Sunday, January 15, 2012

Aim True - Day 9

This was the day I remembered the importance of strength in yoga. And the the way in which true surrender only comes from a place of strength. Ahh, thank you, Kathryn. Thank you, YogaGlo.

Want to play along? Go here.

Calm Your Monkey Mind and Master Hanumanasana 
Vinyasa Flow
Level 2
Kathryn Budig

Learn the proper rotation of the thighs and pelvis to properly protect the lower back and use your hamstrings and hip flexors to their fullest and most playful potential. Calm your monkey mind by mastering the monkey himself -- Hanumanasana or Splits.
  • Originally posted on YogaGlo on May 14, 2010, I originally took this class on January 26, 2011.
  • 9/85 classes complete.
  • 5/9 classes I had taken at least once before.
  • Favorites so far: Calm Your Monkey Mind and Master Hanumanasana

As you can see, I'm starting to also keep track of my favorite practices as part of this challenge - and this is definitely the first class going on that list. This class is BLISS, and it's also a serious ASS-KICKER. But in a way that feels completely controlled and SAFE. Love, love, love, love, LOVE.

The sun salutations at the beginning go quickly, and I've remembered why I so love the Ashtanga influence on Kathryn's teaching of always warming up with Surya Namaskara A, after a sort of pre-warm up (that I associate with Yoga Works for some reason) that uses the core of the vinyasa flow sequence: downdog, plank, chaturanga, a backbend (cobra or updog) back to downdog, with some good forward folding and usually some shoulder openers.

We transitioned from Surya Namaskara A to B, with some interesting variations thrown in, including standing splits in dolphin. The transition from dog to my forearms is a transition I really need to work on, I remembered.

After some really intense work in Warrior 2, Ardha Chandrasana and Standing Splits (whoa, that part was INTENSE strength training) we landed in one of my very favorite sequences, after building up a really solid sweat: forearm dragon pose with variations, and Ardha Hanumanasana, working toward Hanumanasana.

BLISS, BLISS, BLISS, BLISS. Hard-working, sweaty, strength + surrender BLISS.

I can do full Hanumanasana. I am physically capable of it and have practiced it on many occasions. But today it just wasn't there for me, and as Kathryn was SO good about reminding the class, THAT'S OKAY. It was going to where I could from a place of ease and non-judgemental awareness. What a profound reconnection to the spiritual growth I feel from practicing yoga. So I stayed with a block on the medium level underneath the top of my hamstring, and I dealt with it. My ego had to take a vacation.

Cooling down in single pigeon (she actually offered double pigeon or thread the needle, but I followed my instincts, the innate wisdom of my body, and took single pigeon instead) was BLISSFUL.

And I held dolphin for a LONG time during the inversions. I feel such a dramatic difference in the strength of my shoulders - and I think that massage yesterday REALLY helped, too. =)

Savasna was truly blissful. I always remember Devarshi saying, during my teacher training, that the most rewarding Savasanas come from strength-based practices. It's true. It's not so much about the posture of Savasana itself, it's more the way a really strong, sweaty class just magically releases so much tension from your body that it allows you to sink so much deeper into the support below you. I felt like I was in a hammock, whereas I was actually laying flat on the hard floor. Nice.

So I'm inspired by this practice to teach STRENGTH + SURRENDER themed classes this week. Last week I was inspired by the NYT article to really focus on safety in practice, being sensitively tuned-in to the body, paying attention to every moment of the practice, even in transitions. After this week of practice, though, I feel like I need to turn the focus onto the vast and scientifically proven BENEFITS of yoga, and learning to find balance between being strong, finding the edge, while using that strength to find a place of surrender and acceptance.

And so I wrap up the second week of my Aim True challenge feeling invigorated and mostly back on track with my practice, noticing that I'm more open and stronger than I was on New Year's Day, which was two weeks ago today. I'm one class behind my goal of five classes a week, but I've done two additional non-Kathryn Budig classes so just in terms of practice, I'm one ahead. =)

Off the mat I've felt re-inspired in the kitchen, playing with my Le Creuset grill pan (both Ahi Tuna and strip steaks) and doing a lot of roasted vegetables to have on hand (I made roasted beets on Thursday night that fed me until today!) - the reverberations of which I can feel physically - just feeling a tiny bit leaner than I was, something I noticed just today. It motivates me to keep on keepin' on. 


ps - much love to my dear friend Devin for practicing this class with me this morning, after a phenominal girl's night last night!

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