Practice Notes

I've been working hard on the mat and it must be catching up with me.  Last night after work, I soaked in a salt bath, had a glass of wine, and knocked off for the night to awaken not eight or nine but TEN hours later, all warm and fuzzy and rested.

Practice is plugging along.  Sunday practice -- post oil bath -- was nice, if a little meandering.  The castor oil definitely helped to alleviate some of the resistance in my lumbar, though it didn't do a whole lot for my shoulders.  Nonetheless, I reclaimed some space in Kapo.  Doing the posture twice makes a huge difference, especially if I refrain from countering the spinal extension between rounds and simply rest in Virasana for a few breaths.  The LBH set was also quite good.  I have found a preparatory routine that seems to work really well; thinking about recording the whole leg-behind-head affair in practice tomorrow to get a good look at the rotations and spinal position and all that jazz.  Depending on how boring and/or hilarious it is, I might share it here.

Today's practice, in contrast, was streamlined and solid.  Since I woke up late this morning, I had a time goal of 90 minutes.  I've been splitting at Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana since reading in Matthew Sweeney's book that Utkatasana is actually the first posture of the Primary series.  If one does standing all the way through Ardha Baddha, then the vinyasa to Pasasana is the same as the one to Utkatasana.  It's nice and clean that way, not to mention that the extra hip opening is nice, but today I split at Parvsottanasana to save time.

Got right down to business at Pasasana and sailed through to Laghu Vajrasana.  Gave myself a single shot at Kapo, but it was slow and deliberate.  I hung there for a good, long while letting gravity do some of the work.  My shoulders were especially tight, so no heels, but my back felt really nice.  Landed Bakasana B on the first try, plodded through the twists, and hit the LBH with plenty of heat to get deep into the postures.  Tittibhasana, as usual, left me dazed and feeling like my insides had been scooped out with a ladle.  (It's more pleasant than it sounds.)  I took a few extra breaths in down dog to recover, then stuck Pincha for five long breaths on the first attempt.

Backbends were okay.  Drop backs have been good.  Managed five in a row today without moving my feet.  I've been doing more work with hang backs before going for the dynamic drop backs every morning and it's made a noticeable difference.  The hangbacks are such a great way to explore all the subtle elements of the backbend, from the feet up to the gaze.  I think they've been especially valuable to me as a home practitioner.  Without assistance, more preparation and internal exploration seems to be the only way.

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