Thursday, July 21, 2011

Interview with David Keil: Part 3

Part 3 of my interview with David Keil on Mysore style practice!

Interview with David Keil: Part 2

Part 2 of my interview with David Keil on Mysore style practice!

Interview with David Keil: Part 1

A bonus this week!

While my teacher (David Keil) was here this week, I spent a little time interviewing him on why we do this Mysore style practice anyway. There are lots of rumors flying around out there about what Mysore practice is and what it is for. I had a lot of fun interviewing David and digging in to some of those topics.

Enjoy!...and we would love to hear your feedback on the interview. :)
Parts 1 of our interview is below. Parts 2 & 3 will be posted separately.

Day 3 & 4

Ahhhh...2 more amazing practices. My focus this week in practice has been on relaxing, smoothing the breath out from the first sun salutation and riding it out to the end. There is usually a bit of unraveling right about laghuvajrasana and again at tittibhasana, but all in all it's better, steadier.

What I've become more and more aware of as I spend time with this sequence is how much of a conscious decision relaxation has to be. I have to make a firm decision not to fight the awkward, uncomfortable or just plain deep places.

These weeks with my teacher go so fast!...but what a way to spend a week! I've spent 4 mornings doing this practice, which I love, with help from my teacher and have been practicing next to some of my favorite people. I couldn't imagine being happier. :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Day 2

Ahhh...second day of practice with my teacher and all the sticky places are opening up and things are settling into place. The intensity and depth of intermediate tends to catch me by surprise in these weeks where I have David's help to nudge things into less explored territory. One of the surprises of this week so far is that the usual feeling of being sort of knocked over by a wave of energy right about kapotasana is not happening. Breath control continues to improve and there's now more a feeling of riding the wave than being knocked under water by it.

SI joint issues were much improved today and I was actually able to get the leg behind the head without pain...and enjoyed one of my favorite adjustments in eka pada shirshasana!
Highlight: I got a "good" in nakrasana!...woo hoo!! Compliments from my teacher are gold...that one will keep me going for months. :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Day 1

so nice to have my teacher here for the week...

This morning's practice was an interesting mix of surprises. My left SI joint is still sore!...leg-behind-head is modified. David's adjustment for eka pada shirshasana is one of my favorites...such a nice deep stretch in the hips, but had to give it up today. :(

Karandavasana and mayurasana were not least as my interpretations of them go. Mayurasana was especially a surprise...who knew that, while it felt like nothing was changing as I slogged through it everyday, it was shifting around a bit. I felt much less like I was about to crash onto my face today as David assisted me by supporting my legs! Maybe there's hope for that pose after all.

The nicest part of the practice though was the part that is the hardest to put into words. The feeling of being able to surrender, knowing someone is there to help in the sticky places, knowing that for 5 days I don't have to do this all on my own is worth so much. At the sound of my teacher's breath I immediately relax into the practice in a way that I just don't on my own. I'm so happy to just practice for the week.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

On Having a Teacher...

My teacher arrives in 2 hours! A week of practice with him starts tomorrow morning.

These weeks of practice with my teacher are something that I look forward to like nothing else. Months of quiet home practice alone mean that a week of practice with my teacher stands out in stark relief. I work harder; practice is more intense and digs just a little deeper than in the quiet mornings alone.

I've managed to tweak my SI joint again...arg. I'm mentally preparing to modify leg-behind-head if needed, but still hoping I won't have to...ahhh attachment (*wry smile*).

So as I look forward to the upcoming week of practice with my teacher, I want to share a couple posts from other Ashtangis who've written recently on what it means to have a teacher and to be a student.

First from David Garrigues: Guru Purnima 2011

and then from Alex Medin interviewed by Deborah Crooks: Talking with Alex Medin

Practice posts to come this week!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Karandavasana a pose post for a change...

I've been working on karandavasana for a couple years now and I'm really coming to love this pose, not of course because I do it with any special amount of grace. I definitely don't. I'm learning to love it because of the kind of work that it asks for.

The more days that go by as I practice this pose, the more aware I am of where my work is and where it is not. The physical strength to do the pose is building slowly and is becoming a little more accessible each day, but really I've been content to wait for it. I'm not one for a lot of extracurricular preps in order to "get" a pose. I'm more apt to just make a couple attempts in each practice and then move on....a sign of laziness perhaps, but that is where my practice sits at the moment.

The work that has me especially intrigued with karandavasana at the moment is not the physical work. The longer I do this pose, the more I see how much of this is in my mind. It fascinates me to step back and watch the mental processes change and evolve each day as I approach this pose. If I am going to take the pose as far as I can physically on my own without any assist from a teacher, I absolutely can't let the mind leave the present moment. As soon as I think one step ahead of where I am physically, the pose is gone. If I think about making the lotus while jumping into Pincha position, I go right over into a backbend. If I think about landing the lotus while I'm trying to move the legs into lotus, I fall out with no lotus.

It fascinates me and amuses me to watch the mind get bored and try to rush the process each time. I can almost hear it: "Are we still doing this pose? Why is this taking so long? This is too slow; let's move on to something more exciting."

When I finish karandavasana, I can almost feel the mental strength chaturangas for the mind