Last day of my holiday today.
When I started it, I wanted to imagine that I was on some intensive Ashtanga retreat in Goa or somewhere, practicing twice a day, Primary in the morning, Intermediate in the afternoon. Probably been practicing around four hours a day and I feel it. I want to say that my body aches all over but "aches" has such negative connotations and it's not unpleasant. That said wouldn't want to do this for more than two weeks or so. Don't some Yogi's go on such retreats for two or three months at a time, madness! Managed not to strain anything though, I think alternating primary and intermediate works well, after all the back bending of 2nd, Primary, the following morning, was just what I needed.
I wanted to become more comfortable with Intermediate. Up till now I've only done it on my day off, on Sundays and occasionally in the evening and/or sometimes tacking the first or second half onto my primary. However, I got up and practiced all of Intermediate this morning as if it was a work day and it was fine, took just over an hour (inc. Freeman's shortened standing and finishing).
I can get in and out of all the asanas now (jumping in is still rough but jumping out is OK), though it isn't always pretty. Supta Vajrasana I used to take the time to get my knees under the sofa, now I just try and get into a deeper and deeper bind and at least make an attempt at the solo rock back and up. Rocking back (falling) is fine, rocking up......well may take some time. Will be a while before I can catch my ankles in Kapo but am happy with being able to hang back and walk in as well as being able to come up now (actually I have some ideas about the ankle catching, posts to come).
Dwi pada is barely there but at least I can hook my feet now and can work on getting deeper into it. Noticed on the video that my calves are perhaps stopping me getting my legs further over my shoulder, perhaps rolling them to the side will help.
Pincha Mayurasana is a big project for me now, I can jump in, legs together, OK but don't think it's very straight. Want to develop a lot of control here as it's key to Karandavasana (at the moment I'm doing a tripod headstand version) and Vrishichakasana ( I heard they don't practice it in Mysore in Intermediate anymore, but I'm leaving it in, one of the joys of home practice).
Supta Urhva pada Vajrasana is the next really tricky one for me though I almost got it yesterday, just losing the toe at the last moment. At least I got the feeling of rolling over my arm, which felt fine.
Headstand I've never found to be a problem, especially with all that "pelvis in space" work I've been doing. I can float up in all seven OK but tend to float down as well. I just don't see the point of that toe breaker of a drop though I saw someone drop quite slowly and with a lot of control, might work on that.
So a more relaxed, flowing intermediate was one highlight. Coming up from Kapotasana was another and hooking both feet behind my head (kinda) in Dwi pada an added bonus. Have become quite comfortable with dropping back and tend to come up again more times than not.
The tick tock. Hmmm, was fun playing with it. Managed to get the tick OK but I think the tock is dependent on developing a good deep controlled Vrschikasana C which is why I've left Vrschikasana B in my Intermediate.
The other nice thing about this holiday is that I've had the extra time to include some Vippassana meditation after Tolasana and before savasana
Things I want to work on now:
Obviously just develop a more flowing, controlled 2nd in line with the breath. But in particular, and things I'll probably be posting on.
- Improved, smoother drop backs and coming up. Catching the ankles in kapo
- Vrishchikasana B and C working towards the tock of the tick tock.
- and the ever elusive press to handstand.
Quite a long, wordy (for me) post, but I realized I started Ashtanga two years ago this month, as a response to being burgled, and it's good to look at where I am now. Kind of thing everyone else seemed to be doing at new year.