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Play Time

November 23, 2011

Having taken the day off to further lengthen the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, I was able to attend The Godmother’s vinyasa 2/3 class this morning. I’d planned to go primarily because I’m so rarely able to attend her classes, schedule-wise, and since I teach at her studio now, it’s good to occasionally go pay my respects, as it were.

Except that the class was awesome – as if she’d fine-tuned it for me. Normal people don’t have epiphanies and suddenly “get” their shoulders, I know. Well, not without hallucinogens. But I tell you this: I get my shoulders now. Things that have been told to me for years about prasarita padotonasana C make sudden and intense sense, such is her capacity to explain subtle movements. Or maybe I was just ready to listen today, who knows.

I had a home-grown revelation during the end-of-class ‘play time,’ during which we were left on our own to explore inversions and backbends. My arthritic right SI joint has been a near constant annoyance for months now, refusing to stay where any chiropractor puts it for more than a few days. To compound the discomfort, several of the muscles in that region (which is the right upper ass, if you’re not clear on anatomy), have taken to clenching for dear life. Maybe they think they’ll stabilize the joint, given that its ligaments and cartilage aren’t pulling their weight (or my weight, really), but all they do is further imbalance my already asymmetrical hips.


So anyway, back to class. I was playing around with urdvha danurasana, with which I have a tumultuous relationship anyway.Ā  Every time I get that pose really kind of rockin’ and my dropbacks get to a near-unassisted state, I hurt myself. This time permanently and in a degenerative manner.

No really, so back to class. I was playing around with urdvha D, and decided to lift first one leg, then the other, into Eka Pada UD. To do so, unless you’re absurdly strong and balanced, it’s handy to bring the feet closer together before lifting either leg. I noticed (finally, a learning!) that when I replaced each foot on the ground, my SI no longer had anything to say to me. A quiet SI? In UD? Fuh realziez?

Long story short (too late!), I’ve had my feet just a few inches wider than my hip bones for a long time, and this is not helping me sacroiliacally. (I know, but if you repeat it, it will become a word. Just be cool and play along.)

Which leads me back to how much I’m loving my vinyasa practice right now. I’m grateful to years of Ashtanga for lots of things, but especially for teaching me to practice on my own and to pay attention (albeit sometimes a bit too obsessively) to my body. But with those tools in my hands, I feel like – at least for a while – I need to figure my practice out on my own, and that the Primary Series is no longer the medium for me to do that.

I’ve long likened my path with Ashtanga to any intense human relationship. And so I mean this with all my heart when I say it, baby: it’s not you, it’s me.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. November 25, 2011 9:18 am

    I think it’s interesting and exciting when we come to realizations about our own personal practice, and make moves either within the method we take to move forward in that practice, or decide on a different method altogether; either is awesome, it should be a personal thing. I’m glad you seem to be finding your niche – it’s exciting!

    • November 25, 2011 6:55 pm

      I do really miss Mysore though… I know we call it “self-practice,” and it’s technically cool to do my own thing there, but I don’t feel cool doing my own thing there. I still cross myself before I sit in a Catholic church, too. šŸ™‚

      • November 25, 2011 7:32 pm

        I wish you would feel cool doing your own thing! Whatever is your practice. Tradition be dammed, for every time I stretch out my psoas, I’m technically not doing ashtanga anymore either šŸ™‚ But I will continue to do it.

  2. November 27, 2011 1:16 pm

    That felt conspicuous today, especially because M likes to keep a front-of-the-room/back-of-the-room split more so than S does. But it is nice to practice with the heat and the people… You and your rebel hip flexors are an inspiration šŸ™‚

    • December 1, 2011 3:52 pm

      šŸ™‚ You know.. I was thinking about you and what you said about practicing. I think what is tough for me is coming to a Mysore “class” and still being able to practice as if I were home. It’s hard, because I’m around others’ energy and there are teachers… you end up kicking it up, but then I lose some of that “chill” I can find at home.

      I feel like you can’t be the dunce cap yogi in the back corner. There has GOT to be a way to make this work!

      • December 1, 2011 10:41 pm

        See? Ashtanga’s still trying to teach me a lesson, even when I’m not practicing it. Clever one, isn’t it? I’ll figure it out sooner or later.

        I’d love to see you in the DD Mysore room some day. I don’t think you’d feel like it would be your daily preference, but I’m curious to see what you’d think of the vibe.

  3. December 3, 2011 11:19 am

    I have about 3 weeks off between semesters, if you go up to practice let me know, i would love to join šŸ™‚

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