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Be Careful What You Wish For – Backbends

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

For weeks, I’ve reflected on the need for backbends in my practice. I have felt the desire to curl back to open my heart – mostly because I’m afraid if I don’t practice them, I’ll never be able to do them again!

On the long plane ride from Boston to San Francisco last Wednesday, I contemplated this again, secretly wishing one of the four yoga classes I would attend would be a backbend sequence.  

Day 1 – backbends!  I was a bit sore afterwards but thrilled that Jayne cued me to open up more in kidney loop, one of my hardest loops to attain. Joan Cropped

Day 2 – backbends!  I had a private lesson.  Funny about teachers being late here – Jana was subbing and couldn’t find a parking spot.  Since I came all the way from Boston, she practiced with me and backbends called out to her as the sequence to follow. Yay me!  

Day 3 – backbends – “sigh…….,” I whispered to the lovely yogin next to me, “this is my third day of backbends.”  And backbends we did with Wild Thing being one of the first 4 poses after the warm-up.  Here we go……..

We’ll see what today brings in the Castro.  The note on the schedule said, “If you’re not intermediate to advanced, this is not the class for you.”  What do you want to bet we do backbends?  

Be careful what you wish for…….

San Francisco and Yoga – Releasing Expectations

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

San Fran SleepingLast night, the light of day was still intense as this body on Boston time was crawling into the vast whiteness and fluff of bed, so the night shades of this downtown hotel were drawn tight to emulate darkness.  

I awoke to the same bright light of day. Looking down from the 30th floor, I saw bricks and mortar, asphalt and residential hills lazily unroll themselves down into the Bay where the big transport ships lay groggy from the night.  

Krisha Das croons the Anusara invocation from my iPod.  His voice cloaks the memory of the chant earlier at YogaKula on 16th Street where I saw familiar faces and felt the consistent kindness and gentle spirit of Anusarans.  The resonance and tone as our voices blending harmoniously enveloped me with their purity, and instantly, I softened.  

The Bart had swiftly carried me to the door step of the studio and as students arrived, they welcomed me and let me in on their secret:  Jayne Hillman is an incredible teacher but traffic sometimes makes her late.  They assured me she was worth the wait.  “First thing in the morning, it’s not a good idea to get pissed at your yoga teacher,” said Amy Dowling, a familiar face from MA. Liv said, “Release expectations.  That’s the yoga way.”  

Jayne, a certified Anusara teacher, flew in, breathless and apologetic, and with a receptive heart, folded each one of us into her fold.  Throughout the class, she deftly honed in on my trouble spot – that dad-blasted psoas that keeps me bound – and cued me to bow more deeply to achieve kidney loop and ‘use those abs’ to keep it.  Whew, that 2-hour class was intense and delicious, ripe and full. After nearly 7 hours in flight yesterday, my body craved the intensity and release. I left most grateful to Jayne, who molded and prodded me into fullness of back body with camel and wheel, and who didn’t know I secretly had been yearning for backbends.    

There’s nothing more fulfilling than treating your body to a fresh California meal after a practice like that.  Yummy morning radishes, cranberries and mixed greens gently tossed with olive oil and vinegar alongside a rich brothy lentil soup capped off an amazing experience.   

Can’t wait to do it all again tomorrow morning!