What's that there behind your head?
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).