Sunday, 30 August 2009

Danny Paradise and Sharath day 2 and 3

Sharath day one - afternoon

After led class with Sharath I did a workshop with Danny Paradise in the afternoon, naughty I know, sorry!

Danny Paradise workshop was great. Practice was mostly second series with some third series and variations on standing as in the day before. I felt strong and really enjoyed the practice. Danny was great at adjusting really gentle encouraging you to do as much of the work as you can rather than taking over. Reminded me of Sharath's adjustments. Danny went round adjusting everyone who wanted some help with the more challenging postures. So I got my first kapotasana adjustment after two previous attempts. He helped me grab my feet and it felt nice, calming to have someone there.

Sharath day 2

So the following morning I went to led class with Sharath after my double practice the day before. I could tell I had done back bends when I woke up and did a couple of forward bends before practice to try and counter a bit.

When led class began I wondered if I'd ever bend forward but after the first surya I my body warmed up and it was nice. My breath was more fluid and so a better practice than the day before. My arms were tired but I managed to keep to Sharath's count. Danny did this awsome egyption shoulder oppener, which I felt in my arms all week, particularly Virabhadrasana B, which was difficult till Thusday!

Day 3

On day one and two I was trying my best in each posture, today although I was still stretching in each posture I found a softness in it. This morning I was reading one of Matthew Sweeney's book and what he said really struck a chord as to what it was like. He said "Effort is only there in order for you to work towards effortlessness."

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Sharath workshop

I'm back from my week in London and have had a great time, was unable to blog due to busyness and also because the experience was so ongoing, it seemed more appropriate to go with it. It was lovely to see Sharath again and to practice with so many people. It reminded me of my time in Mysore and because of that it made me think about how my practice had changed since I was in Mysore.

There are many things I can do now, that I couldn't do then but the biggest thing that has changed is that I don't get so hung up on it. Here is a link to my mysore blog. I do not think that ambition to get a pose in Ashtanga is a bad thing, sometimes it is a great motivating factor. It isn't why we practice yoga but it helps us get on the mat everyday then that's useful. I guess years of practice has just made me realise that some days will be better than others and the things I now struggle with will next year be easier, all I have to do is get on my mat.

I prefer mysore style classes to led classes but I like led classes too. They help me remove the faff as I just have to go with the vinyasa. They teach the non-attachment to asana as I was talking about above because say you have difficulty with a pose, your not going to be there long, the practice is ever changing, so you let go of it and move on to the next pose. I also like practicing in time with lots of people, there is a special focus and energy to it.

Here are some reflections on my practice.................

Day one

My breath seemed a bit ragged at times, which made me wonder if I was becoming unwell. Sometimes I notice illness in my practice first. I ate well for the rest of the day and was fine after that. Knee was also a bit iffy as I had fallen on it, the week before, twice! I was able to do everything though, just had to be careful. Sharath adjusted me briefly in baddha konasana, which I did not expect, so a real bonus. When I was in mysore, I mostly had to come down in headstand and uth pluthi as Sharath's count is long and I get more tired in led than normal. Mangaged to keep to his count though and decided it would help my practice to try and do this for the whole week. All in all it wasn't a great practice on the mat but I felt good for it so decided that was what mattered. I went for breakfast with a yogi friend which was lovely.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Danny Paradise

Really enjoyed the first day of the workshop, Danny has some interesting ideas and shares them with great clarity. This will have to be a short post as I am meeting a friend for dinner and have to be tucked up in bed soon for first day with Sharath tomorrow.

Practice was really different, lots of modifications of poses, some completely new to me. Like binding the arms in prasarita parvakonasana and then trying to stand on one leg. Who would have thought of that? He was generous with his time and knowledge, workshop overran by an hour.

At the beginning he said something to the effect of you have to take responsibility for your own path. I like that, people can share their experiences, sure but at the end of the day you have to practice. As Pattabhi Jois would say "Do your practice and all is coming"

Got to dash, more soon...

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Mysore classes and new poses

I went to London at the weekend, it's taken me till now to blog as I've been busy catching up with my life. I got the train in first thing in the Saturday morning, so I could do an early morning Mysore class. I went to 3 different teachers, as my teacher doesn't teach at the weekends.

Saturday morning practice was good. I had Friday off and was well recovered I guess. The teacher was new to me and maybe I practiced better to show my practice? I felt good, strong and flexible in the heat. Loved the adjustments too, lovely deep backbending.

Sunday morning and I awoke feeling the implications of my Saturday strong practice on my body. It was like being given a new body to practice with both flexibility and strength wise. Still it was interesting to observe it and I enjoyed being at the shala, tried to take it easy, sometimes this was noticed and I was adjusted!

Monday, my body was back to form, so I went full circle. When I got to the place where I stop my teacher was nearby and gave me the next two postures. So now officially up to Bhekasana, backbends were a joy after that especially in the heat. Being given poses is fun, always feels like Christmas or something.

Spent the weekend mostly talking to other yogis about yoga, it was a joy. Looking forward to trip for Sharath's led classes.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

A practice of two halves

As I practiced standing today my mind was wandering I stuck with it, and kept focusing on my breath. It must have helped because as I'm reflecting now the second half of my practice was more much more focused.

Yesterday, I went to my Iyengar class. My teacher is brilliant and it was a nice sequence. We did pincha muyarasana which I'm learning to balance in. He helped me with my alignment in the pose so that was helpful. We then did a forward bending sequence, which was really quietening and I went deeper than normal probably because of the sequence. Finished off forward bend part of sequence with supta kurmasana, which is my favourite pose, I think. Felt really chilled and slowed down afterwards.

So today back to the land of Ashtanga, I wanted to focus on back bending having done none yesterday. I did full primary and second to kapotasana, did a few kapotasana, lots of different approaches and enjoyed the exploration but still only one heel or the other. I still think it's possible if I only knew how.....but in the meantime I'm really opening up multidimensionally.

I'm going to London Saturday for some mysore style classes, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Really excited, seems like ages since I've been to a mysore style class. Going to a new teacher on Saturday (going to take Friday off practice). Excited about that as it will be an entirely new perspective, teacher is a teacher of a an Ashtangi friend of mine and she speaks highly of him so I'm curious.

Monday, 3 August 2009

just getting on with it

Yesterday I did my current weekly practice of full second series. This time I did it without a DVD for the first time. Some postures that are usually better were not there but it was a nice practice. Getting a bit more fluidity with the sequence. Kapotasana felt close yesterday but not so today as is so often is the case. Jump back was more fluid today, I worked on it and enjoyed the mindfulness of being conscious of my movements in space.

Today I did full primary and really enjoyed focus on ujayi breathing. Last week tried to speed up my primary with the virtual help of Sharath on his DVD. Today just tried to flow with it. I can get into Supta Kurmasana, first attempt but it takes a couple of breaths, at the mo, working on this, everything else I can enter with ease.

After a few attempts at Kapotasana from various different methods I still felt strong. So kept going to Pincha Mayurasana, couldn't free balance today so went to the wall. Having realised recently how much my primary has changed, has freed me a bit to just practice each day and see how it is. We can only be where we are afterall, here.

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Jump back and kapotasana

I had a day off practice yesterday as I was busy and tired and it seemed to fit. So practiced today instead. This week I've been tidying up my primary trying to practice it in flow and a bit faster so I can focus on second series. My primary series is okay now, I think...... I'm amazed when I think back to how many postures I could not do that I now do with ease.

My jump backs have improved a great deal and I guess I'd been happy to let them evolve in their own way. The feet touch my mat as I go back and I think that it's just a phase. Nevertheless today I focused on this held the difficult part of the jump back a bit with a view to building up strength and also tried to keep my legs tight in. This meant my practice was a little less fluid but I guess it's for greater fluidity in the future.

Been grabbing my heels in kapotasana but only one heel at a time, I get a good stretch out of this though and think it's a useful way to work at it for now? Hopefully I'll find some relative ease in the pose and be able to grab my other heel. Feel like it's mostly psychological with this posture, it is so intense mentally and emotionally or perhaps that is the viewpoint I need to change.

I practiced full primary and then second series up to pincha muyurasana. Dwi Pada is improving, I can namaste with some regularity now but still find getting right leg behind shoulder awkward. All in all a good practice. Planning on doing full second tomorrow for my weekly exploration.