Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Class# 402; AYC DC Mysore Class # 215: Squish.

Most awesome adjustment ever in bhekasana this morning.

As I pulled myself into
bhekasana and noticed D walking over I thought he was going to do his standard bhekasana adjustment - which I have yet to figure out how one does with only two arms. However, generally, things seem to kinda fall into proper place but I've really never quite found it comfortable. At. All.

But, no! This morning my frog was quite literally squished into place as I had a long and velvety exhale, D sat directly on my addcutor magnus muscles (what C calls the "thigh butt") and ever so gently lifted my shoulders. Heels straight down to the floor and deep backbend running the length of my spine.

Absolute pure heaven.

Now just to figure out how to get that exhale into the thigh butt on a regular basis.

Realized like everything, it is more a matter of breath than flexibility or strength at this point. Both of those come from the breath.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Moonday Monday Mysore-Styled Musing

I had dinner the other night with SilentSpeaker - and over over the course of inexpensive DC sushi, topics roamed from academics to health to relationships and of course Ashtanga. We chatted about how somehow, no matter what our level we slip into some form of discipline in our lives that many who don't practice don't quite understand. From how and what we eat, time we go to bed and how sometimes consciously and sometimes unconsciously we generally carry out our daily existence.

But for what really?

How does knowing that one can get themselves into supta kurmasana by way of dwi pada or stand from urdhva dhaurasana - both skills that are not conventionally marketable in and of themselves to modern life - make us better people? Why do we come to obsess over things we can't quite figure out how to do and the celebration is short and yet very sweet when we figure these things out? Garnering a brief taste of pure happiness from a feat of contortion or acrobatics that we worked for - I would wager at the heart, this happiness ultimately lies in the work that went into "the achievement."

The practice is very zen - it's about nothing, except coming to know ourselves and how we react to our egos and ultimately how we react to difficulty and a sense of accomplishment. A Practice (be it Art, Law, Baking, Tango, Music, Writing, Asana, etc...), like religion, evolves over time, as society changes it should begin to change and grow to survive.

Practice at it's best is a living breathing thing.

Modern life really isn't compatible with living in a yurt and subsisting on the dew found on a lotus blossom and 8 berries.

We all attempt to find a sense of validation though community - people who understand what we do and affirm what we do. For many Ashtanga practitioners, it is that in some way we're all not crazy for getting up at 2:30/3 am to eat light breakfast of fruit before officially waking at 4:45 am to pull ones self together to practice at 5:15 am. We know that we all learn from each other - we are all teachers of what we learn from ourselves and our teachers.

What is Ashtanga in it's purest form? Part of me wants to say that really only Patthabhi Jois could have told us - but maybe that's too easy. What we learn from all of his students - our teachers - and our teachers teachers - is that everyone's practice is different. Each of his students teach differently because each of his students were taught differently - because he understood that everyone is different. Look at all of the "famous" students of Krishnamacharya, his teacher. B.K.S. Iyengar approaches the discipline from a different perspective but all to a similar end as I discovered when I found myself quite comfortably fully bound in yoga dhandasana (like the photo, except hands bound around the outside of the leg with foot in armpit) last Tuesday night. Fwiw, yoga dhandasana is part of 4th series of Ashtanga but was part of this level 2-3 Iyengar class.

Maybe the answers to all of this are with more with Krishnamacharya.
More likely, in my mind, the answers are collectively within all of us.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Class# 388; AYC DC Mysore Class # 203: Question 6.

How'd I'd get there?!

Finished primary and realized all of a sudden that D was assisting my bind on the first side of pasasana. I had intended to stop at primary as my last practice was Saturday and had a really late night Monday night. Why did I do second through
bhekasana? How did I get there? Oh well.

After bhekasana, played with urdhva dhanurasana and drop backs and D brought me straight into chakra bandasana - no quick trip to the floor and walk in - right to the lower calves, just above the ankles. Let me tell you, I was quite surprised to find myself there.

I am about ready to head back to bed.

* * *

I'm finding that I have the hip flexor flexibility with bheakasana - just really lacking the flexibility in the upper part of my sternum and the front of my shoulders to really lift the chest. Salabhasana a/b don't nearly feel that tight in that area. I'm pretty sure my difficulty with bhekasana is not stemming from the lack of length in my arms.

Any thoughts on opening in the upper part of the chest and into the front of the shoulders?

Monday, June 8, 2009

Mantra Monday: There's Always More Laundry.

After taking care of paperwork, organizing personal files, cooking, practice, work, etc, there's always more laundry to do.


(I've been trying to get a chance to write this post for over three Mondays now.)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Another New Different Way To Torture One's Body: Capoeira

After my first Capoeira Class last night and seeing one of the students break her ankle falling out of a handstand, I'm thinking that I might just stick with a gentle Ashtanga practice.

Then I pause, and think for a minute or two.
Really the only soreness is in my feet and had a pretty good primary this morning.

Of course I'm going back for the basics class this coming Monday night.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Question 5.

Don't they understand there are those of us who like their sleep? Find great pleasure in going to bed around 9 pm? Enjoy waking before the sun even speculates to rise and be productive?

Wait, the answer to those is probably not.

Silly young neighbors and their midweek late night loud parties.