So I had three weeks off work recently (worked from home in the first, went down with a bad flu in the second) and didn't have time to organise a yoga getaway abroad so decided to stay in the city and created my own programme in the third and final week of my break. And I had a brilliant time!
It just happened that one of my (v good) instructors Patrick was in town for a month so I was able to join some of his classes for a week. Before that I discovered this really cool Indian teacher at my local studio and his demanding sequences prepped me well for Patrick's more advanced classes.
I decided to get up early for the first morning session and was pleasantly surprised to find Patrick's teaching has evolved since the last time I took his class (awhile ago). It is now more retrospective, quieter but still as detailed as ever. There is a lot of "lengthening" of the spine throughout and I love, love, love how my upper back is being worked. So I took three sessions with him, all pretty advanced and the final (apex) class yesterday morning was the most challenging. In fact, at one point I was so physically, mentally and energetically drained I was having difficulty in breathing and I thought I was going to pass out (!) But I stuck with it and was able to hold my headstand for a long time again (I forgot a slight back bend would help stablise the pose). It was really great to see some of my teacher training classmates on the mat too.
Just when I thought my practice has "plateaued" (I don't practise as regularly as I used to, say, two years ago) I think I am still making gradual progress... it is just not immediately obvious!
My next class will be in a couple of days and I've asked the instructor to come up with something that will help further open up my upper back and shoulders. Then I think I will have to target my glute muscles and hips later to start working on my Lotus pose (which I simply cannot do at the moment).