Man, do I love practicing outside in the sunshine. It just fills me with happiness in a way that indoor practice does not.
A commentator mentioned that Guruji had written in Yoga Mala that we should not practice outside. There was a time, not even that long ago, when I would have been shamed by such a comment. I would have rethought my own happiness and considered taking my practice back indoors again. Now, such thinking is inconceivable. I am sure that Guruji had good reason for requiring that practice take place indoors. Perhaps the sun is a factor. Well, in my case, my back porch is a “half and half”: half open pergola, and half closed, meaning that the slats have planks ABOVE them that keep the sun from peeking through. It’s not an indoor space by any means. But it is protected from sun.
Not that I owe anyone an explanation. But there you have it. There is some logic to Guruji’s prescreptions, no doubt. And there is some method to Yoga Chickie’s madness. No doubt. At least none in Yoga Chickie’s mind.
I had thought about going to Val’s today, because I do enjoy practicing with her. And I do plan on visiting Sir again, as well as Lori in the summer, made actual plans to do so today, in fact (to see, Sir, that is). But as I considered taking the half hour drive to Georgetown, CT today, it occurred to me that I would RATHER practice alone on my back porch, listening to my own music, with the greenery and the newly blooming hydrangeas, foxglove, coreopsis and yarrow as a backdrop. Not that I won’t at some point enjoy a trip to a shala. But today, I decided that what I would rather do was practice alone. And so I did.
Sometimes when I practice alone, I force myself to do it exactly as I was taught. No additions. No variations. No binding in the standing poses. No hanumanasana (splits). No arm balances thrown in.
Today was not one of those days.
Here’s a perfect example of the way I turned my Ashtanga template into my own practice today:
5 Surya A
5 Surya B
Trikonasana to Ardha Chandrasana
Revolved Triangle to Parvritta Ardha Chandrasana
Full Vinyasa in between
Parsvakonasana, touch head to the ground next to foot, then take the bind, then standard pose.
Parvritta Parsvakonasana, take the bind, then standard pose.
Prasarita Padotanasana A, B and C, then instead of D, Gomukhasana arms on each side with the top elbow to the ground.
Parsvotanasana to Full Vinyasa to bending down to pick up the toe and stand up for…
Uttitha Hasta Padangustasana – front, side and then take the leg behind for Natarajasana (Bikram style)
Full Vinyasa to Ardha Badha Padmotannasana, then bend the knee and touch down for Vatayanasana
Then Full Vinyasa to Utkatasana to Bakasana A, then Bakasana B then Full Vinyasa to…
a deep lunge with the toenails on the mat, then Warrior I then Warrior II.
Then the Primary Series “as written” until Janu Sirasana C, which I jump into Eka Pada Sirsasana style and do Compass Pose before.
After each Marichyasana, I jump out of it exactly as I am when I finish the pose, creating an arm balance in each case.
After Marichyasana D, straight to Pasasana, then Krounchasana, then back to Navasana. Then…
Bujapidasana, Kurmasana, Supta Kurmasana. Then…
Eka Pada Sirsasana and Yogi Nidrasana.
Then skipping Garba Pindasana going straight to Badha Konasana and going right through the end of Primary, except skipping Setu Bandhasana.
Back to another Pasasana (yes, putting it in twice because (a) I LIKE it and (b) I am FINALLY getting really really consistent with it, even pressing my heels down), Krounchasana and then while I’m in the Krounchasana position, what a perfect set up for Parighasana and then Bharadvajasana.
Finally the backbending poses. I do them in order until Ustrasana. Then all bets are off. I do Ustrasana a couple of times and I spend some time just hanging back while standing on my shins, not putting my hands on my heels. Skipped Laghu Vajrasana and instead did Kapotasana twice. Once holding A, and once holding B.
From there, put head down and wrapped elbows around head, a la Viparata Dandasana, but pressed chest toward wall. From there, pressed up into Urdhva Dhanurasana. Stood up and then dropped back without lifting the heels by walking the hands down the wall: really really really wakes up my legs and stretches my groins.
Then Utttanasana. Then the closing sequence. Oh, and somewhere in there, not sure where, I did a 10-breath Pincha Mayurasana. I don’t remember where.
I am sure that I will never repeat this exact sequence again. Because it will never be TODAY again. And my body will never be exactly the same as it was today again. And that is the beauty of a home self-practice.
Money saved not going to class: $20
Gas saved not going to class: 3/4 gallon
Feeling like my body got EXACTLY what it needed: priceless.