After the mid week AYL practice, on Friday we had star teacher David Garrigues over from the US come to teach at our local Shala, BA yoga Studio here in the sticks. To have David visit out here rather than the big shiny London Shalas was a bit of a coup for Shala owner Cathy.
I decided to just do his Mysore class on Friday and the Chai and Chat on Saturday, my arm can’t keep up with led classes with long holds and is only good for one practice a day. I thought it would be interesting to see what he came up with. He seemed to know the state of play with my arm and he copied Hamish by having me keep my left arm down in Trikonasana. After that I was left alone until Virabadrasana where I got straightened up. In seated I think he told everyone about engaging the legs in Upward dog, to not just let them hang out. He picks up on some of the little things, like getting me to bind my hands beyond my feet in the Janusirsasana’s, considering I could barely reach my feet two months ago, that was quite a feat! As usual UD against the wall before hanging and bouncing off the wall. By this time, as I’m still quite slow, there were only about 5 of the 18 starters still going. Instead of doing a full dropback David got me to cross my arms over head and keep the engagement in the legs as I went back until my arms touched the wall. The Shala seemed to have more energy and quiet focus than is usual, a decent if slow practice.
Saturday – Chai and chat
My AYL friend Jen made the chai as usual, she’s got the knack and if she ever needs a job I reckon Amruth in Mysore would employ her. Lots of non locals had come for the weekend and I was surprised when someone I didn’t recognise said hello, turned out she reads the blog!
After Chai there was a kind of Q&A. David talked about the need to be satisfied with where your practice is and to realise the sacrifices and commitment needed to be able to take it to the next level or to go to Mysore.
Chai and chat
As with all Certified teachers who studied with Guruji, David talked about him and what he said in relation to some of the questions asked. That practice should be 85% Primary and only 15% second. However when I asked if he insists on students standing up from backbend before progressing to Pasasana, he said no, though it depends on the student. He is a fan of using blocks to learn to drop back and stand up, so that the backbend is solid and safe.
Cathy asked about holding students at a posture, David said he doesn’t in general hold people back if they have the interest, enthusiasm and fitness and the next posture isn’t an injury risk. I got the feeling he doesn’t want students to become frustrated with the practice.
He was asked about Mysore, I think only myself and one other had been, so he talked about the practice there, the energy of practising in that Shala, how it is for everyone, how you could have a beginner on one side of you and a third series student on the other. He talked about how your days there can fill up with the chanting, Sanskrit courses as well as visiting places in the city. But he did say not to expect that much adjustment. Though as we all know when Sharath is on a mission with you that theory goes out the window!
The scheduled hour seemed to end up being an hour and a half, but everyone enjoyed the chai and chat and it was great to meet David in relaxed surroundings after years of watching his Asana Kitchen blogs, where I got the idea of using blocks to do backbends.
Star teachers have their place, but it was nice to return to Louise at AYL this morning, much quieter but not much cooler than on Wednesday. Only 6 of us at 7:45, but by 9am it was full. Help in the usual places, PPC, UHP and a nice arm and shoulder adjustment in Virabhadrasana.
All good and bound to Mari C, first side of Mari D I had two goes but couldn’t bind and was about to carry on when Louise came along to get me to do it again with her help. She said my fingers were so close it had to be done, she easily got me bound and it was comfortable once I was in it. She seemed pretty pleased with the bind. Someone joined my hands in Supta K before a mega squishing in Baddha Konasana.
Intermediate is pretty consistent now, only my arm stops my fingers joining rather than just touching in Pasasana. So today I decided to try both sides of Bhekasana at the same time, I can use the right hand to get the left hand in place, then make a quick grab for the right, that was my plan, I just didn’t know Louise was standing behind me! So once I had my left foot I felt her pushing down as I grabbed the right, she helped keep both in place, not done that in 11 months. My left hand and shoulder seem much more able to do that movement now, compared to before the fracture, it’s just that the left arm isn’t strong enough to push down at the same time.
UD again against the wall before assisted dropbacks, I’m hoping to be able to land soon.