Monday, April 13, 2009

Class# 353; AYC DC Mysore Class # 176: Take it to the Core.

I have a secret.
I cheat myself out of my finishing postures.

Specifically, when it comes to sirasana.
My always lurking nemesis since I was given this pose.

My shoulders, neck and arms are fine - it's the bendy bit from my belly button to butt. Maybe I find balance and stability for 2 minutes, if I'm lucky. In reality, it's more like 1 minute. This morning after collapsing to my mat in my customary sirasana heap, D looks at me and tells me to go over to the wall. "Headstand there. Stay up."

Arms, shoulders and neck, strong and solid really not tiring. Legs from knees to feet solid. From the belly to the butt? The solidity of Jello. I literally had two halves of my body at work and D trying various verbal cues and adjustments to get me to engage all those muscles. I would think that I should have the requisite strength for this. It's almost as if I can't figure out how to use those muscles in that way - somewhere along the line I think I lost that section of the users manual.

Not knowing how long I've been up D walks away for a bit, returns and tells me to come down. Walking back to my spot D asks what was getting tired, I look at him and block out the area of my body from my belly to butt. Then I comment that this is quite possibly the same strength that I'm lacking when it comes to those pesky transitions. He seems to possibly slightly nod in agreement. Yes, I know I have short Polish arms, but I'm starting to realized that it's that lower core connection I'm missing when it comes to jump backs/throughs.

I'll be honest. I rely too much on bone stacking in sirasana and not enough on strength. Which creates a flimsy structure at best.

I know. I know. It's a simple fact that from relationships to buildings to jewelry fabrication to writing the key to a solid structure lies not only at the foundation but also within the core, the internal structures. A lot of that comes from a willingness to push limits and a willingness to be open.

So here's to bringing things to the core, to very heart of potential.

My goal: By July 30, minimum 7 minute headstand.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Everything in 3s

  1. 5:25 am. Leave apartment for practice, get to car, notice back passenger side window smashed in. File police report.
    No practice.

  2. 6:47 am. Go to file claim on-line. IBM Thinkpad suffers "fatal error." Go to restart computer. Computer will not start after "restarting."

  3. 8:03 am. Begin walk down Connecticut Ave to metro. At the corner of Albermarle and Connecticut, metro pass slips from iPod case and a gust of wind blows it and it's $97 down the storm drain. Literally and figuratively a sunk cost.

Yes, it's Tuesday.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Class# 351; AYC DC Mysore Class # 174: Doh.

This morning, D pointed out to me that I *might* be trying too hard.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Class# 350; AYC DC Mysore Class # 171: Integration

After a bit of a hiatus from writing due to life in general, (asana practice, work, social life) I'm back. I had so many plans for this weekend thwarted by the warmth of the sun and recovery from some evil stomach bug that knocked me on my butt for the better portion of last week.

When I have made it to practice, averaging 4 days per week, things keep on opening up - save for one part. My left shoulder - man it has felt stiff. But binds really haven't been that much of a problem, if anything they' generally felt pretty sweet. I emailed K on Friday asking him about this and if he had any suggestions or thoughts. It's not injured, just feels disproportionately stiff to my right.

So this morning K took some time with me and my shoulder during down dog,
parvritta trikonasana, and urdhva dhanurasana. The "problem" with my body, is that I can be too bendy and really need to engage much more so that my upper back and shoulders collapse into themselves. In DD K gave some very precise Iyengar style tricks. Which means for me, really rotating my arms in a manner that feels somewhat like the rotation in urdhva dhanurasana. (Fwiw, my triceps are currently on fire.) For me that shoulder rotation really resulted in broadening my upper back and I was able to really engage my legs, and might have found a bit of that elusive mula bhanda.

parvritta trikonasana, as he pressed against the extended arm to align my hand arm and shoulder (apparently I'm hyper-extending my shoulder), he used the word integration. A concept I've been thinking about a lot recently.

Anyone who knows me knows that I talk a lot about trying to find balance and oft comment that I'm just trying to find balance. Flippantly stating or offering that it's just trying to find balance. But I'm starting to wonder if it's more of a process of integration. When I "integrated" the muscles of my arm, shoulder and back, the energy of the pose completely shifted. It was much more work, but the way it felt made the work all worthwhile.

I brought the concept of this to the rest of my practice and there was little stiffness apparent in my shoulder. Save for
pasasana on my left where I couldn't get the proper rotation of my shoulder to reach the bind.

But back to integration. I'm almost tempted to say where balance can ultimately be stagnant, integration provides and promotes strength, growth, and forward movement. It's really like a relationship, friend or lover - there are many who come and go overtime, but there are a select few who become so deeply integrated and entwined with your existence that they grow and (promote) change with you. These are true friends - when they are not present there is a void, when they are around life becomes that much more full.

* * *

My blogging here might become a bit more sporadic as I have started a little project for myself - journaling about each practice, each class I attend. Something I've intended to do for awhile now and finally getting around to it.

I'm sure some thoughts will migrate from here to there and quite possibly from there to here. I've come to see this a bit more like a composite of my life - from yoga to art to food to life in general and the things that make it blissful. For me, this really isn't the place for the nitty gritty detailed analysis of each and every asana practice.