22 February 2008

Led Iyengar class notes

Friday 22nd February 2008

At the risk of overdoing the menstrual theme in this blog, I was doggedly determined to go to Darrin’s 6am led class this morning (having missed it three weeks in a row for quite valid reasons) but the female condition descended upon me last night.

‘To go or not to go’, that was the question.
‘See how I feel when I wake up’, that was the answer.
I felt fine. I went.

While the others did all their usual handstands and forearm balances at the start of class, I was sent to the wall for Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana. Rebellious me repeated it without permission at the end of my mat Ashtanga style, but thankfully didn’t get reprimanded.

Seeing the others struggling with the backwards hands Handstand variation (fingers are pointing towards the feet like Mayurasana before you kick up) I was quite relieved to be on the sidelines – this variation is a new one to me - but judging by the failed kick up attempts going on around the room, it must be pretty difficult. Definitely one to try out in a couple of days in the privacy of my own laboratory.

We did all the standing poses with the back foot against the wall (does this really make a difference?), then squatted down for Malasana, first with heels on a blanket and arms forward, then sliding in to the final pose holding our heels after variations supported by the wall.
Lots of seated twists next – the focus of the day I suspect…I got to do all the ‘open’ twists: Baradvajasana, Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana with a reverse twist, half and full Padmasana twists etc, but Darrin gave me alternatives like Janu Sirsasana and Upavista Konasana instead of the ‘closed’ twists: Marichyasana C, Ardha Matsyendrasana etc.

Then some supported but very dig-deep backbends over blocks and chairs including the one we did in Glenn’s workshop which I'll attempt to describe:
First you place a prop chair with the back of the chair facing the wall, then lay through it so your feet point to the center of the room. The tailbone has to be hanging down past the front edge of the chair, rather than towards the middle. Once threaded through the back of the chair and looking towards the wall, you reach the arms back, bend the elbows, and then with blind faith attempt to grab hold of the chair rung that's between the back legs. The hands are placed so that the little fingers are closest to each other and you pull on them to get the extra shoulder opening while trying to keep your elbows squeezing towards centre.

We all did Uttanasana and Dog Pose to close down after the backbends instead of my all-time favourite close down: Halasana over a chair (which I wouldn’t have been allowed to do anyway).
Funny that after a 2 hour Iyengar class it feels like I haven’t done any yoga at all.
Am I really an A-type Ashtangi in disguise?
All said and done, it's nice to have quieter, ‘restorative’ yoga session now and then, especially if the alternative at this time of the month is no session.

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