Had another good, long practice this morning. Meditation was nice, and my mind was wonderfully still. Streams of thought sprung from time to time, but they were quiet, background thoughts, nothing like the deluge of doubts I was hearing yesterday. Moving into the asanas, I felt a bit heavy. My legs were tired from the tough standing sequences of my last practice. My right hamstring was really tight, so I worked in some extra standing and seated forward bends.
Backbends were interesting today. I tried grabbing my foot for a backbend in ardha chandrasana again, confident after my exhilarating success yesterday, and I fell out after a couple of breaths on the first side. Determined, I found my way back into the pose, and stayed for four more breaths before a messy return to warrior II. Bridge felt really good, but the first urdhva dhanurasana revealed some nasty tension in my right armpit and shoulder. I worked through it slowly, at first shifting my weight lightly back and forth, then pushing strongly into the hands and feet on the inhales and drawing in on the exhales. The second UD felt much better, so I played with coming up on the toes and walking my feet in. I've also been playing with head positioning and gaze in urdhva dhanurasana. Before I attended any yoga classes, I had always looked at the space between my hands in this pose, completing the curve in the spine. I have since been instructed by people supposedly trained in these matters to let the head hang loosely and find a gazing point at the wall behind me, rather than between my hands. Having done both, I have to disagree with this approach. The pose is much more satisfying looking up and back, opening the front of the neck and throat. Today, looking between my hands in the second UD, I felt sure I was about to see my feet, and it felt awesome.
I practiced shoulderstand for the first time in quite a while (a few months, maybe). It started out pretty well. I felt light and comfortable for the first five breaths, but the next five were a struggle. My elbows splayed to the sides, and I had trouble keeping my shoulders beneath me. Apparently, I still have some work to do. I followed with a brief fish pose, then went into a headstand by the wall for twenty breaths. No handstand practice today. I finished up with a tolasana that felt like it could last forever, if I were so inclined.