Saturday, June 07, 2003

I did a little over five hours of yoga today. Then I went to work.

Nah, I can do better than that.

The first hour was spent in an introductory pranayama class led by one of Tim's assistants. All the different breathing approaches that occur in Tim's class, Ujjayi, Nadi Shodana, Bhastrika and Sitali, are done here too. This class is more approachable for people beginning to learn about the practice though, because the length of the inhalations, exhalations and retentions are shorter. Since I sucked so badly in Tim's class I figured I better go back to basics. I found it fairly easy to do, so I guess I'll just have keep doing the best I can in Tim's until I can get better.

After pranayama, I went to the Saturday morning Improv class. The usual teacher had been out of town the last couple of weeks. Apparently, some of the people had complained to her that the person who subbed for her made the classes too difficult. Boo Hoo. Snivel. Whine. I went to one of those classes. It was a lot of fun. I know for a fact that he paralleled what Tim taught in his Improv class, but left out the harder poses, because I went to Tim's Improv class that week too. It's an Improv class not an Intro class. In an Improv class you're supposed to be challenged by stuff you usually don't get to do, so it might just be a little difficult. When I heard she had been told the other classes were too hard, I was afraid she was gonna dumb down her class. I got comfortably worked though. We did the the first pose in the 3rd series, Side Plank Pose (In ashtanga, it's called Visvamitrasana but in Iyengar it's Vasisthasana). We did it three times, first a couple of prep side plank poses to get a feel for the forcer and muscles in play, then finally the true pose. We did a couple of arm balances, like galavasana but we entered it from a standing start instead of from tripod headstand. We did a bunch of twists that don't always come up in our usual classes. This teacher has no problem having us occasionally do a pose in a different style than would be typical for ashtanga, such as the Iyengar version of utthita trikonasana, to show us how to how changing alignment can affect what you're doing and feeling. She is very good at having us take off the blinders and look thru other lenses to see how to work towards our asana goals.

After cooling down from that class, I spent some time with the kids. Later that afternoon we were supposed to go help out at a photo shoot for a clothing catalogue. One of the people who goes to our studio works for a company that sells "yoga" clothing. The company has used Tim in their catalogue before. For their new catalogue, they wanted to shoot some shots of Tim in a yoga class setting, so they needed a class. The person my wife knew asked her if she'd be interested in coming to help out. Since there weren't many guys involved yet, she asked my wife to drag me along too. It was billed as a photo shoot, so I figured it would be some kind of scripted, static thing where we would stand around while taking turns being in poses, with Tim adjusting us. Wrong. Instead, Tim led us thru a full Improv class. This came just three hours after I had finished the first one. For Tim's class, we did mostly the first half of the second series, with a few twists and turns thrown in. After doing the standing sequence thru parsvottanasana, we started Nadi Shodana. I didn't have my usual block of foam to stand on to support my heels, so I was forced to try to do pasasana the right way, which I can't do yet. Then after each 2nd series pose up thru kapotasana, we did a back bend. After we did the backbend, we had to walk upside down in the backbend position to the wall, then stand up using the wall. After the first couple of times, those who could stand up from backbend on their own were allowed to do so. The rest of us lowly hackers had to hand-foot walk to the wall each time before we were able to struggle up. This coming to standing after each pose necessitated a full vinyasa to enter the next pose. So I was feeling it by the time we got to kapotasana. It seemed like we held kapotasana for a lot longer than usual. I guess maybe a lot of folks needed adjusting? After that we quit with the back bends and just did the rest of 2nd series thru the eka pada sirsasanas. One quirk of our place is that in a led class, we enter eka pada sirsasana by going into kasyapasana first, then we rock up to sitting and go thru the rest of the eka pada sequence. After we did our closing sequence, we did some chanting with Tim accompanying us with his new harmonium skills. He's better at asana.

With regards to the photo shoot aspect of things, I think that made things a little tougher in the long run. You didn't want to have a photo of you doing some dog-assed version of a posture showing up in a clothing catalogue where everyone could ridicule you while they considered whether to get the cinnamon or the mauve capri stretch pants, so you had to go full on every pose. The photographer was not in the way, he did a fairly good job of being in the back ground. There were a couple of times I saw him trying to get a unique angle, where he might be only a couple of feet away from someone, or looking straight down at them while they were in an inverted pose. For the most part, from my angle anyway, he was out of sight and mind. But, I don't think he was looking to get a lot of shots of haggard guys drenched in sweat clearly struggling to get into a posture when there were plenty of cool, cute, bendy wendys right at hand who looked just the part. They may have felt a little more intruded on.

The photo shoot was supposed to go from 2:30 till 4:00. We didn't get done till almost 4:45 though and I had to be at work at 6PM. So I had to sprint home, shower, change and dash off to work. All in all, a good but long ashtanga day. Just hope the night of call isn't too much or I'm gonna be a dead man in class tomorrow morning.

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