My weekly training session with @alexnino was scheduled for today. It started as it often does with my giving a run down on what’s working for me in my body and what’s not. This week all the attachment muscles at the base of the pelvis to top of the femur are sore. For over 9 years I lived with a right hamstring origin tear then a few years into that my left side went. Whilst my left is completely healed the right is still in process. I have hyper-extended legs and at some point in my yoga practice I took up and followed the popular hyper-extension cue to micro-bend “for stability and protection”. In recent years I’ve questioned whether this didn’t contribute to my tears. This instruction made my quads strong but not my hamstrings. Balancing poses are as hard for me as they were 15 years ago (!) its very difficult for me to straighten my standing leg without losing all stability. This is what I’m currently working on – in and out – of my practice.
Today’s class was educational and affirming, I learnt that some of the adjustments that I intuitively give students have names like ‘PNF’ with studied positive results. We explored and talked over relevant movement patterns leading us to the topic of active stretching. Alex’s POV is that a hyper-mobile body such as mine should be doing 70-80% active stretching over passive stretching. We explored how some of my asanas would look if I turned them from passive to active. Again interestingly I’ve already been applying this intuitively to some of the intermediate postures. It’s affirming that the mindful movement that I’ve been doing for close to 20 years has imbued me with an organic ability to understand my own and others bodies. My investigative approach means that I’m often looking for ways to bring the body into balance through the asana practice in order to promote longevity of practice. It also means that I’m moving out of “the box”. My compromise is (when appropriate) giving my students ‘homework’. I know the container of the Ashtanga Yoga Mysore method to be powerfully transformational. Few spaces offer the opportunity for that sacred quiet introspective connection yet mediums for movement and health abound. I position the former first. Adding extra movements into a Mysore room affects the collective energy and is distracting. ‘Homework’ allows space for both. As a teacher practitioner, who practices alone, my personal practice oscillates between days when I am experimenting and working versus days when my focus is purely on tristanam.  Asana postures are predominantly passive stretches, this week I will explore what it is do some of those actively.  I’ll post videos of my research.