Maybe it was the extra rest day, but last night I finally felt my strength returning. For the past couple of weeks, I've been struggling with my upper body strength. There has been a distinct lack of ligthness in my vinyasas, and I suspect it has something to do with all the backbending. My front body is opening so much that I seem to have lost some of the ability to contract very tightly in the jump backs. It's a trade off.
To address this, I've begun to add the ultra-macho extra Chaturanga into the vinyasas, at least during the Surya Namaskar. It's like adding 20 pushups to the practice. I'm also trying to be extra-conscious of my shoulder alignment during load bearing activities, engaging in the right places, recruiting the lats and not overusing the chest or anterior deltiods. It's not a lot, but every little bit helps.
Another more obvious reason for my declining upper body strength is the fact that I haven't been keeping up with my weekly push-ups and pull-ups routine. I used to do 50-60 pull-ups and 100 push-ups about once a week. I began this custom when I first started to practice vinyasa yoga because I wanted to be able to move through the vinyasas with ease and maintain my breath. And, of course, arm balances -- I wanted those. But when T and S started me in on 2nd series, I tapered off and eventually quit with the strengthening routine because I knew I'd never bind Pasasana or reach my feet in Kapo if I kept building all that muscle. Now, however, I'm wondering if it isn't time to pick it back up.
One month from today is the start of my first Swenson adventure, two weeks of morning mysore and pranayama with David and Shelley. It might be a jolt getting up to practice at 6am every day for two weeks after practicing almost exclusively in the afternoon. I should try to ease myself into that the week prior so it's not such a shock to the system. Also, as some of you may remember, I signed up a while ago for a week-long Level 1 Ashtanga teacher training with Swenson which will be taking place in October. This week I happened to notice that there is also a Level 2 training being offered. It's an additional two weeks which, all told, makes it three straight weeks of intensive study with Swenson. I'm in, and this training will be meet nearly half of the requirements for my 500-hour teaching certification. I couldn't pass up the opportunity and I am SO excited to get into the nitty gritty and work with the man whose book planted the very first seeds of intrigue nearly ten years ago.