My second attempt at posting today. I had almost a whole entry done earlier but had to go see a patient before finishing. When I came back, the machine was frozen and I had to reboot. A significant blow to my motivation but I'm gonna try again.
After several weeks of mostly doing improv classes or mysore classes in which I just did my second series poses, with only the occasional first series class along the way, this week has been first series and only first series. Monday I did a prep class, which does most of the poses but not all ("We do skip some of the first series poses in this class, not many though. Just the ones we don't like"). Tuesday and Wednesday evenings I did the led first series classes. The Tuesday class is also billed a s a prep class but he does all the poses. He gives people the opportunity to skip some vinyasas though. The Wednesday class is with Tim and is straight forward full first series, no skipped vinyasas, no optional poses, no researching, just the down and dirty.
The two evening classes were pretty sweaty. It's gotten a bit on the humid side lately. That, combined with the end of summer heat, has led to warmer than average practices and lots of sweat. On days like those, I have to leave a small towel at the end of my mat for the teachers to put over me to keep them from getting soaked from my sweat when pressing against me or to use to wipe themselves off after adjusting me. I'm one of those icky sweaty types that some teachers find so distasteful to touch. In times past, getting that hot and sweaty would usually drain me such that I would run out of gas by the Marichyasanas. Even though I hadn't done much of the first series for a while, I didn't get that tired. I was tired but normal tired, not exhausted tired. I was able to try hard on most of my jump back attempts, usually the first part of my practice to falter when the going gets hard. The extra sweat certainly made getting into Garbha Pindasana easy. Boom! Through right past the elbows with no effort! Of course, the pay back came in Kukkutasana. Zzoop, down the arms my legs slid as I came up. I was forced to try and use bandhas to replace skin friction as my stabilizing force. It was a tripod kind of Kukkutasana for a few moments there.
I have this thing I've been trying to puzzle out lately. There's this guy who practices at our studio. He started coming a year and a half ago or so. He had trained with Tim at some point in the past but life intervened and he had to do some other things for a while. When he started back, you could tell he had ability. He could do most of the things in First pretty well. He didn't have an "oh my god" kind of practice, there were things he couldn't do. He didn't do dropbacks or stand up from back bend, for example. But in general, he was good. He could jump back. He could hold a handstand. He had a really nice practice. But so did a lot of other people. Now, he's unbelievable. There's really not much he can't do. He grabs his ankles in back bend. He presses up to handstand from sitting, he can go into Eka Pada Bakasana in the transition out of Virabhadrasana B and then using just his bandhas can press up to lift his knee off of his arm and then hover there, does Samakonasana with no problem, in fact he can even do it in handstand, ala Ana Forrest. His bandhas are so strong it's amazing he's able to ever poop. Thing is he wasn't able to do all of this back a year or so ago. I remember smugly commenting in one of my posts a while back that he and I were both working on trying to stand up from back bend but that I thought that I was closer to achieving it because I felt I was able to get a better arch than he was. Hah! That's in my face. So, what's the deal? How has he been able to achieve so much so quickly? Is he genetically gifted? Does he work a lot harder, maybe doing two or three extra sessions each day at home in additon to his efforts in class? Is he of the devil? I wonder about this as I wiggle and waggle my butt from side to side trying to get it through my arms in another unsuccessful attempt at jumping back and while I try to stifle the involuntary moans and groans that come out of me when I try Samakonasana or Kapotasana. It's that age old whine: "How come he can do it and I can't?"
In both evening classes this week, I was able to jump back from Kukkutasana into Chaturanga. Kind of. I cheat a bit in that I swing my legs, which are in lotus, way up and then, using the momentum of the downward swing, try and get them far enough through and up to be able to shoot the legs out and land. I wasn't able to do it on either day when coming out of Uth Pluthihi though. In my attempts at jumpbacks, I have struggled kinesthetically with the ability to get my body tilted forward and then pivot it downward to get my butt high enough to succeed. In yesterdays successful try, I actually felt like I got my butt up somewhere near the balance point. I've done a similar thing once before. Both times I felt light, like I had almost gone too far up with my butt. In fact, I was probably barely past horizontal but the feel was totally different than what I usually perceive. I kind of wonder if I don't go forward out of some kind of inhibition or unrecognized fear. I don't think so though. I don't seem to engage the muscles needed to do this. I don't even have an idea of what muscles to engage or what such engagement feels like. I've started to wonder if being able to jump back is kind of like being able to curl up your tongue or being able to do those 'double jointed' tricks with your fingers. Some folks have it and some don't?
I've got a chance at making it to tomorrow's Intro to Second series class. That'll be good. I'm beginning to let go of the notion that I need to do First series as often as I used to think I needed to. I haven't lost that much in not doing it that often this past couple of months. I do need to do the second series poses regularly to get better at them. I need the reps, just to stay even.