We enter March with some pleasant surprises, and some new things to look forward to.
The yoga studio where I practice has just started a new class -- Upside Down -- for inversions. I just came back from the first class this evening. There's something very liberating about being able to come to a handstand (assisted, of course). Maybe it's seeing the world in a whole new direction (upside down!). Maybe it's the sense of achievement in a challenging posture. Or maybe it's just fun getting a headrush.
The studio will also be opening a few new Anusara yoga classes on a regular basis. One of our regular yoga teacher is a Anusara-certified instructor, and I have always enjoyed the energy of his classes. The first Anusara class starts next week. I'm looking forward to it.
Lately I've been trying to pay attention to what are the poses that "feels right" for me. It is part of the process of looking into the more subtle properties of yoga. While it's important to have a good teacher, it is more important to find a teacher that suits your needs. Focus is important, and specialising in a specific style of yoga will help you go deeper. But right now, as a beginner, I am still exploring the different styles of the practice. Eventually I will come to a place that I feel most comfortable. Until then, I am still going for Ashtanga classes while exploring Anusara.
Why the interest in Anusara? Partly because of their emphasis on alignment - which can be rather technical at times -- and "heart-opening" postures. Especially the "heart-opening" poses. While I am still lousy at balancing poses, one of my teacher, H. identified an anatomical advantage where I am more "open" than a lot of people at my upper back. It allows me to go into deeper backbends. I helped demonstrate an intense backbend in class once, and I admit I did enjoy the astounded gasps when I arched my back into a high inverted "U" -- I don't often get to feel that proud of my practice, so I'm enjoying it for the moment.
Hridayam is the Sanskrit word for heart, which means "that which receives, gives and circulates." We can increase this process of giving, receiving and circulating by strengthening the supportive and protective anatomy around our heart and extending the range of motion in those areas. That includes our arms, ribcage, shoulders, neck, upper back and chest. I enjoy poses that requires me to lift my chest and open the heart. Too often the daily stress and frustration of ordinary life weighs on the heart and hardens us. The expansion of chest and rib cage allows me to stretch and release that physical and emotional "armouring" of daily life. Heart-openers rejuvenate me. I smile more freely after class, more willing to open to strangers. It brings me closer to the world around me, where usually I prefer to stay aloof, disconnected.
I will write about my Anusara class next week. I believe this is the right direction. I would like to think the month of March brings gentle blessings. Afterall, it is my birth month, when we can look forward to gifts.