Friday, May 28, 2010

Week 13 - Ariana

Repeat and Become Steady.

For the 13th week Mr. Iyengar says to "repeat and become steady in your daily practices. Those who find it difficult to master all these asanas within this period can continue with them for several more weeks." He is referring to repeating the sequences for the previous weeks before moving on to weeks 14, 15 and so on.

This makes me chuckle because I don't think I will ever master any asana in any period of time. I don't know what it means to master an asana and I certainly would not know what it feels like. Needless to say I will repeat the week 12 sequence for at least another week before I move on.

Today's practice was not in my apartment but in upstate NY outside on a deck. Surrounded by Catskill hills, trees, sun and sky. That made quite a difference. My breaths were fuller. The practice felt more lively and energetic with utter stillness at the end, maybe with a taste of serenity. Just a taste. It always changes into something else.

I was less focused on alignment today. I just wanted to feel the poses as they were. I practiced in the morning. My body was not as open and that was ok. I did not try to move deeper into the poses . I just observed what my body was doing today. I guess I get carried away with what my body can't do rather than what it can. Striving towards something in a pose rather than simply being in it.

I felt strong today. My hamstrings felt tighter than usual. Microbending the knees in Parsvottanasana on both sides felt right. It gave the hams a break and I could rest my torso on my thigh - rounding more in the back. Warrior 3 was different today. Normally I don't extend the arms alongside my head because it causes too much strain. For some reason I felt like doing it today and it felt good. I didn't hold it for very long, but I did it.

I have been playing with contracting and releasing my abdominal muscles in forward bends like Uttanasana. It makes such a difference in the pose to me. I don't think one action is right versus the other, but I enjoy being aware of the difference these subtle movements make. When I contract the abs while in the forward bend my back rounds more and I fold over more. The pose is more contained. When I completely relax those muscles I feel a nice stretch and release along the front of my torso. My chest opens toward the floor. I think it lengthens the whole spine down toward the floor. The pose is more open.

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