This week has great potential. I was able to do my second series stuff as a self-practice in the studio on Monday. Tuesday evening, I did the led first series class after getting out of work with just barely enough time to spare. Nothing yesterday, but today I was able to go to Tim's morning Improv class before going to work. I can't remember the last time I made it to one of his Improv classes, it's been a long, long time. Tomorrow, I should be able to go to mysore class, but not Tim's. I have to be in the OR by 8:30 and his mysore starts at 7:00. Since the morning commute from the studio is usually about 40 minutes, that would be a total waste. One of Tim's students has an ashtanga studio in the same area. His mysore classes start at 6:00, so I should be able to do my whole practice and still make it to work in time. I work Friday night but not this weekend, so I will hopefully be able to practice both days, giving me a grand total of six practices for the week.
Monday's practice consisted of me and one other student practicing along with Tim and the person who helps him during mysore class. The room cooled down pretty quickly once all the mysore class people headed home. I got there at 9:00, right when most everyone else was either rolling up their mats or were at least laying in Savasana. By the time I got my mat positioned, went through my ritual of getting my rug moistened to minimize slippage while in down dog and did some minor wake up stretches, everyone else had left. The other person who practiced with us is a new mom who often can't make it to some classes because of the kind of issues that go along with caring for a newborn. She was already half way through the standing sequence when I got there. She tends to do all of first series and then also does her second series poses. Doing a lot of stuff like that tends to lead to one doing a very efficient and quick practice to get it all in. She did all of her stuff, while I only did my second stuff, and we ended up finishing a nearly the same time. I was hoping Tim would do third series for his practice, always fun to observe, but he did a half and half instead, doing the first series through Navasana, then most of the first half of second series. I was the last one in the romm to finish up. Since I was the only one left, I took a really long Savasana, maybe 20-25 minutes. As practices go, it was probably best described as a maintenance practice. No major progressions but overall, most things in it felt pretty good. I did do a few more back bends than I usually do. I typically just do three back bends, then stand up. In the last few months, I would then just go into the closing poses. I stopped doing the drop backs and the Viparita Chakrasana sequence back in January when I didn't practice much and when I was hobbled by a variety of pains. Monday I felt motivated to move on so I did five backbends and then did three drop backs. The drop backs weren't good but weren't that bad either, considering I've only done them one or two other times in the last five months. Now that drop backs are back in the armamentarium, the next step is to work up the nerve to re-start Viparita Chakrasana, or tic-tacs. I think I should be able to do it if I can get to a class where I have enough time to do everything.
Tuesday's first series was nice to do. There's no doubt in my mind that I need to do the first series as much as I can if I want to get back where I was in my second series poses. I've gotten back to the point where I'm not feeling real tired in doing the first series. For a while there, in the depths of my laxity, I had again started getting up to get a drink and catch my breath after doing Supta Kurmasana. It took me a while, but I've regained some conditioning and discipline. In fact, I wanted to do more backbends at the end on Tuesday but we stopped at four. There have't been too many classes ever where I wanted to do more backbends, so that was a clear turning point. I'm guardedly motivated to do more with backbending, torn between the positive feedback from what I can do now and the concern of somehow getting another tweak that would send me back to Start.
Today's Improv class was sort of underwhelming. I guess I had over-anticipated doing the class, envisioning him doing all kinds of advanced stuff. He didn't get too many requests though. One person asked for backbends and someone else asked for Pincha Mayurasana type stuff. Not much else was requested. We did a fairly straightforward opening of Surya A, then three reps of what he calls Surya Namaskara B, in which the Virabhadrasana portion on each side is held for five full breaths. Then he did a pretty standard and semi-quick Surya Namaskara C sequence. To start the backbending work, we did a series of lunges, or Anjaneyasana variations, including two repetitions on each side of Hanumanasana. I'm just now getting where I can get my back leg straight and my groin anywhere near the ground. I haven't yet tried to fold forward or to raise my hands overhead. Not that loose in the groins yet. We then did a couple of the early Second series back bending poses, Ustrasana, Dhanurasana, Bhekasana. We then did some Viparita Dandasana variations, both against the wall and free. I can go over okay but I just don't see the coming back happening. I know to do it I need to raise my head and arch toward my feet as I push off. I don't know how to do it though. We then did a few more poses and then we were done. I was surprised when we moved into Urdva Dhanurasana and the closing poses. It didn't seem like we had done that much.
One of the people who came to class today brought a friend that she is traveling with. Tim knows her quite well, so he joked with her, "You pick this class to start him off with?" The Improv class is often a fairly challenging class better suited for more experienced and advanced students, though many of us who don't so qualify go anyway. But, to have very little experience, that could be trouble. The guy did really well though. He had done some Ashtanga, or at least some kind of yoga before but I think a fair amount of what we did was a first for him. He'll probably feel it a little bit tomorrow.
Have to pull the plug if I'm going to be able to wake up in time to make it to a 6:00 class tomorrow morning. Halfway through a real practice week.