Monday, June 02, 2003

Yesterday was the Sunday first series led class with Tim. When I walked in the room to set up my mat, I was hit with a wall of palpable, humid heat. They must have really been moving in the second series class that came before us. Some morning classes can be a bit on the chilly side, so I usually set up my mat near the front, in the general area of the heater. Yesterday, it was so hot that I didn't want to be anywhere near the heater, so I plopped down in the middle of the room. I was treated to a practice surrounded by a whole new set of faces than I'm used to seeing around me. It was an interesting change of perspective. Some people get pretty attached to certain spots. They seem to feel out of place if they can't get their usual spot. I tend to pick my spots based on the environment of the classroom that day. If it's cold, I go near the front, but not too near the heater. If it's really warm, I move back.. But, if it's sunny, I can't be all the way in the back or the heat from the sunlight thru the door and the shades will bug me. In the evening classes at this time of the year, I go to the west side because of the sunlight on the east side. It's in your eyes every up dog. I also like to be on the side near the bathroom for a couple of reasons. First, I don't want to have to tiptoe my way in and out of 15 mats to get to the bathroom. I'd rather get up and get back with as little fuss and notice as possible. Also, on those days when it's crowded and the heat and humidity start to get oppressive, the opening and shutting of the door gives a welcome wave of moving air. It's not always refreshing, however. Sometimes, the air moving by brings with it reminders of why the person was visiting the bathroom to start with. Other than that, I'll set up anywhere. I'm not picky.

The mats tend to end up closer to each other in the middle of the room than they do up in the front. Where I was, we only had a couple of inches between mats, front to back. The spacing made it difficult to do jump throughs well. You had to make sure the person in front of you had made their move before you launched yourself to avoid an untimely impact in their backside. The girl behind me made a beautiful adjustment one time, sliding her feet right between my legs when I was a little tardy with my takeoff. Chakrasana is also a little dicey in that setting. My wife sent this one guy to the emergency room when she split open his head landing on him inadvertently during an especially crowded class last year.

I had hoped with the heat that I would be flexible enough to get supta kurmasana. I took a second and watched another guy to see how he went about getting his ankles crossed. He used the approach in which you bind the hands first, then work on getting the ankles crossed. He just gradually wriggled until the right foot slid over the left and then worked the legs to get the ankles crossed more deeply to complete the pose. That's pretty much the way that I have been trying to do it, but I was no more successful yesterday. My upavishta range of motion has been improving, so I had been hoping that would lead to getting that last bit of opening needed to get the ankles crossed. Maybe next time.

I have been having less problem with my left hamstring pain. My left ham used to be my "good" side. Around January of this year, I did something, I'm still not sure what, that caused a lot of pain and a decreased range of motion in that side. The postures that I currently feel it the most in are Parsvottanasana and Supta padangusthasana, especially the former. I can lay my chin on my lower leg without much strain on the right side but the left side has been a struggle these last few months. I am just now getting to the point where I'm able to get as far down my left leg as I can on my right side. It's still not as "easy" as the right side, but now I don't break out in sweat just thinking about the discomfort of doing the left side. The supta padangustasana issues are more ones of fear I think. BY the time we do that posture, my hamstrings feel pretty tight. maybe the preceding upavishta does something, I don't know. But, when I pull down on the toe, I get this worry that I'm gonna pull something. The past experience of unknowingly hurting my hamstring makes me more reluctant than usual to push the edge. A mental injury that's still healing.

Since nothing really stood out about my practice, I paid more attention to the folks around me than I might usually. It's interesting the diversity of ability that exists within each person in the first series. One person near me was one of those bandha boys who could lift up directly to hand stand from navasana, but there were some forward bending things that were not as good. Another person had really floaty jump throughs but couldn't twist or bend all that well. I can do most of the postures in reasonable form but have no vinyasa and no discipline. I guess one thing I'm looking for when I'm paying more attention to others than to my own practice is that person who is able to do it all: breathing, drishti, vinyasa, bandha, bend forward and backwards, you name it, the whole kielbasa. There's surprisingly few of those people out there

No yoga the next couple of days due to work interference. I can't seem to win the Lotto so for now I'll have to stick with the work.

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