How's this for an about-face? UPDATED!

My commitment to morning practice is wearing thin.

These past few days have been busier than anticipated.  The language course I'm taking over the summer is demanding a good deal of my time, both in the classroom and out.  This week, everything seems to have converged in a massive ball of homework and exams.  Last night as I drove downtown to teach my evening class, wondering how I'd prepare for my exams and get to bed early enough to wake up in time for practice before school the next morning, I developed a facial tic on the right side of my mouth.  The more I let it annoy me, the stronger it became.  Ha!  That's exactly what you want to see in your yoga teacher, right?  A tic?

Fortunately, the twitching subsided before class began, but it brought to my attention the level of stress I had allowed to creep up on me this week.  It also made me realize that, by holding myself to this early morning practice regimen, I had let my practice become a source of anxiety rather than a source of peace.

I am not renouncing my commitment to morning practice.  I am simply acknowledging that there are days when it won't happen, and that's okay.  The very reason that I've been able to maintain a daily practice that has served me so well for these past four years is that I've always been flexible about when and what I practice.  With the role of "yoga teacher" come the physical demands and chaotic schedule of a yoga teacher, both of which have the potential to threaten my personal practice if I am not willing to adapt.  So I'm adapting.  When I can practice early in the morning without setting myself up for a 20-hour day on four hours of sleep, I will.  When I can't, I won't.  And that's that.

So.  Practice.  It's been good.  It has been a little harder getting myself on the mat these past few days for the reasons mentioned above, but once I manage to get my body moving through the Surya Namaskar, I land in a nice, even rhythm.  The breath has been very long and slow these past couple of days, especially during the standing sequence.  It's nice, but it also means that my practice is very long and, despite the summer heat, I don't get a steady sweat going until the Marichyasanas.

I noticed yesterday that I'm floating more consistently to and from Uttanasana and getting more height in the jump-backs and jump-throughs.  After practice, I felt my uddiyana muscles all abuzz from the extra work.  Intellectually, I'm aware that the center of gravity needs to come forward over the hands in order to master the float, but I'm just now beginning to get a better physical sense of this action without feeling as though I've lost control, ready to topple over at any second.  The motion seems to be something similar to a dive, as if I were jumping into a narrow hole in the ground face-first but catch myself with my arms at the last minute.  There's an arc to it.  That's all I can say at this juncture.  More and bolder experimentation is needed.

Plus, I'm still incurably intrigued by the idea of jumping into a tripod headstand.  It's currently in the envisioning step, but I'm getting closer every day to whipping out my mat and rocking it out in the real world.  In my curiosity at the technique involved, I found this video of Kathryn Budig jumping into a tripod in a very different way than what I'm used to seeing.  She jumps into sort of a bent-arm lolasana, then carefully places her head down.  Maybe it's just Ms. Budig's admirable grace and strength, but damn if she doesn't make it look easy!
In fact, she makes it look so easy that I think I could probably do it that way without too much brain damage incurred from trial and error.  I might be sorely mistaken -- it wouldn't be the first time I underestimated a pose or overestimated my abilities -- but I'm going to give it a shot one of these days.  I'll let you know how it goes... unless, of course, I end up in a coma.

UPDATE:  I did it!  I guess I talked myself into it writing this post.  I was just on my mat stretching out before heading into town to assist in a class when I got the impulse to try the jump, and I went for it.  First try was a no-go, but second try was a success, albeit a struggle to upright myself gracefully.  Then it just kept happening, so I grabbed it on video to share.  Sorry for the poor lighting, I wasn't planning this, so I just grabbed my phone to record it quickly.  The landing I got on tape was a little harder than the rest, but not painful so I'll take it.
I could hardly believe it.  The first time I landed, I laughed out loud in my headstand at the sheer absurdity of it.  Oh, the things we yogis will do with our time...


  1. Oh...that does look nice. No coma, please - be careful ;-).

    Hm, we always have to stop and think, don't we? Good thing your body sent a tick to tell you, not something worse, and good thing you listen! Looking forward to hearing how the jumping and landing goes, and have a nice week :-)

  2. pretty awesome. i'm signed up for her workshops this weekend in Portland! i'll try to do a full report... :) i've taken some inversions workshops where we discussed this aspect, and while i am still not jumping onto my head, my jump backs have felt pretty smooth as a result of that technique.

    wishing you much peace & relaxation in your exciting life!

  3. I wrote about struggling to have a morning practice today as well...except mine has yet to happen!

    Kathyrn Budig is AMAZING! I've taken a workshop with her and the way she floats is unparalleled!

  4. Hahaha, I almost laughed out loud too, but someone is sleeping...good job! Thanks for posting!

  5. Just did a quick video of how i do it megana, here's the link.

    Think I'm taking the energy out of the forward motion by using my arms as breaks, pushing down through the mat, seems to slow everything down and allow me to place the head softly. i added a slowmo version to the end of the video.

  6. You never cease to amaze and inspire me!!

  7. Anne - I managed to avoid giving myself a coma just for you. ;)

    Grimmly - Cool, thanks for that. Until this week, I had only seen it done the way (the incredible) Laruga does it, as a pike in one smooth motion. That always seemed so impossible, so when I noticed it can be done more slowly with bent knees, I figured I could probably knock it out. I wish I'd seen your tripod jump videos sooner, that's exactly what I'm trying to do here. My landing in the video is a little.. ahem... abrupt, but before I recorded it a did manage a few in a row without much force of impact at all.

    Dottie - Always good to hear from you and I'm really glad you can share in this journey with me. Thanks again for reading! See you soon at BSY!

  8. Thought I'd posted this comment to your previous post, was in a rush this morning. Must have a look at Laruga's, yours is looking fine, will probably get a little softer as you get used to it.

    love Kathryn, have you seen that early video she did in that studio with the painted floor, remember seeing that when i first started yoga, couldn't believe I'd ever be able to do any of that stuff.

  9. Haha. That would have been helpful before I'd actually tried it out for myself. Your way is exactly what I'm going for.

    Yes, Kathryn's practice is amazing. She has convinced me in the past through her videos to try things I might not have had the guts to do. I don't think I've seen the video you're referring to. I'll have to look it up.

  10. wow!!! nice update! looks awesome, though its hard to see, maybe turn off the backlight next time, and arrange the camera btw the light & the subject... you! thanks for sharing, you are inspiring!!