Friday, June 4, 2010

Week 16 - Jenny

So I did this sequence on Wednesday, but I didn't write.  I was busy that day and I ended up splitting the practice in two and I didn't feel right about that.  So I did it again today.

Let's see . . .

You know, that sequence on paper doesn't look that different from last week's, but it felt so different.  For one thing, it felt really long.  Not while I was in the poses or anything - I stayed pretty well focused - but it just kept going and going and going.  At this point the standing poses fly by.  I remind myself of alignment and find myself in some sort of free space pretty quickly.  I've become quite efficient in the standing poses, which Mr. Iyengar says will happen around this time.  This week adds Chair Pose (Utkatasana) and Standing Split to the standing series.  So pretty quickly I was down on the floor.

My. Iyengar's sequencing of the backbends is quite the opposite of what I was taught or what I'd expect.  He does Locust (Shalabasana) first, then Floor Bow (Danurasana), then Chatarunga Dandasana (not a backbend, but I wanted to list the whole series), then Cobra (Bhujangasana I), then Virasana, then Upward Facing Dog (Urdhva Mukha Svanasana).  I expected Cobra to come first, working from the lower back up.  Then to Locust, then Danurasana.  And I usually do Virasana to stretch the quads before Danurasana.  In his sequence, Locust comes first, being the shallower backbend.  Then things go deeper, but I don't know why Virasana comes where it does.  I'll keep studying it.

Anyway, this is the first week where Mr. I. calls for Ujayii breath in Siddhasana rather than in Corpse Pose (Savasana).  Which means that it's the first time since the early sequences that I did a Savasana without doing pranayama (breath exercises).  It was nice after such a long sequence to take a plain old Savasana.  I did some body-scanning as a I lay there and I worked on releasing resistance.

Did Ujayii for 5 minutes in Siddhasana.  I like how Mr. I. has you do Siddhasana as a pose in the sequence, then has you add the Ujayii.  This gave me a chance to work on the pose - to study his notes.  There's a whole 2 page discussion of Siddhasana quoting ancient scripts like the Hatha Yoga Pradipika saying you will reach a bliss state if you practice this pose (and eat a moderate diet).

I came out of the practice with a feeling of clarity.  And groundedness.  This work is so deep that I come out of it rather hazy.  I mentioned this before - it reminds me of my first days of yoga classes - and of when I have new students who have that dazed look after class.  There is an invigoration after the standing poses - my eyes are wide.  The upside down sequence has become really long - tons of variations on Shoulderstand (Salamba Sarvangasana I) and Plow (Halasana).  And this week Mr. I. put the upside downs after the backbends and down dog, which put them before the core work - Navasana, etc.  Maybe this is one of the reasons the practice seemed so long - the upside downs used to be at the end of the sequence, so maybe I'm expecting the sequence to end, but then there's more.  After the core work, some forward bends.  And this week adding Porvottanasana, a pose I cannot conquer yet.  My shoulders are tight in that direction and so are my arms, so I hold as long as I can and feel an intense stretch up my arms.  I am attempting to gain range of motion in this direction through some supported Bridge work.  Eventually I'll get there.

I wish I could sum things up better.  But I'm still kind of unsure about it all.  But the deeper my practice goes, the more I accept that feeling.  I am here to observe it.  That's all.  And so I watch.

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