Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Day 11: Semper Ubi Sub Ubi.

Oldie, but goody.

Must figure out how to pack
from practice to work.

(At least my work is near a Macy's.

Day 9: Pity Party's Over.

Monday I got off my cranky butt and decided that I was going to actually practice as much of primary in sequence as possible modifying and omitting where necessary.

First roadblock, obviously is at vinyasa 4 = catvāri, chaturanga. Solution?
Return, inhale to halfway lift as in vinyasa 3 trīṇi, exhale, to
uttanasana 5 br as adho mukha svanasana. Wonderfully enough - this has worked. The vinyasas actually work out properly so that chaturanga, up-dog and down dog can be omitted. For surya namaskara B? Just step back to virabhandrasana a. Yes it is slightly awkward, but it still works.

Except for pada hastasana, the entire standing sequence is in with various modifications - trikonasana and utthita parsvakonasana have to be slightly modified so that I'm not placing my hand flat on the ground, and working off of the extended leg. Prasarita paddotansana A, arms similar to mukha hasta sirsasana b and for parsvottanasana arms similar to those in prasarita paddotanasana c or just grabbing elbows. If grabbing elbows, working on engagement of intercostals, extending as far out over extended leg as possible.

Transition to floor, step forward move down to pasasana legs, extend one leg out hang there for a breath and very inelegantly plop to the ground.

Poses out from primary completely:

That evil lift between Navasanas (really not disappointed about this)

Bhuja Pidasana



Lifted Dwi Pada Sirsasana

Sticking the hands though in Garbha Pindasana



Urdhva Dhanurasana




The remainder of the poses are in - the binds aren't bad as long as I bind on the wrist and use a light grip with my pinky and ring finger. Faux-transitions between poses, lifting half way up from cross legged seated without using arms or from seated knees bent to pasasana legs.

To get my back bend fix, setu bandha sarvangasana (really grounding through the balls of the feet), ustrasana/kapotasna modification of thighs against the wall (working in and up the wall, chest up and over and hang back), and standing hang backs to hold.

Also, Monday night got my inversion fix on the ropes at UnityWoods.

I'm really missing sirsasana and
have been unable to come up with a solution/modification that I can easily incorporate without the use of ropes.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Day 6: Simplicity of Practice.

"Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that's creativity."
~ Charles Mingus.

Patterns and listening to the subtle body.
The subtle body sits, patiently, as who we are, and yet, we oft deny it for some perceived ideal of who we believe we are and how others see us.
It's easier that way.

Many out there in the cybershala and the DC/extended-Cru have reminded of this in their own ways recently - something that Spirited C has gently been trying to teach me over these past couple months, began to sink in with the snowy blizzardy DC weekend in chatting with
Aikidoka and has hit me like an ACME anvil dropped from sky with this whole hand thing.

I've had to let go of how I wanted to feel about my practice before I head to Charlottesville in a couple weeks to practice with John Campbell (who has a crazy beautiful backbend). My fears of practicing with Lino Miele in May and Manouso Manos in July, yeah, they're still there. Yes. Things could be worse, much worse - but when mired in personal reality, perspectives are skewed. Honestly, my ego is still smarting some but there's time - where and why am I rushing anywhere?

Honesty in Simplicity.

Allowing the practice itself to be the teacher.

Something that Jois aims at in his 125 page tome and Iyengar himself reiterates over and over in his diffuse writings. Listening. Real time feedback. Observation without judgment and expectation of the Self. There is such a beautiful potential within any practice - there is no reason to fight it - it fits when it is necessary and will hit a point of stasis when necessary within its process.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Day 5: Grabbing at Air

The ace wrap has been removed. But, one more week of a splint with further follow-up again next Thursday. Contrary to what the ER doctor told me, I should be making some use of my hand, opening and closing every once in a while. Still icing but not as feverishly.

Personally, it seems a little silly to me that they still can't tell if there are minor fractures to the distal ends of my metacarpals or if it's just soft tissue damage. Basically, if I still have pain next week, there are probably small fractures in there. If not, all's well that ends well.

The doctor specifically reminded me no handstands - for some reason.

Day 4: Not Soooo Grumbly Wednesday Night.

Actually, a quite successful practice, if I do say so myself (also, having a package from to open after practicing definitely helped keep me on track). One thing I realized, just how much truly goes into sequencing. Having gone into practice without a real plan seems to have worked decently, looking at it this morning typed out, it looks to be a hodgepodge of Iyengar classes more than anything else.

(sequence segments are blocked together and as always, if asymmetrical pose, right leg leads, left leg follows, repeated second side)

belly bolster

back bolster

trikonasana - back flush to wall, pelvis curved in, forearm of bottom arm to thigh, front femur rotated into hip socket, line of torso as straight as possible

parivritta trikonasana - face wall, revolve triangle, pelvis level, top shoulder flush to wall using core to pull up

prasarita padottanasana - back against wall, pulling back of pelvis up to wall, torso through legs, arms through legs

trikonasana - free from wall

parivritta trikonasana - free from wall

virabhadrasana I - lengthening back leg straight from socket, squaring pelvis, torso straight up from pelvis

virabhadrasana III - lengthening in opposite directions from lifted foot to upper chest (too my stress on hand extended)



virabhrasana II
utthita parsvakonasana

virabhadrasana II

utthita parsvakonasana

ardha chandrasana - lifted foot on wall, bottom arm lifted from ground by torso


- extending arms out over leg

ado mukha svanasana - over the back of a chair

urdhva chaturanga



eka pada virasana - to supta

virasana - to supta - to bolstering shins to drop pelvis "below floor level"

triang mukha eka pada pascimottanasa

janu sirsasana c, b, a - legs and forward fold, no binds

baddhakonasana - sit bones bolstered to ease adductors and gracilii muscles


bhujangasana - look ma! no hands!

salambasana a
dwi pada viparita dandasana - supported through folding chair

viparita karani


And such a good sleep into this morning and off to the osteopath in just a few minutes.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day 3: Grumbly.

This whole hand thing is a lot more of a challenge than I thought it was going to be.

My sleep has been restless and uncomfortable so practice in the morning hasn't been happening. D was right, there's nothing quite like practice in the morning and I don't think I fully appreciated it until now. Mind you if I practice in the morning, practice in the evening seems to come much easier.

In the morning, there's no stress pent up from the day, no distractions running through my mind, no race to practice in so that I can cook dinner and get to bed at a reasonable hour.

I was whiny yesterday. Really whiny.

It worsened and spiraled over the course of the day. For practice, when I finally slogged myself to my mat, I riffed on Geeta Iyengar's menstrual sequence - figured that would do my mind good. I had nowhere near the necessary mental pliability for either a full on restorative practice or a "regular-modified" practice.

I know I should have gone by pose names - flash card learning and all - but doodles were much easier than writing. The simple exercise of doodling / planning the sequence was in and of itself quite cathartic.

But how I am yearning for urdhva dhanurasana, any inversion, and even bhekasana.

Santosha. Annica. Ishvarapranidhana.
I know. I know. I know.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Day 1: Breaking Down the Ego; Day 2: Exercises in Creativity and Play.

Talk about humility. I didn't realize how much much weight we ask our hands to bear during any practice.

Just look at the primary sequence alone - from balances to binds.

Sunday's winged practice limped along as I half-heartedly muddled my way in and around primary, half distracted by fresh cranberry dark chocolate puddle cookies and general frustration that I don't have my regular practice right now. I've been good - keeping my splint on so I don't use the hand at all.

The better part of the day was spent avoiding my mat, avoiding practice, until I pulled out my practice journal and my copy of Ramaswarmi's Vinyasa Yoga during lunch. Flipping though both I started to see ways I could modify my practice - down dog over the back of a folding chair pressing the forearms into the seat, etc as part of the integration sequence. Spent the majority of the practice exploring forward bends and Ramaswami's triangle sequence with long holds.

If I had to pick the coolest thing from practice today, urdhva chaturanga dhandasana. Just one of those things, no reason not to try right?

Think I've certainly found something to continue to work with - the floor forces the correct pelvic alignment, shoulder and forearm alignment, and extending through the balls of the feet pressing against a wall seems to get deep into my core.

It was actually quite liberating not to be bound by a set sequence or counts.
To sit with a pose, to allow the body to dictate what it needs.
Practice without expectation.

To dance instead of fight.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Fall from Grace

10 days.
No weight bearing poses - certainly no upside down trees or balancing or dogs. Standing poses and forward bends and hip openers for me.

Lots of ice - at least DC has plenty of that.