After a fab weekend workshop with Kino, I took a well deserved morning off yesterday. I had done 7 days practice on the trot though, so I don’t feel too bad about it!

I seem to have got my practice groove back. I feel as though things are running smoothly again. The left hamstring is still twingy, but I think I have managed to stretch them back to their old length, so although the injury is still there, I am not pulling on it so much when I forward bend.

Susan has done a great job of writing about Kino, but I shall do a brief update of my own experience. The counted Mysore class was good, but very, very slow. I have only done 2 counted classes before, both in San Diego last summer. As a result, I managed to get into trouble by getting ahead whilst doing my half vinyasa. It seemed to me that she counted the jumping back bit quite fast, but then stopped before Chaturanga. I didn’t realise this was happening, so kept going and was told to go back and hold chaturanga again! I enjoyed it though, but counting the class takes away some of the control you have over the amount of time you hold your postures for. I suppose this is a good thing really!

The strength class was much the same as the one we did in Dublin last year, and although I didn’t learn much new that I needed for my own practice, it is great from an instructional point of view. Although I have never got around to using my teaching qualification, I have been teaching the BF some beginners ashtanga, and on Monday morning I went through the basics of getting on hands and knees, engaging the stomach and tucking under the tail bone, then engaging the upper back before stretching the legs out. It makes a massive difference to a beginners technique – so full marks to Kino for that one. I’ve always been an exercise junkie and feel like my mind and body are well connected, but for someone who hasn’t got such a sporty background, I think it helps to get the muscles engaged in zones so you get a feel for how the postures should feel.

On Sunday we had a Mysore session in the morning. I was in the second slot starting at 10.30 and didn’t really feel that I got much out of it. The room was already quite full when I started and I only got one adjustment, Mari B, first side. Even at Supta K, she was busy doing drop backs, so I made an attempt then moved on. I did manage to get my head to the floor in Baddha Konasana, on my own, which was a first and I was very happy about that. At the end of the day, I wasn’t too bothered about the adjustments as I get lots of attention from H and the crew at AYL during the week, whereas there were other people there who don’t get daily teacher attention.

In the afternoon we had the drop back session. I started off feeling a bit negative about the session, the mats, which had been pre-laid out on the Saturday had not been arranged for the Sunday afternoon session, so it was a bit of a free for all, and people had spread out in a rather space consuming manner. I was right at the back corner, next to the windows and the back wall, so wasn’t able to get a particularly good view of what was going on. We started off stretching the psoas by doing some deep lunges, then added in the upper back by stretching our arms over our heads and looking backwards. Although I like the lunges with the upper back stretch, I get a bit freaked when the arms are involved. I just can’t get my elbows past my ears, and the extra weight of the arms feel quite uncomfortable. We then went on to ustrasana, then working in pairs, assisted kapotasana and purvottanasana. I didn’t really do this one as my partner didn’t seem very strong and I didn’t trust her not to drop me on my head!!

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Giving an adjustment – a touch of ‘man arm’ here?

We finally moved onto doing full drop backs, a couple in pairs then having a go on our own. I was really pleased to be able to drop back on my own as I hadn’t done so since before Christmas. I still can’t get myself back up, but I can lift my hands a few inches off the floor if I rock enough. It will come though and I feel quite optimistic.

Today I was in a good mood and was looking forward to trying my new found drop backs in the shala, but arrived to a queue of 10 people!!!! At one point this peaked to 13 people when two more arrived after me, one left immediately though. I finally got on the mat just before 8 so had to have a very quick practice – I got to mari C. I did manage 4 drop backs with H though, me getting down, and him pulling me up again.

So, all in all, a good few yoga days. Hopefully it will be quieter at the shala tomorrow!

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