I hit the mat today with a restless mind, and the distinct need to sweat out some nagging tension, so I turned on the humidifiers and cranked up the heat. Meditation was brief. My body itched to get into the asanas, so I responded with a powerful standing sequence that lasted over an hour in itself. A twinge in my right hamstring melted away, and the crick in my neck that I woke up with today loosened. My lower back was, not tight, but tired from the backbendy class I took yesterday (or, technically, Sunday, but as a nocturnal being, Sunday is still yesterday to me. I'll be going to bed when I finish this post, officially ending what I consider to be Monday). I didn't notice this until well into my practice, when I came out of a flow consisting of crescent warrior, warrior III, half moon, revolved half moon, and urdhva prasarita ekapadasana. I love practicing this particular flow. It requires steadfast focus and breath control as the heart rate rises, not to mention strong legs and a solid core. And the five breaths in downward dog afterwards are always revealing, asking everything I have to let go, soften the breath, and quiet the mind. The effort of relaxation: the paradox of yoga (or perhaps just one of many). I rounded out the standing sequence coming down into eka pada rajakapotasana with a forward fold, opening the hips and releasing the lower back after all that work.
I kept things heated during the seated sequence with arms balances, lift ups and jump throughs. I also worked into my core with side plank (with tree legs), marichyasana D, compass pose to stretch the sides, then astavakrasana. Bridge pose felt good again today. My first urdhva dhanursana started off a little strange. There was some tension in my armpits to work through, but the second felt great. I walked my feet in and went up on the toes, opening the chest. I was tempted to try lifting one leg in UD again. The first and only time I tried it, I was so utterly denied that I haven't even thought about trying it again until today. Maybe I'll experiment with that tomorrow.
I'm still off of inversions. Hormonal birth control is real drag (I once tried to get the hormone-free copper IUD, unsuccessfully, but that's another story for another day). I should be back at the headstand and handstand in the next day or two. Here's a question: Why exactly am I not supposed to practice inversions while menstruating? I know that I am, without question, not to practice inversions during this time, and some traditionalists would say that I should not be practicing at all, but I have not read any specific reasons for this. I generally feel fine during my "lady's holiday," which seems to be the preferred term among blogging yoginis. In fact, sometimes I feel especially focused and powerful, so why are the inversions such a no-no?