It has been a good practice week, which is excellent for February. Despite days off, for various reasons, I had 4 solid practices. They felt good not so much for the poses I got or didn’t get, for I’m currently in a plateau phase, up against the same internal limitations, and trying to see my way through. The breath, though, that has been a little different, longer, deeper, fuller, so that the same old practice is new, is constantly renewed, and has some space for love and light. I know this sounds a little airy, but really it’s my practice partner who has been teaching me about the breath. Not by anything she says, but by the sound of her breathing. Long, slow, deep. Her breath is contagious, luckily for me.
We also found a new teacher, Randy Aromando at Ashtanga Yoga Belmont. We love Robert Moses, but he only teaches once a week, an hour away. Randy has an intensive teaching schedule, I’m not sure how he keeps it up, truth be told. But his mysore class was lovely, the space painted a rich buttercup yellow, complete with a small hand made temple at the front. There was vibrant energy in the room as well, as people filtered in to lay down their mats and begin their practice. I wondered if he would stop me, but I had decided in advance that I wouldn’t let it bother me, that whatever my practice would be that day would be fine. For the non-ashtangis who read this, getting stopped simply means that if you get to a pose that offers you considerable difficulty, the teacher might have you end the sequence there and move on to closing postures. It’s a way of teaching, and keeping students safe. So of course it becomes this whole ego thing, which postures you have, how far you’ve come, but we make it that and it doesn’t have to be like that. And so…
He didn’t stop me. I guess my approximation of the bind in marichyasana D was close enough, although my fingers did not touch. I got into my supta kurmasana, the one in which I grab the edges of the back of my stretchy yoga top and try to squiggle my hands as close as possible, than tuck the top of my head behind my crossed feet. Energetically speaking, this seems to work, it’s a very deep forward fold even without the bind. I think the day I get that bind that my head might blow off or something, or not. Perhaps it won’t matter at all. From this vantage point, I looked forward (it’s impossible to look up in this position), saw Randy’s feet. Very good, he said and I took that as permission to move through the rest of the sequence.
The rest of the week went well, until Friday, practicing 1st with David Garrigues’ DVD, and my right wrist begins to hurt. I thought it would be okay, or I hoped it would. I’ve been working a lot with taking my weight into my hands, moving towards that graceful float from down dog to standing, imagining a float through to seated that moves in slow motion ballet, legs lifted until, ever so gently, they float down. Not yet, but I keep picturing it in my mind. But there’s a fine line between tapas, the fiery energy that fuels your practice, and over-efforting, pushing through into injury, allowing your ego to override your physical limitations. Perhaps I will always err on the side of tapas, and that’s okay. But by the marichyasanas, it was clear that I would need to modify. It’s the outer edge of my right wrist. It could well be related to the tension I hold in the right shoulder, the tension that magically evaporates when I am practicing or teaching yoga, but comes back under stress. I’ve been working with a chiropractor lately, perhaps some things are shifting. I’m not sure, the alignment of my right hand on the mat seems a tad off. It’s subtle. So I skipped vinyasas, modified vinyasas, and even skipped urdhva dhanurasana (wheel) until I remembered that I could substitute bow, dhanurasana, which is simply a wheel on your belly, yes? Added in a few cobras for good measure. It snowed 2 feet here on saturday, I had to keep switching the shovel to my other hand to take the twisting pressure off the wrist. And now, Sunday, when I would normally practice, but there’s this wrist, and, technically, it’s a moon day. Perhaps we’ll go skating or sledding instead.