Friday, May 21, 2010

Astanga

The pinkies have landed! My hands finally came to the floor today in Prasarita Padottanasana C!

When R walked over to adjust me, I thought for a moment that my stance was too wide, but I decided not to worry about it. I just tucked my head a bit more and focused on relaxing my shoulders with each exhalation. I could feel the cooler current of air running along the floorboards against my arms and I thought: “Yay!” And R said “half an inch!” so I released the last little bit and voila!

That was a weird feeling!

I had a great practice, but it almost started an hour later than I wanted it to. I must have been in one heck of a fog this morning as I was leaving because I put my jeans on without putting my yoga shorts on first! The funny thing is, I have a clear memory of putting on those shorts, but it must have been yesterday’s memory (the days all run together) because when I got to the Shala and started to unzip my jeans, I realised that I was in my underwear! (lucky I remembered to put the jeans on, eh?)

I was all ready to turn around and go home to get my yoga shorts, and then come back to practice. Fridays are my day off, so it wasn’t too big of a deal. But R pulled extra shorts out of her bag and offered them to me. R is a tiny woman! I wasn’t sure her shorts would fit me, but they did. R also has the prettiest drop-backs I’ve ever seen and stands up from a backbend easily, so I wondered if maybe some backbending juju would seep into my practice from the borrowed shorts, but no such luck! I’m still the remedial backbender of the Shala. Oh well! *grin*

But this was a good wake-up call. I’m heading over to Lu this afternoon to buy new shorts and bras. A set of my old ones can stay in my bag as backup. I already have backup headbands in there (and have used them). I’ve lost enough weight that my old stuff is a little bit roomy. Besides, I haven’t bought new practice clothes in *cringe* almost three years. They’ve held up well! I’m also going to stop in a the big discount store and see if I can find a couple more yoga towels on sale. I would love to have three of them. I get sick of handwashing my eQua. This way, I can use a towel twice and throw it in the laundry - three will last me for a 6-day practice week.

I wimped out again in Bhujapidasana today, but R kept encouraging me, so I lifted up a bit and brought my hips back, got my chin on the floor. The most effective cue was to squeeze my legs into my arms and engage my Bandhas. I even managed a very sloppy, but somewhat intact exit. My Bakasana jump-backs are starting to coalesce into something that looks more jump-backy and less like a listless belly-flop!

The biggest thing I’ve learned this week is that the first three Urdhva Dhanurasana always feel like monkey-ass (to quote Patrick), so I shouldn’t expect otherwise, or let that discourage me. I always seem to be ready to walk my hands in by #4 (and the monkey-ass feeling dissipates by then). This morning, I did 1-3 as a warm-up, then did 4-6 walking in the hands and rocking. I combined 7 and 8, rocking in each and on the last few rocks of #8, the heels of my hands were lifting off the floor! Straight arms! Straight arms!

I was excited about that, so I tried for 9. I walked my hands in two floor and collapsed onto my head, giggling. R saw me from across the room and said “Not THAT far in!!!” A ha! So it *is* possible to walk my hands in too far! At least I’m pushing the edge! :-D

I went for #10, trying to follow R’s cues to take long inhalations and use the momentum of the rock to push my hips forward. I know she was thinking of my headache issues and trying to get me to breath more deeply throughout. After I came down, R said ‘That’s enough’ and I went on to finishing.

Tomorrow, I’m looking forward to doing a shorter practice at home in the morning and more backbending. I might even take some backbending photos - with another costume change so Arturo will ‘notice something different!’.

4 comments:

Grimmly said...

You touched the floor in PPC, Way to go you, but how the heck did you manage that??? i thought I was really deep the other week took a picture but no different than a year ago (inch maybe two off the mat). I've been trying your relax the shoulders tip.

Kaivalya said...

@Grim
Simple! I had a small, determined woman pushing down on my arms HARD and coaxing me: "Relax your shoulders. RELAX your shoulders! BREATH!! Big sound! Exhale and RELAX your shoulders." (etc, etc, etc!)

Obviously, I can't do it without my teacher, but I'm much closer than I ever was, even when I'm not getting the adjustment.

A tip: Once your head is on the floor the floor, tuck your chin a bit towards your chest and begin tuck your body through your legs. If you feel like there isn't room for your head, shorten your stance slightly.

patrick said...

I can't believe that, out of all the chewy quotables I've dropped in the few years of blogging, what gets carried over is, "the first wheel feels like monkey ass!" I can't WAIT for that to catch on :D

Kaivalya said...

@Patrick
See? You're making your mark on history! Nicely done :-)