Tuesday, January 31, 2012

You Want Me To Put Both Legs Where?

Practice has been a real joy the past couple of weeks with JB back in the shala. The temperature in the room has been nearly perfect most days and there's been a constant nice sized crowd. Just enough people to keep JB busy and the energy in the room moving but not too many folks that one doesn't get needed attention and guidance from the teacher. I'm truly loving it despite my practice being long and grueling. I've been working hard on eka pada sirsasana and it really feels like it's coming along nicely on the left side. With a little help from JB I can keep my leg behind my head and get a nice extension as I bend forward, I can actually feel my chin touch my knee/shin and I can feel the extension through my spine. The right side on the other hand is a bit more challenging and despite my best efforts I can't quite get the head, chin, neck extension necessary to make the pose truly comfortable on that side. Two days ago I woke up with extremely sore abdominal muscles and I wonder if it has anything to do with the effort that I've been putting into this asana. In addition to the sore abs I've been dealing with a sore lower back for the past couple of weeks and I guess it goes with the territory. Just to be clear, it's a soreness and not a hurtness.

Even though my eka pada still rides the short bus JB surprised me today and gave me dwi pada sirsasana and yoganidrasana. I'm going to file dwi pada in the "impossible asana" category for a while and I'll revisit that categorization in a few weeks time as almost all asanas were put into that category at one point or another even some of my current favorites. Yoganidrasana wasn't so bad however and I was shocked that I was able to do a decent approximation of the pose on my own but there is definitely still some work to do.

Back bending felt terrible today after all the lbh poses and so I opted for three urdhva dhanurasanas and moved on to finishing as my body practically refused to really bend in that direction after the new poses.

In other news I'm looking forward to taking a workshop with Chuck Miller in April which should be interesting. That man can do dwi pada like no ones business straight out of the vinyasa no putzing around like us mere mortals.

Friday, January 20, 2012

An Update

It's been some time since my last post. I actually started several posts but never got around to finishing them and posting them for one reason or another but I'm back now.

JB returned on Tuesday and I've had stellar practices since he's been back. While he was gone I felt like a lost child with no direction and now that he's back things are good. It was almost like Christmas on Tuesday morning waking up early to get to the shala just to practice with him. There have also been some minor changes to his teaching schedule which means that I'll once again be able to practice with him on a more consistent basis.

In terms of asana he "gave" me eka pada sirsasana before leaving for three weeks and I protested a little out of fear of being adjusted by his less experienced subs. It's not that his subs are not capable because that's the furthest thing from the truth but I think it's important for one to develop some familiarity and comfort in a pose before being able to surrender to any adjuster. With that said I only played with putting my foot behind my head while he was gone, once after kurmasana and then again after ardha matsyendrasana. What I noticed and loved about practicing the LBH after kurmasana is that my second kurmasana attempt was that much deeper and more comfortable. With JB back this week he's helped me into the full expression of the pose and each day it's gotten a little better and more manageable. The first day sucked because I was so hunched over that my  congenital hernia started acting up which made it that much more uncomfortable. On subsequent attempts, between the efforts of myself and JB things felt a lot better. I can definitely see the potential in the pose in that once I gain the needed level of flexibility it can be, dare I say, a comfortable pose. I definitely think that it's one of the more "pretty" asanas of second series.

In other news I went to the Richard Freeman workshop at Urban Zen last night. I've heard some of my shalamates rave about him in the past and I didn't quite get it until last night. He's simply amazing! He has the most calm and unpretentious demeanor (I chatted with him before the workshop and asked him to sign my copy of his book). Needless to say if I can be anything like him and his wife when I get older I'll be a happy camper.

On the agenda for this weekend and next is an adjustment workshop which I'm also very much looking forward to. I think by Monday I'll be happy to have a rest day.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Co-Opting of Yoga

I came across two things yesterday that made me throw up a little bit in my mouth and also made me realize how thankful I was to have found Ashtanga yoga 14 months ago. It's pretty sickening all of the co-opting of yoga that's going on here in the west and all for the sake of making a quick buck.

The first was a link posted on Leaping Lanka's blog about a "Yoga Rave" brought to you by everyone's favorite athletic and lifestyle brand. I refuse to post the link here hence the link to the other blog.

The second is this article from Yoga Journal about Fred Segal and VIP yoga classes.

I'll be back to my regularly scheduled programming shortly but I'll leave you with this PMS + yoga = terrible combination and that pretty much sums up my practice this week.