Last week was a 5-day yoga week. Time constraints due to a big project for school kept me from my practice on Wednesday and Sunday, but the practices I have been able to squeeze in have been damn good. The air here has been warm and downright dewy for the past several days, so the sweat has been coming easily during my practice, and my muscles have been nice and loose. I haven't even been turning on the humidifier. Just to give you an idea, it's currently 4:00 AM, and it's 70 degrees out there with 84 percent humidity. Not bad.
Thursday and Saturday I had excellent self-led practices, two hours on Thursday and three on Saturday. Friday I took a yoga today class called "Blissful Hip Openers" with Adi. True to its title, it involved hip openers, a few hip openers, and then some more hip openers. Just over 51 minutes of hip openers, and I have to admit, it was pretty great. Adi packed a whole lot into those 51 minutes, and thanks to the weather, I was sweating within the first fifteen minutes. This class was really engaging. I surprised myself with my focus a few times, and my breath was beautifully equal and long; often during the video classes, I find myself distracted and fidgeting much more than in my solo practice, perhaps overwhelmed by all the cues and chatter. This class, however, kept me warm and focused. Even though it did not include any balancing poses, core work, or backbends, I was left feeling quite blissful, indeed.
In my self-led practice, I've been working through some longer sequences, flowing through six or more asanas on a single side before taking a vinyasa. I've also been working some arm balances, which are generally reserved for my transition to the floor or after the backbends, into my standing sequences: finding my way into flying pigeon from garudasana, for example, or tucking the shoulder under the leg after a high lunge and lifting up into eka pada koundinyasana II for a few breaths before jumping back for a vinyasa -- that kind of thing. Arm balances really add to the intensity, though, so it's great when I'm in that sort of mood, but if I've got a deep seated sequence in mind or plan to work on my handstands for a while, I just practice a bakasana or two before coming to the floor.
I'm still working on my eka pada urdhva dhanurasana, and I must say, I couldn't be happier with my exploration in this pose. I've said before that the first time I tried this -- a few months ago, probably -- I was completely and utterly denied. My body said, "NO!" And I listened. I didn't even think about it until about a week ago, and now, here it is, completely within reach. I feel steady and strong pointing my foot to the sky. This is something that I truly love about yoga: practice works. We all face obstacles and limitations, but yoga allows us to take the scenic route on the journey toward whatever it is that we seek from our practice. We can simply circumvent that which stands in our way and take a different path toward the same destination.