What's that there behind your head?

It's a leg!  That's right, folks.  After just a few days of adding in Eka Pada Sirsasana and Yoganidrasana, my hips are noticeably more open and my right leg is staying behind my head without assistance!  Not for the full 5 breaths, mind you, but it's staying put for a breath or two at a time.  This is a big development.  I'm skipping Dwi Pada for the time being, at least until I can keep the left leg back there without my hands for long enough to hook the right leg into place.  My left hip is the more stubborn of the two so, as it stands now, that pose is a tragic, albeit hilarious waste of my time.  Makes me feel like a defective punching clown (see above).  I go down so easy but can't haul myself back up.

Practice has been generally great this week.  I am energized and beginning to see how much my practice has been affected by those two weeks with Swenson and Shelley.  It's cleaner, but also freer.  Together they encouraged a sense of joy and playfulness in their students.  It was especially needed in that dank, sweaty room, but it seems to be carrying over into my home practice.

With all it's rigor and precision, Ashtanga has a way of snuffing out the fun if you let it.  When I practiced Vinyasa, my practice was my playground.  The fluidity and potential for creative expression kept the postures alive and evolving, my mind always open to the next intuitive choice.  I hadn't noticed it before, but with Ashtanga as my daily practice, that playfulness and spontaneity had been missing.  Time on the mat had become this grave and burdensome thing that I tended to each day, a labor of love to be sure, but so wearying.  Suddenly, that intense curiosity and sense of adventure have returned.

I very nearly skipped practice yesterday.  I taught two very early classes, then had to head right from there to the establishment of higher learning for the rest of the morning.  By the time I made it home, I was ravenous, ate a big lunch and promptly fell asleep.  I woke up two hours later, groggy and bloated but running out of time.  For the first time in a while, I was tempted to sub out the Ashtanga for a quickie Vinyasa practice, but I'm happy to say that Ashtanga won out in the end.  This morning, I turned right around and woke up early to do my practice before school.  I feared the 12-hour interval between practices would put a damper on things this morning, but everything felt good.  No extra stiffness or soreness to note during practice.  Now, however, my hamstrings are voicing their objections.

I'm serious about keeping up with this morning practice routine.  It's something I've always wanted to do for myself, but I've never been able to break out of my usual coffee-slugging, blog-reading, facebooking morning routine.  That was a large part of the reason I signed up for both weeks of Mysore with Swenson.  I had hoped it would help me break the pattern and get over my aversion to pre-dawn practice.  I think it may have worked (knock on wood).

1 comment:

  1. Hahaha, I love your description of the development in your practice. My back cringes at the thought of a foot behind my head! But who knows... :-). It's funny - I have never had anything affect the rest of my life like yoga, and especially being playful, and persistent, and enjoying the moment are good lessons for me.

    I am quite the office-mouse with the noodle arms, so I can only dream of the level and amount of practice that you do: yesterday I did just a good ten minutes of yoga, then busted my hams cleaning out my basement storage-room! Ouch, haha :-)

    How is it that sometimes sleeping after food will make you gloriously re-fueled, sometimes limp as a rag? I wanna crack that one... Good luck with the morning routines!