Friday, April 2, 2010

Astanga

“So Kai, what did you do at school today?”

Well...today, I put my legs behind my head in Supta Kurmasana and then lifted my body up with my hands!

*ahem*

Okay, okay! What *really* happened is this: The teacher put my legs behind my head, then she hauled me up like a sack of potatoes while I gasped for breath and my eyes bugged out. I mean, seriously. I did NOT know that my body could do that!

I enjoyed the week with Teacher M, but it was great to have the regular teachers back, and bonus: this morning they were BOTH there at the same time. I received a variety of different adjustments and some great feedback about my practice from the two of them, Teacher R in particular.

I met her only briefly when I came to the led Primary last August, so I didn’t get much of an impression. She’s really great in the Mysore room! She talked me through a couple of adjustments, giving verbal cues to help me go deeper. I like to know the ‘whys’ of things and I think she sensed this because she offered explanations whenever possible. We had a chat about Janu Sirsasana C and possible modifications for it. This pose is frustrating to me because I can DO IT just fine, but if I do, I can’t walk the next day without considerable pain.

A few of you have asked what the deal is with my feet, so here’s the scoop: When I was in my mid-20s, I was diagnosed with a condition called Morton’s Neuroma in both my feet. It’s an abnormal enlargement of plantar nerve between the third and fourth toes which is aggravated by extreme flexion of the toes (like squatting with heels raised, or even wearing high heels). It’s extremely unusual to find it in young people. I developed the condition from years of squatting on archaeological sites in my teens and early 20s. Because of this condition, I’m contra-indicated for Janu Sirsasana C and also for rolling over my toes in vinyasa (which is unspeakably annoying and sometimes I just do it anyway because it’s SO much easier).

The only real ‘cure’ is surgical. My hope is that eventually, the nerve condition will heal itself through my yoga practice. It’s not an unreasonable hope - I had severe plantar fasciaitis in my left foot which yoga corrected.

I had a great practice today. Once again, I was sweating buckets. I may need to investigate that Halo headband after all (I’ve been making due with the bamboo headband I bought at the show last weekend). I’m pretty sure the Shala was hotter today and I was definitely working harder.

Backbend Bootcamp started in earnest today. Teacher R stayed with me for all five backbends. She suggested that I widen my feet slightly, corrected my right foot (which always like to point out slightly) and asked me to straighten my arms more. I held the first two Urdhva Dhanurasana for 8 breaths and the third for almost 10 because R had me walk my hands in. I was trying mightily to bring the weight into my feet, but it’s *hard*. It made me feel like I was bending my knees a lot.

I held the last backbend for as long as I could, but finally collapsed in a heap. We were both grinning at that point. Clearly, I need to build some endurance in these backbends! Afterward, she said “Chakrasana?” and I begged off. I told her that I just don’t have it in me after Urdhva Dhanurasana, so she let me off the hook this time. BUT! I rolled and landed all of my other Chakrasanas today, two of them on the first try!

Princess Fur is really missing me in the mornings. Yoga Time was always nice for her because I was on the floor, nearby and she had company and the occasional ear scritch from me. Yesterday morning, she crawled onto my lap before I left for the Shala. It was my best Dandasana of the day.

3 comments:

Michelle said...

I never noticed anything with your feet. Why on earth would anyone ask you about that?

patrick said...

Yeehaw! Legs-behind-head party hereby begun!

Kaivalya said...

@Michelle
Previously on the blog, I mentioned that I'm medically contra-indicated for Janu Sirsasana C, but I never offered the details. I imagine that folks were curious because it's not a pose that is commonly avoided for medical reasons.

@Patrick
It has indeed! You can bring the chips! ;-)