Coming home tonight, tired and brain-dazed from a work week in front of a computer screen, the only yoga I felt like doing was restorative poses to soothe my ruffled feathers.
Procrastinating a little (or a lot), I sat on my mat and opened up the Light on Yoga sequence to the now dog-eared week 26-30 sequence that I’ve been doing for months.
I felt more like reading a book than doing a yoga practice so I read up on the next sequence in the Light On Yoga series, it's incrementally more difficult, there are a few extra Sirsasana (Headstand) and Sarvangasana (Shoulderstand) variations, some backbends before AND after the forward bend marathon, plus a couple of new poses (Upavista Konasana and Akarna Dhanurasana) - I couldn’t even contemplate doing this series tonight but I had to make a start and somehow the Headstand series enticed me in.
I read through the new sequence of Headstand poses and tried to etch them into my memory, then I simply put the book down and started...
First up a simple Headstand for 10 breaths, then I lowered my legs halfway and hung out in Dandasana for 5 breaths, raised my legs up for Parsva Sirsasana (still my favourite Headstand variation) deeply twisting on both sides, I paused for one deep breath back in Sirsasana before I split my legs evenly forward and back and rotated into the twisted Parivrrttaika Pada Sirsasana for a 5 breath hold on each side; back up to Sirsasana for a breath, then one leg remained vertical while the other leg lowered for Ekapada Sirsasana; the next variation is Parsva Eka Pada Sirsasana: one leg stays vertical and the other lowers out to the side. Then Padmasana in Sirsasana - I didn't hold out much hope for getting into Lotus here as I'd launched into the Headstand sequence without any warm up Padmasana work. Needless to say I didn't get my legs fully crossed on the first side but on the second side it was easy so I did the Parsva (twisted Lotus) variation and Pindasana on the easy side.
All up I spent nearly 9 minutes in the Headstands - less than I'd expected, but not nearly as difficult as I'd imagined it to be.
So I pressed on...next up: the Sarvangasana sequence.
As soon as I moved up into a full Shoulderstand I knew I wasn't going much further than this. I hung out there, relaxing as much as one can in a Shoulderstand, doing as little work as possible to stay up in the pose. Not enough core support to attempt the 'no hands' Niralamba variations tonight.
So from here I just went with the flow and followed my intuition into a few more poses that would calm my mind and ease the work week out of my body.
Halasana and Pindasana, Supta Padangusthasana, Cross legged forward bends, Virasana and Uttanasana.
Just a half hour practice tonight, but it felt like a sweet little treat.
I've been doing the week 26 - 30 sequence for a while now - its the last sequence in Course 1 so I think it’s time to move on to the week 31-35 sequence that marks the beginning of Course 2. After tonight's practice, I know I can handle the additional Headstand variations in this sequence, and with a few warm up poses, my legs should soon find their way more easily into the Padmasana variations.
Tomorrow I'll see how much of the full sequence I can get through.
My next weekend camping trip is in 2 weeks’ time....something to look forward to.
Summer is coming to an end, and unpredictable autumn weather is creeping up on us again.
Will I still feel so excited about camping alone when the weather is wet and stormy?
Or will staying home in bed sound more enticing than braving the elements out in the wilderness?
And on another wilderness front, I'm now officially searching around for a new job and applying for my first one next week, a very exciting prospect after being at the art school for 14 years.
Something was dislodged when Mark died that has sent me off wandering, unafraid, into a spiritual wilderness where there is no ground to stand on. I sense my camping trips have been externalising the inner urge to move out of my comfortable, known world, to test my independence, my survival skils and inner security.
The desire for a new work environment is emerging from that same subconscious need to wander out into the unknown desert, to explore new territory and release my hold on the ground that has supported me.
Turning 50 has been a pivotal year.
And I have no idea where life is taking me from here...