Yesterday's practice was really good. I worked hard. And not because of an obligation to achieve, but because it gave me joy. At the onset, I knew it would be a good practice. Every little joint in my body, from knuckles to spine, cracked so loudly and freely through the Surya Namaskara that I might as well have done the salutations on bubble wrap.
Standing was solid. As I came to Parivrtta Parsvakonasana, it occurred to me that I used to regard that posture as some kind of a sick joke, awkward and demeaning. But now, I look forward to it and wind myself up with gleeful abandon. After the second side, I step to the top of my mat dressed in a whole new body. Utthita Hasta was shaky. There was some dancing and hopping about, rare but comical. Ardha Baddha was a lovely stretch. And the Warriors...
Oh, the Warriors! If there's one clear and obvious way that Ashtanga Vinyasa has changed my relationship to the asanas, it's in the evolution of my relationship to Virabhadrasana I and II. They are the chocolate on my Primary pillow. What once were confrontational are now comfortable, soft and even sweet. Warrior II is my new favorite hip opener. Don't tell anyone, but sometimes I'll stay for 6 or 8 breaths instead of five, just because it feels so damn good on my chronically short adductors. The very same adductors which, by the way, seem to be opening up since I left the couch behind for a floor pillow situation in my living room. My back and hips have thanked me.
All the elusive binds were back in business yesterday, with Marichyasana D, Suptka Kurmasana, and Pasasana accounted for. In fact, not only were the binds accounted for, but they were as deep as they've ever been. Strange. Very strange.
Intermediate was interesting. Like I said, Pasasana was bound with a full four-finger clasp on both sides. I managed to swing into Krounchasana in a single breath. Shalabasana felt strong and Bhekasana was deep. Dhanurasana is feeling quite deep as well, but Parsva Dhanurasana has announced itself as my new nemesis pose. I'm trying hard not to hate it, but I am no longer amused by the antics of the posture and grudgingly bide my time through the infinity that is 15 breaths. Of course, it's never quite as bad as I remember and, eventually, this aversion will pass.
Ustrasana was heavenly. I had a strong impulse to close my eyes and go to sleep in the posture -- that's how comfortable I was. I don't think I've ever before had the urge to nap in a backbend. Laghu was the usual thigh-burning grind. Kapotasana, though not yet to the heels, has proven to be surprisingly untouched by lack of practice. I might even venture to say that I have more mobility in my thoracic spine now than I did before I took a break from the backbends. It's clear in the drop backs, as well.