Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Astanga

I had a good practice today! R was on duty and I had a very productive practice

Wednesdays are jampacked busy and I want to have time to go outside and lay in the sun for awhile after lunch. It’s beautiful out here, but it’s supposed to rain on the weekened (boo! hiss!). So here’s a quick rundown of today’s highlights:

- My shoulder needs to be further outside of my knee in Parivritta Parsvakonasana. I can get some leverage that way and a deeper rotation
- Prasarita Padottansana C: Easier today and when I came up, R held her fingers about 4 centimetres apart (less than 2 inches!) to indicate the distance of my hands from the floor. My jaw dropped. Wow!
- Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana has been really deep lately. I’m really bringing my leg up high and when I touch chin to shin at the end, I don’t have to come down very far to find my leg because it’s already WAY up there. R is a small person - once my leg is up, she reaches under my heel and kind of hoists my legs skyward. This must be hard work for her and I appreciate the time she takes to work with me on this pose.
-Marichyasana D: The wrist bind is back. R walked over and gave me a little nudge to help me get the wrist. On the second side, I think I could have worked into it on my own with a little time.
-Bhujapidasana: With R’s help, I was able to get my chin to the floor and come up. She supported my hips. I think a fair bit of my angst about this pose is psychological. Her presence gave me confidence to try it.
-Lotus jumpbacks: When first working on this transition, a little ‘cheat’ is allowed. I can angle my hands out a bit and rest my belly on my arms (a la Mayurasana, but with the fingers pointed more-or-less forward). This provides some leverage to lift the hips. I’m still struggling to release my legs from the lotus. I kept Patrick’s advice in mind: “pull the knees apart”. I had no real progress on this today, but I’m starting to understand some of the mechanics of it.

I guess I can stop calling my backbends ‘epic’ because 8 backbends seems to be the ‘new normal’ these days. My instincts were correct about how I’m supposed to work these. The first three warm up the body and the next two are for walking the hands in. Eventually, R would like me to add #6 on after #4 and #5 (without a break) and rock. Maybe I’ll try that tomorrow if my legs don’t give out.

I asked R about walking my hands in too far and feeling like my arms were not able to straighten for rocking. She told me that I *can* straighten them and I should try to walk in as far as possible before rocking. She explained that it’s supposed to be absurdly difficult. Eventually I’ll get stronger and it will get easier.

Sheesh! Why does this have to be such hard work! :-D

I also asked her about the headaches. She says that I’m not breathing enough - deeper, longer inhales. I’ll try this. I have low blood pressure too, though it’s been less of a problem lately (the dizzy spells have become less frequent after I added more salt to my diet).

7 comments:

Grimmly said...

I have this too, can walk in a little way and coming back up is easier but then when i walk in past a certain point i can't come up and have to back out a little.

Sorry about the shoulder hope it heals up soon.

Emma said...

ive been missing your ridiculous old school yoga pictures. got any up your sleeves?

The Misanthropic Yogini said...

I have low blood pressure, as well, and I sometimes get bad headaches from my practice, though not too much anymore. Just in the hot rooms, and sometimes after the backbends. I never knew increasing my sodium intake could help with that, but looked it up after I read your post.

Interesting... not eating processed/prepackaged foods may have me in a state of sodium deficiency, dehydration, and low blood pressure. Thanks for mentioning that little tidbit... you learn something new every day.

patrick said...

Try slipping the knees away from each other when you're in seated Padmasana. If you can make the pose outside of practice, try it watching TV or reading or something. Knit it and then slip the knees away from each other and feel it fall apart.

Then when you're throwing it back in practice, just do the same thing while your feet are airborne and behind you, out of sight ;-)

Tara said...

I can't remember if you're doing drop-backs into backbends yet, but if you are, I have a tip from my former life in karate that has helped me in my own practice: spot where you're going with your eyes first. In other words, lead with your eyes, if that makes any sense. I used to just start bending back and kind of just let myself fall, but it also made it harder to stand back up because my backbends would be too wide. So, I remembered what I was taught in karate when we did punches/kicks coming out of a rotation, spot with your eyes before moving.

So, I dropped my head back first so I could see the wall behind me and then kept bending back until I could see the floor, and THEN I would lower my hands and drop down to the floor. It also feels like it keeps more of the weight in my legs than in my hand, making it easier to stand up. Not to mention it's a lot less scary/intimidating if you can see where you're going ;-)

Claudia said...

I totally relate to the blood pressure thing, I also have it, just like you say I also try to breath slower, and since I read Susan and Grimmly's blogs lately I have been counting five in every inhale and every exhale, to make all breathing even and VERY slow... and it is helping...

Tara, that is very interesting advise, just the other day I heard something like that for the first time when John asked me to look at the floor behind me as he dropped me back... I will try leading with the eyes

Kaivalya said...

@Grim
It's a fine line between walking the hands in too far in and not far enough. I'm still finding that line!

@Emma
Just because you asked, I posted one for May 20th!

@Misanthropic
Yes! Sodium deficiency, me too! I was flabbergasted when I found out that's what the problem was. I don't eat processed foods either and I grew up with a parent who was a cardiac patient, so I'm unaccustomed to adding salt to the foods I prepare.

I'm also finding that rehydration aids (like EmergenC and ElectroMix) are helpful for fluid replacement after practice (I sweat a LOT).

@Patrick
Thanks for the advice, I'll try that!

@Tara
I'm dropping back against the wall right now. To be honest, I'm not hanging back far enough to even see the floor, so maybe that's a hint that I'm not ready to drop back to the floor (when I see it, I can get there). Thanks for the tip! :-)

@Claudia
So that's three of us so far who have low blood pressure? That's pretty amazing, kind of the opposite of the average adult in the west. My doctor doesn't seem particularly concerned about it, but mentioned that I should stay well-hydrated and put salt on my food.