Primary Friday: Nitpicked

Practice today was led Primary with David Swenson with my own personal adjuster standing by to assist in any way.  It was awkward to have someone step in and tweak every little posture whether I needed it or not, but despite the near constant adjustments and the watchful eyes of David and Shelley, I was surprised to find myself resting in the meditation for periods of time.

My practice has been completely picked apart this week and my attention brought to every little asymmetry and imperfection:  my right side is shorter than my left from years of waiting tables, so my jump backs are crooked.  My palms lift during Virabhadrasana A transitions and my back heel needs to spin down before the front foot steps forward.  It's these little things that are truly maddening to address on the mat because I've been doing them every day.  Without a teacher to walk by and occasionally give me a nudge in the right direction, these bad habits have become very deeply set.  It has made for another jolting transition from home practice to a teacher's room, but it's all for the best.

Week 1 of three with Swenson is over.  Tomorrow we break and reconvene on Sunday morning, bright and early, to kick off Level 2.  The ground we've covered this past week has been thorough but basic.  Next week is when things get really interesting.  This program is divided into two "levels," the first of which I've just completed, and Level 2, which is two weeks of morning Mysore or led practice with an emphasis on building 2nd series, PLUS daily pranayama, philosophical teachings, and the traditional Sanskrit counts.  Basically, it's going to be an all-day-every-day complete Ashtanga geekfest and I am SO excited to be attending!

I expect the group over the next two weeks to be smaller, but since this is the first time David and Shelley have offered this second-level training in the US, the students are likely to be more advanced and more diverse.  I am curious to know if any of my teachers will be attending since a few of them got their start with David's Level 1 program.  Wouldn't that be fun?

At home, late this afternoon,  I unrolled my mat for a second practice of handstands and Pincha Mayurasana play for warm up, then backbends and drop backs aplenty to open my back after all of this Primary exploration.  Then I sealed it off with reclining hip openers and one very deep Savasana.  I haven't been doing much with handstands this year (which is ironic because, as I recall, taking my handstand away from the wall was one of my New Year's resolutions... hahaha... seems so silly to me now) but I have noticed the float coming more easily, so I've been playing with handstandy transitions in my practice.  Suddenly the pretty Utkatasana and Virabhadrasana B exits are happening consistently with little-to-no flailing or falling to speak of.  I am certain the pike pull-ups have something to do with this, they do amazing things to my QL and abs, especially the lower fibers.

I haven't decided yet if I will practice tomorrow.  Normally, I'd rest, but I haven't done my Intermediate postures since... let me check my calendar...  October 5th.  So I might want to touch on those again before Sunday to take stock of what I'm bringing with me to the training, if for no other reason than to compare the difference when training is done.


  1. I did this training last July and I so wish I could come for the next level. Maybe next year, I'll look forward to your posts about it. I recommend resting on your day off. Hard to do I know, but you'll be fresher for it.

  2. Hi, DeborahS. You're probably right. Thanks for commenting! I have added you to the blogroll. :)