I got home from teaching, ate a big bowl of miso soup and now I am checking my email and doing "blog rounds" before going to bed. I thought classes went well this afternoon. I had a fun time at any rate. It was so great to see so many of the regular gang in attendance, many of who came to the Eye of the Tiger. So we got to comare notes on soreness. And also there are some "new regulars" in both classes which is great. I love to see some new people committing to the classes with regularity.
The thing about Anusara Yoga is that it really takes a regular commitment to really begin to see what the whole thing is about. Every class is kind of different. You may not get a "workout" every time and you may not learn something new every time either. But over a period of time, when a student invests in the the process of practicing the principles, amazing things happen on so many levels. It is a really exciting thing. I have watched it long enough to know that when someone really gets their arm bones back and gets shoulder loop activated, their upper back is going to change, their backbends will deepen. When Inner and outer spiral becomes a regular part of someone's life, their hamstrings lengthen, their hips open and deep forward bends become less of a big deal. But more fun than seeing all of that come along, is watching how people's lives begin to get a kind of texture to them where a sense of the magical comes alive and a palpable sense of community and support becomes an ever-present reality.
And of course these things happen in other methods but since this is a place for me to wax philosophic about Ansuara Yoga and my current love affair with it, there you have it!
This week is brought to you by the Fire Element. Fire as it moves from gross to subtle moved through qualities like determination, will power and on towards spiritual illumination, tejas. Right? Fire gives us light and heat. Too much, well, blazing inferno. Too little and we are cold and in the dark. Like that.
So at 4:30 we did a good basic flow with lots of one-legged balancing poses using a lot of determination (muscle energy) to feed the illumination (inner body bright). And at 6:00 we worked on urdhva danurasana and dwi pada viparita dandasana, two of the four pillars of back bending according to Mr. Iyengar. So George talked about the Four Pillars of and Advanced Back Bend Practice this weekend. They are: Urdhva danurasana, dwi pada viparita dandasana, kapotasana and mandalasana.
It is so great to think about because these poses are often skipped in the pursuit of fancier advanced back bends like the eka pada raja kapotasana backbends and natarajasana. But as I am thinking about these bends I can see that if you have the capacity to work in these poses, the other advanced poses will follow quite readily. (Yes, I can see that Ole' BKS might be on to something here... ) So anyway, we are going to work on these four pillars in our advanced classes.
First, we need to be pretty proficient at urdhva danurasana, which most people really are and drop backs (which most are not) and also dwi pada (which many are) and headstand drop overs (which many are not) and then it is really just a short walk over to mandalsana from there. Kapotasana, I think is harder but we should easily be there by spring providing that this little post doesn't frighten people away and I have to start building with a new group. ("Hello, my name is Christina. Thank you for coming. I used to have a lot of advanced students but then I scared them away by talking about the Four Pillars of Back Bending. Please come back. I will be nicer to you than I was to them.. " Can't you just imagine it?!) Anyway, just sharing the vision, folks. (The vision of the back bends, mind you. Not the vision of me alone in class begging people not to be afraid. ) One little step at a time. (Or in grouping of 5 and 10 back bends at a time like tonight!)
And for Rusty (my favorite ashtanga practitioner next to Chris Kitteridge in B.C.) (Rusty, that should not make you feel bad, because I have practically moved in with Chris and his wife from all my visits up there so until you wake up at 4 am to drive me to the airport in the snow, you will just have to be content with being my second favorite. Most favorite here locally, though!), I am going to practice sorting some things out about Maricyasana D. He promises me hoards of visiting Ashtangi's if I can offer any insight about how to make that clasp!! So, now that I can clasp in a, b and c myself, I might as well quit writing that pose off as impossible. It may take two or three years but well, what else am I doing? (Any genetic engineers out there who know how we might all grow longer arms? I think that might be easier than actually learning the pose correctly!)
All right. Enough already. Svetha, Hannah and Kelly were the double dippers tonight. Alice wins a prize for getting hubby Steve back to class after last Thursday night. So even though I missed her exuberance at 6:00, she and hubby being there at 4:30 more than made up for it. Also, Mark and Hannah are back from their travels so it was fun to have them in class again. Anyway, I could go on- like the four Katherines in the flow class- Kathy, Cat, Katherine and Katie. Strange day. But mostly, like I said earlier, it was just great to see everyone.
Until next time. Carry on.