Thick, hot humidity and the feeling of being deprived of yoga last week made for a damn good practice today. I worked hard. I was focused, but not hurried, and my clothes were completely soaked when I peeled them off afterward. It felt good.
Today's practice asked a lot of my wrists, forearms, and shoulders. I spent long holds in downward dog between sequences, and sometimes even between sides within a sequence, lengthening the breath and spine. I managed a few good jump backs, and several good jump throughs. I worked on side plank, bakasana, parivritta bakasana, and an arm balancing sequence consisting of jumping into firefly (or trying to anyway -- I still can't land those jumps into the arm balances. I suspect it's a mental block), to an arm pressure balance, to firefly, to bakasana, and then jumping back. I'm learning to find lift by squeezing the thighs together against the upper arms and shoulders. This action adds a good deal of height and stability in the arm balancing postures, especially during the transitions.
I practiced some longer holds in my handstand practice today. I'm getting stronger, more comfortable adjusting my center of gravity and finding balance in the air. I usually practice a few half handstands, or donkey kicks, before going for the full handstand. This helps me to get a sense of the action and placement of the hips as I come forward onto the hands, making for a smoother, slower lift of the legs. I did not land any jumps into handstand without the aid of the wall today, but I did, at one point, balance away from the wall for three full breaths. Not too bad.
I was careful with my backbends today. I've been noticing some soreness along my lower thoracic and lumbar spine. I don't feel anything when in motion, but it feels a bit sore to the touch, right along the spine and slightly to the right. I warmed up with 6 breaths in a nice bridge pose, but the first urdhva dhanurasana was tough. My mid back was really tight, so I proceeded with caution, taking a wide stance at first and shifting my weight slowly back and forth, breathing into the tension. It loosened up considerably by the second UD attempt, so I went on to walk the hands in a couple of times, and practiced eka pada urdhva dhanurasana for my third attempt. All went well, no tweaks, and paschimottanasana was perfectly delicious afterwards.
Sarvangasana and sirsasana practice were both good today. After 25 breaths in sirsasana A, I practiced moving into sirsasana B for a couple of breaths and then back a few times. This was good bandha practice, really bringing the awareness into the pelvis.
After that, ten breaths in tolasana, and a damn good savasana. As adorable as the loris was, I think my practice won out as the highlight of my day.