Sunday has emerged as the clear winner in the race for my favorite day of the week. I don't teach any classes, have the whole day to myself, and, since Saturday is rest and oil bath day, Sunday practice is always a treat. The rest gives me an energy boost such that, at times, I feel almost weightless, and the oil bath rubs out any war wounds from the previous week. To take full advantage of this freshness, I make a point of doing my full practice on Sundays, meaning full Primary plus my Intermediate postures. It's often the only day of the week that I have that kind of time.
And since I do have all that time, I'm free to really dig into the details and set the tone for clean, productive week. Yesterday's practice was especially lengthy. Primary alone, pre-finishing, took 90 minutes. Then with Intermediate tacked on plus finishing and a good, long Savasana, I was on my mat for two and a half hours. But what I've come to realize is this: full Primary plus Intermediate is a lot easier than half Primary plus Intermediate. Sure, it's longer, but the second half of Primary is just the afterparty to the first half of the practice. All the Konasanas lounge around in the late hours, smoking exotic cigarettes, sipping cocktails and laughing at the antics of the Marichy gang, tisking and shaking their heads with sweet fatigue at the memory of Bhujapidasana and Supta Kurmasana... those postures like to party hard.
But when you cut out the cocktail hour of Primary and head straight into 2nd from Navasana (or Supta Kurmasana, which I tend to do), you eliminate a good, long little break spent mostly on the back. The core and thighs don't get that recovery period, so the heat just keeps building and by the time you get to Laghu Vajrasana, you're dripping and using every ounce of strength just to hold on to your breath... Or maybe you aren't, but I am. So I love that long, luxurious practice with all it's hills and valleys.
Binding is a new problem. Marichyasana D has been difficult since I took those two weeks off, but now Supta Kurmasana and Pasasana have followed suit. I'm not sure if I've gained weight, lost flexibility, or some combination of the two. I suspect the recent addition of a more regular practice of pull-ups might have something to do with it. I stopped doing so many around the time I started Ashtanga, and that was a large part of the reason for cutting back: they make binding difficult and sometimes painful. Marichy D and Pasasana don't worry me too much. It's understandable that the bind might disappear from time to time because it's only ever been just within reach, but the trouble with Supta Kurmasana caught me off guard. I don't know why I can't seem to bind the pose anymore, but I'd venture to guess that my festive lifestyle as of late is catching up with me. It's the sign. Time to scale back on the snacks and booze. Hehe. All good things... yadda yadda yadda...
Another sneaky little issue I've been having is what I like to call the Curse of Bhujapidasana. Occasionally, I go through a phase where I have trouble with the exit from this pose. I don't know what the problem is. It's not a regular issue, usually I just push and it happens, but sometimes I get completely stuck with no way to bail out. There really is no alternative exit from Bhuja. Once you're down there with your chin on the floor, the options are limited to up-and-out or tuck-and-roll, the latter of which involves some body sacrifice. I used to think I had it figured out, that the trick was to keep the weight back as the sternum reaches forward, but now I'm not so sure. It seems now that if I keep the weight too far back, I have to slide my face in toward my hands and give myself an awkward push. I really don't like struggling with this maneuver because there is a very high "face plant" risk involved and, quite frankly, I just don't want to bust my shnoz. I hope to troubleshoot the exit once and for all this week.