T12 or bust

Lovely holiday (i.e., no office afterwards) practice. I feel nice and strong, lately — if a little stiff — and The Archangel’s been pointing out lots of things I need to do to ground myself more. Yup, I’m vata like crazy, and left to my own devices for almost a year of self-practice has allowed me to float up out of my legs. Seriously, I practically levitate during practice. Amusing, perhaps, from a “Whoa! Soon I’ll have a siddhi!” perspective. Not so good outside that whimsical imaginative realm.

Lately my (I think) T12 vertabra is feeling kinda sensitive. And it also kinda pokes out a bit. Both of these things give me pause. On the other hand, my back now folds open much more at that point. So I’m guessing I’m on the right track in terms of opening the thoracic. If anyone knows better and wants to issue a warning, feel free.

Along with the sore spinous process (and I’m assuming another result of the focus on thoracic opening), deep muscles are sore all along the bottom of my ribcage — sides and back, especially, but front a bit, too. In Richard Freeman’s Yoga Breathing CD, he mentions expanding the back lower ribs like “opening curtains.” Most metaphorical. Or, I guess, most simile-esque.

***

This morning, The Archangel and I had a little chat after practice. He noted that my right leg is a lot harder to get behind my head in supta kurmasana. Made a comment about some things I could do, as he put it, “in your yin practice.” Huh?!? Gosh, it’s like those dreams I sometimes have where it’s the end of the semester and we’re taking finals and I have never attended the class. A yin practice? Won’t having a yin practice to support my yang practice just be one more step down the road of obsession?

I was curious to hear how he thought the Mysore program was going. Soon my initial package of classes will be used up, and I’ll need to think about renewing. The studio has a six month package that I might purchase, but I don’t want to get stuck with a bunch of classes if the Mysore program tanks. And it’s not like they haven’t killed a Mysore program before…

Anyhow, I was talking about how nice it is to practice with a teacher, after being on my own for almost a year. The Archangel used to study with Tim Miller. Apparently when he told Tim he was moving to AZ, Tim said, “That’s too bad. If you don’t have a teacher, your progress is slower.”

Yes, the independence of knowing you CAN practice without a teacher is irreplaceable. On the other hand, having a teacher does make practice a lot more… well, overt, I guess. With a teacher, there’s no glossing over your weak spots, and there’re no half-hearted attempts at the tough stuff — at least any time they’re watching. πŸ˜‰ I still sometimes feel lame for going in day after day, needing the same freaking adjustments, as if I ought to learn faster or something. But in the end, I guess if you love teaching Mysore, you have extraordinary amounts of patience. If it were me teaching, I think I’d have expectations about how quickly students should be able to “get” stuff.

I thought about being an analyst, back in the day, but decided it would probably drive me crazy to hear people stuck in the same story session after session for years

Luckily, I am not my own teacher. Oh, but wait. I am.

And, indeed, those expectations are my fatal flaw.

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5 Responses

  1. I like to think about breathing into my back ribs as if they were tiger claws retracting.

    Well, it makes sense to me anyway.

  2. I have those never-attended-class dreams now and then too. What’s up with those?

  3. Yes, practice with teacher, better progress. If anything (for me at least) it’s totally in the community of practitioners, as much as in the physical adjustments (except for whatever the limit pose du jour is, which for now is Kapo, where physical adjustments are freakin PRICELESS).

    The energy of a room full of maniacs who get up at dawn to do things like Supta Kurmasana is an utter selling point.

  4. Oooh, I like the tiger claws image. No wonder the Anusarans are afraid of Ashtangis. πŸ˜‰

    Carl, I have no idea where those dreams come from. It’s weird, too, how incredibly vivid the school environment is in the dream. I barely remember middle/high school — but clearly those hallways and classrooms are still alive in my psyche.

    And yes, P, I look around in the room sometimes and think about what time it is, and it’s all pretty hilarious.

  5. Oh, I forgot to say that I have those dreams ALL the time. I love the point in the dream where I realize, “Hey, wait, I already graduated and I have a degree, I don’t need this class!”

    Now I’m having teacher dreams, and those are even worse.

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