Day 3 – Were you worried?
3 September, 2010
SWWW here, did you guys think I wasn’t going to blog today, or even worse, that I wasn’t going to practise today (gasp!)? Well, here i am! (fanfare)
OK, typically Ashtangis would do their practice as far as they are taught from Sunday through Thursday (I was given the first five postures of Second or Intermediate series – don’t let that term ‘intermediate’ fool you – by my teacher Kino) and then on Fridays we do Primary Series only. It’s a way to wind the body down before the rest day on Saturday. I think it’s brilliant, and so do my very sore muscles on a Friday morning.
BUT, since I managed to injure myself by pushing too hard (Type-A much?), I’ve wanted to transition back into ‘full-on’ mode slowly, patiently testing my hip and knee for what is possible right and what simply is not. It is a humbling thing, pain, particularly when you SAW it coming…I knew my knee was twinging, but pushed right past it anyway…tough pill for my ego to swallow BUT I know coming out of this injury I will have some greater understanding of the whole hip-knee-ankle connection and how subtle yet powerful it all is. And it is.
So….I took a Guided Vinyasa class tonight – that’s why my entry today is so late, but you know what they say… 🙂 – with Donovan, a powerful Ashtanga/Vinyasa teacher whom I sometimes sub for and who’s filled with such faith and power, it’s staggering. So Donovan knows I had a wonky left hip and, God love him, gave us an amazing mélange of twists and hip openers that were SO deep, I almost fainted from the joy of it.
Let me just say this, if yoga is FOOD, then hip openers are that favourite comforting dish when you’ve had simply the worst day, they’re NOT easy, they take TIME, but they give you SO much in the end. After Sun Salutations (with a twist, of course, if you know Donovan, you’ll understand me perfectly) and standing forward bends, he gave us Lizard Pose (I’ve never know the Sanskrit to this, or if there IS a Sanskrit name for it) and yummy Pigeon Pose (Eka Pada Rajakapotasana) and Mermaid Pose (see Lizard Pose)…and then Supta Hasta Padangusthasana (reclining hand-to-big-toe pose)…and then, oh my gosh people, and then….wait for it….Happy Baby pose!!!
If you’ve never done happy baby pose, I weep for you (well, not really). But get on the floor and try it now, go, lie on your backs and bend your knees, grabbing your big toes and drawing your knees down to the floor while trying to keep your lower back still on the floor. Go on, try, I promise, no one’s watching, or if they are, they’re jealous of you right now. Ever seen an infant do it (usually just before they stuff their toes into their mouths – babies are too cool)? Don’t they look…HAPPY?
And it made me think “child-like”, this practice brings you back to a state of innocence almost, using the breath to calm you, to let go of what you think and surrender to what you feel. Surrender, and goodness, did it feel good!
On the mat, it pays to be like a child, always exploring and questioning, but always true about how it makes you FEEL. Yoga should always leave you feeling good, and tonight, it did just that.