Friday, August 10, 2012

quiet summertime

I have been quiet. I've gone through phases where I would check the blogs daily, would post my own thoughts more frequently, and watch asana porn on youtube to figure out what pieces of jump backs-backbends-hip openers I'm missing. All of this has lessened over the past few months and I don't feel the need to retreat to the internet to find connection. This is good maybe … less theory, more quiet enjoyment in the practice, and connection with my immediate Gainesville yoga family. We just finished our Week of Mysore with David Keil, the teacher of my teacher, and I am reminded again how grateful I am to be a part of a small, but dedicated and supportive community of practitioners and friends.

Practice has been my personal version of Groundhog Day. Everyday I take practice, but there have been no major breakthroughs during these hot and humid months. No major setbacks either, aside from a shoulder tweak here and there. David has a great article in The Elephant Journal about being stuck in the primary series, which certainly resonated with me. I have not received a new posture in almost 2 years. The article explains why: 
"The primary series is the training ground for all of these elements. Not just the asana by itself. Not just the breathing, or the bandhas or dristhi, but it is the integration of these elements. Primary is the place where we plant the seeds of tristana and water them so that they blossom into an integrated practice."
Major sticking points remain, particularly the ability to get my right hip to relax enough to  cross it over my head in Supta K, and also the continuous drop back saga. It is not enough to be able to pull off the asana, but to cultivate a certain steadiness with it. The integration will take time. Second series is full of backbends and leg behind head stuff. Diving into it without having a proper foundation would not be wise.  

The practice is never boring though! I'd been experimenting with breath during the early part of the summer. The Confluence Countdown's post "No Dinking Around!" described Nancy Gilgoff's philosophy of speed and efficiency. I decided to try and pick up the pace and be more mindful of the vinyasa count. Some days, this worked well… other days, not so much. Central Florida can feel insufferably hot and humid, and sometimes that rapid breath would melt me into a puddle on my mat before closing. And having a body on the stiffer end of the spectrum sometimes necessitates breaths to ease into things. Different day, different breath… and my experience of the practice will change.

A friend was taking videos during David's workshop and recorded my drop back adjustment. It took me a full 11 seconds, using multiple breaths and with David's support, to get me to the floor in a controlled fashion. And that was on my most open day of the week! So, there are many different philosophies out there. 

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