Sunday, April 8, 2012

Trial Classes

I have started looking for a new studio to practice and managed to get free passes for classes at Chi Fitness.

The first trial class was an Ashtanga class with Daniela Somasundram-Agnoletti last Tuesday.   Daniela led us through the sun salutations and pointed out that as we look up from the forward bend, to press our palms flat on the mat before we jumped back instead of touching our fingertips on the ground.  By keeping our palms flat, it helped to keep the core muscles activated before we crouched to bend our knees and kept the lift in the hips as we jumped back to Chaturanga Dandasana. 

We also practiced hopping forward in downward dog, bending our knees before straightening the legs and keeping our hips lifted high in the air as we jumped forward to land gracefully on our feet. 

I found the class tough as I had not been practicing for more than a week and my hamstrings had gotten tight and had to adjust myself to the different style of teaching of the poses. 

The second trial class yesterday morning was supposed to be a Hatha class but turned into an Ashtanga class as Ganesh, who is a traditionalist Ashtangi told us he only teaches Ashtanga.  It turned out to be an amazing class with the assists and adjustments I received from Ganesh. 

Ganesh led us through the sun salutations and standing poses and kept reminding us to stay active and not comprised the integrity of the poses. His counting and reminders of sound breathing kept me focused on my poses.   

When it came to the sitting poses, Ganesh let those of us who could do the poses carry on on our own while he teaches the rest of the class the poses.   When I reached Marichyasana D,   he came over and helped me to bind my hands and also adjusted my hips so that I could twist deeper in the pose.  

And in Supta Kurmasana, I received my deepest assist ever with my hands coming together high behind my back as he crossed my legs behind my neck although I lost the clasp of the hands just before he helped me to my feet which ended with me losing the pose to go into Titibasana. 

I managed to continue to do some of the poses in the Primary Series up to Prasarita Padottana (Wide Leg Forward Bend before Ganesh asked all of us to lie down to do the wheel pose followed by the closing sequence.  

I found both classes to be great as I received so many pointers to improve my practice and I will be going to my third trial class at Chi Fitness this afternoon; an Ashtanga class again but this time with another teacher, Kunal.

Update:  As I was the only one who turned up for the Ashtanga class, Kunal asked me to do a Mysore class instead.   As I went through the poses in the Primary series, he counted softly which kept me focused on my breathing and he came over to adjust some of my poses and helped me go deeper in some of them.  I had another great assist in Marichyasana D and for Supta Kurmasana, Kunal placed a towel between my hands which helped to keep the bind as he helped me to lift up to Tittibasana before jumping back.    He instructed me to stop at Supta K and asked me to finish the practice with the backbends (I could only do two wheel pose) followed by the closing sequence. 

After the class, Kunal gave me some encouraging and positive feedback on my practice and told me to continue with my Ashtanga practice as a continuous practice will help me to progress in the poses. 

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