My first day there I practiced next to two women who were doing 2nd and 3rd Series respectively. I kept my eyes and mind focused on my own mat....while being blown away by their ability and at the same time feeling very supported by their fabulous energy in my own humble practice. Yes, humbling—in the best possible way—is a visit to Broome Street Temple!
I was able to practice there for four consecutive days. I did only First Series and honestly, it felt so great, each day going deeper into the experience of each pose—and feeling better.
For a long time I believed I would never go beyond First Series and I was quite happy and comfortable with that. Then, in the space of one week three teachers including my main teacher at the time said I was "ready" to move on.
But no! Wait!
Then mental adjustments, transitions, and within no time, I felt the ambition of a yoga student hungry and in a hurry for more poses. PROGRESS (and let's face it-the fun of a new challenge), dontcha know?!
After last week especially, know once again I can be happy with First Series forever. The desire to push forward is superseded by the contentment and exploration of going deeper and deeper.
It's just a beautiful sequence of poses, and it was wonderful being in the midst of such focused energy.
(Full disclosure - at home I still love mixing it up and doing pincha mayurasana, bakasana, etc.)
Someone else assisting even lay with weight of her whole body on my back during forward bend (after back bends). I waited for the pain to start—but nothing! This same assist was what hurt my back the first time.
It would be a mistake to assume my back is completely "better," because I've had that belief proved wrong so many times this past year and a half. I'll just say when the circumstances are right, the room warm enough, etc there is no back issue.
I also think I'm using my abdominal and other muscles more.
That is, my muscles are developing a balance between using the obvious ones and ones less used, For example using abdominals to AND back muscles to lift from a forward bend. Okay and also what we've always been told.... using the BANDHAS and the breath! Surprise!!
Next week: workshop with David Roche (he's 68!) in Charlottesville, VA and whatever I can find even remotely related to Ashtanga in Champaign-Urbana, IL.