Treated myself to the Women's Workshop for Mother's Day and spent the day designing nourishing and personalized sequences.
Every body is different. Bodies change over a lifetime, and even day to day. Each asana has different effects on breath and internal organs. So it makes sense to tailor sequences that respond to individual requirements.
Each time I go to a workshop I surprise myself with my ignorance and am simultaneously comforted by what I know.
I was looking at a simple diagram of internal organs and was surprised by the location of the spleen (#5 on the right). It was where I'd thought the diaphram was, but the diaphram is so much bigger. This insight has already changed the way I observe my breath, such a crucial element in asana and pranayama.
At one point, Marlene was talking about how the physical body is a way to reach the physiological, and moments later I opened a nearby book randomly and read that "yoga is a path for the body to the mind, and from the mind to the body." The book was Yoga: A Gem for Women, by Geeta Iyengar, who helped to codify her father's teachings and became a respected guru herself.
In the morning we talked about monthly cycles and life cycles, and explored how different asana may help relieve or aggravate physical symptoms; then we designed our own sequences for specific purposes.
In the afternoon we had 1.5 hours to do the practice we'd designed for ourselves. It was great to look around the room and see such diversity in bodies and ages, experimenting with so many different poses.
I designed a core 1.5 hour practice but then also adapted it for a shorter time in the morning, with another version for evening.
An hour and a half! What a luxury! Usually I have a timed practice in the morning, and am acutely aware of minutes passing, with one eye on the clock. I don't want to be late for work; I want to see how long I've been in headstand; etc. etc. It was so nice to just BE in the poses and lose track of time. When Marlene came around to tell us we only had 10 minutes left, I was a bit surprised but actually right on track with the timing of the sequence.
As a result of the workshop, I've added some new poses into regular rotation, as well as taking time in the evening to do a few rejuvenating postures.