Monday, March 9, 2009

Changing winds

Today, I was up at 4:45 AM, doing various kriyas, breathing exercises, and movements to prepare for practice with John and Vayu at 5:30 AM.

The moon is almost full, so even when I woke up at 2 AM to "squat outside," it was pretty bright out.  Everything was glowing.

Rather than a vigorous asana practice, Vayu, John, and I shared a vigorous planning of today's 8 AM practice with everyone else.  Then, we practiced what we were going to teach.  John has been sacrificing much of his time and self-practice helping us learn.  His generosity is humbling.

It was fun to plan class, knowing that everyone wouldn't really know how we were going to go about it.  That is, Ashtanga is a set sequence, but that doesn't mean that the practice is the same every day.  Rather, it's new every day; it's new every pose; it's new every breath.

Before Samasthithi (what other yogis would call Tadasana, or Mountain Pose --- one of my student's calls it, the "just standing there" pose, but of course, it's much, much more than just standing there), I led the class through a series of fundamental foundations and opening poses... kinda following how an infant might begin to move and explore its environment.  From Georgie's suggestion, I started everyone lying face-down.  We gradually made our way up to standing.

Then, Vayu took over, teaching Surya Namaskar A, but not how you'd think - ie., not straight through.  He counted the first vinyasa, and took the class back to the beginning; then, he went a little further, and went back.  It was beautiful to watch, because it wasn't what people expected, and therefore, everyone had to tune in and really listen.

Isn't that often the case in life?  That is, when things happen out of order, or something happens in an unexpected way, don't we pay closer attention, listen more carefully, slow down, and really observe?  Either that, or we get pushed off balance so much, the mind becomes frantic with thought.  Hopefully, the former happens more often.

Fairly quickly, everyone tuned in, and Vayu took the class through the A salutations.  Then, I took over and led the class through Surya Namaskar B - well, you probably can guess that it didn't happen exactly as expected - we didn't stop in Downward Dog, as per usual, for the first three.

Vayu took over with the first two poses, and then I taught trikonasana (triangle), followed by John teaching Parsvakonasana.  It was wonderful handing the teaching back and forth, holding and flowing with the energy in the room.

To finish the fundamental poses, I taught Prasarita Padottanasana A-B-C-D, and Vayu taught Parsvottanasana.  

For those reading who are feeling lost on these words and what poses they stand for, you can find some images at:  Scroll down and click on the links to take a look.  Some links don't work.

Finally, Vayu took the class through a vinyasa to Padmasana, as Guruji (Shri K. Pattabhi Jois) did with beginning students, and then everyone could do whatever practice suited them.

For breakfast, I'd made buckwheat groats with cinnamon, nuts, and dried fruit, which were good and filling.

Lucy came to our morning class, in which we talked about theme, or a specific focus during a class.

She made salad and kumara (sweet potato) risotto for lunch.  Yum.  

Since today, Vayu and I are "karma yogis," I swept up the kitchen and shala.

Many of us rested in various restorative poses as we waited for afternoon class.  It was on technique, and we spent quite a bit of time counting for each other and adjusting poses.  I was happy to partner with Sabine.

Somehow, all of the information seemed to create some pressure in my brain, so I took a short walk to the car after class to call Tim.  Why in the car?  My NZ cell phone can only be recharged in the car.
Anyway, fortunately, Tim had just gotten home from a special dinner at Blackfish restaurant in Conshohocken, PA, with his brother, so I didn't wake him up like I did last night.

Had a nice long rest/nap afterward, and then journeyed to the kitchen for dinner.

Vayu made a nice, spicy miso soup with udon noodles.  We all loved it.

So, tonight is the full moon, and the winds have been blowing all day (externally - ie., outside, and internally - see the book How Yoga Works), so it should be a clear night.  

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