Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Week 22 - Jenny

I spent last week working up to and getting pysched up for this sequence.  The ante has been upped.  There are poses that are difficult and different and intimidating.  So I took some time to try some out, to study them, to prepare for them.  The upside downs are the same as the last sequence.  After that, things change.  I went into some backbends - Locust (Shalabasana), Cobra (Bhujangasana), etc.  Then to the poses that lead to Seated Forward Bend (Paschimottanasana) that were such a large part of the sequence for the past three weeks - poses like Triang Mukhaiapada Paschimottanasana (a seated forward bend with one leg in Virasana position) and Marichyasana I (Pose Dedicated to the Sage Marichi I - a seated forward bend with one leg in squat position, foot on the floor near the hip).  After that, I headed into some pretty demanding hip work.  I cannot yet do Lotus (Padmasana), so I did Half Lotus. Same for all the poses where the legs are in Lotus - I did Half Lotus.

I've been interested through all these sequences in what direction Mr. Iyengar takes the student from forward to backward bends and then again to forward.  I don't know where that comes from.  I'm sure it comes from his personal practice, but what is it that directed him that way?  In any case, I come out of these sequences with an elastic spine and I love it.  And I have the experience to know to ease my way into a forward bend if I'm coming straight out of a backbend and vice versa.

When I was practicing Bound Half Lotus Forward Bend (Ardha Baddha Padma Pashcimottanasana) the other day, something popped on the lateral side of my left knee.  Having studied it for a few days now, I don't think it's a huge deal.  I've been careful with it - cutting out this pose and others that strain the knee.  Today I was actually able to do the pose using a block to prop the leg up - there was no pain at all.  I think I was reaching for the goal a little too quickly - I wanted my head down on my knee.  I didn't even realize it.  These days, I push so much less than I used to that I forget that I still have the tendency to push too far.  This situation has brought me back to observing with a hawk's eye where the strain or stretch or stress is presenting itself in all poses, especially these poses that are demanding of the hip.  And my practice just went deeper . . .

I was proud and exhilarated to have made it through this sequence.  This stuff is getting kinda hard.  But with a slow, explorative approach, I'm getting through.  At this point, I have to allow my curiosity to really peak.  Otherwise, I'd be cramming myself into these positions just so that I could blog about it.  I've talked about this before, but I will again mention the interview with Mr. Iyengar that I read in Yoga Journal.  When asked if there was anything he would have done differently with Light on Yoga, he said he would have made the sequence a 10 year program rather than 5.  He said he assumed the student would be practicing 10 hours/day, but he now realizes that isn't possible for a Western householder.  I can feel the rapid jumps in these sequences.  I do a good 2-3 hours of yoga per day.  And these sequences are going so much faster than my body.  I know at some point my body won't be able to keep up - I'm brushing that edge already - and I'll have to take extra weeks to stay with a sequence.  But that's okay.  As I tell my students: Enjoy the journey.  Because it's mostly journey.

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