Friday, May 28, 2010


In the end, it was all very anti-climatic.

I woke up and very, very reluctantly got out of bed and ran my bath. I hugged Princess Fur good-bye and rode my bike slllllooooowly to the Shala, taking the long way because I wasn’t all too keen to get there. R and I arrived simultaneously and I kind of grumbled a ‘hello’ to her.

There was a brief moment when both teachers were in the waiting area, but P quickly disappeared into the Mysore room. I sat down heavily on the bench, leaned back and looked over at R. I took a deep breath and said quietly: “R, I don’t think I’m ready to stand up from a backbend yet.”

She nodded and said, “I know. It’s funny you brought it up! We were going to tell you today.”

So, we talked and I’m feeling much better about things. R really *does* understand my angst around this. Anyone who has practised Astanga for any length of time has a pose that initially had them flummoxed. I now have a clear sense of what I’m supposed to be working on in my backbending. I’ve shared my thoughts on where *I* think I should be skill-wise before trying to stand up. We’re in agreement on this (and P by proxy, because I’m certain they discussed this at length).

She says I need to ‘cook’ some more! So they’re putting me back on the stove! :-D

I’m delighted with this outcome because in the previous weeks, I was finally, *finally* beginning to enjoy Urdhva Dhanurasana. I want to get back into that headspace again, where I’m working the pose hard and learning to love it. I’m convinced that this is the only way my backbends are going to deepen: practice, practice, practice!

If I don’t develop this openness now, I’ll just hit a brick wall later on when I come to Kapotasana in the second series. I have a lot of work ahead of me before I’m ready for the deeper backbends.

I’m so relieved to have this whole thing sorted! I had a really nice practice today.

This week, I’ve been taking my chin to the floor in Bhujapidasana very reliably by myself, and lifting my feet up. I’m starting to feel less ‘squashed’ in the pose. And I’m even beginning to move more smoothly through the exit. Next week, I want to try and hold my Bakasana longer before the jumpback. I’ve been sort of doing a quick, half-hearted Bakasana but if I have to hold it, I’ll be forced to come into a more solid arm balance.

Lotus jumpbacks are coming along! This week, I started to focus more on just lifting my lotus and less on the ‘jumping back’ part (I’m still using the ‘Mayurasana cheat’ to get my lotus up, can’t do it without that leverage!) But once my lotus is lifted, the legs just want to go back! Today, I managed to take them back without collapsing my lotus to the floor first. That was a surprise!

Jumpbacks have reached a new level too. I’m now able to lift up and take my feet to the floor behind me with a tiny ‘touch down’ then lift back up and jump back. The next logical step is to eliminate that ‘touch’ and take them straight back. I’m trying!

I’m looking forward to the coming yoga week. I’m hoping it will be uneventful! I’ve had enough drama for a while.


The weather is heating up here, so I finally gave Princess Fur a haircut and shaved her down to the skin. She looks great now - just like a show dog! But she’s never a happy camper under the clippers.

Here she is, sulking majestically. I had just given her a cute (and very temporary; it lasted all of two minutes) mohawk!


Stan said...

Yay! I'm so glad everything worked out!
Dropbacks were the scariest thing for me for years. I was convinced I would never ever be able to do them. I still sometimes think - will I come up today? I wonder if that feeling will ever go away.

Kaivalya said...

Thanks, Stan! It's comforting to know that because your dropbacks are certainly beautiful now. :-)

For years, headstand was my 'scary pose' and even though it's rock solid now, I still have days when I wonder: "Will I fall down?" I never do, but my brain seems to go there anyway!

Brains are funny!

susananda said...

Hurray! I knew you'd sort it out. I like that you need to cook more and they're putting you back on the stove :)

Honestly, it all seemed to happen very fast, from the time you came to the shala and started making enormous progress.. it's only been what, two months? At least you know you're going somewhere with it, if they thought of starting you that quickly.

I like what's happening at my shala now. There are about ten people who've been working so hard on dropbacks for a year or so, and now I see them all getting pasasana, one by one! It makes me so happy because I've seen the effort they put in, day after day after day.

Happy practices :)

Flo said...

Sounds like you are in great hands ma'm!
I was also put back to "cook" :-)
That is why I work up to Supta Kurmasana and then onto closing.
I can't come up from Urhdva D on my own yet. But my teacher is there and is making me work harder and harder each week.
I TRULY need to stick more to an ashtanga practice. I think my issue is that I am a little all over the place and when I get to mysore you can tell. So, I do understand the frustrations you are having **from your fellow ashtanga student**

Kaivalya said...

It did happen fast. I think I'm a odd student for my teachers to deal with because I wasn't at a shala for my first three years of practice.

Most of their students seem to move through the backbending challenges earlier in their Primary Series so they have a good handle on stand-ups/drop-backs by the time they're 'ripe' to move on to Intermediate.

It must be hard for them (and extremely frustrating!) to figure out how to move me along. In backbending, I'm far, FAR behind.

I'm happy to 'cook' for a while longer, though I wish my nervous system would pipe down a bit!

One thing I've noticed over my years of practice: The Astanga system truly works best on a consistent six-day schedule. If you're dedicated and you have a good teacher, you really do make amazing progress!