An excellent weekend in the capital. Met Pat at Kings X, another regular commenter on this blog, great to meet her at long last. Friday evening was Pranayama, meditation, some chanting and a Q and A session with Kino. She had some interesting thoughts, such as only attempt a pose 3 times, if it doesnt happen, move on it will still be there tomorrow. Also a comment about how the shaking we can feel in an intense pose is the Samskaras leaving our body’s. Someone asked about Drishte’s, in that teachers don’t often mention it in a Mysore practice, Susan and I looked at each other with the same thought, that our teacher Cary is ALWAYS reminding us, (well probably more me) all the time about it.
I spent Friday night in the very minimalist EasyHotel, cheap and interesting, you open your door and crash into the bed, the toilet even has a sign saying “Tiny Loo” on it, its so small you could sit on the loo, clean your teeth in the tiny basin and have a shower at the same time!
Saturday morning we did a led Primary, one of the most challenging I have ever done, I think Kino needs to learn to count to 5, she seems to struggle with what comes after 3!! I actually really enjoyed it, especially in the poses where the sloooooow count gave me time to release more, like in Janu A & B. Kino adjusted Janu A, she has warm hands. Also managed to bind myself quite happily in Supta K. Urdva Dhanurasana was hard, she had us come down onto the head inbetween, not something I am used to doing.
Saturday afternoon was the strength workshop, she covered jumping through and back. She talked about not giving in and to keep working. Also with the jump back, she said to cross the shins, not the ankles, I actually had a some success with this, it does make a difference. To help she had us from Dandasana place the hands forward of the hips and lift up the legs and backside. Sirsasana was fun, Kino had us, with a partner lift the head, I didn’t think I could do that. Handstands I enjoy trying for fun, Kino said we should do them after backbends. She had us walking in until on tippy toes and the feeling of falling over and seeing if we could lift, even a millimetre. I think I need to experiment with this method, having been employing Dena’s bunny hop method for 9 months. We also did Bakasana and jump back, I didn’t realise until I asked Susan after that the knees are supposed to go into the arm pits and not on to the elbows. Kino’s explanation of how the body should lift, ie from underneath was useful, it made me realise why Cary adjusts my Trikonasana in the way she does, stopping the bottom of moy torso sagging, it needs to engage and push upwards.
Sunday morning was the Mysore practice, I started with the first batch at 9.30am, but I think there were too many people for Kino to get around, she had a helper who did some downdog squishsing and UHP leg holding. I had a really nice practice in the sunshine, London was surprisingly warm. Plenty of room as well despite the number of people. I am very time consistent, was hitting Navasana as the second batch came in to start at 10.30, having managed Mari B in half lotus on both sides and D on the first side, when the conditions are right it happens. Supta Kurmasana was a really good one, I stayed for longer trying to get further under and managed to lift up with my feet for a couple of seconds before they flew out. Urdva Dhanurasana X 4, then played around dropping back on my own, then Kino arrived and had me do the first one standing up from UD, then 2 more proper drop backs. They felt really good. I did Sirsasana and was in Childs pose when I realised I hadn’t done Ardha, so not wishing to miss anything, I went back up and down and up, whatever… A really good practice.
Sunday lunchtime headed to the veggie food area of Camden market with Susan, Clare, Anna,Pat and Graham, lovely picnic in the sunshine, this is the life!
Sunday afternoon was the backbend workshop, I learned quite a lot. Kino started us off with some deep lunges which helped us realise how much the front of the body has to take part in the structure of a backbend. The first asana backbend in Primary is Purvottanasana, Kino’s explanation about what has to lift, ie the hips pushing forward, its not about up and down its about back and forth, I had never thought of it in this way. We then worked with a partner to help lift from the sacrum. I could not have had a better partner in Susan, who has been one of my teachers at YP over the last year. Not only did she help with the pose, but got me to look at what my left hand was doing, then we did it again. One of the most useful, for me, exercises was pushing our thumbs into our own sacrum (Thanks Susan for showing me exactly where it is), as we did Ustrasana, pushing the hips forward as we went back, it made me realise how far forward the hips need to be not just in Ustrasana and the following assisted Kapotasana, but especially in dropbacks. Even with Susan’s assistance I was quite surprised to touch the floor in Kapotasana, I have never done that before.
I really like trying dropbacks now, Kino mentioned the stages we go through with postures, as in “I cant do that”, then we start working towards it and we believe it may just be possible and if we work hard enough it may happen, that’s how I am with dropback, I never believed I would be ready for this, let alone a teacher would think me ready to try, now I try. It was actually quite heartening to hear Kino admit that handstand took her 5 years to crack. Again I was lucky to be working with Susan, it makes such a difference to have complete and total confidence in the other person, she got me from pushing my thumbs into my sacrum,to prayer postion, to reaching for the floor, while trying to remember what Kino had said. The second attempt felt really nice. I felt a bit of a fraud “assisting” Susan, she has the most incredible dropbacks and backbends I have seen and didn’t really need my help. We then got to play on our own at which point I realised that the white towel I could see was my one on the end of my mat, I can see the floor on my own, though it still looks out of reach.
What a great weekend, a brilliant workshop, good company and nice weather and I saw the floor, how good is that.