Week 1: Moving Toward Balance with Rodney Yee

So week 1 of the first course I’ve planned to undertake is done. I have to admit that I was naughty and I didn’t read the introduction of the book (I will do, I promise!) and also I did my own practice after the poses in the book. The idea of not doing pigeon pose for 8 weeks is just not worth thinking about.

In this book you do 1 day of long practice with all the new asanas, 4 days of shortened practices with emphasis on one or two of the new poses, 1 day of breath awareness and meditation and a day of rest. Another way I was naughty: I skipped the day of rest and went straight on to week 2. I practice yoga everyday, I don’t do rest days!

I’ve been meaning to try this book for a long while. Rodney Yee is a bit of a controversial character in the yoga world from what I’ve gathered (not being in the ‘yoga world’) but he was the first person I ever learnt yoga from and to me he’s always represented a calm, friendly being at a time when I was surrounded by demons and depression. I am determined for this reputation will stay intact.

Anyway the first week of the course is standing poses. Very basic but it’s very good to go back to the basics and see them anew every now and again. Especially if I plan on teaching one day. I did learn some things: I need to do half moon pose (ardha chandrasana) more because I can feel the freedom, the expansiveness and the calmness waiting for me… when I can just feel instead of just feeling like I’m going to topple over. I also realised by skipping the sun salutations how much I rely on the warmth to do the beginning standing poses. Triangle, which is usually a welcome friend, was an awkward little thing. I felt stiff like I hadn’t felt for years!

In the book you count in seconds and I’m so used to counting breaths. Listening for the clock was jarring and distracting me from the sensations in my body. When this is up I’m going back to the breath. Another bad point: Rodney’s reliance on uttanasana (standing forward bend) was irritating. I have to admit I got bored and thought “can I bend back yet?” It’s all about observing though right?

Some good points: I loved meditating in virasana (heros pose). As my hips are more inclined to internally rotate rather than externally rotate this pose as always come easy to me. Sukhasana (so-called easy pose) has always been hard for me for this reason, that and my completely inflexible ankles. So sitting in virasana was a joy! It made me wonder why I always have to make things so hard for myself. It was also fantastic to be told to do restorative poses. It’s sad to say but I need an excuse to do them. Usually it’s a fever or a debilitating depressive mood or something equally devastating. Why? From now on I will get those legs up the wall more often.

So all in all it’s been ok, a bit too basic for me right now. Hopefully the coming weeks will bring more insight.

Headstand update: I have decided to concentrate more on the tripod headstand (sirsasana 2) to regain lost ability in it. I’ve also decided to do a couple of mini-practices of headstand during the day to help me get comfortable with it. It’s still a struggle and it’s still impossible but that makes it all the more worthwhile.

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