No work meant a leisurely start to the day and a late morning yoga practice, though a lunchtime commitment put a cap on the time. Although short, it was a pure, simple and deeply connected half hour of yoga.
Started with 5 Surya Namaskar A. As usual, no stopping for 5 breaths in Dog pose. I don’t seem to do this anymore, and instead use the first 5 sun salutes to warm up my body and develop a rhythmic flow.
Surya Namaskar B - a bit more physically challenging, the breath is drawn out longer and the movement in and out of warrior is demanding.
I use the 5 breaths in Dog pose to recover the equanimity of breath.
Padangusthasana for 5 breaths.
Trikonasana for 10 breaths on each side, relishing this pose and the release of tension in my thoracic and cervical spine.
Parivritta Trikonasana for 10 breaths on each side. I keep my hands on the floor either side of my front foot for the first 5 breaths and look at my hips, adjusting them til they’re evenly aligned. I use the sixth breath to move into the full pose, and remain focused on the alignment and stability of my hips. Exaggerating the rotation of my shoulder girdle, I squeeze even more twist out of my thoracic and cervical spine.
Setu Bandha (bridge) warming up for the backbends.
Three Urdhva Dhanurasanas. Bridge poses was my only preparation for the backbends today. Normally I’d do more warm ups (salabhasana, ustrasana, laying over blocks etc…) before attempting the backbends…but confidence, and recent progress made me feel ok about attempting it cold.
Elbows stayed bent for the first one and shoulders felt blocked, even though I did went up with heels off the floor. The second one was a revelation…full pose, elbows stretched out to the straight position and heels down. I stayed 5 breaths and the feeling in my chest afterwards was extraordinary. The pose had completely opened my chest cavity. It felt like a warm breeze was sweeping through a cold cave, bringing with it sunlight and fresh air.
I did another, and was overjoyed.
This is progress.
Supta Padangusthasana to counter the back bend.
Janu Sirsasana for 10 long, deep breaths on each side.
Shoulderstand, Halasana, Karna Pindasana.
Then the most exquisitely long, slow roll out from Halasana, holding my ankles, and with extended legs pressing down close to front body. I felt every bone, joint and muscle down my spine get stimulated from the body weight on it. A couple of times, I rolled back in reverse, just enough to re-roll over a spinal spot that needed extra acupressure.
This kind of rolling out, very slow and drawn out, is exceptional for aligning the spine. You feel every vertebrae as you roll down onto each one, stimulating the nerves. You can connect with the awareness of being on the centre of each bone, or correct the imbalance if you're slightly off centre.
It’s a treat.
Finished with Matsyasana (straight legs today) and a 5 minute Savasana.
A pure and simple practice. No frills, nothing fancy, just quiet and deeply healing.