Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Day 38, 39: You're a strange animal.

Okay, what now?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012
6:30 – 8:30 a.m.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Half Primary Series
7:00 – 8:30 a.m.

Yesterday I was able to guide my own practice which was a nice treat. I haven't had many opportunities over the last month to have true Mysore-style morning practice, as there are often people very new to Ashtanga who need some leading. I love being able to slow down, working myself into poses that I'm focusing on, and then being able to settle in to let the pose do it's work on me. I also threw in some strengthening exercises during Vinyasa to help build myself up to floating.

Adding in these block-assisted "bump ups" as Jason calls them every Vinyasa built a lot of heat and sweat. It felt great, and I swear I noticed a difference in my led practice this morning. I was landing a lot lighter in my half jump throughs. Or maybe it was that banana I ate on the way to the studio, who knows.

I think using the blocks really helps you get over that mental block of thinking your arms are too short, that you'll never be able to flow through to Dandasana, whatever, and train your mind to believe that you can jump through, eventually. It's the same idea as the "Etch-a-Sketch" concept, that by being assisted — sometimes with great effort — into the full expression of a certain asana, it gives your body and mind an image or model of where you'll be able to — with time — go on your own, which then enables you to work towards that with clear purpose. It's also fun.

In case I haven't already posted David Garrigues' jump through exercises, here you go.

This coming Sunday we're doing a full day jump through, and jump back workshop, and I can't wait. As David alludes to in the above video, it's a really fun part of the practice that instills in us that animalistic dynamism that I love.

That animal essence is something that a lot of us lose touch with as we age. It's a shame because we all felt that playful, energetic quality as children. I believe that staying in tune with that animal nature connects us not only to our bodies, but to those other wonderful animal qualities like a heightened sensitivity to our surroundings and other beings, pure-hearted openness and honesty and being present in the now.

I'm looking at my two dogs snoozing away on the couch — not fretting over that fight they had at the dog park yesterday, not worried that they might have to go for a walk in the rain later. They're being completely present and content with where they're at right now, and I know that if I get the leashes out, they'll spring up, ready to take on whatever is coming with enthusiasm, open hearts and wagging tails. That's a pretty amazing way to be.



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