I'm getting my practice groove back, YAY!
This evening I had a solid, full Primary practice. Felt nice and strong... still had a snotty nose in forward bends, but I wasn't so out of breath and knackered like I was on Sunday. I got the hand-bind and the feet-bind in Supta Kurmasana, and also had 3 pretty amazing dropbacks (I was inspired by the picture of Susan's hangback in the Kino workshop photos on Facebook. Thanks for tweeting it, Mel!)
What's helped me focus is also thinking about keeping the energy focused internally. Part of this is coz I've been reading an interesting book by Anthony Carlisi, who also goes by the name of Prem... The Only Way Out Is In: A Modern Day Yogi's Commentary on the Synergy of Ashtanga Yoga, Ayurveda, and Tantra. He's been certified by Guruji, and he talks about the relationship between Ashtanga Yoga, Ayurveda and Tantra through his own life experiences. I'm halfway through the book only, but I've got to say it's a really fascinating read.
Granted, the picture on the cover is not the most inviting since it conjures up Hindu symbolism. I dunno, what is it?! I wouldn't have given it a second look if not for the good reviews it has, including recommendations by many established Ashtanga teachers in the intro.
The many typos and spelling errors in the book are slightly distracting (I spot these things and get annoyed by them)... and he has a habit of cracking silly little jokes along the way (again, something a good Editor could have fixed)... but I guess he's writing it like he's telling it to you in conversation. You just have to get past all the typos and wisecracks and see the content for what it is. It's definitely worth a read if you're looking for another take on Ashtanga yoga, beyond just the asana part of it.
His section on Ayurveda has made me interested in delving a little deeper into this... and I'm now researching other books on Ayurveda by Vasant Lad and Robert Svoboda. I am especially interested in the area of food and nutrition and how the types of food you eat affect your Vata/ Pitta/ Kapha make-up.
But... I have digressed. My whole point in the first place was that in reading Prem's section on Ashtanga Yoga, I was reminded today of how the bandhas keep your energy locked internally within you while you practice. Kinda like Diana Christinson's "Pull Through" video I posted a while ago, where she talks about a similar thing of drawing your energy inwards and keeping it compact. Today I made a conscious effort to apply this not just in jumpbacks, but throughout the practice... and I find this really makes a difference to how I feel during, and after the practice too.
Focusing especially on engaging Mula and Uddiyana Bandhas today also automatically made me go within my breath... everything else got tuned out. I wasn't thinking or fussing about anything else.
Today, I had a good practice. :)