Wednesday, June 24, 2009

121/174 - Big Yellow Taxi

Tuesday 4:30 pm with Sherry

"Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got til its gone." I'm talking about the ease in my right elbow. There is an upside to minor injuries: they really bring out exactly how each pose effects the injured area, and just what the limits might be. And so this practice was an exploration in how the Bikram series works the right elbow. It's something I had not ever really appreciated before, for exactly the reason in the Joni Mitchell song.

Anyway, here's what I found out. Pranayama works the elbows, and actually stretches them, in ways that I had not perceived before. I'd never noticed any elbow work in Eagle before, it had always been easy. These two seem pretty obvious, since you really are bending them there. What was more surprising is how much of the series involves actually trying to hyperextend the elbows. Of course, I sort of knew this before, but I could lock my elbows pretty easily, so I knew it without really being aware of it.

And I was a bit surprised at two poses where the tightness caused some problem. Standing Head to Knee -- It was hard to reach and hold my foot and my balance. And Toe Stand -- Here the problem is that you use your hands, reaching down to the ground, to balance, and the weight can shift suddenly. Sudden, extra weight on that arm was not a good thing.

Class itself was a bit crowded, with really good energy. Both Rohit and Cisco were practicing right behind me. I didn't see them much, but simply having them there, I think, provided a boost. My stamina has been great, and my roll is still rolling along. I'm still waiting for the class that sucker punches me...

In the day 173 meditation, Gates announces that he will begin a series of entries that connect asana practice to the yamas and niyamas. So, in some ways, the meditation was just a preliminary. He starts with a quote that states that the word "innocence" originally meant "not harmful" in Latin. Thus, its possible to see the first yama as being a call to innocence. I like this idea, and I think it fits today's practice pretty well. I took extra care today not to do anything that would further injure my elbow. And in the process, I was in some ways completely innocent of the impact that each of the poses would have on it. The same spirit of non-harming also made the practice fresh, new, and alive.

1 comment:

hannahjustbreathe said...

So random---I slammed my elbow into a file cabinet at work (long story) last week, and this weekend, I had a practice so similar to yours, i.e., being painfully aware of all the various poses in which you actually stretch, strengthen, rely on your elbow.

Yoga is so holistic; sometimes I find it hard to concentrate on just one portion of my body throughout a class. But, when you can, it's such an interesting mental and physical exercise.