Monday, February 8, 2010

Sunday morning - perfection

I had the best practice yesterday.

I have been undergoing the most hellish pre- "time of the month" for the last two weeks. It affected my practice so much on Friday that I had to lie on my back the last quarter of class - I almost puked from the pain of being on my belly. Might be TMI for some but there aren't that many people reading this... so I'll take my chances.

Friday night and Saturday I slept. I was an emotional wreck. Exhausted.

Saturday I was reading between naps from my favorite new book, Moving into Stillness, by yogi Erich Schiffman (the title of which has inspired the title of my blog). He's not a Bikram guy. Pretty far from it. In fact most of my non-Bikram yoga influences are about as far from Bikram as you can get. I think that's because my yoga is a lot about mitigating the type A nature of my personality, not reinforcing it.

I was reading about all the things that drew me to yoga in the first place - the internal nature of exploration of the body with kindness and mindfulness, the playful and fun nature of yoga, working with lines of energy... really there is so much in the book. I was just dipping a toe into it and see many many more hours of study to come.

I arrived early on Sunday, the full 30 minutes before class began, and did a bit of restorative and yin yoga - to open the joints in the hot room before working on the muscles in class. Very important for me as I've been feeling so wrecked recently. As class began in pranayama I was snuggling my feet into the ground, working my leg line, stretching through the spine... and tuning out the teacher completely. I don't usually do that but I gave myself permission to play that class.

One thing that struck me in the book was to honor the minimum edge ALONG with the maximum edge. So much is made of getting to your max, extending your max, pushing the edge in Bikram. What a wonderful and joyous thing it was to appreciate my minimum edge - the point of first stretch, and move with grace from there! Extending and expanding in half moon with the breath, not pushing right to the max. The upshoot was that I wanted to stay in every pose (well maybe except triangle) for much longer than the bang bang bang sequence of bikram allows.

My standing balancing poses were way way more effortless than I have experienced for two weeks. I stopped at the beginning of the second set of sep. leg head to knee to continue breathing easily and calmly because it felt so good. I didn't want to get into an elevated breathing pattern yesterday. It didn't feel right. I still made it into the pose before the first side of that set was done, but I did it when I was ready.

Ah. What wondrous fun I had playing yoga in the studio yesterday. Light and refreshing.

Good other things are happening in my yoga life - I'm teaching a seven class series of yoga and meditative breathing to one of my clients this year. One visit a month now through August! That's just the beginning - other clients are asking for visits as well. I don't meditate regularly - sometimes I do, but that and yoga is a little too monk-y for me. I have meditation training and have gone on retreats, and I love working with this stuff so I know it's going to feel expansive and wholesome and right... The curriculum I developed is:

Tune into the body
Tune into the breath
Wake up - Springtime Stretching 1
Wake up - Springtime Stretching 2
Summer Stretching Warriors
Ergonomics - stretch at work for safety

Working with an employee population with total beginners and people who inevitably have injuries is an interesting situation. I've done wellness programming for worksites for years so I'm familiar with this. Each visit will be two 30 minute sessions back to back open to all employees. The first two sessions will not even be on mats. We'll start doing seated breathing, some gentle chair stretching and standing stretching for the first two.

Then Springtime stretching we'll move onto the floor and the mats. Still, it will be very gentle - bringing the seated stretching onto the floor (cross legged on blankets), cat cow to wake up the spine, of course some half moon like poses, and the most basic sun salutation (with no jumping back, lunges, etc.) along with some supine twisting and a nice restorative rest at the end.

Second Springtime stretching will introduce down dog. Imagine! Four sessions in before a downward dog! But it's a must, you have to identify people with tendonitis and wrist issues, scoliosis, that kind of stuff - down dog is a serious weight bearing pose (which is why Bikram is such a good beginners series.)

Summer warriors will introduce warrior 1 and the full sun salutation. If I can I'm hoping to make that one long session, because you just can't do that much in 30 minutes. We'll see.

The ergonomic stuff is so essential and there's so many great resources for this kind of work that it's a no brainer to add at the end.

Anyway... lots in the percolator!


catherine said...

Hope that you are feeling better by now. :) Your enthusiasm for this class series is palpable!

ariella said...

thank you very much, I am FINALLY feeling better!