54 is half of 108. Fine, I’m a yoga slacker

My bravado got me half way there.

But I swear, it wasn’t my fault. Life — well, work, really — conspired against my finishing 108 sun salutes today.

I did get in 54, though. Which I needed, since life, again, has been conspiring to keep my away from the mat since Monday.

Guruji's Yoga Mala, via http://www.ashtangayogainfo.com

(Work went 30 to 45 minutes later than I expected, through no fault of my own. I was having to wait on others to finish things up; it was that type of waiting that frustrating me beyond belief as an editor in my dark days as a journalist.)

After I was finished, I realized when the last time I’d done the Yoga Mala — 108 sun salutes — was.

Right after Guruji passed away.

Diana Christinson, of Pacific Ashtanga, held a memorial for Guruji that consisted of the Yoga Mala. Only with a twist. Between each sun salute, each person is succession dedicated the Suryanamaskara.

It was very moving. As was the memorial gathering at Tim Miller’s.

And keep in mind, this was all before the whole Ashtanga thing had really sunk in with me.

Today, despite only having time for 54 “rounds,” I am happy to say that those 54 drained me less than they would have two-plus years ago. So, to that end, the Ashtanga is working.

But, on reflection, I noticed a few other things that I am taking away as “good signs” of progress. (I recognize the irony or wrongness of seeking progress in this.)

  • My focus, my dristi, was … focused. I realize I didn’t have as many points to look at, which I think can be distracting, but on I found myself very much “looking up” in up-dog, looking softly past your nose, etc.
  • My breaths are longer and more controlled. Maybe not Guruji’s 10-second long ones, but… coming.
  • More flexibility. I still have a long way to go, but my hamstrings and quads both were looser and more supple.

So, despite not having the time to get to 108, the practice was fruitful today. The trick, of course, will be carrying those reflections onto the mat on Sunday.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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