I’m feel my practice getting stronger every day. My leg lifts higher in Utthita Hasta Padangustasana, the movement originating from my core. My flexibility is increasing – bending forward in Janu Sirsasana A I am now able to reach my hands around my foot. I wasn’t able to do that a year ago when I started a Mysore practice. When I stopped practicing after about 3 weeks into it, I thought for sure I would have to start all over again and relearn everything. A year later, I’ve picked it up again – those 3 weeks have not been lost. I feel like my body remembers the movements and after just a week I’ve surpassed my previous practice. Here is a link to a good Primary Series Sequence with a Canadian in nothing but his underwear.
It also helps that while on my Mysore hiatus I continued to practice vinyasa classes and led ashtanga sporadically. Through led ashtanga with the help of teachers like Sara Miller, Rebekah Nagy and Vanessa Baish I’ve been able to keep the sequence fresh in my mind.
Today, the Advanced Standing Poses class with Vanessa was challenging, but not impossible. Balancing on one leg with my torso extended in one direction and my leg in the other was difficult. I imagine the pose (I forgot the name of it) will come easier with more core strength. I’m imagining a tightrope walker with a balance bar. The bar represents my torso and leg extending in equal but opposite directions, my standing leg represents the walker who is able to stay balanced if he can keep the bar steady and close to his body.
I will think of this image next time I’m in this pose.
Posted by amonray on February 5, 2012
Vanessa’s Advanced Standing Poses was tough stuff. I was near tears by the end of it (okay, that’s a lie. I was definitely weepy at the start of Shavasana). I get extremely frustrated when thrust into positions where I’m unprepared. I truly consider myself to be a beginner with a background in ballet. Arm Balances, Inversions, poses taken to their fullest expression are not a part of my practice. It was humiliating having to struggle through things that I cannot do at this point.
Thank goodness Vanessa was understanding about my inability to do a shoulder stand. Instead of trying to align me, which only lasts for the brief moments a teacher touches me in these types of asanas, she let me do my thing, or rather she didn’t make any comment when I did my own thing (Halasana & Urdhva Padmasana in lieu of Salamba Sarvangasana).
I realize how perfectionist this might be, but why do an unaligned inversion & subtly train your body to practice a pose incorrectly, which you later have to fix, instead of waiting until you have the physical lightness & core strength to properly execute the asana? In Mysore class I don’t do any jumps other than through to sit, & that’s solely because it’s required by Amy (& I trust that lady 100%). I can’t keep my torso off the ground still when moving between Chaturanga Dandasana & Urdhva Mukha Shvanasana & I usually switch to “knees, chest, chin” after Surya Namaskara A. I figure once I can hold myself up in those asanas, jumping will be easy-peasy. Or at least bearable.
Obviously this has to do with my personality & how I process information & action & nothing to do with the instructors. In ballet I had to wait 8 years before getting my pointe shoes & I didn’t start studying any other languages until I had spent a good 6 years on Latin. For someone who is constantly told my pranayama is too fast, I move at tortoise-pace otherwise.
Rachel who is half a person smaller & at least a year into a daily yoga practice is so excited for Vanessa’s class. Present Rachel is already getting so anxious for next Sunday, even if it’s forward bends (a favorite). I can’t bend anymore from Mysore!
The lesson to be learned from this is humbleness, no? I do appreciate my limitations. My problem is that I’m not working with much pride in my practice to begin with. I’m very much aware that I suffer from hyper-criticality (amongst other fun things), so I’m going to go read this article in greater depth. There are some delicious quotes. Also reading the 37 Practices of Bodhisattvas by Ngulchu Thogme Zangpo & looking for a copy of Selected Works of the Dalai Lama VII: Songs of Spiritual Change.
Posted by rachelfegan on February 4, 2012