Monday 18th February 2008
Yoga practice on a Sunday evening is not something I normally do so last night was a little out of the ordinary.
Kosta and I met up at his workshop/studio at 7pm for a quiet yoga session – we’d planned to do some forward bends but after opening the session with Dog Pose and Uttanasana we went straight into a long Headstand and topped it off with some Headstand variations - 13 minutes in total (Kosta had a timer). Thirteen minutes standing on my head contemplating my navel and it felt more natural than right side up. Does this indicate that my life has been turned upside down?
While there, as occasionally happens, my mind wandered away to far away places, reliving scenes and conversations I’d had and might have had, inventing daydreams of future lives and loves, analysing and musing, happily rolling along with the entertaining repartee provided free of charge by my creative mind. But each time I snapped back into the present, I was surprised to find myself still upside down, still balancing on my head – and thinking what a weird position to be in while daydreaming.
After about 10 minutes in Headstand my nasal passages thickened as if I’d suddenly come down with a head cold. My breath wasn’t travelling easily through my nose by now, almost forcing me to breathe through my mouth, but I didn’t, I kept my mouth shut, and just stayed alert to the breath and all the new sensations taking place inside my head.
Shoulderstand was next, with Kosta leading me through variations including arching the back and lowering one foot to the floor into Eka Pada Setu Bandha and then repeating it with both legs lowering together from Sarvangasana into Setu Bandha and then the twisted version where the legs lower into Parsva Setu Bandha. There were quite a few other variations I haven't done for years since I mostly stick to an Ashtanga sequence when I do my own practice. The usual Halasana and Karna Pindasana followed and from there a most natural Chakrasana rolled me effortlessly into Downward Dog Pose.
As you roll back over in Chakrasana the head is pressed unnaturally forward – this probably shouldn’t be done if your neck is not strong and flexible. I think we do it three times (?) towards the end of the Ashtanga sequence, once after Supta Padangusthasana and also after Uttana Padasana and Setu Bandhasana, poses that arch the neck backwards. It’s quite a shock to then roll back over the neck in the opposite direction. So doing Chakrasana straight after Karna Pindasana was a dream.
A few forward bends came next holding most of them for a few minutes on each side. Then Kosta asked me to try and balance in Mayurasana on his back (only because he wanted to try it out on me after). Balancing on someone’s skin was a new experience – the skin slipping and sliding under my hands and me trying to lift off and maintain a precarious balance with my hands turned completely backwards. When it was Kosta’s turn he was a bit timid, afraid that his weight would crush me, but it was a glorious squish once he found the right part of my shoulders to balance on.
A green smoothie was the promised reward. I’ve been eager to taste one of these disgusting sounding concoctions ever since Kosta started raving about them during Glenn’s workshop – he’s been blending up a big batch in the morning and drinking it 3 times a day. This is what he put into the blender:
1 mango, 1 apple, 1 pear, a small knob of ginger and 2 cups of water. All this got blended up first then he added a handful of spinach leaves (no stalks, they’re too stringy) and 2 teaspoons of powdered spirulina. Blend again. It’s a thick drink that glows neon green with chlorophyll, but it actually tastes fantastic. You can vary the fruit and leafy greens - Kosta likes pear and spinach; he says kale and parsley are good additions too. Basically use about 70% fruit and 30% of any leafy greens.
After that mega-dose of orgasmic green enzymes, my stomach peptides were restored to normal with a block of chocolate – essential for maintaining a balanced diet.