So yoga was much better for me today and alas, there were no emotional breakdowns or things “coming up”, just the usual flow of sweat and the occasional giggle as Prem encouraged me into that pose.  That pose that looms ahead and taunts me….Utthita Parsvakonasana!  You have to laugh, there’s nothing else for it.  I do everything I’m meant to, push my caving knee against my elbow, lift my arches and grip the mat with monkey feet, force my pelvis open, and twist my upper body as much as I can, but something’s just not giving in.  My hips I presume.  Stiff and stubborn, and getting me back for not paying them more heed when growing up.

One of the main things I’m picking up through these sessions is how each pose is meant to feel.  Corrections are sometimes so subtle, a gentle pressure on the lower back, and suddenly it clicks into place and the little light-bulb flickers.  We’re training our bodies to understand each pose, to recognise them, to form a relationship with them, to embrace them, to become them.  Some are very familiar and we enjoy hanging out, others are like those holier than thou students at school your parents always wanted you to befriend.  Intimidating, superior, make you feel like a bit of a lemon, but you know deep down that they can teach you things and make you a better person.  Some are just plain masochistic, you fear them as much as you are drawn to them…a fatalistic attraction.

Anyway, I’m getting carried away.  I’m not quite there yet, but judging by the intensity of some of the poses being practiced around me, I’m just getting a taster of what’s to come.  Is it crazy that excites me?  The sound of the ujjayi breathing strengthening and deepening as somebody prepares for that pose they’re yet to conquer…  You can’t see what’s going on, you’re too focused on your own battles, but you can sense it and hear it – it’s invigorating.

I reached a small summit of my own today.  Made it through the standing sequence, which, judging by my cheat-sheet, means that as of today, I have officially ventured into the Ashtanga Primary Series.  HOORAH!

I know it may not look like much (there’s another 1.5 pages of poses to go…) but remember that beginners repeat and repeat and hold for 8 breaths not 5.  All the while you’re doing it you know it’s for a greater good so you just get on with it, but when you start to flow through the sequence for the first time, without needing to repeat and repeat, its amazing!  I couldn’t believe how much stronger I felt and in control.  Also, I remembered it all.  I never remember anything!  Bar one small – oops – forgot about that bit – I didn’t have to think about it at all.  My body just did it.  Which meant that I had more space to focus on the breath and everything else.

It’s starting – ever so slowly – to make sense, which is why I’ve decided to commit myself to 6 weeks of mysore style yoga instead of 4.

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