Monday, May 26, 2003

I tend to flip thru the other ashtanga blogs that I have links for. The one by abby recently made note of that curious nature of ashtanga to constantly surprise us with what we least expect. Like her, I had entered a practice slump recently. For me, there was no particular reason for it that I could figure out, just all of a sudden, I couldn't to things as well as I used to. Then, once I was convinced I was a general spaz, for some reason I started being able to do things again. No hint of what it was that now enabled me to keep my balance or get thru a practice without feeling unusually tired. Today in class, despite it being a prep class, I was doing some things as well as I ever have. It's sort of spooky the way the practice keeps you guessing.

Holiday practices tend to bring lots of visiting students. My wife said mysore was very crowded today. Even the noon class that I went to today had lots of new faces. I don't know why I like that a lot, but I do. It just changes the feel of the room a bit. While it is interesting to see the practices of other people that I am not familiar with, I tend to look around much less than I used to. In Sunday's class, I was beside someone who I had wanted to practice next to for some time. I knew she had a good practice overall, but was not familiar with her second series practice. I wanted to see what I looked like compared to her. I don't think I can remember one thing about her practice. Nor the person who was on my right. Second series is like that though. I tend to just be aware of what I'm doing. While the forward bending of the first series is supposedly an introspective process and the backbending aspects of the second series supposedly exert a more opening, extrovertive influence, I find that I am much more aware of what is going on around me during a first series practice than I am in a second series class. I guess the forward gaze in all those seated postures tends to allow the undisciplined to be distracted by the view of the others in the room doing their practices. In the second series, the gaze is often down towards the floor or up at the ceiling or toward the wall. This helps keeps an internal focus, where it should be, not checking out stuff like whether or not that girl who can almost put her head on her feet in forward bends can backbend too, etc.

We're kind of debating here what to do about the various yoga conferences coming up. We're scheduled to spend a week in Mt. Shasta with Tim in August. My wife had also asked for a yoga trip for her upcoming birthday. Originally it was going to be the Yoga Journal Conference in Estes Park, CO. Then, the idea came up to instead spend a week in NYC, seeing the sites, taking class at one of the studios there and visiting some yoga friends. Then I heard about the Krishnamacharya festival in San Francisco, for which two of Krishnamacharya's students, Guruji and Desikachar, would be speaking. As a result of that stateside visit, Guruji announced he would be extending the trip into another world tour, including two weeks here in our area. Now I don't know what the hell to do. Too many options. We can't do them all, unfortunately. I'm sure we'll do the Guruji classes here, but I'll let my wife decide what other trip she wants.

I learned an interesting beginner's trick on the trapeze the other day that incorporates a yoga-like posture. It's one of those things where you swing on one bar a few times then transfer mid air to the arms of a catcher on another bar. In this one, you hang down from the swinging bar in a sort of dhanurasana type position until you let go and fly over to the catcher. It's called the bird's nest.

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