Sunday, September 26, 2010

Week 28 - Ariana

Until yesterday I was not looking forward to returning to this sequence- maybe because many of the full poses are beyond my ability.

Yesterday I took an Iyengar class with Carrie Owerko. She has studied with the Iyengars in India and on her last visit Mr. Iyengar (she calls him Guruji) talked about Sutra 1.20 and how the 5 Yoga vitamins are mentioned there. They are: Sraddha=Faith, Virya=Strength, Smriti=Memory, Samadhi=Contemplation or Absorption and Prajnapurvaka=knowledge of the self and Self. These are the yoga vitamins that sustain our practice. Apparently he talks more about them in the Tree of Yoga. Something about this sutra and the practice (which revolved around accessing these concepts) reinvigorated my interest in this sequence. I couldn't wait to get started.

I needed to have a long and steady Headstand and Shoulderstand so I stayed away from all the variations. My Headstand was shaky. My breath was a little fast so I did not stay in it as long as I had intended. When I came down I realized I had broken out into a sweat. I was extra careful coming up into Shoulderstand because of the pain I had near my right shoulder blade last week. Luckily that pain was gone.

Instead of the inverted variations I did standing poses. Mr. Iyengar says to eliminate the variations in Headstand and Shoulderstand when you do standing positions. I did Utthita and Parvrita Parsvokonasana, Vira 1,2,3, Ardha Chandrasana, Parsvottanasana and Prasarita Padottanasana then went back to the rest of the sequence starting with Jatara Parivartanasana.
Some observations:
My Navasanas have gotten stronger. I can hold them for much longer than when I started these sequences.

In Janusirsana I felt the kidney areas being stretched again. It has a cleansing and soothing effect for me.

I did Half Lotus with the left leg on top and full lotus with the right leg on top. I am still supporting the left knee with a blanket underneath. It still alleviates a pulling sensation I get in the outer knee. I keep testing it without the support and I still need it.

I did Chaturanga with the strap around the upper arms and a block underneath the forehead. I had not used the strap for Chaturanga in a while. This time it helped me roll the shoulders up away from the floor and keep the chest open. The tendency for me is that the tops of my shoulders roll down.  Then I tried it without the strap (so much harder!) but still with the block and once again the shoulders rolled down. But at least I am aware of this and it gives me something to work towards.

When I went down for Savasana after Garudasana my breath was fast. It was nice to observe it gradually slow down and settle into a calm rhythm.

I thought I was getting used to the actions in the inhalation retention for Ujjayi Pranayama. Then I read the instructions again and I had missed a lot of points. Even with the mistakes that I made I still enjoyed it and observed a great puffing of the chest when I pulled the abdominal wall back toward the spine and applied the Uddiyana Bandha.

For today's practice I felt reinvigorated and present with what I am capable of TODAY without any judgment one way or another.

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