This is a stencil of Ursula in ustrasana. You can find her blog here. She’s just beginning third series.
Back to basics, I needed a reset so yesterday I retrieved David Garrigues’s primary series DVD and did the 90 minute primary practice. When I have doubts about my practice a full on primary series reminds me of how spectacular it feels to move and twist and work the body and mind through the entire sequence of poses. Since I had been sick for a couple of weeks I lost my focus, fell into the habit of modifying and not leaving enough time for the full extravaganza. I haven’t been to a class in a month either, which takes a toll also. It’s harder to maintain a practice without the support of a community. I have no idea how Grimmly does it. By that I mean that I do practice at home, a lot, but the classes I do get to provide the inspiration and focus that nourishes my home practice. Still riding the wave of David Garrigues’s New Year’s workshop in Philly last January.
A fun thing is that my oldest daughter wants to learn yoga. She’s nearly 9. So I got my practice done by 6:30 and then got her up a ½ hour early. We did 3 of sun salutation A, then padangusthasana, padahastasana, trikonasana, parivrtta trikonasana, parsvakonasana, and parivrtta trikonasana. Then I went off the ashtanga mold and we did fun things like crow, tree and plow. I even showed her the head stand. Oh yes, we worked on turtle as well and wouldn’t you know that in supta kurmasana she can touch her fingers behind her back. YEARS OF WORK and I can’t do that. She can also lift off in lotus. Can I be 9 again please? Not on your life, not really. But still. It does show clearly how the extra pounds hold me back. Working on it! This is where it’s so interesting because she’s flexible, but not so strong, and it’s fascinating to observe how that affects a practice.
I had the opportunity to teach a mysore class last week, and another opportunity to team teach a community class in which I got to lead the opening meditation and spend the rest of the class assisting. It is completely different than teaching a led vinyasa class, ashtanga or otherwise. When you can focus on people’s bodies, on their flow and what they are doing, you can really see what they need to know in the moment, how you can truly assist them in a meaningful way. It makes perfect sense that if your attention is divided between leading the class and doing assists, then there’s not as much of your attention available to what the students are doing.