Monday, August 04, 2003

I did a much better job of asset allocation yesterday. I decided ease off a bit and see how my energy held up thru the class. I guess the thing that I backed off the most on was my vinyasa. I just did the old lolasana lift then flopped back down and rolled forward to my knees and jumped back from there. I had been really trying to get more lift and to get my feet thru. I was never in danger of succeeding but I was trying to get as far as I could each time. Not doing that at all yesterday seemed to have made a big difference. I felt fairly energetic, even at the end. When I would try to do the vinyasa back, it never seemed that strenuous. If that is what was making me more tired, I guess the effort to try it expended more than I realized. I'll have to play around with it a bit to see if that's really what it was that made me more tired this week.

Since Tim is out of town, we once again had a less crowded than usual class. There were tons of people I had never seen before though. I wasn't close to any of them though so I didn't get much of a chance to rubberneck. I'm doing a lot less of that lately. Without really trying to do so, I've become more internally focused in my practices. I am still fairly undisciplined about maintaining the ideal rhythm of breaths. I still waste a fair amount of time wiping sweat, adjusting myself etc. I am usually one of the last ones actually entering a posture. In spite of that, my focus on what I'm doing when in the postures is much better. As a result of paying more attention to how I feel internally and less on how the gumby girl next to me is doing, a lot of my postures have been improving. While I still regress if I don't practice, it almost feels like my baseline range of motion is steadily moving forwards. What I call stiff now, I would have been fairly happy with last year.

Somebody made a comment on the EZBoard Ashtanga bulletin board that I really identified with. Someone was quoted as saying that they viewed each pose they did in their practice as a preparation for the pose that they were currently working on, in that case it was Kapotasana. I have been working on that same pose and as a result have evolved a similar perspective about my preceding practice. Even when I'm only doing first series, it's always with the background thought of, "If I do this part better, or that aspect better, it may help me get my shoulders farther or my groins to stretch more." I used to just do the standing sequence without a whole lot of attention, just did it to get on to the rest of the first series. Now I pay a lot more attention and give more effort in all of those poses, especially the Surya Namaskaras. I've gradually come to recognize that I'll develop more with conscious attention and effort than I will by just going along and letting it happen as it may. Only took me three years to reach that conclusion. I'm slow, but trainable.

In Sunday's class, I felt reasonably loose. I had practiced in one class or another the three preceding days. Despite that, I was surprised to find that my Supta Kurmasana was worse than usual. I could bind my hands but not as far as previously and it took more effort to hold the bind. Where I used to come out of this pose just exhausted from the effort, lately I have been able to do it with more ease and steadiness. Not easy, just easier. Yesterday for some reason was a pull back. Nothing else in the class seemed to be worse than usual, even Kurmasana went fine, so I couldn't figure out what was different about that one. On the brighter side, I did get up from Urdhva Dhanurasana. I felt like I could do it on the fourth one (we did two sets of three) but I decided to try and get more depth on that one and come up on the fifth and sixth. I should have gone up on the fourth. I still felt strong then. I was starting to tire a bit by number five. I started up but only made it off the ground a few inches. That's been the pattern for me. I almost get it on one try and then I usually can get it the next time up. I did make it up on the last one, with my usual lack of form. I just need to get up more regularly so I can start fine tuning what I need to do to not make people around me scurry for cover for fear that I'm going to topple over in their direction. Not being exhausted going into the backbends helped a lot mentally.

I felt more up beat after Sunday's class than I had in the classes earlier in the week. I think keeping the energy at a more even keel through the class helped there too. I'll have to explore the whole balance of energy use in my next few classes. I've got three chances at Mysore this week. After that, I'm off to Mt. Shasta for a week of second series. I've never done full second series twice in a row, so a week of it should be interesting. For that matter, I've only done first series for six days in a row three or four times ever.

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