First proper night's sleep since arriving in India a week ago. Hurrah! As I was writing the blog last night I started to feel super hot and then really chilly and weak. There are quite a few people here with a bad flu type illness (very likely the Aussie flu that's all over the news). Two of the three people in the flat upstairs have it, as well as poor Kari Ann and none of them can even contemplate getting to classes. It would be disastrous to get it and so I resolved to practice the sequence Guruji gave during the last serious flu epidemic, when things had got so bad that they started banning any uneccesary gathering of people, in an attempt to stop it's progress. I've attached the sequence below incase you don't have it, but it's basically as many different ways to be upside down as possible, for as long as possible!
Class this evening was taught by the ever-smiley Gulnaz and it was a very fast paced and full-on forward bend sequence with the emphasis on no fuss, no equipment and lots of repetitions. Forward bends come easily to me and so I was able to thoroughly enjoy and indulge myself but I'm guessing it wasn't so much fun for those with problems, though the short holds and lots of repetitions can be good if you're stiff.
One of the many things I love about Iyengar Yoga is that there are so many different ways to teach and practice. Sometimes the forward bends are taught with meticulous attention to detail, every point insisted upon with exacting precision. Other times with softness - the head on the bolster and the awareness on a blissful breath absorption and at other times still, with great speed and dynamism, perhaps rolling into them from halasana as we saw in the kid's class. So much variety of focus, rhythm, tempo, depth, absorption so that many layers of understanding and energies are cultivated not just a single one-dimensional approach. It is endlessly interesting and engaging.
I skyped the family after dinner and tried not to feel too sad at all the miles between us - there's a lot to be said for a month away to make us appreciate each other all the more. I am very aware that in order for me to be here, there are people back home who are carrying my can as well as their can, so big thanks to my partner Louis and all the teachers at Eastern Yoga, especially Frances for offering to take over the day to day running of things while I'm away. Blog may become a bit more sporadic now as the internet is not working at the apartment. I have taken a months membership at the Marriott hotel so that I can continue to work on their internet, but can only get there once a day.
Monday 8th January- Gulnaz Forward Bends
•AMS – UTT – AMS – UTT – AMS – UMS – AMS - UMS – AMS – UMS – AMS – UMS – AMS – TAD
•Uttanasana into Urdhva Prasaraita Eka Padasana – lift the thigh muscle and kneecap up and descend the heel downward to keep the knee straight.
•AMS feet together raise each leg into Urd Pras Eka Pad position.
•Demo at wall – sit in dandasana with feet to the wall to get your distance. Turn round and place your feet where the buttocks were - utt feet together – raise right leg upward on the wall. Foot in line with hip joint, so vira 3 but trunk releasing down the leg. Demo to show 1) Hips level 2) Knee straight 3) Back ribs and thoracic spine pressing in.
•Repeat at wall with these actions (or if you are waiting for a turn at the wall, do in the centre of the room)- many repeats
•Independently do Urd Pras Eka Padasana. Now when the action is correct the leg does go higher as the body goes lower, but it happens naturally.
•Ardha Sirsasana – again using the dandasana measurement away from the wall, then keeping same distance and turning around so that tip toes were at the wall – back ribs in, thoracic spine in – demonstrated on somebody who didn’t have the correct distance how this meant their thoracic spine was not moving in.
•Ardha Sirsasana leg raised to the wall like urdhva prasarita eka padasana
•Here we moved to a very fast forward bend sequence. No equipment, no fussing, no hesitation GO!
•Dandasana Janu Sirsasana x 3 each side in rapid succession
•Paschimottonasana – Don’t sit on anything, don’t miss the opportunity to press the backs of the legs into the floor. Side ribs move along the legs and press down. Elbows up, head down.
•Trianga Mukha Eka Pada Paschimotanasana x 3 each side in rapid succession. Don’t jam the legs together, leave some space, compactness can come later. More space = soft abdomen, particularly important for menstruating ladies.
•Paschimottonasana be hard with the knees here, no bend, press the knees and thighs down onto the floor. Grip kneecaps.
•Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottonasana x 3 each side. No hesitation GO!! (Janu Sirsasana as alternative).
•Mari 1 forward bend, don’t keep the bent leg foot too close to the other leg. Keep knee vertical it should not splay out to the side x 3 each side.
•Trianga Mukha Eka Pada Pasch into Krounchasana bend the straight leg up like marichyasana and move the back ribs in like you did in the ardha sirsasana. Experienced students keep the abdomen in contact with the leg as you straighten, beginning students, see that you straighten the knee x 3 each side.
•Ubhaya Padangusthasana x 3
•Urdhva Mukha Paschimottonasana 1 x 3 on 3rd go roll over into Urdhva Mukha Paschimottonasana 2 repeat 2 more times. It’s not halasana! Lower back has to roll down to the floor.
•Adho Mukha Svanasana leg raises
•Lie on back body, catch the ankles Chatushpadasana x 3 and then if you can place the hands into the back Setu Bandha. Repeat and Eka Pada Setu Bandha Sarvangasana x 3