I took some classes with Les Leventhal in Chicago at the Midwest Yoga Conference. It doesn’t look like they are still having it in Chicago unless I just can’t find it on the internet. I loved going to that conference. I got to practice with national teachers like Seane Corn, the Kest brothers (Jonny and Bryan), Paul Grilley and Les. The conference was usually 3 days long, and, if you were a teacher you could attend some pre-conference sessions that were designed to go in-depth into either certain poses, certain styles or with a specific focus. I remember loving Les’s class, so I was stoked when I saw an entire channel of his classes on Yoga Download.
Tonight I went to acupuncture, and I came home energized. I was able to take a little nap during my session, so I looked for an invigorating practice. I didn’t want to do too much, though. My hamstrings are still smarting a little from that Monkey Pose practice I did last week. My hamstrings are screaming every time I do forward bends or any pose where I have to use my hamstrings’ strength to lift and move. I knew Les was a power yoga teacher, but I hoped his practice was still as moderate as I remembered it being. I don’t think hard is better when it comes to yoga. It’s great for it to be challenging, but a lot of our Western influence is just serving to make the practice harder not more informed.
Today, I’ll focus a little on a challenging pose but one that I truly love because it’s a twist, a strengthening pose AND a hip opener. It’s called Extended Side Angle Pose or Utthita Parsvakonasana. I like all variations of this pose. When I’ve not been practicing, I can’t move into the twist as well nor are my legs strong enough to hold very long in the full pose, but tonight I was able to comfortably practice the full pose without the bind. I tried the bind for a a few breaths but decided it was more effort than I wanted to give tonight.
This one hour practice was delicious and just what I needed. For one thing, it featured more topless men than women yoga models, so I loved the eye candy complete with muscles and ink. Les was very knowledgeable and had great instructions and modifications for all of the poses. I chose to practice at about 75% tonight, so I held myself back from some of the more advanced stuff. It felt good to do just what felt good with a little bit of challenge here and there. At one point, Ashok came in and mirrored me in Downward-Facing Dog. She was so cute. I may make a yogini out of her yet.
So, I feel really good after practicing. I sauteed some fresh kale, red potatoes and leftover chicken in some olive oil for dinner and did a tiny bit of work. I’m about to settle in for some reading. This past week I have been sleeping so good. I’m dreaming, and I’m sleeping through the night. I believe the yoga is helping. We’ll see if it continues. I’m going to have a busy weekend with some travel. I plan to continue my yoga practice. It’s only for 30 days, so I need to stay dedicated. I’m anxious to see what happens.