prasarita Pado C felt good (and no adjustment! even so, I had my head on the floor and got very close to getting my hands to the floor).

Sarah did give me an adjustment in Paschimo C, such that I was able to hold my left wrist with my right hand. That was nice. I have been so close up until now, it was nice to actually really feel that bind. And my practice pretty much floated to Marichi A. In A, Sarah stayed with me, not helping me bind, but pressing my chin to my shin. In B, same thing, only it was forehead to floor (well, not quite).

And here is what I really loved: she waited for me to get as far into C as I could, and only then did she help me. Basically, she just helped me to put my fingers together and then held my knee and my upper arm together so that I could twist deeper. It felt really nice that she had the confidence in me to let me try it myself. I think I need that kind of confidence boost - for the teacher not to assume that I can't do it without being pulled into it.

Same thing with D, only she had to help me a little bit more on the right side. The left side, I can pretty much get my arms in the right place and get the twist going without help now - just need to have the bind completed for me, and then I need leverage for further twisting. Afterward, she commented that I have made a LOT of progress and that obviously my body is now ready for C and D. That felt so awesome!

After D, Navasana, then three really nice, open backbends. My finishing sequence was absolutely lovely. I wanted to stretch it out as long as I could, savoring each breath, but alas, I finished the entire practice in a mere 55 minutes. I suppose that is a good sign though! 20 breaths in Uttplutthi, although in all honesty, it was kind of like this, "fourteeeeeeeen, fiiiiiiifteeeeeen, sixteenseventeeneighteennighteen....twenty!"

Is this entry as boring as it seems to me??

OK, here's something for a little controversy: I couldn't help but notice this middle aged woman practicing in the room (we were the only two people left at 1 o'clock, after all). I've seen her before - I've even mentioned her before. She is rather unathletic looking, and her practice is pretty messy. But she is on Bujapidasana. How did she get there? Her Ardha Baddha Padmotannasana is not Baddha. Her Janu Sirsasana C is really more like B. And the only things she is lifting between her Navasanas appears to be her intention. Now, shouldn't I have been focused on my own practice? I totally was, or almost totally. But I have to admit, I was really curious about her practice. Plus before it was just the two of us left in the room there were two OTHER middle aged women who were also practicing most, if not all, of the Primary Series (at least way beyond Navasana), and yet neither of them could do Sirsasana (headstand) without Sarah's help.

And none of them could enter Buja with their feet off the ground. Of course, that can be learned in time, so maybe Middle Aged Woman Number 1 will soon be learning to lift her banddhas in order to make that happen. I just wonder why I am being kept at Navasana?

NOT that it really matters. I swear, I am basically relieved that I don't have to do more than what I am doing at Eddie's. It is less pressure on me. One day, I will bind myself in C and D, and then the rest of the Primary Series is pretty easy for me. So I can totally wait. I don't WANT to go so fast. I know it sounds like I want to, but it's just more like curiosity as to how the teacher decides whether to move a student on or not at any given time.

Perhaps binding in C and D are really a threshold, whereas proper form in Janu C is expected to just develop in time?

Funny thing about referring to these women as middle aged....as I too am middle aged, being almost 40. It just doesn't feel like that to me. I suppose no one ever really "feels" middle aged.

Sarah and I were chatting after class about long bodies versus short bodies and which body type had an easier time in which poses, and I noted that I felt that my Bujapidasana was nice and smooth because my legs aren't that long, so there isn't that much to lift, and then I realized - I don't even practice Buja with Sarah...so I laughed, "not that I practice Bujapidasana...but maybe someday soon..." and then I totally CRINGED at myself. Didn't I promise myself that I would NEVER ask for a pose? Wasn't I basically doing exactly that, albeit in a coquettish, indirect way? So, catching myself, I immediately backtracked: "No, I didn't say that...I swore I would NEVER say anything like that to you! You didn't hear me say that!" It was kind of funny.

Then I went home and drank all the water in my building. Well, not quite. But damn, it's hot out there.

Breast Cancer Survivors class tonight! Looking forward to it....



Anonymous said...

Those women you mention ... I understand your curiosity with their practise. But they are THERE and for some of them I'll bet that's the most difficult part of their yoga. Showing up! Me too!

What I don't understand is this focus we all seem to have on getting more poses. Why am I so darn competitve in class? Ashtanga is an amazing system, though. You want to do it all at once, the system holds you back and makes sure you're ready to move on. You're feeling good about your practice and bragging to other people about how great you did, the system pricks your pride by tweaking your knees so that you have to back off and slow down for weeks at a time! Agh!

Even the nastier folks on the ezboard challenge my practice. You mean I skipped something? No blocks? A jump through workshop? My Iyengar years shows in my Ashtanga and that's criminal?

Who cares. If you haven't noticed, pretty much the same people comment over and over again on the board. They appear to be representative of ashtanga, but they are not. Ashtanga is a beautiful and fluid practice and no one who practices it is perfect ... even Mr. Jois who has injured people with his adjustments.

It's ultimately up to you. I do question what those older women are doing, but fleetingly. They are there and they are dealing with their own struggles ... and seeing your practice out of the corners of their eyes and wondering why they even bother.

Hurray for them! If people like that listened to the daily gripes of YogaLisa, they'd hide in a dark closet and never come out. Embrace the practice, enjoy the practice and rejoice every time you make it through the sun salutations!

Cheers to you and much love. :o)

yoga chickie said...

Thanks. It is good to know I am not the only one!!! And sometimes...in the dark recesses of my own apartment, I place blocks on either side of my mat and jump through with straight legs to my heart's content!!

:) Lauren

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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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