Thursday, May 19, 2005

Thursday is the day for Improv class. I usually don't get to go to it because work gets in the way. Today was a clinic day in which the first two appointments hadn't been booked as of couple of days ago, so I changed that time to time off and came to class today. Tim apparently has a head cold. After pranayama, he made a comment how hard it had been to do today with all of the congestion, runny nose, etc. That's kind of mind boggling since he can easily crush anyone else doing the pranayama class if he wants to. When we started Improv, he told us that his daughter had a cold and had given it to his wife who in turn gave it to him. As such, he stated that he was hoping to not have to anything too strenuous in class today. Improv is often shaped by requests from the various students for certain poses or for working certain areas of the body. Nobody really asked for anything, except one person who I think asked for some arm balances. So Tim decided for his low impact, easy version of Improv that we would do poses from the third series. Just the easy ones. Well, yes, of course they're easy. For him. He's been doing them for almost 25 years.

After the Suryas, he said, "We'll skip the standing poses, too strenuous." Then he called out, "Sthira Bhaga" So, directly we go into Viswamitrasana and then Vasisthasana. We then did the "easier" of the 3rd series foot behind the head poses, Kasyapasana and Chakorasana. We learned that Chakorasana is named for the partridge, who is supposed to feed on moonbeams. As such it is the epitome of lightness, which we were supposed to emulate when we tried to press up and hold the pose. We did skip around the series a bit here and there. We did the Urdhva Kukkutasana sequence in reverse order, which in my experience is the true order of difficulty. After doing a few arm balances, or at after trying to do them, we moved on to Viranchyasana B. This pose starts out like Janu Sirsasana C, but you then shift your body weight forward, which pushes your heel up front and your toes end up pointing behind you. It's really no more difficult to do than Janu C, but psychologically, it's a big move to make. You keep expecting the knee to completely dislocate as you roll over the foot. But, once you're in it, nothing happens. It's actually less uncomfortable for me than Janu C, because you're not putting a lot of torque on your toes, like commonly occurs in Janu C. After that pose, we shifted gears a bit and did Hanumanasana, Supta Trivikrmasana, then the standing version of Trivikrmasana. We finished by doing Natarajasana and Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana. So, like I said earlier, we just did the easy poses, on account of we were taking it easy for Tim today.

Today was the first time in quite a while that I was able to get my groin down on both sides of Hanumanasana. I didn't lay forward, although that to me is sometimes easier than sitting upright in the pose. Laying forward does put a bit more stretch on the hamstring but it takes the stress off of the groin of the back leg, which is where I feel it the most in this pose. I'm also not yet up to putting my hand in namaste position while sitting in the pose, or even more difficult, holding the arms overhead.

When I do my normal second series poses, one of the prep or research poses that I do to try and get ready for Kapotasana is a version of Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana in which the back leg is supported against the wall. I usually do this prep with the front leg up in a lunge position rather than the more typical position with it folded forward on the ground. Lately, I've been getting enough relaxation that I can reach back and grasp my toe. In the past, I'd have to just settle for reaching back and touching the wall. Today in class, we did Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana twice. The first time I used a strap as I was unable to rotate my arm around after first grabbing the big toe of the back leg. The second time around, however, I was able to grasp my toe, swing the elbow of the grasping arm through and up over head and then bring my other hand up and over to grab the foot with both hands, almost the way it's supposed to be done. I was apparently gasping like a guppy out of the fish bowl because Tim said, "One of the goals is to control the breathing." Next time, next time. That's only the second time I have ever been able to get hold of my toe and go into the pose in anything close to the right way. This is usually a strap pose for me.

Yesterday, I did my second series poses in a self practice session at the studio. Tim and his assistant and one other student were there doing their practices as well. Sometimes, when we practice with him, Tim will stop what he is doing to give an assist from time to time. Yesterday, he pretty much let me let me do it on my own. He did help me into and out of Karandavasana after I failed on all three of my attempts. If there was anything that stood out about the practice, it seemed to me that I came down in Viparita Chakrasana reasonably softly. I didn't feel like a tree crashing down.

I'm in the OR tomorrow but I'm going to try to get to that other studio that has mysore class that starts at 6:00. If not, maybe I can get done early enough to go to the evening Intro to second series class.

My wife is starting to get back into her pre-cancer flow of life. She's started back teaching classes. She's been subbing classes every day this week. She had a couple of regular classes that she gave up when she had her surgery and then had to start chemo. Hopefully she'll get the chance to start teaching those classes again or at least get some other regular ones. When the new studio opens, I think they are considering adding several new classes so maybe she can get started with a regular class at Tim's. That would make her day.

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