Fair warning this post is a bit rambling and mostly just a collage of thoughts about practice that have been tossing around in my mind.
My practice over the past few years has been an adventure, physically, emotionally, and mentally. I made the transition from primary practice to intermediate practice in the traditional way. My teacher added on one pose at a time making for a loooooong practice for a few years before my practice was "split". Those long practices opened me and drained me. I went through phases of "post-practice euphoria" (which I remember someone in the blogoshpere referring to as the "really good mood" side effects of second series...love that!). I went through phases of feeling "too open", a feeling of overwhelming vulnerability. I went through phases of feeling anxious, a kind of post-practice anxiety hum throughout the day.
Phew!! When they called the sequence "nerve-cleansing" they meant it.
When my teacher split my practice a year ago, practice seemed to shift into a new phase. At the same time my practice was split, my teacher suggested I do the newly shortened second series only practice with full vinyasa....all the way up to standing and back down between each pose. He also suggested I do it that way for 3 weeks before I decided how I felt about it...good call on his part. For 3 weeks, it felt really HARD! Every time I came up to standing, there was a wave of lightheadedness...it seems I had some breath work to do. By week 4, I loved the new practice. While there were still unsettling "nerve-cleansing" experiences, I felt like there was some ground underneath me again.
Practice seems to have shifted into a new phase once again. Strength has been slowly building to support the openness. Practice is feeling strangely steady and strong although it's now accompanied by a bit of unfamiliar tightness. I'm loving the new steadiness, but am interested to see whether this will be a short-lived phase or whether it will stick around awhile. :)