25 March 2009

On The Mat

Tuesday 24th March 2009

On the Mat

Renate cancelled our 6am practice this morning (she’d gone to a Level 3 class last night) so I slept in knowing I could practice later.
I had a nice solo home practice, my own space, my own yoga, my own exploration, no time frame, very personal…quite deliciously intense though…
5 Surya As
3 Surya Bs
Standing poses to Utkatasana before the intensity of my focus started to wear me down (in danger of blowing a fuse).
I had to leave off the Warriors and go to the floor – my body was asking for backbends.The passive ones seemed the best choice to cool down my mind a little:
First off was Salamba Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (supported Bridge pose with the block under the sacrum and knees bent like in the image). I stayed here for a couple of minutes, directing a conscious release of all tension in my pelvis and hips, then intuition or a flash of insight prompted a strange move which I’d never done before: I lifted my heels slightly off the ground so I was balancing on my metatarsals, the block still providing full support under my sacrum. Feeling quite a strong need to engage my core to hold this I sucked up and lifted my pelvic floor and drew in deep under my navel. This had to be held firm because the next step was to lift up onto my toes. I don’t know if this is difficult for anyone else to hold – maybe it was just working my very weak lower back support system. Finally I felt supported enough to lift my toes off the ground an inch or so and held this position with a very strong core internal support. It was fabulous for my back. I’ll have to remember to do it in every practice.

The next passive backbend was with the block under the thoracic spine, a real passive heart opener – you can just lay there exposed and vulnerable, yet supported by the earth. I sat up and turned the block on its end (vertical), sat in Virasana and leaned back onto it for a supported Paryankasana eventually releasing my arms overhead and holding onto my elbows. The block here is in the middle of the thoracic spine, another good heart opener and a great preparation for the luscious Ustrasana, which is a great preparation for the even more luscious Urdhva Dhanurasana.
After some deep spinal arching in the backbends that I pushed to the limit this morning I did Parivritta Paschimottanasana and Janu Sirsasana, then soaked up every moment of all the finishing poses. I came out of Headstand after 5 minutes wondering why. I’ll have to work on building my Headstand back up to the 15 minute record again.

If I can enjoy my own practice so much, why can’t I do it more often on my own?
Why can’t I jump out of bed when the alarm goes off with a joyful anticipation of the practice to come.?
Why do I make excuses, or construct walls of denial to avoid practicing on my own?

These mental habits grow thick strong roots that vehemently resist change.
Uprooting them is the hard work of spiritual practice.

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