Wednesday, 27 May 2009

challenges

Back at home today, first self practice today after my shala visit.  Really enjoyable.  I did some exploratory handstand stuff, working on free balancing at the end of my standing sequence.  Then I did some playing around with lolasana and holding it to build up strength for jump backs.  Which is going to be my main focus for a while.  Like I said I like to have a challenge, it keeps me learning and curious.  Then did full primary with 3 kurmasana and a bit of work getting right leg behind the head lying down.  Gonna work on that too, to work on getting into supta kurmasana via dwi pada

Then at the end of primary I did second series up to kapotasana.  Touched my right toe again fairly easily but still no joy with my left.  I think this is due to having more dexterity with my right hand as I am right handed rather than more flexibility as my left side is usually more flexible than my right.  I feel like I am going nowhere fast with kapotasana but as I worked on it, I thought am I getting a stretch, as the answer is most definitely yes, all is good, that's all we need to find in any pose really.

Then 5 urdva dhanurasanas and 5 drop backs and coming up, they were much better today probably because I did the second series back bends beforehand.  I really like this combination of primary and second they flow together well.  So I'm happy to practice this far and have found much to work and challenge me.

Monday, 25 May 2009

at the shala

I practiced mysore style at the shala in London this morning. Always feels so much like home, to practice with others even though I barely know any of them. I feel connected to them through the practice that we all share. My teacher has gone to Mysore to pay his respects to Guru G. I thought he might.

I bought a new mat last week , a planet sadhana mat, it's meant to last a lifetime. I practice so much I wear mats away fairly quick and so have been rotating my use of my students mats. It's nice to have my own mat and although I thought there was nothing wrong with my other mats, this one is so much better. It seems to stabilise me without me having to grip it. Today was a real test for it though, as it is pretty hot in the shala and I got a bit slippy, only a couple of times. I do not usually use a rug as I don't sweat much but maybe I'll get one for when I'm at the shala and when Sharath comes........we'll see, the mat still needs breaking in.

I seem to be able to maintain my effort better in my jump throughs and backs when in the shala, there is such a wonderful focus in the room. I'm working on that as I like to work on something and although there are things to improve in my practice I can do (bind) in everything I have been given. This is a unique experience for me. It only seems like yesterday when four years ago ...I first did the primary series with all it's challenges it had in store for me. I really like being adjusted in supta kurmasana, it is very different from doing it myself and means I work more from my hips and less reaching with my chest.

Treated myself to a very healthy breakfast and drink and have a big bottle of orange juice to rehydrate me through the day. I have resolved to make an effort to eat more healthily and also go back to having a fresh juice every day, not that I'm unhealthy, I just know I can improve. I think getting away from my everyday life once a month allows me to reflect on my life and what I could change. It's so much easier to see if you take a step back.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

catch up

I have decided not to have my day off today, well it is Saturday, so I guess that's normal.  I had Thursday off last week and so have practiced 8 days straight.  I'm going to London tomorrow and I'm going to practice Monday and Sunday at the Shala.  I'm really looking forward to practicing with others and so glad I have started to go every month, twice this month.

Having a blog feels a bit like having confession, I imagine...although mostly I have nothing to confess.........but so much has happened.

I just read my previous post to see where my practice was up to when I last blogged.  I am now able to get my shoulders down in Kurmasana.  I am still working on it and repeating three times when I practice at home (I think doing exploritory stuff like that is important if your practicing mainly alone).  Anyways it worked..........I have been trying to do Supta Kurmasana every day since I went to Mysore last year so about 17 months............I have loved the journey..........and now I can do it.  I get into it by crossing my feet first,  then wiggling the shoulders through.  Some advice from a friend really helped with how I cross.  I take the left foot to the right of the centre so when the right leg crosses over it doesn't have so far to go.  I'd like to be able to clasp first then cross my feet, as I'd like to teach it that way, for some of my students it would work better.  I think I can do this but have to work out the action needed to lift the heel.  Anyhow I can do it all by myself and have done so every day for about a week now.

A couple of weeks ago I went to the shala and was given the first two postures of second series.  My practice felt great used to be exhausted after practicing in the shala but feel like I've really come through that and now feel quite energized.  Feel like my practice has really changed in the last couple of months.  I think not being a supply teacher will have worked wonders here.  It was such a tough job.

So I'm still a little naughty and continue to practice up until the posture I can't do rather than the one I'm stopped at.  I practice by myself mostly.  I go to an Iyengar class once a week and a couple of mysore classes a month.  The rest of the time I do full primary and then currently up to Kapotasana.  I like to have a posture to work on, it can be a good motivator for home practice. I do yoga for many reasons but I guess the most important is that it transforms me.  Getting the asana is not why I do yoga it's just something that helps motivate me to get on my mat and practice.  So here I am very much at the beginning of a new journey with kapotasana.  Woah what a posture, it's so opening emotionally and physically and requires so much perseverance.  Can touch my right toe by myself on a good day, I'm surprised by that as my right side is generally tighter than my left but I think it's because I'm right handed and can move that arm more?

Sri K. Pattabhi Jois died this week and I could right a long post just about what I have been through with that.  Ultimately I am left realising how much this guy has changed my life mostly indirectly although I am honoured that I had the opportunity to practice led classes with him last time he was in London.   

So I finish this post with thanks to Pattabhi Jois for putting the practice out there so that so many people could practice it.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

breakthrough

I have been practicing intensely recently and really enjoyed my day off yesterday.  Came back to my mat with renewed enthusiasm and resolve to not push myself too hard.  I've been working on Kurmasana for a long time..................I have really learned to love this pose.  Recently I have been trying to get my shoulders to the floor as my teacher suggested that would help with supta kurmasana.  On Friday someone adjusted me and I was able to take my shoulders down, afterwards I was able to get my shoulders down by myself.  Today I got my shoulders down without assistance.  Still working on supta kurmasana but am pleased to see progress.

I am currently practicing up to laghu vajrasana in the second series.  I do not have a regular mysore style studio near me and so stopped myself there.  I was unable to come up until today although for the last few weeks I have been able to come up if I came up straight away.  Today I came up after five breaths and then repeated it to make sure my body remembered what to do.  Managed it both times.  So moved myself on to Kapotasana as a reward.  Managed to touch my toes in kapotasana with a bit of help.  I have been working on the previous posture for some months and must have developed some of the flexibility and strength needed for kapotasana from it.   Glad about that as it is pretty intense!