Often, I do my best work when forced to stay within certain restrictions. Though the free-spirited rebel in me is resistant to this idea, the analytical me cannot deny that I have seen this in myself many times.

Yesterday, I had no more than an hour and a half to squeeze in some good yoga. Normally, this would have me feeling rushed, and at a loss as to what to include and what to omit in my practice. I decided not to think about it, and all else failing, to stick to the fundamentals, and stay focused. It turned out to be a damn good practice. The first 35 minutes were vigorous, beginning with surya namaskaras and strengthening standing sequences. Then utthita hasta padangutsthasana A, B, C, and D, and crescent moon to counter the standing balances, then I made my way to the floor. I omitted the usual arm balances to save time and give my shoulders a break. Instead of the usual bridge and upward bow, I practiced locust and bow pose. I also did a headstand (hands clasped behind head, not tripod) in the middle of the room without doing my signature "tuck and roll". I lifted up in one motion, and breathed steadily for 8 breaths before releasing my feet back to the floor. I was not quite satisfied, so after a brief child's pose, tried another headstand. This time, I collapsed my neck almost immediately and rolled out. Twice is enough for me, even though the second try was a total failure. I'd like to devote more time to headstand, but I must be protective of my neck.

I have gotten into the habit of ending every practice with Tolasana (pre-savasana, of course). I feel more generous with my energy at the end of my practice, and pouring everything I have left into Tolasana is very cathartic; the effect it has on my savasana is pronounced. The contrast of the contraction of Tolasana makes the release of savasana that much more wonderful.

Today is a rest day... or at least, a non-asana day. I like to think the yoga never stops.

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