Monday, January 25, 2010

Astanga

My energy levels are back, but I felt stiff and gummy this morning. It’s the third day of my Lady’s Holiday, so I did the full Primary without the closing poses. I did practice Supta Konasana though, and held Downward Facing Dog in the sun salutations.

I usually take it easy for three days during my ‘holiday’ and then go back to my normal practice, so tomorrow business as usual.

I resumed the ‘lift-up-and-jump-back’ thing with blocks during my seated vinyasas. I was sweating buckets - it was great! I enjoying the feeling of working hard. My arms were tired when I finished. At the moment, I’m getting the ‘up’ part, but the ‘jump back’ is a work in progress. Baby steps!

I’ve been thinking a lot about drop-backs lately. My Urdhva Dhanurasana is looking pretty good. Theoretically, I *should* be able to drop back. But I can’t. I dream regularly about dropbacks (and the other night, I also dreamt that I could catch my heels in Kapotanasana - seriously, I’ve never given much thought to that pose, so where did THAT come from?). In the dreams, my drop backs are easy and fun. It's a bit of an obsession.

I recall being told that one ‘must be able to do drop-backs’ in order to move on to Intermediate. I suppose that’s why I’ve been fussing about this; because I’ve been thinking about Intermediate.

Patrick left a great comment yesterday about the criteria for adding Intermediate, citing Maehle’s ‘primary-every-day-even-low-energy-days’ standard. If that’s the case, I’m ready. My energy levels don’t get much lower than the first day of my Lady’s and I got through the entire series, sans inversions.

To Intermediate or not to Intermediate?

This is where it becomes challenging as a home practitioner. I have to self-evaluate, determine my own direction and assess my own progress. I don’t want to move on too quickly before I’ve truly mastered the Primary Series (I can do the poses; it's the transitions I'm thinking about), but I also don’t want to hang back in my comfort zone (which is my tendency).

Almost 3 years of Primary has done a lot for my physical strength, but very little for my spinal flexibility. I don't think my backbends are going to improve further without a lot of extracurricular preparation work or the first part of Intermediate.

2010 might be the year I start expanding my practice.

5 comments:

Liz2 said...

I finally started using blocks for jumpbacks too! I just finally faced the fact that I would never get a sense of the motion without the "lift." It feels so good to get a more complete practice in.

peace,
L.

alfia said...

My vote is to Intermediate! I heard from several people (not from my shala, though) that they learned the dropbacks- standing ups from UD only after doing kapotasana for several months.

patrick said...

I'm for some Intermediate; anyone who reads you can tell you're dedicated to the Primary. If I was advising (and tell me when to shut it), I'd say tack on Intermediate up to, say, Dhanurasana, and then 3 backbends from the floor, and then one hang back. If you can see the back of the mat from the front of the mat, you drop. Having waged LONG, LOOOOOOOOOOONG war with dropping back, this feels like an area of specialization. I'm ok with using a wall to practice the balance in hanging back, too.

Arturo said...

intermediate, then primary now and then

but maybe that is not what you wanted to hear.

it's after all from my perspective. you have to listen to your body. my body asks for intermediate.

hugs
Arturo

Kaivalya said...

Thanks, everyone, for the feedback re: Intermediate. I do feel that I need more backbending in my practice than Primary affords. Interesting to hear others' perspective on this.