Holding the inverted twist, I try to sense if my back leg has descended the same amount as my front leg. I press down into my forearms and lift my shoulders away from the floor, draw in my lower ribs, tuck my pubic bone a little towards my navel to bring strength into my core, suck up mula bandha to flush the energy from perineum to fontanel, stretch out into both legs from that core and twist further...and balance.
Somewhere in that pose it occurs to me that I'm not a stone cold beginner.
The knowledge and insight gained from so many years of yoga practice and teaching allow me now to create my own practice, to know intuitively what my mind and body need, to be my own teacher and to use yoga as a tool amongst many others for healing, balance and navigation on the journey.
Yet I still I approach every practice as a humble beginner.
My intention for tonight's practice was for gentle inward poses, forward bends, supine poses...but when I stepped onto the mat my body was very cold from sitting still for too long (researching the cheapest price on the internet for a Vitamix), so I did the 10 sun salutes: 5 As without stopping in Dog Pose, then 5 Bs, pausing in Virabhadrasana A for a couple of breaths and also taking the full 5 breaths in Dog Pose.
The heat was brewing, the rhythmic breath came, the connection and intensity came.
I breathed deeply through Padangusthasana and Pada Hastasana.
No standing poses tonight - a long, hard, uphill hike this morning had drained my strength, I needed less active poses.
I decided to do some of Iyengar's week 31-35 sequence - I started with Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana and Supta Padmasana in preparation for Padmasana in Headstand. But after a 10 breath Headstand and the first few variations including revolved Headstand (4 minutes in all) my stiff neck began to weaken so I came down.
Shoulderstand pressed and stimulated my swollen neck and glands enough without extending it into the variations. Next in the sequence was Jatara, Supta Padangusthasana, the two Navasanas, Ustrasana and Virasana. I spent a luxuriously long time marinating in each of these poses.
My phone rang.
And practice abruptly ended.
But that was fine.
It had been a fully mindful intelligent practice. Quality over quantity tonight.
I did finally order a Vitamix this afternoon, after two years of thinking about it. Reading all the comparisons between the Vitamix and the Blendtec on the internet today, the Blendtec was my first preference (the decision was difficult as they both do the job well). Ready to order I looked for the cheapest price on a Blendtec and was astounded that it was more expensive than the Vitamix, so at the very last moment the Vitamix won. It will arrive next week.
Green smoothie health experiments coming up soon...