Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Week 10 - Jenny

Whew!  Same sequence as Week 9.  Exhilarating, freeing, opening, prana-flowing.  I feel great.

In one of his other books, Yoga Wisdom and Practice, Mr. Iyengar explains that the serenity you feel in  Plow Pose (Halasana) means that you are meditating in the pose (asana).  "In Halasana, the mind is not distracted from the body or from the soul and that is known as fullness."  I actually always liked how Mr. Iyengar calls yoga meditation.  He allows meditative states in positions other than Full Lotus (Padmasana).  I love it.  I do the usual listening to the breath.  Being embodied during meditation - noticing what's going on with my body - brings something different to the meditative state.  Different than if I meditate sitting cross-legged.  Not better or worse, just different.

I can actually feel myself getting excited as I get close to the inversions portion of the sequence.  It comes right after the core work and it's such a switch going from holding Half Boat Pose (Ardha Navasana) right into Shoulderstand (Salamba Sarvangasana).  All this energy and work and then an upside down hold.  My head throbs gently and I enter calm world.  I like the extension of the inversions - adding Ear Pressure Pose (Karnipadasna) and One-Legged Shoulderstand (Eka Pada Sarvanagasana).  More time upside down in another world, a lighter, freer world.  And the final spinal twist - bliss.  I had so much prana flowing through my rib cage that a deeper twist happened in this pose - Jatara Parivartanasana, which translates to something like 'Belly Turning Pose.'  I could feel my insides getting massaged.  Ah.

My back and chest are so open.  There weren't any backbends in the sequence, so I have to credit prana with the opening.  I mean, certainly the chest and back are opened in this sequence, but the feeling I have right now is akin to have done a few renditions of full wheel and a bunch of psoas stretching poses.  The poses in the sequence immediately get prana flowing through the body - from the very first pose, Extended Triangle (Utthita Trikonasana).  After that, more opening and grounding through the feet in the standing poses, then side opening in Gate Pose, then invigoration through the vira rasa (summoning power and strength) of the core series, then inversions.  Then a twist.  Then, of course, Ujjayi pranayama in Corpse Pose (Savasana).  Ariana's right- that puffing of the chest on the inhales creates a little pop of a stretch of the intercostals, the muscles that attach the ribs to each other, and the other accessory breathing muscles.  So this opening of the chest and back started with working from the outside - stretching muscles, etc.  And then it transitioned to an opening from the inside - through the breath - the prana cruises through the lungs and the lungs push out the ribcage - back and front.  Opening from the inside.  Wow.

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