Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Astanga

I enjoyed my practice this morning. I received the usual complement of adjustments with a special bonus adjustment in Marichyasana A. This was a good nudge for me to work a bit harder in that pose. I’m not sure why I’m not able to fold further forward (I have the flexibility in my hamstrings) but if a teacher gives me a gentle push, my chin is on my shin. Hips?

Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana is getting really deep! The past few days have been fantastic. Today, R had to kind of hoist my heel up past her shoulder. Bringing my chin to my shin is a lot easier now, since I have less distance to cover! :-D

I’m reliably binding to my wrist in Marichyasana D. Next project: Get that lotus knee to the floor. It’s coming!

Chin-to-the-floor in Bhujapidasana felt almost routine today. I did try to jump my legs around my arms entering the pose, but I’m not very good at this yet. When I tried it, I wasn’t in the right position anyway. I’m getting the exit into Bakasana, but the arm balance is so sloppy! I usually reposition myself so I can hold it for a second and find a clean jumpback.

My heels don’t want to lift in Kurmasana anymore. Lack of strength? Not putting in the effort? Body not squished enough? I’ll keep working on it...

Backbends: I was feeling really tired and maybe R noticed, because she she told me not to worry about rocking. New cue: Something about bringing the upper back closer to the upper legs. I was mystified! But it was such an interesting idea to wrap my brain around, I almost forgot I was in Urdhva Dhanurasana for a few moments! I know I wasn’t walking my hands in far enough today, but I did my eight backbends all the same. I really am trying!

I’m also trying to cut myself a bit of slack about this whole thing. Hey, four years ago? I couldn’t even *do* Urdhva Dhanurasana! I have a few photographs of the first efforts and they’re awful!

The pose finally started to make some sense to me in the spring of ’08, but after the whole illness/hospital/bedrest thing in the fall of that year, I lost it again (I lost *everything*; my Primary Series was GONE when I came back to my practice in the winter). I started making some noticeable progress last fall, but lost that headway by December (I was maintaining a daily practice, but it wasn’t exclusively Astanga; I don’t think I was doing a lot of backbending then. Consistency matters!).

It’s only been a month that my Urdhva Dhanurasana has started to shift in a dramatic way. If I keep working hard and focusing on walking my hands in every day, I believe it *will* continue to deepen. Opening my hips is a good idea. Working on my shoulder flexibility is also a good idea. And I think the ‘spiderman routine’ was actually helping me build strength in my legs, because I’ve felt weaker since I’ve stopped doing it (so I’m going to add it back in).

Summer is usually a great time for my practice. It’s hot out. My teaching schedule lightens, so I’m less exhausted. I can add in some extracurricular yoga. I have lots of time.

Patience, grasshopper! :-)

Master Po: Close your eyes. What do you hear?
Young Caine: I hear the water, I hear the birds.
Po: Do you hear your own heartbeat?

Caine: No.

Po: Do you hear the grasshopper which is at your feet?

Caine: Old man, how is it that you hear these things?

Po: Young man, how is it that you do not?

[wikipedia]

3 comments:

patrick said...

That dialogue is freakin' Awesome!

Anyway: I bet your Mari A adjustment takes a bend out of your low back. Sudden increase in both depth AND length. Look for it in Kurmasana; look for it in your earlier forward bends. If you get the adjustment again, ask your body to remember WHERE the hands were.

I'm also in a no-heel-liftoff phase of Kurmasana; they come, they go. If you don't need them to "get the pose" I say let it ride.

For what it's worth, my backbending quest of two years length has seen an absolutely GIGANTIC increase in flexibility and strength. Coming, it is.

Onward!

Grimmly said...

Caine! My hero, 'walk like Caine' : )

THE best opening sequence in a TV show ever.

and yes, 'practice grasshopper'.

Kaivalya said...

@Patrick
As always, thanks for the tips. I do know that I need to be stronger in Mari A - it's not a hang-out-and-loaf pose like the Janus. It's more about the Bandhas than the forward fold.

@Grim
Yes!!! I wasn't sure if anyone would get the reference or know Caine!

Every time I'm having trouble with my practice, I think of 'Grasshopper'. Caine was eager to progress quickly and his master counseled patience. Good lessons there for yoga!