I went to the Sunday morning led second series today. It wasn't the comfort fest that last week's led first series was. Tim started off by asking if anyone knew what significance today had in Christian religions. Not one person had a clue. Buncha heathens all of us. He informed us that today was the Feast of the Pentecost. When we all nodded like unknowing fools, he went on. It's the fiftieth day after Easter and ten days after the Ascension. Yeah, yeah, sure, I remember learning about that once, I think. And? Having been to Tim's classes for a while, I knew there had to be some kind of practice related hook coming for him to go into this kind of detail. He went on to explain that on this day, the Holy Spirit came down and baptized the apostles. With fire. Oohhh. Snap. We get it now. We're gonna sweat today.
Tim used to do a number of backbending research poses before doing Kapotasana. Sometime, a year or so ago, that fell by the wayside and he would just bull through Kapo, even when people requested research. Today we did the research. That was fine by me. I've been trying to get a deeper Kapotasana. The only way I'm going to get close to the heels right now is if I've done the research for the shoulders and groins. Without doing research right before the pose, I think I can get to mid foot, maybe on a really good day getting up to the joint that sticks out below the little toe. With research, I can sometimes get a finger joint or two onto or over the heel. My first attempt today, without assistance, was disappointing, mid foot at best. I went into it a second time when I knew he'd have to come over and help. He got my fingers over the heels. Still a far cry from the ankle grab I had last week but I'll take it.
Most of the rest of the class was acceptable. I dithered a bit too much before Bakasana B, so right as I was launching he called five. I also wasn't real stable in Karanda. Both of the times that I tried it on my own, I over tilted right after I got into lotus and had to come down.
We had done a fair number of forearm balances in the Saturday Improv class, so maybe my shoulders were tired. Who knows? Today felt like one of those days when I'd have enough center to be able to lower my knees down with control, but I never got that far. The Improv yesterday was taught by one of my favorite teachers from when I first started at the studio, Kim Toledo. She's been out of the loop for the last several years raising two small children. I've been to classes where she practiced, but this was the first time she's taught a class that I've been to in a long time, maybe four years. She has the practice that I have always most wanted to emulate. She is extremely graceful in her movements, something that doesn't typify my practice at all. Even when she hasn't been around, when I'm doing stuff and trying to make it better, I think of how to make what I do seem more fluid, like her practice.
The Improv was a fun one. She did the request approach. Nothing too wild was asked for. Someone did ask for Natarajasana, which I hate. I'd much rather work on doing eka pada raja kapotasana or raja kapotasana than trying to get the foot while balancing in Natarajasana. Too much going on at one time.
Friday was a full practice for me. I got there early, right when pranayama was starting. I ended up having about two and a half hours to do stuff. I did first and my second poses and as much research as I could fit in. I ended up, once again, only doing three simple backbends and blowing off the rest of the backbending sequence and closing poses. I had worked pretty hard and was feeling tired and just didn't want to push on. I don't think Tim adjusted me once until I got to Bhekasana. That pose is kind of a given adjustment, if he or the other person are anywhere near. If you want to dodge an adjustment in it, you have to be crafty in timing when you go into it so that you can be done before they get over to you. Earlier, when I was starting back on my second poses, I wanted no part of an adjustment there. Now things are less melodramatic and most of my former range of motion is coming back, so I didn't mind the help. Tim helped me with my first Kapotasana. I usually do one go with out any research. Then I do all that backbending research crap I listed in the previous pose. I then give it an 'after' try. The research is usually good for a shift in hand position of at least half of my foot length. Tim came over to help and the other adjuster, Andrew, came as well. Andrew is the one who got me to my ankles last week. They were going to wishbone me. Tim pulled me in enough to get my fingers securely over the heels, but not thumbs and not even close to the ankles. When I came up, I wanted to say something to Andrew about having lost so much distance in just one week, but I didn't think Tim would take it the right way. In the past, like just last summer, to get my fingers over my heels would normally have been an alert the press kind of an accomplishment. Whining about not grabbing ankles would have been the epitome of hubris on my part.
I did land my Karandavasana. Twice. Don't know if I've ever done that before. The first time was a little crash-landie, but I was in there and stable. I held it and waited for someone to notice. No one did. I cleared my throat. And waited. I cleared my throat loudly. And waited. And then I gave up and rolled out onto my butt. "What a waste" I thought, "No way I'm gonna be able to that again." I had to give it another try though. As my knees came onto my arms, I almost rocked backwards to lose it but but managed to get my weight forward and settled in. By then, Andrew had come over and he helped me back up. I guess my arms had had it because my elbows splayed out and my hands slipped inward, making stability in Pincha hard. I held it Pincha just long enough to dismount and finished up the last two poses. All in all, it was apractice I was quite happy with. I did a lot and was pretty worked.
Well, one of those endless 'details about practice' postings. I have to go check a wound that's bleeding so I can't fill in with interesting anecdotes or stories about my kids and whatnot. Next time.