Practice this morning was somewhat slow, but fruitful. The weather here is starting to get colder, and my practice room is only moderately heated. So the coldness in my body made me more stiff, and I had to start slower. Moved slowly through Suryas A and B, but was very pleasantly warm by the time I started the standing sequence. I think the cold is a double-edged sword: It forces me to move more slowly, but ironically, I get more out of the practice, because I have to be more munidful of what my body is feeling at every moment. Whereas, in a warmer environment, there is a tendency to just bask in the warmth and zip through the practice.
Worked on a few things during this morning's practice:
(1) Tried to practice the tips I got from Kino during her Chicago workshop last weekend. In standing postures and forward bends, I work on grounding through the 4 corners of the feet, and engaging the bandhas. When one does these, the spine lengthens naturally, and forward bending becomes more an organic unfolding rather than a tug of war with one's hamstrings.
(2) Perhaps because of the cold, I find myself feeling restless at times and just wanting to "get the practice over with." At such times, I call to mind my teacher's advice to take everything "breath by breath", and focus on the drishti. The posture itself is, in this sense, of secondary concern.
(3) My pet project at the moment is working on trying to get into handstand after the fifth navasana. I'm trying to follow Boodiba (aka Queen of the East Village)'s advice to exhale strongly before lifting off, and using the bandhas to get my ass above my shoulders. Managed to get my ass part of the way there today, before gravity pulled me down into chaturanga. Will continue working on it.
I went to Kino's workshop in Chicago last weekend. I will be posting my thoughts, impressions and (mis)adventures at the workshop over the next few days. I'll start by sharing with you the video interview I did with her at the workshop. If you have ever wondered about questions like "Why dropback/standup before second series?", "Why does 2nd series impose all these seemingly conflicting demands on the body?", or "Why are there 6 series in ashtanga when most mortals will probably never finish 3rd", you should watch this interview! The interviewer in the video is yours truly (now you know how I look like :-)). Claudia has also posted the same video on twitter. In any case, here it is: