Saturday 9th February
As usual I’ve be writing daily in my scrappy dog-eared exercise-come-yogajournal book but time just hasn’t allowed me to type, edit and post any of the entries here.
I’ve maintained an (almost) daily practice since 1st January. To be honest, I didn’t think I could do it, but somehow the initial promise to myself to practice yoga daily contained enough conviction to transform the intention into a firm resolve.
Some days I haven’t felt like practising. I’ve stubbornly resisted and procrastinated. But with the evening drawing to a close and bed calling, I’ve felt SO GUILTY that I’ve unfolded the mat for some quiet forward bends - “just 20 minutes” I’ve reassured myself - before gently diving into my inner yogaspace to emerge one hour later, at peace with myself and the world.
I did Glenn Ceresoli’s yoga workshop over the long weekend in late January which was a 2 hour morning session and 2 hour evening session each day for 4 days. Lots of props, lots of dialogue and lots of outrageously long holds in poses so we can observe discrepancies between left and right in our bodies and the incessant dialogue in our minds.
On the morning of Day 3 I started menstruating so I parked myself in a corner, and did menstrual poses, sometimes listening to Glenn instruct everyone else in the poses, sometimes immersing myself in my own female restorative pose.
Alas, I picked up nothing new for my personal practice – I figure I’ve done so many of Glenn’s workshops over the past 6 years that I’ve probably absorbed and integrated much of his methodology.
Going out to dinner after the final session with Glenn, Darrin (who runs the Iyengar studio) and a couple of others was probably the highlight and worth the entire money spent on the workshop - sharing a pizza and Tiramisu with Darrin just may have been the highlight of my entire year.
Here are a few brief notes from the workshop:
- Must always link asana practice to the larger intention of yoga
- One of the reasons we do asana practice is to correct the imbalances in our physical, energetic, mental and emotional system, to bring balance, peace and equilibrium.
- Dandasana: roll the inner knees down and watch the resulting effects on various parts of the body then consciously enhance all those effects.
- Cross legged seated forward bend: from the navel extend downwards to the pubis and upwards to the sternum, creating length in the spine, hollowness in the front body and space for the internal organs.
- In Prasaritta Padottanasana A (wide leg standing forward bend) take the head to the floor and press the hands down into the floor to lift and lighten the pelvis.
- Urdhva Dhanurasana – roll the top of the buttocks down towards the base of the buttocks while also drawing the hamstrings up into the base of the buttocks.
- One instruction has stayed with me and has made quite a difference to my forward bends. Try it first in something like Baddha Konasana but apply it to all forward bending poses, standing or seated. First you tilt the pelvis by rolling the pubis down towards the ground, but then you take the top of the pubis gently in towards the tailbone. It’s simple, subtle and effective in getting curvature to the sacral area.
Glenn often had us drawing the navel towards the tailbone and simultaneously drawing the back of the diaphragm towards the sternum, creating two diagonal but opposing flows of energy.
Unfortunatly it took me one whole week to recover from the workshop, not physically, but mentally. Glenn’s yoga intensives, with long holds and sustained focus in all the poses, is heavy and introspective, the opposite to my Ashtanga practice. And its effect on my mind is always like damp, heavy earth. But earlier on in my yoga history Glenn's workshops were instrumental in developing the subtle and precise inner work that I now incorporate in my Ashtanga practice.
So now it's finished and I can get back to my own beautiful practice.