Last night was as simple and free as the day before was complicated. I didn’t even get on my mat until 630, but contentedly managed a full primary series practice with some tweaks.
In the Ashtanga yoga tradition, a student learns the poses in the primary series (and then subsequent series) pose by pose practicing until the student achieves some proficiency before moving on to the next pose. For me, I currently practice up to and through navasana, with many modifications, then backbends, then some of the closing inversions, then the closing sequence. I’m stuck at arm arm balance that requires me to get my shoulders under my thighs, then balance on my hands, while crossing my ankles and lowering my face forward. This pose pretty much contains all of my weaknesses, and I suspect I will get my left foot behind my ear before I receive this pose. So at home, after navasana, I like to work on a few other things to improve the other parts of my practice and get ready for poses behind this behemoth. One is lotus, a pose I practice daily, well half lotus I practice daily in my slow move toward this pose.
Another is navasana and other poses that require strong bandha action to balance on your sits bones.
I started working on Upavishta Konasana b a few months ago in a non-Ashtanga class (I take many) and I pretty much suck at it. I have a decent Navasana, and while I can hold one leg, grabbing the other leg sends me crashing.
Similarly, while I have a passing, very close to the ground crow, my crane or bakasana falls apart when I try to lift up.
Because Bakasana comes at the end of the dreaded cross legged hand balance, I’ve added it to the end of my practice. And then backbends, which I used to love, but have been nothing short or rotten lately as I’ve tried to push up with straight arms, got a boost when I discovered I could do supported lift ups using my ottoman.
All of these were easier yesterday at home because I approached them in a spirit of exploration and excitement.
Exploration continues. This morning my stomach is extremely upset – some combination of Indian food and ibuprofen and nerves, so I am sitting on my mat, typing this out and planning on another afternoon practice. I’m thinking of using a David Swenson short form video as a kick off. More later.