Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Week 2 -Jenny

Was noticing through this sequence (same sequence as Week 1) that length in the side body is constantly asked of the practitioner. Starting with Mountain (Tadasana) and Tree (Vrkasana), both photos show Mr. Iyengar with arms overhead, emphasizing the length created from hip to armpit on each side. Then getting more serious in Extended Triangle (Utthita Trikonasana) and Extended Side Angle (Utthita Parsvakonasana). Can you tell I've been a little obsessed with side body length lately? And of course in Intense Side Stretch (Parsvottanasana), which is named for said stretch. It made me discover the same length in Warrior II (Virabhadrasana II). I really like his way of entering Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I). He has you stand with your feet apart, then turn your feet properly, then turn your body toward the front leg, then bend your front leg to come into the pose. This way your hips are most definitely aligned - you can play with it to feel when you come out of your hip joint, or hip hinge, on the front leg. And the challenge becomes getting your back heel down to the floor by finding relaxation in the foot and calf (for those of us with tight sprung calves, this is a major challenge). This differs from what I've been doing all these years in Vinyasa practices, where you flow into Warrior I from a lunge - in that case, the challenge is getting your back hip around to face forward - a seemingly impossible task. I like Mr. Iyengar's approach. Different things work for different bodies, but for my body type, this is a good entry to the pose. Shoulderstand (Salambha Savangasana) has never seemed to agree with me and my tight shoulders, but it's getting much better. In the last few months, my shoulders are letting go and my shoulder blades are finding their place on my back.

Now I feel relaxed. Savasana (Corpse Pose) is bottomless. I was cranky when I started the sequence - some fears about my 13-year old iguana's health were plaguing me - but I feel much calmer now. We always talk about and see the calming effects of yoga. I'm noticing that these effects are here even though I'm alone in my home - no studio or ambience or assistance or dialogue from a teacher. This practice of yoga blows me away. I did nothing special today - some poses, that's all. But through awareness/consciousness/internal study during the pose work, the calming effects surfaced. The stretching was, of course, there. Shoulderstand probably accounts for a good amount of the calming qualities of the sequence. Being 2/3 upside down - blood flow being flipped, throbbing in the face - it's quite relaxing. Even though my shoulder tightness makes this a difficult pose for me, the effects are present. It must be super awesome if you have more shoulder flexibility and are able to stack your hips over your shoulders in this pose. Someday . . . And then Savasasa. Letting the bones drop. Ahh. Now I'm thinking more clearly. Now I'm accepting my situation as it is. Not perfect. And not even perfect acceptance. But you take what can get. And march on. Yoh -gah.

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