Tuesday, May 31, 2005

I promise. This posting won't be as long as the last one. I can't believe it went on that long. Even I started dozing off as I tried to read through it.

So, where to start this time? I guess I can start by adding a clarification to Julie's feedback to my last posting. Despite observances to the contrary, I never fell out of handstand. I fell on my back trying to get back up into handstand from backbend. Totally different thing. At least one order of magnitude down on the spaz scale. From my perspective that is. Except, I had pulled my mat out into the middle of the room so that I wouldn't be close to anyone as I tried to do the Viparita Chakrasana stuff. By placing myself so plainly in everyone's view and then loudly landing flat on my backside on my first attempt, that definitely qualifies as pure grade spaz material.

I'm on a special schedule most of the rest of this week and half of next week, where I have to be at work from 8:00 am till 6:00 pm. That translates as no chances to practice at my studio. Aghast at the thought of no practice for almost ten days, I decided to see if I could fit in a practice at that new studio that opens at 6:00 am. To get a practice in and still get to work by 8 am, I had to be out of there by no later than 7:15. I was undecided on whether to do a fairly quick, and maybe even abbreviated first series versus doing my second series poses. I opted for the latter. I didn't do any research or extraneous poses, with the exception of doing the Samakonasana and Hanumanasana sequence that we typically do in Mysore practice after the Prasaritas. I'm going to keep doing those, no matter what. I have to or I lose too much ground. I moved through the poses today at a reasonably brisk pace, not hurried but no dicking around either. I did all of the poses and was on the road by 7:10. When I saw what time it was as I finished backbends, I considered also doing my dropbacks and Viparita Chakrasana, but I didn't want to push it. I'll probably try this pre-8:00 practice thing again, so if I can maintain that kind of pace, I'll see if I can fit in those extra backbend things too.

Today I managed to dodge the Parsvottanasana adjustment that made me nervous last week. I did get a really good set of adjustments for Eka Pada Sirsasana and Dwi Pada Sirsasana. Beyond just helping pull the foot further behind the head, he made a point of moving my knee back away behind me. Way back. When I got finally situated in Dwi Pada, it was amazing how much further my shoulders were through my legs than they typically are. There was significantly less pressure on my neck from the legs also. I felt like I could sit with a much straighter back, not my usual Hunchback of Encinitas curvature. I screwed up doing Karandavasana with him, unfortunately. I had forgotten how he did it the last time and I think he was counting on me to do it the same way. He had wanted me to try to just lower part way. I was expecting him to help me all the way down and back up since that's how people usually adjust in the pose. I'll be ready to do it the other way next time. It's how I'd like to go at it right now anyway. I didn't give it any extra tries because I didn't have the time. For better or worse, today I had to do the best that I could in each pose and live with the result. No do-overs or mulligans.

Monday was Memorial Day, a work holiday for most people in our country. Not for our yoga teachers though. I went to Mysore that morning, along with a bunch of other people, regulars and quite a few like me who were taking advantage of a rare weekday to get to do Mysore class with Tim. There were four or five out of town type people and a like number of people who had come in the past but not in a long while, that I had seen anyway. We were stacked up into four rows of mats. Not much room to fall over or flail about. I did as much as I could but had a bit less strength near the end than I had in my classes last week. I was trying to do that partial lowering and then raising back up in Karandavasana. After a couple of unsuccessful attempts at maintaining my balance as I tried getting my legs back up to vertical, I asked Tim's assistant to watch me and tell me how close I was getting to the horizontal when I did the lower. After the next attempt, I looked over at him. He held his hand up and tilted it to approximate the angle I had in my hips. It was maybe 20 degrees down from upright. I had to laugh at that. It's so weird how different things really are from how they feel. I was certain I was at, or at least close to having my folded legs out at the horizontal and it turns out I wasn't even half way to that. Back to the drawing board.

By the time I got to Viparita Chakrasana, I was pretty gassed. I guess I must have overdone the researching or did a couple too many tries at Karandavasana. While I took a few seconds to catch my breath, I watched a couple of people near me who can go over and come back on their own do the sequence. The woman next to me, who has a very nice Third series practice, really lifts her head and shoulders through and up as she comes back over. The guy I watched, also with a strong, fluid Third series practice did a couple of other things. In dropping over, he would hold handstand and then extend his legs over and hold the arch. After arching over pretty far and holding it, he would let his knees bend and drop down to back bend. Then he would walk his feet in a step, raise up on his toes and give a slight hop up. Rather than getting the legs back over by noticeably scooping the upper body through, he would just hold the position of his feet being a few feet off of the ground. He then slowly and gradually straightened out of the arch into handstand and came back down to Uttanasana. That looks like it would really be strenuous for the back muscles to pick up all that weight in a static hold like that. When I tried mine, with Tim's assistance, I tried to do what I had seen the woman doing and arched up as much as I could with my head and shoulders as he brought my lower body up. I think I was doing something right as it felt like I was able to do more of the shifting of my body weight back over than I usually do when Tim is helping me. I still don't think I can get my feet and lower legs up high enough for me to make that move on my own. We'll see next time I try it.

I am going to go to Mysore with Tim tomorrow. I made another adjustment in my clinic schedule, shifting my first couple of patients down a bit, to give me enough time to practice. I wanted to go to this class since it will be the first class at the new temporary studio. After that, I'm going to be in that 8 to 6 grind for a while, so I'm going to have to see if I can do some classes at that other studio.

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