Thursday, July 15, 2010


My Lady’s Holiday started today, almost a week behind schedule. In a few days, I’ll find out whether this weight I’ve put on is ‘water weight’ or the consequences of eating everything in sight for two weeks during my extended PMS. *burp*

I knew it was on its way when I woke up this morning. My practice was fantastic, but hours later I was doubled over in pain. I was so grateful to be able to squeeze in one more practice before my body fell to pieces. I’ve been miserable all day. :-(

Great practice! I received another adjustment in Prasarita C today. My hands feel like they’re nowhere near the floor. I guess I was wrong about that. I had to bend my knees a bit to keep the sensation out of the injured hammie (everything was just a bit stiff today; I’m blaming hormones). I still got a nice shoulder stretch and enjoyed it. I just love that adjustment!

I had a fun, non-yoga-related ‘lightbulb moment’ this morning. Each morning, right around the same time (usually after I’ve finished Uttita Hasta Padangusthasana) one teacher leaves. I hear the rattle of keys, then the door. I’ve always been mildly curious what this was about. I mean, it’s not like they’re going out for a smoke break or something! I’m pretty sure I have it figured out now: they have to move the car to another parking spot! Ah, city life! :-) Another piece of the Shala Routine puzzle has fallen into place for me!

During my seated poses today, I received tonnes of great feedback regarding my vinyasas:

Jumping back:

-Hands closer together

-Flex the feet to bring them through

-Inhale on the lift, exhale as the feet go through


None of this is ‘new’ but it was good to have the reminders and to clean things up a bit; I’ve been getting really lazy. The shoulder soreness I was noticing a few weeks ago has faded, but I have to be very mindful of the positioning of my hands in the jumpbacks. I can feel the ‘twinge’ come back when my hands are too far back or too wide apart. Usually, I pause to correct this before the jumpback, but R wants me to get them right from the get-go, which makes perfect sense.

For jumping through:

-Lift the hips

-Gaze at the point where the feet will land

I worked very hard to integrate every cue. I was literally dripping with sweat and shaking with exertion from all of my not-lazy-jumps as I moved through my practice. And they *were* getting better. I had a few genuinely ‘floaty’ jumpthroughs!

Backbending: The bar is being raised again! I was given just *one* ‘monkey ass’ warm-up backbend opportunity before ‘Boot Camp’ started in earnest. There was no lighthearted banter today! Today, we were Very Serious about backbending! *eyebrowfurrow*

I only did two backbends for the first set but the holds were interminable. R was pulling my hips forward and she counted out the breaths for each backbend. Her counts are MUCH slower than my counts. I was in agony by count number five, but I stuck it out every time.

And you know what? I didn’t fall over dead afterward, my legs didn’t spontaneously combust or anything. The ‘pain’ I feel in these backbends is just the discomfort of exertion, nothing bad is happening to me, I’m just getting stronger. I’m starting to ‘toughen up’ and learning not to be such a whiny baby about it all.

After that, I did three backbends with rocking (three rocks), resting in between (breathe! arms at your sides! eyes open!).

R was really going to town with the rocking! Since my hands are not lifting through my own effort, she was literally pulling me forward until they did. I think she was trying to help me get a sense of what it feels like when the weight shifts into the feet. It kind of felt like my knees were moving forward and my belly button was lifting up. This reminded me of something Skippetty wrote in the comments, about ‘extending the belly button up to the sky’.

One final note: I was so tuckered out as I completed the finishing poses that I accidentally skipped everything after Sirsasana and went on to the closing prayer and laid down. It didn’t even occur to me until I was leaving the Shala that I hadn’t even done Uth Pluthi! It was a pure Space Cadet moment! :-D


I had a single goal for my Park Backbending today: Deep inhale while rocking forward. Proper breathing is a challenge for me and when no one is there to bug me about it I get ‘The Lazy’. To be honest, it feels really HARD to inhale as I rock forward. For some reason, my in-breath feels ‘blocked’. Today at the Shala, I noticed this, so I wanted to fine tune it on my own.

Dropbacks are going really well! I’ve been working against the slope exclusively for the past few days. This is allowing me to deepen my ‘hangback’ and practice the mechanics of dropping back without putting a lot of strain on my wrists. I’m sensitive to this because I have more than one friend with wrist issues.

Today, a thought came to me as I was hanging back: I wondered if I could stand up from the hangback! I could! With an inhalation. So I did that a few times. And this led to another thought: If I could just rock forward to the point where I’m ‘hanging back’, I could stand up!

And that’s as far as I got with that. No magic there, just thinking things through.

I did 10 dropbacks and rocked three times in each, really working the inhalation. My hands were lifting every time, but I’m on a slope so it’s easier. As I was rocking forward in dropback #5, I had a brief moment of ‘weightlessness’ and I was able to ‘pause’ the lift and hang there for a moment. Amazing!

I wish some of this work I’m doing outside the Shala would reflect more in what I’m working on in the Shala. I don’t feel like it’s really having any effect yet. I’m trying to just work hard in every way I can and be patient with the process.


KateR said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
KateR said...

Hi Kai,

as someone who only recently has started coming up successfully from drop backs, I really can identify with your focus on this. Grimmly recently commented on how the way someone describes tips and advice can strike a chord with your own practice. I've been thinking about the 'formula' I use to stand up and in case it helps at all, wanted to share it with a fellow cyber shala student... just in case....

Here it is:

Drop back - but don't focus on anything except dropping back - put coming up out of your mind for the moment or it will spoil your drop back.

Land hands near feet as poss and pause.

Walk hands in until you feel that your belly has become weightless - a really strange sensation but this is how I would describe it...Your heels may lift to get you further forward, but that's okay - you can lower when you start to rock. Feet can also splay a little when you start this - you can straigthen them over time)

Start rocking - only allow three times though - try to stand on third attempt.

Focus when rocking is on moving knees and hips FORWARD (not up, but FORWARD).

When the hands lift and you feel the weight transfer to feet, change focus to UNFURLING THE SPINE (to steal Susan's brilliant comment). When i started this, I would lift off okay but then always fall back - and that is becuase I hadn't grasped the concept of curling the upper body up and back to a standing position. It requires a lot of strength though and I always have to tell myself, "Don't give up. Follow it through".

Best of luck and please let me know if any part of this helps at all.


Kaivalya said...

Thanks for the great tips! I hope you don't mind - I copied them into a blog post so everyone would get a chance to read (not everyone reads the comments on past posts).

I'll let you know if any of your advice resonates with me!