Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Astanga

When I finished my practice this morning, I had Orangutan Hair:


This is a common occurrence, a well known benefit of Astanga.

I had a great practice. ! I was pretty lazy getting to the mat, but once I got there I worked very hard.

Today, I experimented with longer Urdhva Mukha Svanasana in my sun salutations, holding for almost five breaths to really work the backbend, then back to Adho Mukha Svanasana for a couple breaths, then vinyasa as usual. It was really helpful, both for building heat (I was sweating buckets by the time I left the Surya A’s) and for feeling greater ease in the backbend.

I had easy binding in all the Marichyasanas this morning, including D (it was a finger bind, but a bind nonetheless). Kurmasana felt particularly deep, but Supta Kurmasana was difficult (still got the bind, but that posture always feels like the asana equivalent of swallowing cod liver oil).

My Intermediate poses were all good except Bhekasana, which I’m beginning to hate. It’s not the backbending that I hate, it’s the rotation of the arm/shoulder to get the correct placement of the hands. I’m going to read up on that pose in my second series books and see if I can glean any pointers to make it easier.

I bumped my pre-practice meditation up to 15 minutes and it was uneventful. I’m on a meditation plateau right now - a good one. It’s not difficult, it’s not easy, but it does feel like a practice that nurtures and sustains me, so I’m going with that flow for now.

7 comments:

Jen Stevenson said...

LOL!!! I get Orangutan hair all the time!! I've tried headbands and clips but my hair is a mess no matter what. Can you tell me how is this a benefit? I look like a monkey for goodness sakes!

patrick said...

What I tell students in Bhekasana is that the fingers might start facing "in" (example: reach back to Dhanurasana; your fingers point toward each other as you wrap the foot/ankle/shin); start moving them so they point "down" and then gradually so that they point "out" and then finally (with feet well pressing down) "forward."

Boodiba said...

Bhekasana is one of those poses where nearly everyone could benefit from an assist.. I'm not at all good at it! I'll be happy to be doing 2nd with Chris again, when I get there.

Kaivalya said...

@Jen
Um...Oh, I've got it!

*clears throat*

Orangutan Hair enhances the opening of the crown chakra, enabling the practitioner to more easily reach a state of enlightenment (The Kundalini energy doesn't get trapped in the hair)

Profound or FOS? You be the judge ;-)

@Patrick
Thanks for the tips! That's a good, incremental way of approaching the pose. Maehle's book suggests a good 'reasearch pose' for opening the shoulders.

I have a feeling all this shoulder stuff is going to bring me deeper into my Mari poses too!

@Boodiba
What's an assist in that pose like? A squish, or a rotation of the shoulders...?

Boodiba said...

Oooh the assist is BEAUTIFUL. If you get a good one, and need help with the legs too (which I do) they sort of sit behind you and lay their legs over your knees, applying downward pressure, helping your work the heels down. And then they pull up UP and deeper into the backbend. It feels incredibly, fantastically good.

It's best if you get someone who knows your body & is all firm and no nonsense about things.

patrick said...

The Kino adjustment (and others, but she led us into this one when I was in Chicago in October) is to lightly sit on the Bhekasaner's buttocks (LIGHTLY; most of your weight's still on your feet) and take the bender's shoulders up and back, increasing the thoracic arch. This also, for people who can't get the full hands going, can help with that, but when I get that adjustment I am IN LOVE with the added arch. Mmmm mmmm good.

Jen Stevenson said...

Profound and I love it! ;)