March 22, 2010

New Energy, Focus, Excitement

On Saturday morning, I walked into the studio for my private class with Ida Ripley.  I wasn't sure what I expected, but I wanted to learn - a lot.

I laid my mat down in the hot room - it seemed very large and foreboding with no one else in it.  I was nervous and unsure of how this class would go.  Ida walked in and immediately made me feel at ease.  She sat down with me and asked if I had specific poses I wanted to work on, any injuries or concerns.

It felt strange talking in the room that is strictly a no talking zone when practicing a regular class - a room I have only whispered in - a room where I have never heard my voice reverberate against the walls.  Ida encouraged me to talk at any point during our class with any questions or comments.  I knew then - I was going to love it.

In the first 10 minutes I could have walked out and felt satisfied.  I learned so much in the 2 hours I spent with Ida - I don't even know where to start.

We focused mainly on my alignment in poses.  And I worked - hard.

I learned how to really constrict my throat in Pranayama Deep Breathing.  How to make the noise in the back of my throat.  I had never understood how to inhale with my throat.  Ida had me kind of growl in the back of my throat - I felt like I was going to hoark something up.  After a few tries I finally understood how the noise is created when you inhale.  I understood how to constrict my throat and inhale through my nose without really inhaling through my nose.  I know it doesn't make sense and I can't really explain it but I can do it now!

I have been fighting with Standing Head to Knee for a few months now - gotten to where I have started bringing my head to my knee and then losing my balance and falling out.  I felt like I had advanced well but something was off. I knew my kicking foot was not straight - my toes were always leaning out but I wasn't sure what else was going on.  Well, that was just the start of it.  First we focused on my grip.  Ida had me loosen my grip and then press the heels of my palms to the sides of my feet, she then showed me how to lean forward more into the ball of my foot.  I had been keeping all of my weight in my heel.  I then squeezed my knee that was up in the air into my body and suddenly my hips and feet were in a straight line.  As I kicked my leg up, Ida told me to keep my upper body light that all the strength should come from my kicking leg.  My goodness, it was incredible - it was a whole new posture - the bottom half of my body really was solid, concrete - my torso and arms were light and airy - it was bloody hard! I think I tried Standing Head to Knee about 5 times on each side - I started getting dizzy by the end and had to have a rest.

In Standing Bow, I learned to contract my hips and to really stretch my arm forward.  I was always concentrating on the kick - I wanted to get that leg high up over my head but I could never ever balance.  Ida had me stretch - stretch - stretch my arm forward so that my shoulders were in line.  Chin up, leg locked.  The difference in my balance and strength was amazing.  I could feel so many more muscles in my body working and completely understood why the dialogue really emphasizes the stretching forward.

I learned how to stretch my stubborn hip flexor muscles in Tree by gently pushing my bent knee towards my straight knee, simultaneously lifting my hips and torso up.  Amazing.

Half Moon, Balancing Stick, Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee, the Spine Strengthening Series, Fixed Firm and Tortoise I was fairly confident with, have good alignment and a good understanding of the poses.
So we breezed through them with only one set. 

The two hours flew by!  I was exhilarated and energized when I left the studio and wrote down 5 pages of notes of tips and new discoveries I remembered.  I haven't written them all here - I am still marinating on the endless information I was given.  I am consciously allowing myself to explore my new yoga with a clear and fresh mind- with patience and precision.

If you ever have a chance to take a private class, it is SO worth it!  I have a renewed sense of passion and excitement for my yoga.  This morning I felt like I did when I first discovered Bikram yoga.  An awe and admiration for the practice.  I can't wait to get up at 5:30 tomorrow morning and practice again!


Yolk E said...

Wow! I'm so glad it was a worthwhile experience for you. I got a lot out of reading your post! I will have to come back to it. You've inspired me!

Lady J said...

Thanks E!