Saturday, August 02, 2003

Wow. It's been a whole week since I have posted. Kinda lame. No good excuses for it. I did practice a few times this week. All the practices except today's have been evening classes. I guess between that and the kids being up till 9 o'clock at night in the summer, I just haven't felt like spending the hour or two that I have left before I go to bed at the keyboard trying to string together intelligible sentences. Composing stuff is hard enough. Sometimes, like just happened a few minutes ago, when I have bothered to sit and type, I'll mishit a key and somehow lose the entire composition before it gets posted. Very irritating. Easy to say screw it, I'll do it another day.

My schedule opened up this week beginning on Wednesday. I had worked the night before but I got a reasonable amount of sleep. I went to the evening led first series class with Tim. I could have posted that evening but the it would have been too much of a downer posting. I looked back over some of my posts a while ago. A lot of them have a general theme of negativity, with various whines and complaints about not being able to do this pose, or doing worse than usual in that pose or not getting to practice enough, etc. Since I couldn't come up with much that was positive about the class, I went to bed and blew off the blog. I don't know why but I just ran out of gas part way through the class. We were at the marichasanas and I was feeling like I usually do after backbends. I wondered if I was going to have enough to keep going for the whole class. I eased off a bit and kind of went through the motions the rest of the way. One lucky break occurred. Tim only had us do three back bends. We usually do either one set of five or two sets of three. Not sure why we were given a short set, maybe we all looked pitiful or something, but I was glad. I never even considered trying to come to standing on my own. I walked up the wall to standing after the last backbend so that I wouldn't have to do the exertion of waiting in the pose for an assist up. Hitting the wall like that, especially so early really sets up a self fulfilling down hill slide. Once I was aware of feeling tired, I got even more so. I began to focus more on the fatigue than on doing the postures. The change in focus leads to poorer quality in the postures. By the time we were nearing the end, I just wanted to quit. It all just felt totally out of sync. About the only good thing about the class was that i got the chance to go to it. It was down hill from there. Small wonder I didn't want to spend an hour that night writing about it. I began to wonder if I was starting to feel the effect of being older. Maybe, I was reaching a point where it was no longer an issue of how slowly it would take me to progress, rather maybe I now had to start watching for how quickly I was going to regress.

Fortunately, there dawned another day. Thursday evening I went to another led first series class. I had none of the problems of the night before. it was a fairly mainstream class--I felt I was doing most of my postures in good form for me. In hindsite, maybe one thing that contributed to me being more tired than usual on Wednesday was that I somewhat stiff from not having practiced for while. When I'm stiffer, I do get more tired. On Thursday, I had less of a sense of tightness and I felt less tired throughout the whole class. I've been stiff before, of course, but I think on Wednesday I practiced like I would normally when I'm looser. Most of the time when I'm doing my first practice in a week or so, I go fairly conservative. I don't think I did that on Wednesday, I tried hard in most of the postures and vinyasas. I can't remember why I didn't back it off a bit. I guess I wasn't so stiff that I felt I had to go easy or get hurt but was stiff enough that the extra exertion needed in each pose began to add up. No matter. By Thursday I was cured. Of the fatigue anyway. The getting older I haven't figured how to shake yet. Savasana Thursday was nice. Feeling like normal was such a relief that it put me in a good place for the resting pose.

Yesterday, Friday, I briefly considered going to the noon 1st series class and also to the evening Intro to Second Series class. I played some golf in the morning. I was originally going to playa quick nine holes then maybe go to the 12:00 class. I decided to blow off the first series class and stayed to play the full round of golf instead. I didn't want to expend all my energy doing the two classes and end up with a poor effort at the second series poses. When I first started going to these Intro to 2nd series class, I used to get totally worn out. Now, even with all the research poses that they do in that class, it much easier for me to go to than full first series. In mysore classes, I'm currently stopping at Supta Vajrasana. Not many people that I see in classes do the correct posture, where they maintain hold of the toes the whole time. I certainly can't yet. It's one of the 'projects' I'm currently working on though. The things I try to get better at each class when I'm doing second series poses are getting a deeper twist and bind and lower heels in Pasasana, getting a deeper kapotasana with less histrionics, maintaining contact with my toes longer in Supta Vajrasana and, since it's the next pose down the line, landing and holding a floating entry for Bakasana B. Since I haven't been give that pose yet, I've been working on it after Utkatasana. Normally when we finish Utkatasana in the standing sequence, we go into Bakasana before making the vinyasa back to Chataranga. I can do that no problem and have been able to for a while. So, rather than do the usual entry to Bakasana, I've started trying to do Bakasana B. I step my feet back to somewhere near where they would be in down dog then I launch and try to land on my upper arms. I've done it a couple of times and held it once, almost twice. This is one of those postures that I frequently despaired that I would never be able to do. Now I can see signs of progress.

Just to get greedy, I went to the Improv class today. The weekend Improv class tends to serve a wider range of student abilities than typically might be at Tim's Improv on Thursday. Sometimes the teachers who give it will structure the class to take that into consideration. Other times, they do fairly advanced stuff and have people do the best that they can. Today's teacher was someone who was subbing. I had taken a class with her around three years ago, one of those health club kind of classes. I was curious to see how she'd be compared to Tim and the other people who have taught the Saturday Improv class. She did a great job. She did a great job of giving verbal cues. She talked enough to inform and remind but not so much as to distract. She was very good at pointing out fundamental keys in the postures. I was in no mood for a really hard class and fortunately, it wasn't a butt dragger. We did some interesting hip work. One pose that I had never tried before was one where we started out in Utthita Parsva Konasana. We then wrapped the arm that is normally on the floor around front leg and bound it behind the back with the other arm. After we held that for a few seconds, we brought the back foot forward next to the foot of the leg that was still bound. We then lifted the foot of the bound leg off of the floor and stood upright on the other leg. Once we made it to a standing position with the one leg, something that requires a fair amount of exertion and significant control of the hip and knee muscles to maintain balance, we then extended the bound leg upward, straightening the knee as much as possible so that the leg ends up in a high kick position, all while still bound. That was one of the few postures we did that required use of multiple large muscle groups. Most of the rest of the hip openers were things like Gomukasana, which are not so exertional as holding lunges forever while sinking deeper and deeper. All in all, it was a very creative class, with a lot of different approaches to addressing areas of the body. I felt well stretched and not exhausted. i can't ask for more than that.

Tomorrow, I'll be going to the Sunday morning led 1st series. I work tonight. I had hoped it would be slow enough that I could have somebody cover me so that I could leave early enough to get to the 2nd series class at 8:00. I can that's not going to happen though. Labor and Delivery is fairly busy right now. It's that time of the year for Ob/Gyn. Nine months after the holidays.

I was going to write about pranayama classes this week but I've got to do some work here, so I'll write about it later.

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