Saturday led. As I signed in at Starbucks of Yoga, one of the employees asked if I was there for Ashtanga. Yes. Well, class is probably going to start late, because there is a workshop by a Famous Yoga Teacher going on. Famous Yoga Teacher can’t read a schedule? I wondered. Perhaps that was too harsh a response?

The Ashtangis, all having received the same message, sat, stood and hovered around in the hallway. Tick tock tick tock. Time passes. Someone asks Sanskrit Scholar if Volleyball Guy is aware of the hold-up. She rolls her eyes and nods. Volleyball Guy appears. It is ten minutes past the appointed hour. He puts down his mat, takes off his jacket, opens the door to the room, and announces, “We have a class scheduled.” He closes the door and sits down. I say, Why do people say Ashtangis are pushy and aggressive? Everyone giggles.

Eventually the door opens and people start to exit. They look dazed. One of the Ashtangis says, “What class was that?” A workshopee pronounces Famous Yoga Teacher’s name. Ashtangi looks confused. Apparently it’s a name he’s not familiar with. Famous Yoga Teacher dawdles, chatting with people. I think she has on a unitard, which is something I’ve actually never seen in real life, but I don’t want to stare. The Ashtangis unroll their mats and make preparations.

And so the class began. Good class, too. A nice big, post-holiday class to generate heat. Mmmmm. Love it! On the down side, I forgot my hand towel AND my rug. Patagonia jacket had to sub in as hand towel. Its performance fabric is decidely not absorbent. Which is, admittedly, part of its performance criteria. It is not supposed to work well as a towel, and indeed it does not.

I practice next to Crim Girl, who actually runs across the room to hurl her mat down between me and Sanskrit Scholar, which makes me laugh hysterically. A woman with a mission.

Practice in general was uneventful — just nice and calm and strong. My allotted adjustment was in janusirsasana A. Volleyball Guy gives a janusirsasana A adjustment that is totally The Exorcist — your whole torso pretty much spins around. Alrighty then.

I’ve got baddha konasana happening as a balancing pose at this point. No kidding. If I push myself forward enough to tip my weight so I can get my head down to the floor, I end up balancing for a moment on my ankles. Butt not quite on the floor, head not quite on the floor. I keep going forward, though, so my head goes down (rather than my butt). I’m assuming gravity will eventually sort this out, and I hope so because it makes me feel kind of ridiculous.

A little hilarity ensued around urdhva dhanurasana, when Volleyball Guy asked those who usually stand from urdhva dhanurasana to work on chakra bandhasana. Earlier in the week, someone on ezBoard commented about chakra bandhasana feeling “delightful.” Characterizing the feeling one might get from chakra bandhasana as “delightful” was enough to start a humorous email thread between Sanskrit Scholar, The British Director, Crim Girl and myself — one where we speculated on some more accurate characterizations. So the very mention of the pose this morning started us all giggling.

I was decidedly NOT one of the chakra bandhasana attemptees. Crim Girl was, though, and I adjusted her (if by “adjusted” one means in a very awkward and likely somewhat painful manner) so her hands were closer to her feet. Bottom line on the chakra bandhasana adjustment is this: Crim Girl was willing to let me push her hands closer to her feet, and she knows better than to expect much finesse from me. Luckily, the quality of my adjustment isn’t gonna make or break her progress — she doesn’t have far to go before she’ll be able to get it on her own.

Between laughing and bending my friend into a loop, I managed a good number of deep, painless, core-engaged urdhva dhanurasanas. I’ve been doing a prep pose on Tuesdays and Thursdays that involves lying face up and threading my arms through the space in the back of a folding chair, then lowering my butt toward the ground while hinging with the lower ribs against the edge of the chair. Seems to be aiding the shoulder-opening — I was able to push my chest further forward and more perpendicular to the ground than usual.

All that said, there does seem to have been a hiccup in the backbending festivities. I believe it’s a nadi issue, as well as an alignment one. Yesterday morning, after practice, I was at work in a meeting and I started having the neurological effects that usually precede a migraine. I was taking notes and realized that there was a little squiggling blind spot in my vision. This was always the most common visual effect I’d get, back in the years when I had migraines frequently. A few minutes later I lost a good bit of the peripheral vision on my right side, and then my right hand got all buzzy with nerves. The pain, as usual, came about 45 minutes later, but it wasn’t a bad migraine at all, just a dull headache.

This morning, I felt a little migrainey before practice, but it actually cleared up during the backbends. Go figure. I feel like I’m jiggling a little nervous system switch that’s always been a bit poorly wired in me. It’s very much connected to my shoulders/traps somehow. I’ve always understood this as a “weird link” in my wiring, though I can’t say it’s ever been a particularly conscious awareness. Woohoo! Maybe it can be revised via yoga. Actually, I’m pretty sure it can.

I like how yoga ups the ante. Not afraid of the physical challenge to hamstrings? Willing to mess around with your spine? Okay, how about we threaten to explode your your nervous system or your head?!? Obviously I’m being silly. Right? 😉

After practice, Volleyball Guy asked me what I was most concentrating on these days. I had my list all prepared: legs crossed behind my head in supta kurmasana, head to floor on baddha konasana without any push from a sandbag or adjuster, dropbacks, and pasasana. “Pasasana,” he announced. I’m amused he decided to trim down my answer.

So that’s it for the practice front. My Gift returned to college after a month-long Christmas break. You know, I knew I’d be sad when she moved in August, and then I thought I’d get better and more used to it, and then it’d all be easier. Duh! I felt pretty much JUST as sad this time around. What? No linear progression?

The question should really be: How can I always be surprised about lack of linear progression? I’ve been experiencing reality for decades now, and still it always catches me off guard.


2 Responses

  1. What! You did not take “Detox Flow?”

  2. LOL! That’s a riot, Ms. Private Investigator! I just went out on the site to check — I didn’t even realize that’s what the class was! Now that I’ve read the description, all I can say is: WTF?!?! Yoga as self-help?

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