I got up at 5am to get the bus, it was dark and foggy as we arrived in London, I rang the bell and climbed the stairs to YP and saw the 2 flip flops by the radiator telling me Cary is back from her honeymoon and trip to Mysore. Thanks to Susan, Dena and Michaela in the last 2 months my practice has continued to grow, but Cary is an inspirational teacher. After greetings the first thing she asked after discussing my stress fracture was, did I find Ujayi yet? She must teach dozens of people, but her memory for individual challenges her students have amazes me.
5 months ago when I wrote this post about my lack of Ujayi, I thought I would never find out how to do it. Then Michaela turned the lightbulb on and since then Ujayi has come and gone, coming on poses I find relatively easy and going on those that are more than a struggle. At least the shala was nice and warm, helped deeper into Prasarita C, reminded about lifting my elbows in Parsvottanasana, then there she was waiting at the end of my mat for the dreaded Utita Hasta Padangusthasana. The preceding poses had opened my hamstrings and hips so the adjustment was ok, I let Cary do the asana as I concentrated on that now discovered Ujayi breath, I could tell I had found it and that she could hear it, as a big grin came over her face and as she left to adjust the person behind she just said “Good breath“, you have no idea how good it felt to hear those words from her. So I think its official, I have an Ujayi breath, not all the time, but this is a bit of a breakthrough.
Seated began with help in Dandasana, planting my hands as she tried to get me to roll my shoulders back and down, I’m sure my arms are too long for this one! I plodded through, jumping through, though not jumping back, protecting my strapped up foot. The forward bends were surprisingly open, especially with how tight my hamstrings have been at home, I found a conveniently thick little block to help with Janusirsasana B, it was just high enough to keep the weight off my right foot and allow me to forward bend, I had done Triang Mukha with the foot out to the side. I was sweaty enough to be able to get well into Supta Kurmasana before help arrived, in that heat it was easier to squirm and wriggle my shoulders further under my legs, grab my hands and be oh so close to crossing the feet. Though one thing comes another goes, I cant straighten my legs as I come out of Supta K into Titibhasana anymore.
Although my neck problem has improved a lot lately, I am still very wary of it, so still do modified bridge instead of Setu Bandhasana, but I can stay in that longer, followed by an Ustrasana before 4 Urdva Dhanurasana, which again got better with each one. I wonderd about dropbacks, so went to the front of my mat and got guided hangbacks, which were quite deep, remembering Dena’s instructions about following a line both back and up.
I knew my lazyness in Sirsasana would not escape a teacher’s eye forever. After what I thought was a reasonable 20 breath headstand, I came down to find Cary waiting to give me Ardha Sirsasana, to do it from now on in my practice. So up I went again, then following her instructions came down half way, “further , further” she said, the effort needed to raise back up even with her help took all my breath that she said I didnt breathe. I have made sporadic attempts in the past at this variation, but nothing sustained. But I have shied away from this posture for so long, because I couldnt do it and nobody has encouraged or really helped me to do it, Cary is the first teacher to actively try and get me to do it, when I think about it this is probably the first time a teacher has actually given me a posture in the traditional sense. So that’s more work to do. After practice she talked about my ujayi, I think she is pleased I have found it, telling me that not only will it make my practice take longer ( I already found that out), but my practice will be deeper.
So after umming and aaaahing yesterday as to whether to get up and go, I am so glad I went, although some of my practice is quite restricted because of the stress fracture, practice as a whole was good and satisfying. My only problem is going to be getting this sports injury tape off my leg, I know its gonna hurt and rip the hairs off my legs!