Return of the Intermediate Monster

Eek!  2nd series is scary...
Practice has been irregular lately as I've worked around my wounds and tried to get back into the swing of things after a two-week intermission.  Last week, my first week back to both teaching and practice, I started slow with a slightly modified Primary and watched as my strength and mobility returned little by little each day.  Friday, I packed up the Manduka and dragged myself to a Mysore room for the first time since the Swenson adventure in June.  Saturday, I took rest, and Sunday, opted for a nice long Vinyasa flow that turned out to be one of the best practices I've had in a long while.  There was no time for practice on Monday as I taught three classes and buzzed around all day making final arrangements for my absence this week.  Tuesday, I arrived in Wisconsin after a suspiciously seamless air travel experience and here I sit in my parents' lake house enjoying the clean, green, mellow scene of late summer in the Midwest.

Practice yesterday was lovely, alone in a big house with everyone away at work, the sun flickering off the water producing otherworldly patterns of light and shadow on the walls, the breath and breeze the only sound.  I approached the mat with no plan, not even sure if I would go the Ashtanga route or indulge in something freer.  As usual, I started with the Suryas and simply listened, let my body speak for itself.  It asked for Ashtanga.  I practiced Primary.  It was light and strong, warm but not overworked.  I reclaimed the wrist bind in Marichyasana C and bound Marichy D for the first time since my return to Ashtanga.  When I arrived at Setu Bandhasana, I felt neither hurried nor fatigued, so I continued on to Pasasana.

I had wondered how my reintroduction to Intermediate might go and, quite honestly, feared the intensity of the practice, so I'm delighted to say that it was absolutely wonderful.  Pasasana was bound on both sides, Krounchasana was not as acutely vivid (read: painful) as it can be, and the backbends -- to my astonishment and with the exception of Kapotasana -- seemed no less deep than before the biopsy and subsequent break.  Rather than overwhelm my body with the monstrous practice that is full Primary plus half of Intermediate, I stopped myself after Kapo and carried on to finishing.

As surprisingly untouched as the Intermediate backbends seemed to be, I really felt the work in Urdhva Dhanurasana.  Drop backs were creaky and cautious, and I forwent the half-backs and final backbend altogether because I had begun to feel some unfamiliar sharpness in the left pectoral that I suspect may be a result of scar tissue from the incision in my underarm.  There's a similar sensation of bruising that stretches up from the site of the incision at my groin and over the left hip bone, likely also a result of the backbending practice pulling at the scar.  I'll have to be watchful of these areas so as not to aggravate anything too soon, but better to keep up the practice, I think, and prevent any further stiffening than allow them to harden up and have to do the work later.

I'm about to step on the mat again but will probably opt for a shorter practice today, maybe half Primary with a bit of flourish for the fun of it.  I am on vacation, after all.  And if you, my darling readers, do not hear from me until next week, I wish you all a happy holiday weekend and an easy transition into autumn.

(image provided by Brad Fitzpatrick at http://www.bradfitzpatrick.com)


  1. Enjoy your vacation and time with your family!! Hopefully some cooler temps up there too!

  2. Oh, it sounds so great...I hope you're enjoying every second, being at a lakehouse sounds like the perfect way to start autumn. I like this time of year even better than summer, the air is crisp and everything is dark green, the smell of apples. I live outside the city, twenty minutes by city train, enough to feel "in the country" sometimes. I dread that it's getting colder and darker, but for now, it's sheer bliss.

    I'm glad to hear your transition "back to" yoga is going so well, and you're being really sensible about it, it sounds like! Wait, you should be, you're a teacher ;-). Hehe, I know it's not always easy, at least for me - but I'm much better at taking savasana "seriously" since you posted about it, and I think it's been helping my yoga attitude :-)