Wednesday, 6 October 2010

more tales from the mat

When I went on my retreat with Louise Ellis, we did yin yoga in the evenings.  I loved it!  So calming and such a great balance to the astanga practice.  When I was working on mari D,  supta K, and garba, I used to do a fair bit of yin to open my hips up but more recently I have just been doing badha konasana, which I have been doing for 10 minutes every day for years now.  I have a drink in it, while I wake up.  Anyway, Louise suggested doing some yin before practice.  She also suggested doing  ujayi in the yin poses, I love that, really allows me to smooth out the breath and tame the monkey mind.  I found it hard to find time to do any yin on top of my long practice but since I have been split have been exploring it.

I think at the moment, I am more strong than flexible and so the yin is really balancing for my body and balancing energetically for intermediate, I think too.  It is really meditative and doing it before practice allows me to begin my practice in a softer, quieter way.  It is not orthodox I know, I'm over that, I mean I wouldn't do it in the shala but at home I will do whatever is right for me.  When I got split, Kevin texted me to say, that in theory my practice would be much shorter.  I had to laugh at the in theory part.  I spend about the same amount of time practicing, although not all of my practice is ashtanga.

So I do my badha konasana,  I don't really count this as practice as I let my mind wonder and wake up here, sometimes I read in it.  Then 5 minutes in these for poses eka pada raja kapotsana (front leg only)  does this have it's own name?   Supta virasana to counter cycle commuting and hanging off chair to open upper back.  Then 10 minute of breathing in padmasana with Michael gannons pranayama CD.  I'm just doing the breathing for week one which is sama vvritti, equal breathing.  Doing this breathing pre practice really helps to keep my breathing mellow during intermediate intense spots, which in turn keeps my body and mind calm :-)

It is amazing to see the changes in my practice this month.  It's now back to where it was pre split.  I guess my body just had to adapt to the lack of primary.  Upper back is definately oppening and although my back has been more open than it is right now, it is more consistently open and drop backs feel much nicer.  I feel much more energised when I work more from upper back and back bends make more sense physically.

Been continuing to work on kapotasana with my repeating sequence, see previous post.  Before I got split I was nearly getting into it alone and getting and staying in it alone if assisted.  I worked really hard to get there and went through so much personal transformation.  I am actually starting to love this pose for the change it has taken me through and continues to take me through.  When I got split I was back where I started creeping for my toes.  The main difference though was that I knew what to do,  I have had lots of great advise  from teachers on this.  So my body may not have been flexible enough but I knew how to work on that safely with my body and after just 6 weeks I am 3 quarters of the way up my foot again.  I have really gotten to know my feet with this one, I can feel how far up I am.  Some days I am nearly getting my heels solo.  This is funny because after I got split I half surrendered to this, I though well it might take years but I will work on it and one day I will do it.  I guess doing this pose to me symbolises conquering fear and that's why I continue to work at it.  Now it's close there is some expectation, which I don't like, will today be the day, etc.
Oh well something else to let go of.

The leg behind the head stuff, I can do but it needs work to get them deeper.  I am just allowing that to happen though, no repeats.  I mean you put each leg behind the head 3 times anyway!  Tittibhasana C hurts for less time, man that is intense for me, guess it's the cycling.

Pincha is a bit up in the air, or rather it isn't.  Initially I was kicking up which sometimes worked well and I was learning how much force I needed to do it free standing.  My teacher gave me some great advise two weeks ago and it made perfect sense when he was there but at home, it's been a bit of a struggle.  I think it's better to do it this way though as it is more controlled.  I see my teacher on Monday so I can clarify.  He said to walk in and take first leg up as much a possible then bend the other leg to come up.  I suspect I may not be flexible enough to walk in close enough or lift first leg far enough back, although I think  I managed fine in the shala (it's warmer there though).  I've been adding an extra kick with the lifted leg which brings the other off the floor.  Sorry am I boring you, anyway that works sometimes and I am starting to get up more often, once up I can generally balance and it feels great.  Hopefully I will get some advise on this, this weekend.

Trip to London this weekend and I will see my partner for the first time in two weeks as well as my London yoga friends :-)


  1. Hope you've had a good weekend! I saw my family this weekend and still haven't recovered.

    Interesting to hear that your back is opening up again as you get used to not doing primary every day. That must be a bit of a relief. I'm really curious aboutin general about the transition once you've been split. I think I'd really miss some poses.

  2. Hi R, hope you had a great time with your family. Ironically my back has tightened up again since I wrote this. Non-attachment, lol! My back is very changeable, changes with the wind or well anything really. I think it might be because I am working on pincha mayurasana (forearm balance) lots.

    The process of moving on from primary to second was so gradual that I almost felt ready for it when it happened. Especially in retrospect, I was a bit shocked at the time. Having familiarity with second helped and having had such a long practice, I was happy to split it by that point, although I'm not sure it is easier!