Sunday, June 22, 2003

Another weekend day at work. I've got a slow spot here so I'll try and get my posting done now so I don't have to later at home. My wife has been irritated that I have been spending so much of my free time at home pecking away on the computer. I'm not one of those who can compose and enter quickly. I have to do and re-do many times, so it takes me a while to do this.

I was on call Friday for 24 hours. I had a very fragmented night of sleep secondary to some late night deliveries, admissions, phone calls, etc. I went straight from work to the 9:00 Improv class. The busy night took some of the performance edge off. I didn't feel as sharp as I did for Thursday's Mysore class. I was more willing to back off in some of the stretches, not as willing to push the edge. Surprisingly, I never felt overly tired, this despite being right next to the heater. I had originally set my mat down about eight feet from the heater. The room was on the cooler side, so I wanted some heat but I didn't want to be Heater Boy, camped out right next to it. Unfortunately, everybody else didn't want to be right next to it more than I did. When I got back from a quick bathroom run, I found a mat right next to mine. When I put my mat down, it turns out I had left just enough space for someone to set up between me and the next person over. Rather than using the expansive open area closer to the heater, they opted to scrunch in between the mats that were already down. To be polite, I had to slide over to make room. Then later, once class was started, another person squeezed in down the line from us, so we all had to slide our mats over to make room. End result was I ended up being Heater Boy. I'm a novice at heater tactics and skills.

The class itself was very good for me. It consisted of standard Surya A and B's, a Surya C sequence that is fairly typical for that class, a lot of Anjanayasanas and hip flexor stretching, multiple bouts of Hanumanasana, then we did Ardha Nadi Shodana or the first half of the second series. As such, it was a class that some may have found too typical, not "fresh" enough. Some of the people who go to that class go for the variety, for the opportunity to do new things--postures they haven't been given or research sequences that they haven't tried before, etc. For me though, it was perfect. That's exactly the stuff I've been having trouble finding classes I can get to to work on.

Where I gave in a bit mentally was in all the groin stretches. Some of the stretches of the psoas can be on the intense side, just on the edge of being overtly painful. I could tell I wasn't at the peak in terms of flexibility, though I was doing at least average for me in the last month or so. After we did our first hanumanasana sequence, we did some more psoas work: the anjanayasana sequences. When we went to do another set of splits, I was able to get my good side maybe a little closer to the ground, but I didn't feel like pushing it on the side of my stiffer side. Later, when we were doing further groin stretches against the wall in preparation for kapotasana, I let myself bail out pretty early in the discomfort spectrum. We kneel against the wall, with one foot against the wall next to the hip and the other leg out in a lunge position. We then slowly lower our hips in the lunge to stretch the groin. Then we arch backward and eventually try to reach back and grab the foot that is next to the hip. It is a version of eka pada raja kapotasana, with the front foot in an upright lunge position rather than with the leg folded on the ground like in the typical posture. I did okay on the lunging part and the arching back part but when it came to putting the elbows against the wall and trying to reach back and touch or grab the other toe, I gave up after just a few seconds. Not surprisingly, my kapotasana was not my best ever. I haven't made it my goal to make each time I do a pose my best expression of that posture ever. I've come to take those "quitter" days along with the good ones. They're gonna happen. In fact, they occur a lot more often than the good days like I had on Thursday.

One of my holy grail type quests for the second series postures is to land bakasana B. In bakasana A, you start out by just standing with the feet near the hands, bend your knees and place them in the armpits, then press into the hands, lean forward some, and lift the feet. In Bakasana B, you have to jump into the pose from down dog. This can be done with a sort of crash landing style but a more elegant approach is to float into the pose, landing softly and holding it. The strength, balance, bandhas and confidence needed to do this have always eluded me. Yesterday, I actually had it but after landing, my right knee slipped off the outer side of my arm from sweat. It was the closest I've ever come to a "proper" B. I was pissed off and stoked at the same time.

I've been promising myself for some time now that I was going to start doing some out of class preparations for a workshop we're going to in August. So far, it's just been a plan. My teacher will sometimes quip when people are skipping vinyasas or sitting out a pose or two, "Ahh, asana thru visualization, very advanced yoga." The workshop is a second series course, so there's a lot that I need to improve on. I had hoped that my schedule would be favorable and allow me some opportunities at mysore but it hasn't worked out that way. So, I've got to decide if I'm serious enough to actually try and improve. I'll have to think about it.

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