I zipped downstairs to an early hot power vinyasa practice with friend Jessica Ashen. She’s a yogi and founder of Spiritual Pretzels Yoga. Jessica brings donation based yoga all over Jersey City. It’s awesome and so is she. Her classes are a mix of being playful and learning how to challenge your body in new ways. Jessica teaches from a place of love that is tangible. As a result, I leave her classes lighter in the heart. I love this because that’s something I used to only get from my hot practice.
Anyway, back to this morning.
It’s great taking classes with a teacher who knows that you teach. They tend to be gently relentless about form and adjustments. I’ve been getting a bit lazy when it comes to stacking my hips over ankles in Uttasana.
No slackin’ with the stackin’ in Jessica’s class. It was what I needed.
Roll the weight forward onto the toes, roll the weight forward onto the toes, roll the weight forward onto the toes.
Jessica made an interesting observation about me being in between my vinyasa practice and my hot practice. In hot classes the weight is back in the heels a lot.
Shifting the weight forward into my toes and engaging the low belly and feeling my heels lift, my body yearned to go higher.
It was my brain that was talking me out of it.
Jessica mentioned Christina Sell and how I need to check out her approach to handstands. I found this video, which is fantastic. She points out that many seemingly unrelated poses connect to turning the body upside down. It’s worth the seven minutes. Check it out.
We did handstand practice again the wall and it felt great. Jessica showed me an exercise that Christina Sell uses called Ding Dong. As you kick up you alternate tapping feet on the wall. I sort of powered through that and felt good. Inside my active mind, I thought back to my earlier fold and rolling the weight forward so one day can lift into handstand.
One day I can do it, I thought.
And then…we moved onto practicing Pincha Mayurasana against the wall. It was
Oh hello Ego, I didn’t see you sneak into class behind me. Seriously? It’s early, I thought you’d be upstairs asleep with Dakota, or getting coffee down the block waiting to pounce on me later riding my bike to class.
Form matters. It was tough activating my triceps, pushing down and engaging my abs. Sure she could have had me just kick up and play, but there is something to be said for doing it right.
Ugh. Hard work.
“Perfect we have something to work on next time!”, she said.
Groan is what I did.
“Be excited! It’s a new adventure!”
Damn if she wasn’t right. It is a new adventure. Something else I get to explore.
I left with a lighter heart, ready to open the door to the unexpected.
Better still, I reconnected with the foundation of yoga, uniting body and breath.
Yoga keeps reminding me that I can go home again (and again) and that more importantly, I must.
Yoga sweet yoga.