If someone *really* wanted to know my location and even my identity, they could figure it out. I’m aware of that. I’ll bet most of my readers have a pretty good idea where I’m blogging from. A handful of you are my FB buddies. A few have met me in person. My aim is not to deceive, but to foil the search engines. I don’t want my blog to be searchable by certain details, specifically my ‘real life’ name and those of my teachers. I monitor my search statistics pretty carefully.
What I absolutely don’t mind are the general searches about Astanga vinyasa yoga, queries from people keen to try to the practice but unsure where to start, or those seeking out information about traditional Astanga or specific poses. It’s one of the reasons I do this blogging thing: to be useful and to provide information.
I’m a student of yoga, but I’m also a teacher. The teacher in me is humbled and awed by the opportunity to share my experience of yoga and to inspire others. This practice - not just Astanga, but Yoga in the larger sense - has flipped my life upside-down and inside-out a half-dozen times over the past 15+ years. I’m a better, happier person for it. It’s a gift.
A few weeks ago, during Crazypants Week, I watched my access stats go through the roof. There are different ways of looking at this. There’s the rubbernecking perspective: Hey everyone! Kai’s totally losing her shit over there! Let’s go WATCH! But there’s also the empathy perspective: Wow, I’ve totally been there! or even That’s exactly how I feel! You mean I’m not ALONE?
I choose to believe the latter. Did I pause before I hit the ‘publish’ button on some of those posts? Absolutely! (my biggest concern wasn’t for myself, but for how my words might reflect on my teachers. I tried to tread carefully while still being honest.) But if sometime in the future, one of those posts helps another Astanga practitioner feel less isolated and alone as they struggle with backbending, then it’s all worthwhile to me.
From a purely selfish perspective, processing these experiences through my writing has helped me figure things out and do the right thing. In the case of my backbending meltdown, I asked for help, I spoke up for myself, I stuck it out at the Shala even though I was scared. The comments I received here were amazing, as were the emails from those of you who had gone through similar challenges and soul-searching in your Astanga practice. It really helped!
I may have lost my shit, but the Cybershala helped me find it again.
A couple months ago, I did something rather naive: I mentioned my location in the comment section of a friend’s private blog. Little did I know, but I had just ‘outed’ my blog to people in my city, including a few who already knew me in some fashion. Oops!
I considered making the blog private, but I’m very aware of the consequences. Foremost: the lost opportunity to share with others. But also: if I made this blog private, I fear it would just morph into a gossip-after-practice forum. I doubt I could sustain it under those circumstances. To be perfectly honest, this blog has often been one of the things that keeps me on the mat. I have a consistent six-day practice because of my writing; it’s part of my process.
I started this blog as a ‘practice log’ and for a long time, I was astounded that *anyone* was reading. For months, I referred casually to ‘my five readers’ and I wasn’t being facetious - there were, in fact, only five readers! These days, I receive upwards of 500 unique visitors per day. Not a huge number by Big Blogger standards, but respectable for a humble little blog that’s in the niche of a niche.
So I carry on. Each time I hit the ‘publish’ button, I have an opportunity to reexamine my own boundaries and perceptions as I ascertain the strength (or weakness) of what I offer here. It keeps me on my toes and on my mat, and that can only be a good thing!
5 Surya A’s
3 Surya B’s
Backbending, backbending, backbending!
I set the timer for one minute holds, working in a modified bridge pose to really work my legs (focusing on pressing down through the feet, as if I was pushing the floor away with them, and keeping the gluteals soft). I alternated this exercise with one minute holds in Urdhva Dhanurasana, focusing on the same. Then I added depth by walking my hands in.
This week’s State-of-the-backbend was my last attempt. The heels came up as I walked the hands in, but I was able to press them firmly to the floor as I held it. This was only a 30 second hold:
I have no idea if this is doing anything for me, but my legs feel all wet-noodle-y again and my shoulders are tired.