Monday, June 28, 2010

Week 19 - Jenny

Like the last sequence, I had to do this sequence twice to get it into my system.  It's SO different from anything thus far.  Well, there are some similarities.  I mentioned last time that Mr. Iyengar says you can do the standing asanas on alternating days or twice a week.  So this time he doesn't include them in the sequence.  The sequence starts with Headstand (Sirsasana) and Headstand variations, then goes directly to Shoulderstand (Sarvangasna) and Shoulderstand variations.  Then into core work and then all sitting poses.  I agree with Ariana - it is surprising that Camel Pose (Ustrasana) is the first backbend in the sequence.  And the placement of Floor Bow (Danurasana) seems early, too (before Virasana).  But I've been working with a notion lately of using the poses to stretch the various body parts.  It sounds simple.  But I do still work for completion of the pose.  And I believe I need to develop more flexibility in the chest and shoulders before really getting into Camel.  But this other perspective of using Camel to stretch the chest and shoulders allows me to back off of the goal.  The thing is, if you're way off, I have to think it's not time to try to pose yet.  But if you're on the edge, this perspective can get you further in your work.

Mr. I. adds a bunch of poses to this sequence that require flexibility in the hips and/or shoulders that I do not have yet.  Marichyasana II, with one leg in Virasana and one leg in Half Lotus, is quite impossible for me right now.  Half Lotus and I are not well acquainted yet.  And Virasana and I are just getting acquainted.  So adding a twist to the mix, not to mention the arm bind . . . well, you know.

But I was surprised, no, shocked at what I could do.  When I read the sequence, I thought - I can't do half of these.  But really Marichyasana II (Pose Dedicated to the Sage Marichi II) is the only one that I don't feel comfortable even attempting.  For one thing, I was able to bind the arm (grabbing hand to Half Lotus foot) in Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana (Half-Bound Lotus Seated Forward Bend).  I never would have guessed.  Since Shoulderstand and I don't get along as well as we should, I thought the variations would be impossible.  But I was able to balance with the arms overhead AND with the arms straight up in the air next to the legs.  It was wild.

And my weekly shout out goes to Chakrasana (Wheel Pose).  I have no freaking idea what this "pose" (it's a moving pose like Chatarunga) is all about.  It is a backward roll, as in gymnastics, except that you start in Plow (Halasana) and flip over from there.  I was squishing my neck to the point of pain when I was on the floor.  But a blanket assisted me and I flipped right over.  Which brings me to another point: having been a gymnast, I've fielded many questions, thoughts and dreamy comments from adults who want to be able to flip over.  Or be upside down.  Or something along those lines.  And there are a few poses in yoga that tap into that natural inclination that humans have to flip or to hold themselves upside down.  Handstand is the ultimate pose for so many yogis.  And it's not because it's difficult.  There are so many poses that are more difficult and more complicated than Handstand.  Yet it remains king.  You can see it in children.  Every kid tries cartwheels and handstands.  Unless fear has set in early, it's something to do on the grass every chance a kid gets.  I'm not sure what it all means.  I bet Mr. I. does.  Maybe I'll get to ask him someday.  Or maybe I'll let the answer come to me as so many have since I moved into a deep yoga practice.

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