Independance Day Practice (and Opie makes her internet debut!)

This morning I enjoyed my first home practice since the start of the Swenson adventure.  It was so very nice to be back on my mat after taking the weekend off (Saturday rest plus ladies holiday on Sunday, which, frankly, I was thankful for) and I had a profound realization about myself:  I am exhausted by being around other people.  I've been so busy teaching big classes and practicing in a roomful of other students that I haven't had much time to just be with myself over these past few weeks.  And I wondered why I'd been passing out cold every afternoon!

Today, instead of feeling completely wiped after practice, I felt energized.  The 2.5 hours of practice flew by and when I emerged from Savasana, my mind was all abuzz with fresh ideas for new posts, new classes, and general improvements on life.  I carried that freshness with me to my afternoon classes and offered up a hell of a heart opening practice for my students.  I had been feeling as though I'd fallen into a teaching rut, teaching little more than variations on the same thing over and over, which is not all bad because students get the opportunity to refine their practice, but I was beginning to forget how deep the arsenal is.  Maybe it was just the repetition of Ashtanga rubbing off.

My practice has evolved again.  After a few days with Swenson, I asked him what he thought about me moving into Intermediate after spending just a few months with Primary, considering my previous Vinyasa experience and what have you.  In what I gather to be his usual fashion, he refused to give any kind of absolutist answer about how long one should practice Primary before dropping any for Intermediate.  What he did say was that I should adjust the practice according to my needs.  Do what I can, but be cautious against burnout.  When I have the time and energy, do full Primary plus my Intermediate poses.  When I don't, I can split at Navasana, or wherever I want.

So, with Swenson's approval, I've been practicing Primary to Supta Kurmasana and Intermediate to Eka Pada Sirsasana.  Today, I tacked on Yoganidrasana before finishing backbends and I rather liked it that way.  Everything felt good, even the Intermediate backbends which I haven't done since Thursday.  For some reason, I had a really good feeling about Kapo even before I got on the mat.  When the time came, I decided to get it on video because I was still feeling pretty optimistic and probably influenced by Grimmly's post from this morning.  I figured, if I was going to catch my heels for the first time, I might as well have the moment to share and enjoy again later.  Well... here it is:

SO CLOSE!  My hands made it far enough along my feet to grab the heels, I just freaked out a little and started flapping my elbows around like a frightened pelican.  (Or was it a pigeon?)  Even with that big lead, my hands slid down my feet to the usual spot at the base of the little toe.  Alas, it was not for me to have today.  But tomorrow, who knows?

In any case, that's the Opie dog skulking around self-consciously in front of the camera while I practice.  I think the ujjayi makes her uncomfortable, one big sigh after the other for hours on end.  Her real name is Ophelia, but she's never been Shakespearean enough to warrant more than two syllables.  It's about time she were introduced, don't you think?


  1. Your Kapo looks awesome! I think it'll just take some time for your body to open up and you'll be there!

  2. Hehehe, "skulking resentfully" is the perfect description, she just gives the lense a little sideward glance and wags her tail a bit for the camera, full of expression - made me laugh :-).

    I might make that pose a kind of goal for myself, just to have something to aim for, far into the future. THAT will be the day... Thanks for the links - I just wondered about backdrops the other day. Long before doing yoga, I was able to drop back into "wheel" and get back up - just did it for fun - but I've never tried it as part of my yoga practice so I'm looking forward to looking into that.

    I'm keeping up & enjoying my "neti"!

  3. You've walked your hands in deep enough to grab your heels. All you need to do is think of moving them closer to each other, laterally. What you are doing now is kind of going back to your toes, but you WERE there! Just think laterally :-)

  4. To heck with the heels (that's so clearly almost there ) it's the work you do from 0:48-1:29 that is quite sublime and a joy to behold, makes me feel I'm too lazy, I should work on that hang more.Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. @Yyogini - Thanks! Just a matter of time...

    @Anne - Haha, yes... she's a little creeper. And Kapo is a fantastic project pose. There's so much to learn in the preparation.

    @V - Thanks for the tip. Lateral movement of the hands, I'll definitely keep that in mind.

    @Grimmly - Aww, jeez. You know how to make a girl blush. I like to curl my way back until I have a nice, clear view of my feet before diving for the floor. It gives me time to work on the details of the muscular actions and try to open up the thoracic spine a little more.