Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wednesday already?!

The time is flying by.  Today, Bela and Evelyn practiced teaching with John, and they started leading the 8 AM practice, and it was great.  

John noticed right away that I was having trouble breathing in Downward Dog (because my nose was stuffy), so he had Bela change the way she was teaching our A Sun Salutations to include only 1 breath in Downward Dog rather than 5.  It was great, because by the time we got to the B Sun Salutations, my breathing was better, and by the standing poses, I was breathing without any problems in and out through my nose.  The B sun salutations are better for clearing the nasal passageways because there's more up and down since you're going in an out of warrior poses.

Great idea, by the way, for the yogis and yoginis out there... John's suggestion:  when you have stuffiness in the sinuses, do your first sun salutations (A's) without holding Downward Dog, because doing so can exacerbate your stuffiness.  If you keep moving, and your head is going up and down, you can open up the passageways.  It worked for me today.

Self-practice after the teaching portion was wonderful.  Bela took some photos, so perhaps I'll post a few later.  The room wasn't quite as hot today because there were some clouds obscuring the sun shining through the shades.  [In fact, later in the afternoon and this evening, clouds have taken over and it's been raining.]

Millet cereal was breakfast - yes, again.  I'll never tire of hot cereal for breakfast, especially after a deep and fun practice.  Of course, people cut up fruit and have yogurt and things, too.  We're all very hungry for breakfast, especially because it's always around 10:30 or 11 AM, after morning practice.

Morning class was mostly discussing adjusting seated asanas, as was afternoon class.  Lucy made an incredible squash soup (perhaps butternut squash, though I don't think Kiwis call it by the same name) with salad for lunch.  Oh yes, she made bread, too.  It smelled wonderful, and others said it was, though some of us had leftover rice with the soup instead.

The last part of afternoon class was on Janu Sirsasana C pose.  Janu means "knee," and sirsa is "head" in sanskrit.  Some people translate it as "head-to-knee pose," but it could also be "head- of-the-knee pose" (perhaps because the different ways the lower leg and foot are turned affects the knee in different ways).  

Obviously, since there's a C version, there's also an A and B.  In A, the heel of one foot is just in front of, and perhaps touching, the perineum; in B, the heel is under the anus (yes, the anus); and in C, the heel is up in the navel (and the foot is vertical).  Guruji calls these poses the "ladies poses," as they are good for the womb area (eg., pelvic floor, uterus, and ovaries).  If I remember correctly, Lino Miele (who wrote a book on Astanga and included pictures drawn by John Scott) also says that the Janu Sirsasana poses are good for those with diabetes.

For many Americans, even mentioning the word "anus" is uncomfortable.  When you take away culture and convention, however, it's quite normal and healthy.  After all, the anus is a very important part of the body; it's just at the opposite end of the digestive tract from the mouth.
I'm guessing that many people reading this are weirded out right about now (perhaps not those who practice yoga regularly, however : )  ).

I don't think I should include in this post what we did for dinner... just seems inappropriate.

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