I was looking forward to class and also dreading it since I had been lax with my home practice. Surprisingly though, class was not too difficult. I could actually get some balance in ardha chandrasana which is a struggle always. I even managed to balance independently in sirsasana for a few moments. My hand could reach a little lower in trikonasana and there was a better lift in halasana. These were unexpected changes since I was a little out of regular practice and all I was thinking about was how I was so out of it that it would hurt. Perhaps off days are good just like in running.
Generally our teacher doesn’t get into the philosophy of yoga much and we had a 5 minute treat when she touched on a few things. The key concept was working on our fear through asana. The fear of pain being greater than the pain itself. I could identify with that one. When expecting my first child, I had imagined pain beyond any threshold but childbirth was not as bad as I had conjured in my head. She illustrated it using an example of how we would face any fear willingly if it meant the welfare of a beloved but not so while confronting the fear of pain in virbhadrasana 2.
She spoke of fearlessness and being in yoga through the turmoil of everyday living. She used Guruji’s example to tell us about working through constraints. He had a tiny space to practice and that didn’t stop his sadhana. No sticky mats, blankets or bricks and he just went on. We are taught in the classical way with minimal use of props. If there is injury, support is given, else it is avoided. It’s a brilliant way to learn as there is no safety net to fall into yet it is the safest way to practice. Step by step and with a strong emphasis on the basic actions. Those actions are replicated in different types of asanas and it is interesting to see how it all connects into one whole pose.
I felt how urdhva baddanguliyasana helps in sirsasana and one of the random thoughts was would water pass through the interlocked fingers. My fascination for the foot endures and in addition to that, the newest area to catch my attention is the sides of my trunk. ‘Become tall’ is a typical instruction in many poses and the sides are doing most of that work. It’s an interesting opposition of movement, the downward grounding and upward lifting. Even the lifting feels different when there is the pushing into the socket movement, as though live energy coursing through. I feel less fearful about injuring myself in Halasana and Sarvangasana now and when I lift a little, there is a warm sensation in the neck, as though the circulation has been activated in that area. There is a glaring mismatch between my left and right sides and I can see that a lot more work is required on the left and a little less on the right. But finding that balance is difficult. I was looking at the soles of my feet after a longish run and could see how different both were.
I had flat feet and the imprint of my feet would be of the whole sole, this has changed greatly and virasana and its variations have been responsible. Light on Yoga mentions it as a good pose for flat feet and states, “Due to stretching of the ankles and the feet, proper arches will be formed. This, however, takes daily practice of the pose for a few minutes for several months.” It has worked for me although seeing the difference in both feet, I have not been equal on both sides.
Running barefoot has been an explosion of sensory input and it feels right somehow. I can’t see beyond my present day sensations but it feels as though I have stumbled onto something.