Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Asana Report

On Sunday, despite waking up early, well before my alarm sounded, I managed to make it to the shala 30 minutes later than usual. This was­n’t a big deal because the Sunday timeslot has been re-extended to 3 hours instead of 2. However, when I walked into the room it was already pretty crowded and there wasn’t a space for me in the front row where I normally like to practice. This meant that I was relegated to the back row which was like a free pass for my monkey mind to have a field day. I struggled extensively to get into the groove of my practice and at one point even mentioned to one of the assistants that I was suffering from a bad case of the citta vrittis.

By the time I got to the marichasynas my mind started to settle a little and surprisingly I was able to bind my hands in supta kurmasana all on my own. It was a momentous occasion that's only been one year in the making. Between you and me, I gave up on the idea of ever being able to bind that pose on my own and surprisingly, it wasn't until I recommitted to binding on my own did it happen. In addition to my supta kurmasana bind I was able to hold myself up in kukutasana for the full breath count. Not necessarily a first but it is a pose that I still struggle with from time to time but yesterday was the first time that I felt like it was really coming along. I finished my practice dropping back and standing up three times using my trusty blankets. I didn't try any without the blankets because of stiffness in my back.

Yesterday I had another good practice and the supta kurmasana bind apparently wasn't a fluke. Getting my legs really high up on my sweaty shoulders seems to help tremendously. Remove one of those ingredients and it's a no go. I tend to practice in shorts for this reason because it cuts back on the friction and allows me to extend my legs straighter and higher up than if I were wearing tights. And once again kukutasana was executed for the full breath count. Another pose that I've been making progress with in the past couple of weeks has been uphavista konasana. When I asked one of the assistants what the key was to this pose he told me to pretend like I had Barbie legs and try to externally rotate my thighs somehow that visual has really helped me as I work that pose. The following day I asked JB as well about my lack of progress after he assisted me in getting my head to the floor. His response to me was "have you ever gotten your head to the floor before" and of course my response was "no". To which he replied "well, then that's progress. Each day going forward you will touch your head to the floor." And thus far that has been the case. Practice was wrapped up with two sets of 3 drop backs. Three using blankets and three to the floor. I then did assisted drop backs with JB where he walked my hands to within centimeters of my heels.

Today's practice wasn't as exciting as Sunday and yesterday's. The shala was cooler than usual which made it difficult for me to find my groove. Also the energy in the room was quite low. JB came over to assist me in supta kurmasana and I kind of got "scolded" for not breathing correctly. It was well deserved because I reached a point where I was determined to bind my hands by hook or by crook regardless of the lack of friction reducing sweat. I got nice pashasana assist and bhekasana assists. It was the first time that JB assisted me in bhekasana that my feet didn't slip out from my hands. He then assisted me in dhanurasana in which he lifted my legs so high off the ground I felt like I was going to take flight. He did it again after parsvo dhanurasana when my thighs felt like the consistency of jelly. When it came to back bending I decided to give drop backs a try without the blankets and I managed to land safely on my hands. Standing up today was a bit more challenging because I didn't have the warm up from using the blankets.

I'm happy to see that I'm still making progress with my primary series poses even though it felt like I had reached a plateau and actually gave up on expecting additional progress in certain poses.

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