I love when a day that starts so reluctantly, so grumpily as mine did today, transforms. It doesn't have to transform into the best day of my life, just a nice day, a day where I get done what I need to get done and even maybe manage to squeeze in some extras, like a trip to the dog run and catching a movie that I had not even heard of until today.
I suppose the turning point was my decision to do my practice at home, even though I didn't feel much like practicing. My body has been TIRED lately (the coldness and darkness of winter is not agreeing with me, nor does it ever), and my lower back has been feeling the work I've been doing to really get into my twists. Sometimes I am even questioning what sense there is in a yoga practice that feels good when I am doing it but leaves me walking like I've got a rod up my spine the rest of the day. I'm even questioning it now, even as I write this. But I am hoping that this is just a phase, that the stiffness and achiness I am feeling up and down my back and across my sacrum is just a pothole on Ashtanga Avenue....because I really like the way it feels while I am practicing. I just hate the way it feels when I wake up in the morning and can barely stand up straight, and when that feeling returns in the late afternoon...
But for now, I am halasana-ing on (plow-ing on, that is, for you non-yogis out there).
Today I did full primary at home because (a) I know full primary, (b) I did a full led primary class on Tuesday night and (c) the poses that FOLLOW Navasana really make my back feel better - especially, and I mean ESPECIALLY Garba Pindasana. Damn, does it feel good to wrap myself up in lotus, slide my arms through and roll around on my spine. It is AMAZING. For the same reason, but with a little more ease in entry, I also love Pindasana.
I don't know how long I am going to be "peaked" at Mari D and Navasana (I didn't say "stuck", and I lump the two together because Mari D is primarily the reason I am not moving past Navasana, since I still need help to do more than bind with my fingernails in D, although I AM growing my nails now...), but I can't help but begin to feel curious about exploring the "forward bends on steroids" poses (Bhuja Pidasana, Kurmasana and Supta K), where the shoulders must be tucked behind the knees for anything real to start happening. I suppose my interest in these poses stems from the fact that my forward bends are so bendy, so they seem to be the next "edge" for me. I was reading on the Yoga Dancer Asana Index about Eka Pada Sirsasana,which is maybe as much as a lifetime or two away for me, but I found some of the text which talked about what it means to "play your edge" to be very intriguing. To wit:
"[P]laying the edge skillfully requires unwavering concentration and calm awareness. It transforms your practice into a meditation, and to my mind, is one of the primary differences between practicing yoga asanas and "exercising."Anyway, after my nice, long, lovely practice, I watched said movie that I had not even heard of until today: YES. That's what it was called. It starred Joan Allen as a woman from Northern Ireland who was brought up in the United States who finds herself living in London in a beautiful, sterile home and in a dying and passionless marriage to an uptight British guy. Angered by her husband's betrayal of her (less angry about the fact that he slept with her best friend than that he did it in their marital bed), she finds herself open to a passionate affair with man from Beirut with whom she has nothing in common other than the fact that both are refugees from countries with violent political histories. The man left his life as a surgeon in Beirut so that he wouldn't have to choose between saving lives and political agendas. The woman became a scientist (actually, a molecular biologist) so that she wouldn't have to choose between the God of her Catholic upbringing and the atheism of her communist favorite aunt.
"One possible result of playing your edge is that you might find yourself practicing increasingly difficult poses. For example, you may have become flexible in your forward bends to the point where you can rest your torso on your straight legs with ease in Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend). In terms of flexibility, Paschimottanasana no longer brings you to your edge."
"To find your flexibility edge, you might need to practice Kurmasana (Tortoise Pose).
"Seen in this light, the practice of more advanced poses is not some ego-gratifying game of one-upmanship or a spiritually materialistic approach to acquiring more and more difficult asanas. (Bumper stickers notwithstanding, I suspect that when we die, the person with the most poses doesn't win anything in particular.) Instead, if you're committed to playing the edge in your practice, doing advanced poses may simply be a natural and appropriate progression."
The movie's plot is fairly mundane - your typical "adultery is an excusable response to an unhappy marriage" story. However, the dialogue is irresistable - it is written entirely in Iambic Pentameter. It took me a while to even realize it as there was almost NOTHING artificial about the way the characters spoke, despite the occasional rhyming of lines.
It was like a music-less opera, incredibly beautiful and expressive.