Well, we had a lot of fun last night in Austin, didn't we? Can you say HIP OPENING? I had several emails yesterday from sisters in the Red Tent wanting to come to class but not wanting to do strenuous back bends and inversions. Being that I am also in the Red Tent this week, I felt somewhat inclined to shift the class focus toward a menstrual-compatible plan.
A 4:30, the hatha class worked a lot on inner and outer spiral in terms of hip opening toward ardha padmasana, arsha matsyendrasana 2 and a simhasana variation. That was good times. About 12 people double-dipped and walked down the hall with me to the advanced class at 6:00 for more fun with eka pada raja kapotasana hip openers the culminated in a pretty good expression of the full eka pada raja kapotasana backbend. Now you may be thinking to yourself, "she said on menstrual day, no strenuous back bending." And this is true, I did say that but we didn't do a strong back bending warm up that would have strained the abdomen. Mostly we prepared the hips and quads and then the upper back in pretty safe-for-menstruating way. No urdva danurasanas, no camels, no big standing poses like Vira One held for 2 minutes like we often do!
Since our Immersion group is making a foray into the Sutras of Patanjali, I have them on my mind a lot these days. So I talked a lot about being established in practice for my themes. At 4:30 we worked with the idea that practice is defined in the Sutras as being constant, long-standing and done with devotion. At 6:00 I talked about how in the yamas each one fo those injunctions is followed with a "promise" or boon that comes to the practitioner when they are established in the practice. For instance, when established in ahimsa, all others abandon hostility in our presence. When established in truth, all our words come into manifestation. When established in non-stealing, precious jewels come. In asana, when the foundation is established and rooted actively, we can rise up. So, like that.
This is a big deal deal for me right now as I have over the past few months been dealing with some personal issues and I am finding that even though I am in a bid of a void in terms of my inner life- falling into the abyss, so to speak, I have an anchor in my practices. So it is not always that yoga makes us happier per se. My experience is that life has ups and downs and if we can maintain a thread of practice through it all then we are established in certain principles of truth no matter what is happening, no matter how we may feel, no matter what psychological demons we are up against and so forth. Abandon practice in rough times and we are just adrift in the sea.