Today's practice was the guided second series class. Since I usually don't make it to that class, I never know how it's going to go when I do attend. Some days, I'm out of my league, exhausted even before the Tittibhasana sequence and completely wrung out to the point of just going through the motions after doing the Titti's. Other days, I make it through okay abut struggle with one area or another, the backbends in the middle, the inversions, it's almost always something. Today was a little different. I never really got exhausted. That's a first for me in that class. I worked enough to get sweaty but not my usual drenched look. I guess doing the poses through dwi pada sirsasana in my mysore classes has helped me develop some endurance and some familiarity with the demands of the sequence that made today's class less of a struggle. Who knows? The next time I try the class, I'll probably get totally waxed.
In my recent trip to the Yucatan for that week long course with Tim, I managed to accumulate a small collection of minor dings and twinges. I did something in the first mysore class that caused me to feel a semi-sharp but not disruptive discomfort near the area of my right rhomboid muscle, near my scapula when I started doing back bends. I think maybe I let my shoulder collapse too far forward from the pressure of the right leg in dwi pada. It didn't really affect the rest of that practice but it did get more noticeable through that day. I took some motrin and had one of the people there who was a physical therapist feel around. No major knots or tender points. The discomfort decreased but lingered in the background, forcing me to pay more attention to that area while practicing than I might normally. I also managed to tweak something in my lower back later in the week. It came early on, during the Sun salutations. I either mis-landed my attempt at a floaty jump back to chaturanga or I over-contracted the buttocks during up dog. I felt it right away. It was strong enough to worry me that it would get worse. The rest of my up dogs looked pretty pitiful as I attempted to baby my way past that area. I think my up dogs were more like plank poses with my head tilted back. I was worried that the back bends would really hurt but they actually made the area feel better. I didn't try a stand up though. I could feel it that night when I slept but it wasn't getting worse. The next day, our last practice of the seminar, I did okay. As the practice went on, the area loosened up and the up dogs started to look like weak but more normal up dogs. Later that day, Tim was going to demonstrate how he assists people with supported drop backs. He mentioned to the class how much I "love" doing that, because I have managed to land with a thud on my head a couple of times by not using my legs and back the right way. So, I got up to show him I ain't scared of no stinkin' drop backs. I wasn't concerned that I would hurt anything since doing backbends actually had helped the area during class. As I warmed up a bit though, I could feel the area warning me. It was a full moon day, a day when we are traditionally not supposed to practice anyway. I was going to be leaving on a plane in about three hours. I wasn't very warm. I just knew if I did it, I possibly might significantly tweak something and be out of action for a while. So I told him I didn't want to give it a try and sat back down. Nobody snickered, out loud anyway. Then my wife got up to do the drop backs with him, cold, and made the whole thing look absurdly easy. Well, I've managed to avoid a significant injury in practice, so far. Usually, the best way to manage an injury is prevention. I don't wimp out on everything but I didn't feel ready to walk the edge right then.
We're having something of an exodus amongst the teachers at our shala this month. One of Tim's assistants is already gone on a three month trip to help someone in Wyoming who is having a shoulder operation soon. Three other teachers were going to be going to Mysore to study with Guruji but one of them had to cancel. Tim still has able assistants to help out and fill in while they are gone. My wife is going to be substituting for one of them at the noon classes each Monday. She has already been helping Tim do adjustments sometimes for the Sunday led first series class. She is very excited to be able to have the chance to teach a group on a more regular basis. To date, most of her teaching has been on a fill-in or substitute basis. That actually works better for her in the long run, given all of her other family, school and soccer team commitments. Still, the more experience she can get teaching with Tim, the better.
The rest of this week will not be a good one for practice. I work from 8 till 6 tomorrow, so that eliminates all classes. I will probably be flying to Oklahoma on Tuesday to attend a funeral, so I'll be out of the yoga loop for a while. I've gotten pretty accustomed to that kind of flux by now, but having gotten in some really regular practice this last month or so, I've developed a taste for it.