I love this Monday night class, and especially when some beginner students show up, wondering what it is. The teacher modifies wonderfully, and she's completely lacking in any uptightness as to what ashtanga is or how it "should be done," because in this town, you can't do that (well, I can, but I let people know that, when they walk into my Sunday class).
Plus, it's well-known that I'll Mysore-style my way in any Ashtanga class that I'm not teaching, here. That's acknowledged and allowed. So some folks were doing hip openers, some were doing other leg-behind-head prep, Lisa (another teacher) and I were doing the full pose or something, and so on. Marvelous room. I find that I never lose a taste for the organized chaos of a Mysore-style room.
Specific poses: many of them are par for the course, but developments are occurring.
Laghuvajrasana: finally returned! I had a nice full expression of it tonight. Ahh. It's good to have it back.
Pasasana: remains tip-toe, going left. It was hard to bind it today; barely fingertipped it. This reduction in twistiness is typical of hard stress.
Kapotasana: I would love someone to watch me do this and estimate how it's going. Here are the stats, as near as I can figure them: I arch up; the lower back does not crunch. I reach over my head, breathe, look back, extend hands, breathe, drop back without a sound. The landing is soft and pleasant. But it is to the mat, not to the feet. I press up, the arms remain bent. The abs stretch hard, but do not get any "tearing open" sensation. The quads engage HARD. I take five breaths, walk my hands in once, again no feet, and take a few more breaths; they are challenging. I turn my head and see my hands maybe three inches (?) from my feet. Could be 2, I doubt it's 4. What do I work from here? Arms straighter? Rotate thighs in? What? Am I CLOSE to the full expression or FAR from the full expression? Holistically speaking, what is my Kapo all about?
I still exit Kapo via Supta Virasana, but now I skip actually doing SV and just sit back, inhale, put my hands down, chaturanga, and so forth. On with it.
Eka Pada: it's possible to put both right and left foot, separately, back, and hold. There's some strain in the back muscles, and I feel that my neck is too engaged, and the shoulder not enough. But A is comfortable, mostly, and B is not bad. I can reliably take the foot, and while breathing is tough in that forward bend, it's alright. I have been losing C after about 3-4 breaths; my head tilts a bit as I try to retain the foot behind.
Dwi Pada: still too tough to lean forward, reach the right shoulder under the leg, and use the right hand to guide the foot up. I can get it up there, but by the time I do, the left foot is already on top of my head. This, I can tell is very close. A teacher could put me into it with NO TROUBLE.
Titti sequence: still loving this, burn and all. I jump forward, feet land outside hands. Only ONCE did I jump into Titti, and that was over a year ago; I can't seem to repeat it. But my Titti A is big and strong and I like it. I worked at extending the head and the feet and pushing the arms straighter. Titti B is also nice; my legs aren't straight, but I bind the hands reliably. The walk could happen in bigger steps, but it works, and recently I have not melted down after it; tonight too, I walked my feet in (although apparently that's not how it's done anymore) and put the heels together and bound my hands and took five breaths. Then five more in a lazier, more bent Titti A, and then five MORE in Bakasana, jump back.
Nakrasana: it's not every day I get to do this one (time considerations). The jumps today were really nice, softer, not as loud. It's as if the fingers and toes are coming to life. Score!
Dhanurasana: is getting VISIBLY bigger. I can feel it. Often my ribs touch in the front, but today I was really getting the ribs up and away; the feet push up and back, and the arch was delicious. My sternum just popped, as I was sitting here considering this sentence.
Pincha: is really beginning to float. I've still surrendered the exit, because my big toe wants no more bruising.
Karanda: hahahahaha! I usually, mostly out of low endurance, hit Pincha again (this time it took 3 tries to get back up), lower the right leg toward lotus, find that it's not low enough, and then fall over. The main challenge for me here is LOTUS. I mean hell, I can do Garbha Pindasana in Primary, undo my hands, pull up into Urdhva Kukku C, lower down into tripod headstand, pick the lotus up, and lower it, all day long. BUT, I can't make it without my hands. I think I have strength aplenty for this, but not the proprioception/flexibility to do the inverted lotus.
Dropbacks: I am still doing, and deeply enjoying, Matthew Sweeney's "two hands back and spring" wall dropbacks. I do them this way: hands up overhead. Inhale long, exhale back, touch wall, lean deep (dropping head toward floor, hands DO NOT MOVE). Inhale, spring up. The fourth one of those, tonight, had my hands probably within 2 feet of the floor. When I drop my head down, I can see plenty of floor. I am regularly dropping my hands beneath the level of my hips.
Sirsasana: still getting 15 breaths in the full press-up, Urdhva Sirsasana. Rawk.
It is good.