My penultimate crack of dark trip into the city for 2008. It was a bitterly wet and cold morning, luckily once in the Shala, Cat had the heating on, it was so nice to walk into that room and feel warm and cosy. I began my practice at the appointed hour, on my own, not that I mind a 1 to 1 practice, but they are incredibly hard work, both mentally and physically, so I was quite glad when AC showed up as I was finishing my Surya B’s. More yogi’s came in gradually, though it felt like there was no escape from the mental intensity as my mat neighbours to the side and behind were Cary and Susan, my other 2 teachers, though I suspect they were both consumed with their own practice, but I reckon Cary was probably keeping an eye on me! Concentration during practice comes and goes I find, the blank white windows are almost hypnotising at times, then suddenly my eyes will spot something and I suddenly come back to the present, it seems I need some kind of stimulus to keep me focussed.
Cat’s Trikonasana adjustment was interesting this morning, as well as straightening me out, she was also telling me to “let go” and relax the lower back, which I found hard to do until she pressed and my body realised what it was meant to do. I like Cat’s Prasarita Padot C adjustment, she doesn’t try to wrench the shoulders out of their sockets, but takes the time to let gravity do its thing, it feels like a nicer posture. My left shoulder has been very tight of late, despite self massage and use of the backnobber its just not loosening up, maybe time to let a professional have a go at it again. Cat spotted the tension in my shoulders during Utkatasana, she put more emphasis on lowering and relaxing my shoulders than straightening my arms upward.
Seated were better this week, more flow, less knee stress, but my right hamstring takes a fair bit of coaxing before it lets go into the forward bends, Marichyasana A – C felt ok, less angst in my lower left back. Mari D, got a nice twist on the first side, but not quite a bind, I didn’t see Cat coming behind me to adjust and nearly took her out as I jumped back into the vinyasa. She got me to return to first side of Marichyasana D, this time taking me into the bind, once I am in it, I feel comfortable, its getting there. She returned for the second side, my right knee was happy in the lotus which was a good start, my lower left back then began to tighten as she took my arm around to twist, I thought “this is gonna hurt“, but amazingly she took me into the bind and once I was there my lower left back was able to relax and let go a little, allowing me to stay there.
Supta Kurmasana seemed hard today, though I was bound again, I tried to lift up and out, but crashed down and sat there trying to control my breath, I just felt completely knackered. Cat came over to see if I was OK, once she found I was, she took me through Titibhasana, Bekasana and jumping back sequence, little steps at a time and I managed to find the energy to jump back without splattering my nose.
After Cary giving me the Urdva Paschimottanasana masterclass last week, Cat took me through the first bum balance Ubhaya Padangusthasana today, as I just can’t seem to make it happen with coming up and over, I told her I just can’t find the initial momentum or when I can, its not enough to get over the balance point. She told me its about the bandhas, the breath and the mind and on the third attempt I semi kinda made it, I need to spend more time on this in my own practice. To be honest over the years, especially doing the counted practice, its ended up being a crap attempt or a cheaters bent knees job, this is another of the poses I have “done” over the years, but never been taken through the stages by a teacher. I don’t know if it was because Cary was on the mat behind me, but when I got to Urdva Paschimottanasana I remembered to try and point the toes, elbows forward, legs straight, though I forgot to keep the legs up and bring the hands to the ground on the exit, sorry Cary I will get there eventually!
More confident in my backbends today, maybe I have stopped relying on cheaters Ustrasana to warm me up, as I was cornered and in no position to sneak it in without being spotted anyway! Cat came and helped raise my hips and used her feet to keep my hands in position for the last 2 of my 5 attempts at Urdva Dhanurasana. I even stood at the front of my mat and did a hangback, not felt able to do that at the Shala for a while. Managed 2 Ardha Sirsasana’s today, before getting a nice manipulation and pressing in Childs pose. You can tell the yoga teachers who are also massage therapists, they know exactly which bits to squish, I love the way they make it feel like my back is being spread out along the floor.
A 10 minute Savasana was nice, an hour and three quarters again, my practice has become very consistent , but its averaging about 10-15 minutes longer now that I have an Ujayi breath. My practice seems to have more facets to it now, even though its ostensibly the same practice as I was doing a year ago.Not that it matters how long I take, but I was just in time for the early train home, but screwed again as it was 15 minutes late.