first Mysore last Friday, I've been doing a bit of extra Ashtanga practice to clean up my Primary for this week and, ultimately, to be in super shape by the time October rolls around for the teacher training intensive with Swenson. I haven't quite let go of my Vinyasa practice, but I've reached a half and half ratio: 3 Primaries and 3 Whatever-the-hell-I-feel-like practices per week.
Every time I do the Primary series, I love it a little bit more. Primary makes me feel like a full blown superhero! When I finish, my mind is pure, my body is strong, and I feel remarkably accomplished. After practice today, I strolled around my empty apartment for a while feeling like somebody owed me a major award (which I would naturally decline with a modest wave of my hand, because, hey... It's just what I do).
Each time I've done the practice over the past few weeks, something new has come within my reach that I couldn't touch before. Today, I was able to move into the full expression of Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana for the first time without any knee pain. I took lotus legs in Garbha Pindasana AND seem to have finally figured out how to roll all the way around without beaching myself like a dying walrus. I managed to successfully roll into all of the bum balancing postures without incident, except for Urdhva Mukha Pachimottonasana, which took a couple of tries.
Perhaps most excitingly, I've been practicing the full expression of Setu Bandhasana since the Mysore teacher helped me figure it out last week. I'd been avoiding the pose because of fear of the dreaded neck crunch, but she helped me work into the full expression without any pain, and after just a few more practices, I'm totally comfortable in the pose. Not to mention, it seems to make a big difference as preparation for that first Urdhva Dhanurasana.
After the three backbends, I opted to do some work with drop-backs at the wall, something I really haven't done since that first drop-back attempt a few months ago. Astonishingly, they felt great! I came much closer to the floor in my drop back attempts, I seemed to know intuitively what to do with my legs this time, and the whole experience (three drop-backs and three stand-ups) felt incredible on my low back and sacral region. I'm very close to a decent drop back, but very far from a decent stand-up. Either way, I'll take it.
The only postures that are bothering me now are Urdhva Padmasana and Pindasana. I hate them both. Urdhva Padmasana makes me cranky as hell, and I usually just give up on Pindasana, which is not at all like me, but I don't mess around in those shoulderstanding postures for longer than I absolutely must. Too many bad experiences in the past. I'll need a teacher or a big chunk of time, or both, before these poses feel steady and right. And that's ok. What fun would it be if all the postures came so easily? Even we superheros need a challenge every now and then.