Saturday, February 23, 2008

YOGA | This Week's Practice

My hip joints are aching a little from Friday's Hotflow class. R. put us through several series of hip-opening poses, especially the Lizard Utthan Pristhasana. Usually for the power classes we work a sequence towards a peak pose; peak pose for Friday night is Eka Pada Koundiyanasana II (shown in the picture on the left).

At this point of my practice, I can only manage to lift the front leg (somewhat unglamorously). R. tells us it takes a see-saw action and CORE STRENGTH to lift the back leg up into that beautiful balance. Ah. I have, what is politely called, "Baby Core." So.

I can feel a gain in strength over the past few months of intense power classes. But these are muscular strength in my limbs. Core strength is still elusive. As CS reminds us every Ashtanga I class -- it is the core that gives us that lightness to "float" back and forth. CS enjoys demonstrating that floating action. I have seen him float from Crow up into a Handstand. It's impressive.

I wonder when will I be able to do it? (Yes, I know yoga is more than the asana, but damn it! I want!)

But this week's practice has its highlight on Wednesday: On Wednesday evening, M. felt a general low energy in the class. So she decided we should work on backbends instead.

Thank you, M. I love backbends.

We tried a Full Pigeon, but alas, my arms can't reach my back toes yet. One day. One day I will be there. Meanwhile, I continue to practice.

But most of all, the Wednesday practice allowed me to practice some of my favourite poses, like the Side Plank with a backbend variation -- which was something B. used to lead us through in his Anusara classes. Sometimes it would lead up to the Wild Thing, which never fails to invigorate me.

As Anusara teacher, Desiree Rumbaugh wrote, "Anusara founder John Friend teaches that it's not just the shape of a pose that can make it magnificent or therapeutic, but the energy and intention behind it, as well."

The Wild Thing is a great heart-opener taught by John Friend. Your heart soar, your entire body just open, release to something greater than yourself. This particular pose resonant with something deep within me. Each time I come to it, I feel wonderful, as though in a state of grace. I love it.

I miss my Anusara classes. *sigh*


Amanda Roper said...

WOW... now that is flexible. I wish I could do yoga. I've been taking bellydance for a few years and have lost 96 lbs and toned up some. I am still overweight, though and with yoga I can't hoist my porky legs up and I am "top heavy" and tend to loose balance. Is there a type of yoga or program for folks with junk in the trunk?

darkorpheus said...

Amanada Actually, have you tried Bikram Yoga? It's great for detox (good for the skin) and because it's in a heated room, it burns off calories like crazy.

But it's heat must be endured. I feel like I'm in an oven sometimes.

purplefugue said...

I'm still not flexible enough for full backbends. I don't think I'll able to completely bend backwards in Wild Thing but I guess it takes practise.

darkorpheus said...

Kisane As you learn to breathe more fully into your body and just keep practicing, the flexibility will come.

Would you believe me if I tell you in late 2006 I couldn't come up to a Wheel Pose? I needed help from my teacher. Now, it's one of my favourite pose and I go really deep.

jenclair said...

I can do the lizard (we did that last night and I'm still quite flexible), but I couldn't begin to do the crow and started laughing as I tilted toward a head stand rather than a hand stand!

darkorpheus said...

Jenclair Lizard is hip stretches -- they say having open hips also means there's better flow of energy around the body. So, good for you!

Crow will come. I suspect you might be stronger at the core than me, with your tai chi practice.

Yay for your flexibility and yoga.:)