Moon day weekend, the Shala closed on Sunday and back to the usual rubbish Sunday train service, so not even a chance of trying to avoid the Ashtangi Police and getting to TLC instead.
Instead something different, the local Shala has just opened a new Pilates equipment studio, during the first month they are offering 1-2-1 sessions to introduce themselves and the equipment to the local Ashtangis. J had recommended it after trying it out on the taster weekend, so I decided to give it a go.
The session lasts an hour starting with a look at posture, yet another person who says I have an uneven Pelvis! The equipment is mainly about resistance such as on the Trapeze table. Interesting how Lucy was able to get me to have the feeling of isolating the upper back, ( I had asked her to concentrate on upper back and shoulders to help my backbends), as well as isolating the back with my feet up in the air she got me to use the Bandhas (not that she referred to them like we do) to relax the pelvis down and accentuate the natural “s” in the lower spine. The surprise being that the exercise of engaging all that and then pushing the feet away against the springs resistance also worked on the core and the inner legs. The hardest part being the instruction to exhale through the mouth, complete opposite of the Ujayi breath .
She moved me on to the “Reformer” a table that moves as you push against the straps, sort of like a Rowing machine and then the “Exo chair”. the Exo chair showed it’s not just my left shoulder that is stiff, but also the Lats on the left side and the muscles down into the pesky SI.
The upshot of an interesting hour being that I have good core strength, but as expected my left shoulder and front of the chest is very tight. The exercises isolated muscles in the back far more than in a flowing ashtanga practice. Before we finished she showed me some exercise I can do at home on my foam Roller, these should help my left shoulder and make some of the binds as well as my backbends better.
To test the effects a few hours later I did standing and backbends. Considering I hadn’t done anything like a full practice, without all the up dog Vinyasas I could feel the difference first in Salabhasana, able to get in to the upper back, then a much deeper Urdva Dhanurasana, the legs far more engaged. The inner legs as well as the front of the thighs far more engaged as I dropped back, my legs staying engaged as I stood up, the legs doing far more of the work, which is how it’s supposed to be. What I need now is a quick session between Bhekasana and backbends!