Saturday, March 27, 2010

Week 7 - Ariana

For the 7th week, Mr. Iyengar suggests consolidating the poses from the first 6 weeks and holding the poses longer.

This blog is keeping me committed to this practice. Otherwise I would have rationalized postponing this sequence due to a busy week. So today I took a couple hours during my Saturday afternoon to do it while my daughter was "napping".

I felt unsteady and had trouble focusing at first so I put on Deva Premal's Moola Mantra which I have been practicing to lately.

So I began with Tadasana. I have been experimenting with my foot placement here. Today I felt most steady and strong with the big toes and heels touching. I usually separate the heels slightly. But I find that having the inner edges of the feet touching helps me access my mid-line. From the mid-line I have strength and I can lift up and stand taller from there. When I separate the heels slightly I lose that energy line.

It is worthwhile to pay attention to how we stand. I have been focusing on teaching Tadasana in my classes. It is often overlooked by students. They seem to see it as a rest stop rather than a pose. Here are some comments Mr. Iyengar has about Tadasana:

"People do not pay attention to the correct method of standing. Some stand with the body weight thrown only on one leg, or with one leg turned completely sideways. Others bear all the weight on the heels, or the inner or outer edges of the feet. This can be noticed by watching where the soles and heels of the shoes wear out. Owing to our faulty feet, we acquire specific deformities which hamper spinal elasticity."

Tree (Vrksasana) was unstable for me today. The sole of my foot would not stay put. It kept sliding down towards my knee on both sides. I blame my choice of pants today. At first I got frustrated and stepped off the mat, briefly contemplating changing my pants. But then I came back and thought, ok there must be something I can learn from this. So the slipping foot was distracting for me but I stuck with it.

In general I stayed a few breaths longer than usual in each pose (except towards the end when my daughter came out to see what I was doing). I noticed when my mind said, "ok, it's time to come out of the pose." But I resisted the urge rather than accommodating it.

Today in Side Stretch (Parsvakonasana) and Revolved Triangle (Parvritta Trikonasana) I found a small back bend in the upper back. When I had been in the pose for a few breaths I moved my head back, which shifted my weight back behind me. The twist opened up for me, particularly in the upper back.

Staying longer in the poses allowed me to play with my edge more. I bent my front knee more in both warriors and realized that I usually hold back from bringing the thigh parallel to the floor even though I can do it. Today my inner thigh muscles and groin muscles felt elastic.

I had just finished Urdhva Prasarita Padasana (which is getting easier) when my daughter came out to see what I was doing. I did not want to stop the practice so I brought her into it. Boat and Half Boat were next so I asked her if she wanted to go on a boat ride. Of course she did. Surprisingly I was still able to do them with her "sitting in the boat." She liked it so much she wanted to do it again and again and again until I couldn't any more.

When I went up into Shoulderstand my daughter was impressed. She called it "Elbow Stand." I thought about how we use the elbows but really we want to support the weight in the shoulders, stacking the hips and feet above the shoulders, not the elbows.

I told her to listen to the sound of my breath while I did Ujjayi in Savasana. She said, "It's like you're sleeping, right?" Then she started to sing me a lullaby- something about going into deep wide water. She kept saying adorable things, making me smile throughout Savasana.

After today's practice I feel ebullient - it might have something to do with my Smiling Savasana.


Moving Meditation said...

I just found your blog for the first time via the link at Yogic Muse. What you're doing is so fabulous! I look forward to following along.

Elie Losleben said...

What an honest and wonderful post. I love the 'smiling savasava'! This is inspiring me to go back to 'LoY' for my own practice...I look forward to following you both on your journey.