This morning I went to Denise's workshop in her studio. Pune Daze is a sort of master class that is meant to be very challenging. These workshops are seldom the same twice. In fact today Denise said that she had not taught this class since 2006 or so. She named several dates, each about 4-5 years apart, when she taught it. Apparently, she keeps careful records.
The people there ranged from very young and inexperienced naturals, who could do these asanas as if they had been doing them all their lives, while I have been studying Iyengar yoga for 25 years and still can't do a handstand and other things, to post-middleagers from the retirement set, like myself.
It should be known that I have a couple of bete noir poses that I simply cannot do, handstand and another related pose called pinche mayurasana (sp?) being two of these. Then there's urdva dhanurasana (sp?), a backbend you've probably seen where the person's hands and feet are on the floor while her middle and back are hoisted up to form a sort of table. Whenever these poses are taught, I usually end up frustrated and upset, as well as terribly sore from trying to hoist my body up on insufficiently strong arms and shoulders. These poses played a part in the class today, but unlike the usual scenario, I actually managed to get up into urdva danerasana with a chair, and to straighten my arms completely. But when I tried to do it on the ground again after that, it still wouldn't happen. All the same, it gives me hope to keep practicing it till I can eventually do it from the floor.
I went into class feeling as though I was coming down with something, achy and vaguely feverish (though I doubt I was actually sick), but after the class, I feel great. My mind is clear and calm and my aches and malaise gone. It left me feeling I want to come every month to Pune Daze, or whenever possible, if she doesn't mind.