Sunday, March 21, 2004

Today was the first practice day after Friday's vernal equinox (it occurred on Friday the 19th here on the west coast) and yesterday's new moon. I worked last night, so I went to the Sunday morning led first series class. The class wasn't as crowded as usual, probably due in part to our teacher being out of town this week. I had a fairly easy night of call, I was in bed by 1:30AM, so I wasn't worn out. I had a surprisingly good practice. I say surprising because my last two practices were thrown off by some low back pain. Today I didn't feel any problems in the opening up-dogs so I didn't give it too much more thought for the rest of the practice. It did feel a little tight and edgy with the vinyasas after the Marichasanas but that is fairly typical for me. When I got to Urdvha Dhanurasana near the end, I found I had regained most of my prior "depth" of movement. I was able to get up on my own on our sixth and last one. In the mysore classes of Thursday and Friday, I was uncomfortable enough that I just did three backbends and then a chakrasana vinyasa to the closing sequence. If I can just give the area some time, these little tweaky kind of discomforts usually go away pretty quickly. I'm hoping that continues to be the case here. This is going to be a week of very few practices so it should get plenty of rest.

The last two times I've tried it, I've managed to hold that press up position after Utkatasana for the whole time while people were doing their Bakasana transition. I'm still not doing a pure press up, I don't think. It feels like I'm minimally hopping my toes off the floor before I've got all the weight in my arms and shoulders. It's hard to fully commit to that kind of weight shift where the feet are just pulled up off of the floor by the weight moving past the midline. It's way better than it was though. Due to lack of confidence, I used to spend almost the whole count negotiating with myself on the move. By the time I ever got up, it was already time to jump back. Now at least I'm holding it long enough that I'm able to work on stuff like maintaining the balance point and on getting better arm extension.

I was pretty pleased with the rest of the practice. Nothing seemed very off. The postures that I've been going back and forth a bit on lately, like getting the ankle cross in Supta Kurmasana and getting better leg extension in my standing and supine padangustasanas, were all on today. No landmark breakthroughs but no hang your head in disgust performances either. I though my Supta K was the best I've done so far on my own. I felt like I would have been able to use my right ankle to drag my left leg in the direction of moving over my head, except I was too tired to give it a try. Just thinking of it was an advance though. In the past, I would just have been thinking how much I wanted to get up and get a drink of water and catch my breath.

I've been working a bit on doing better in my binding in the Marichyasanas. For a long time, I was able to do all of them, I could get into the pose and could bind far enough that I could cup the finger tips of each hand together. So, I left it at that and didn't try to do a whole lot more. When my teacher adjusted my Marichyasana D a few months ago, I realized how many things I'm not doing correctly in that pose. So, I decided to go back a few squares and work on getting better fundamentals in all of them. Now I'm able to bind to the wrist in the first three but I don't think I've ever bound D to the wrist on my own. I get put there by the teachers of the class most of the time now though. One result of the deeper bound position is that my twist is usually better than it used to be in C & D.

So, now for this week, the interesting thing will be to see how much I lose from having a low practice frequency. I had gotten pretty good at accepting that aspect of my practice. That's just how it usually was. Having a fairly active few months has now made it harder to feel satisfied and accepting. In fact, I find myself daydreaming of fanciful scenarios where I get to practice as much as I want, even every day. The Walter Mitty version of yoga.

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