Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Astanga

I didn’t have a particularly outstanding practice this morning, but I enjoyed almost every minute of it.

The verdict on hands in Prasarita Padottanasana C: They’re nowhere near the floor, but I got an adjustment in the pose today! My first in weeks!

R watched me take that pose and asked how my gimpy hamstring was feeling. I told her she could give me ‘a little push’ and she agreed, but urged me to let her know if anything felt off. It was fine and it felt SO GOOD to stretch my shoulders! I was happy, happy, happy!

The rest of my practice was business-as-usual, but with lots of feedback and small adjustments. R is finicky about the finer points and I appreciate it. I always feel like my practice is improving when she fine-tunes it.

And there was a LOT of backbending! It’s been ages since R did the whole ‘Urdhva Dhanurasana Boot Camp’ routine with me. Today was the day!

For the first two backbends, I was on my own but as I came up into #3, R started issuing directions from across the room. Like a drill instructor! HUT!

For the second set of three, R pullled my hips forward to bring more weight into my feet and encouraged me to walk my hands in (again and again and again...oof!). During the last backbend, my legs were shaking like jello, but I held it, held it, HELD IT! I held it until R let go and TOLD me to come down. Usually, I wimp out well before that point, so I felt pretty good about that!

R said: “Good! That was better!” and walked away. I happily did Chakrasana. Then she hurried back and said: “No, We’re not finished yet!

I quipped: “Well, THAT was a wasted Chakrasana!” But I was smiling as I said it.

This time, she wanted me to rock. It’s been at least a month since I’ve done this at the Shala. It feels so different from the rocking I do at the park, so much harder! I think the physical adjustment throws me off. Also, in the park, the slope gives me a little bit of forward momentum to help me lift my hands. This morning, I wasn’t lifting my hands at all.

I thought we were REALLY done after this round. After Chakrasana (again!), I carefully laid out my rug and R walked back over: “WHAT are you doing?”

“Paschimottanasana?”

“No. We’re not finished! More back bending!”

I laughed out loud and said “Okay.” I wistfully put my Msyore rug aside and we did another round of rocking. Finally she said: “Now we’re done!” I did Chakrasana for a THIRD time and gratefully unrolled my rug for finishing.

It was a LOT of backbending and it was challenging, but I took it all in stride. I’m stronger now, so backbending is no longer such a trial. R lectured me a bit about ‘working hard’ but she’s being slightly more gentle these days and I’ve developed a slightly thicker skin. I smiled and joked as we talked. I was trying to keep things light. We laughed a lot.

Together, I think we found a good balance between ‘suffering’ and ‘fun’. I actually had marvellous time! I thanked her warmly as I left.

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I was so tuckered out after ‘Urdhva Dhanurasana Boot Camp’, I cut my ‘park bendbends’ short. I did 10 slow and controlled dropbacks onto the slope and rocked three times in each, trying to lift my hands up as I rocked forward. My hands were lifting off the ground, but I haven’t yet managed to find that ‘micropause’ in the lift, where the weight shifts into the feet.

My poor legs were so tired that in my noon class, I taught the sun salutations while perched on a spinning bike!

Tonight will definitely be a epsom-salt-and-arnica night!

3 comments:

Skippetty said...

Well done Kai! I found what helped me get the lift up finally was thinking of extending my belly button up to the sky as I was rocking forward. Oh yeah, and really using that INHALE as well to come up. You're almost there! :) :) :)

Helen said...

Woah Kai, you make me feel lazy! Your inspirational.

Kaivalya said...

@Skippetty
Thanks! Maybe if I pray hard enough, God will hoist me up by the belly button :-D

@Helen
Nah, I'm just excessively Pitta and VERY stubborn!