Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Tuesday 6:30 pm with Miranda

Another good class.   I had my best balancing series in a while.  I made it through all four parts of Standing Head to Knee without falling out.  I had to come out of the kicking out part of it from time to time, but instead of falling when I went to far, I managed to pull myself back to the first position.  Standing Bow was not as good, I fell out three out of the four parts.  I'm falling here because the stretch, either in my standing leg or in my shoulder, becomes too intense.  So I think that's probably a good sign.  And Balancing Stick was good:  no hopping and I didn't fall out.

The rest of class went very smoothly.  No real high or low points.  I only went back on my elbows in the second set of Fixed Firm.  The slightest change in the angle of my feet seems to make a huge difference, and I'm really trying to get them pointed straight back to the wall.  Because of the difference that angle can make, I think it might be hard to judge progress in the pose just on how far back I go.  Today, I may have done better than yesterday, even though I didn't go back as far, because I think my feet were straighter.

This idea makes me wonder how many poses have the same sort of issue.  And my guess is that they probably all do.  I know that you can feign progress in half moon by compromising your grip, arm position, and the stretch up before leaning to the side.  And how far the hips come up in Rabbit can vary alot based on subtle differences in the head position, and also on where you grab your feet and how tightly you bring your ankles together.  I could probably go on for another half dozen postures or so where I've noticed the large effect that a small change in the set-up can make.  And I don't even know all that much about the postures yet.  So maybe I should start talking more about my progress in terms of form instead of depth?

I've noticed the same thing about the Final Stretch.  It's much, much harder when I concentrate on keeping my feet together and really engaging my quads while locking my knees.  I've been working on this recently, and it limits how far forward I can come.  So there is an apparent lack of depth from doing this pose with better form.  But the burning sensation in the back of my knees, my hamstrings and my hips, tells me that this is the right way to do this pose.  The lesson in this is that sometimes moving forward actually appears like moving backwards.

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