Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Astanga

Another great practice at the Shala today. I don’t know why, but I’m in a very happy place with my practice these days. Even though my Primary Series is heavily modified, I’m taking great joy in it.

I forgot to ask P where my hands are in Prasarita Padottanasana C. Today I touched my head to the floor AND I started bringing my head further through my legs and curling! I haven’t done this since I injured the hamstring! And I swear my hands felt like they were centimetres from the floor!

I was very careful moving through the Prasaritas, but my hammie felt fine in all of them! In fact, in these poses my hamstrings were craving the stretch and I was definitely feeling it in the belly of the muscle. Utthita Trikonasana felt better too. But the left side of Parsvottanasana is still difficult and Kurmasana is still miles away. Poor turtle!

Recently, I’ve noticed that my hamstring is feeling ‘stiff’ more than ‘sore’. I’m still being very careful and I’m in no hurry, but it really is fascinating to watch my body heal from this!

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The park was newly mowed when I arrived for my backbending session this morning. Too bad! I was kind of digging the whole ‘jungle vibe’ of my outdoor yoga space!

There’s cut grass everywhere now! After a few minutes, I was covered in it. Tomorrow will be even more fun because it will be dry and prickly cut grass! I just know I’m going to spend the next month sweeping grass clippings out of my apartment. And probably breaking out in mystery rashes too!

Anyway, dropbacks: Today I regressed!

At Shala North last weekend, we were talking about the ‘Yoga Fairies’ and how they sometimes give you stuff and sometimes, they take it away (I wonder if they ever leave money under the Manduka mat?).

That pesky Yoga Fairy! He took away my pretty dropbacks! *whimper*

I did three dropbacks in the middle of the field, but I was rushing into the drop and bending my arms too much as I landed *headwomp* So I took it back to the hill and worked on slowing my decent and Pingu arms. Over and over again. Back to the field and it was better - not perfect, but better!

I discovered something very interesting in this work! Susan has mentioned that she likes the ‘hangback’ bit I do before I drop. Well, I think I really NEED to do that! Otherwise, I don’t come back far enough and I drop too fast. That little ‘hang back’ makes the difference between falling down like a tree and floating down like a feather.

I kept my standing-up attempts very, very modest today. My goal was two-fold: Strong, controlled dropbacks, drawing out the ‘hangback’ for as long as possible before bringing my hands down. And rocking forward into my feet so my hands do that little lift, trying to ‘hold’ the lift for a microsecond before coming back down. I’m trying to use the action of the legs, more than the momentum of the rocking, to initiate the lift. ‘Trying’ is the operative word here; I’m not having much success.

It’s so frustrating because when I watch video clips of my dropbacks and attempts to come up, I *look* like someone who should be able to stand up! But it’s so different when I’m there in my body, trying to make the action happen. I feel ponderous and awkward, like a tall, floppy mattress with no Bandhas.

Kevin talks about ‘cracking the code’ for standing up and that’s exactly right! It feels like my body is trying to speak a foreign language, one I haven’t learned yet. And even when I’m doing stuff like dropbacks, this still feels like a foreign language to me.

Today, as I was starting my dropbacks, my brain kept saying: “Dropbacks? Seriously?! YOU can’t do dropbacks!” Even after I did 10 of them, my brain was still saying “Dropbacks? Fat chance!”

I really wish my brain would get on board with this thing! ;-)

5 comments:

susananda said...

Exactly! I need to do the hanging too, it allows you to find the optimal position, banish fear, and build the strength to go down with control. It'll help with coming up too, just as coming down slowly from headstand develops the control to go up with straight legs. Ground through legs, tap into bandhas, inhale lift chest, exhale push hips forward, repeat. Just keep doing what you're doing and don't worry about those blasted yoga fairies! :)

Rand(Om) Bites said...

I was reading someone else's blog today who seems to be quite popular amongst the yoga blog circles and finally put my finger on why I felt so dirty every time I visit them. I don't need to say more about that other than that I straight away thought of you as the complete opposite.

I've probably said it a million times by now, or at least in my mind, but I love reading your posts because you are so thoughtful and share something so personal without any negativity. I always finish reading your posts almost always learning something and/or wanting to try something new for myself. Sincerely thank you.

And come on Kaivalya's brain, get with the program LOL - you can do dropbacks with your eyes closed! :-)

Christine said...

My brain is always the last to get on board too!...in fact we're still having a bit of a disagreement about handstands, lol.

on a funny note...some of my students who read your blog are now referring to their "personal gremlin locations" in class...it's completely cracking me up! No one has named theirs yet though. You're famous!! :)

Kevin said...

Maybe we should leave something out for the yoga fairies. I wonder what they like?

Straight arms earlier means less chance of concussion, I kept cracking my head when I suddenly realised it was time to move my hands from prayer into landing position and wasn't quick enough. I also found it helps to have something on the ground just in front of where you hands would be in Urdva Dhanurasana and try to aim your hands at that, stops you landing too far back.

Christine said...

Lol!! Love the "yoga fairy" photo! That's too funny.

My brain is always the last to get on board too...slow learner I guess. :)

...on a funny note, some of my students read your blog and are now referring to their "personal gremlin locations" during class....it's cracking me up! You're famous! :)