Thursday, July 22, 2010


I think Thursdays are the hardest day of a ‘six day week’. Today, it all caught up with me and I was bleary-eyed and yawning as I got up and ran my salt bath at 5: 30 a.m.

I rolled into the Shala almost on time and started my practice in an empty room, as I was the very first to arrive. I always enjoy the quiet of the early morning. I’m soothed by the opening routine my teachers follow as they prepare the room for Mysore practice, especially the incense and quiet chanting.

I was feeling a bit disconnected from my breath in the standing poses, but I soon found my rhythm when I started the seated poses. I had a pretty good practice. Nothing new to report.

Prasarita Padottanasana C was a highlight today. I got the adjustment from R and it feels good to be back ‘on track’ with that pose. I feel like someone pushed the ‘rewind’ button all the way back to May, though, in terms of my flexibility.

R was trying to get my hands to the floor, but my shoulders have stiffened up. She held me there for a long time today I just hung out and breathed. But the pinkies never quite landed. It will come back in time!

As I was coming into Kurmasana, she asked me if I was ‘pushing the edge’ of the sensation (the injured area) in the pose. I started to describe specifically what I was feeling and she just rolled her eyes at me. R has little patience with my anatomical geekery - she just wants a simple answer, so I admitted that I was feeling the sensation near the site of the injury.

A few weeks ago, she warned me against this, but now she wants me to find the edge of the sensation, but go no deeper.

It’s interesting this came up today because it’s been exactly a month since I injured my hamstring. I have the six-week mark noted in my calendar (August 11). Six weeks is the minimum healing time for a ‘Grade 1 hamstring injury’.

Backbending was interesting today. There was a lot of it! I was able to get some rounds of rocking in on my own and the very last time I tried, I almost lifted my hands off the floor! It was pure momentum, though. I didn’t feel any of the engagement of the legs. Yesterday, I was trying to keep my heels on the floor. I can’t remember what my heels were doing today.

R pointed this out that I’m moving my head back and forth as I’m rocking. It’s hard to keep it still! If I keep this up, I might need to integrate some ‘air guitar’ into my backending practice! :-D

As I rolled up my mat, I glanced at the time and was astonished. I must have drifted off for awhile as I was taking rest! There’s no way my practice is running 2 hours and 15 minutes. Perhaps with the backbending, it’s longer? I need to hit the accelerator moving through those standing poses more quickly!


I didn’t teach in the evening, so I moved my second practice to the p.m. It was an intense one.

I started with some quad and hip openers and moved on to Ustrasana and variations of the pose against the wall. Then I started to get curious about Kapotasana.

I fully realise that this pursuit of the Intermediate Series is a bit ironic; I should probably ‘Be Careful What I Wish For’. Sure, I’ll have fun with the first 5 or 6 poses, but then I’m going to crash into Kapotasana like a bug hitting a windshield. SPLAT!

So I decided to try to walk my hands down the wall onto the floor from Ustrasana, al la ‘Kapotasana preparation’, and see what that felt like. Interesting! It felt desperately weird, like my body was being smooshed in a vice. Good times ahead!

I did some Urdhva Dhanurasana and some hangbacks. I’m still working on ‘rocking’ up to standing from the wall, mainly to get a sense of the action of my legs. Heels down! Heels down!

At this point, I realised that I was actually *dreading* the dropbacks, so I decided to get right on that. The first dropback was so difficult! I was incredibly frightened and had a complete meltdown. Why, why, why is this SO hard!? I think the hard landing yesterday spooked me.

I took a wide stance, focused on a slow, leisurely hangback and kept my arms very, very straight as I came down.

Susan has pointed out that I have very long legs and that’s true. I’m kind of a ‘small person’ in a long, long body. The floor looks far, far away. But if I keep my arms very straight and get a good arch going in my back, the floor is ‘closer than it appears’ because I’m landing on my hands, not my eyes. When I drop back, I try to remind myself that I’m actually about two feet ‘closer’ to the floor than I think I am. It’s less scary that way.

But this wasn’t a day for clever logic. After the fearful first dropback, I rocked forward three times, then lowered down and sobbed. After a minute, I wiped away the tears and did it again. And again, and again. I think I did about 7 rounds but by the time I finished, I was doing more backbending than crying, which seemed like progress.

And to my credit, every single dropback was solid, with deep hangbacks and soft landings. Each time I set up to drop back, I moved my feet a bit closer together so that by the last one, my feet were no more than 60 centimetres (about two feet) apart. Not bad! I’m getting there!

With the ‘hard part’ out of the way, I worked on prep for standing up. I pressed up into Urdhva Dhanurasana from the floor and walked my hands in and rocked, trying to get the hands to lift as I moved forward. The hands were not entirely coming off the floor, but I was lifting solidly onto my fingertips tonight. Baby steps! I repeated this a couple of times until it felt solid.

I’ll try this again while practising 'rocking' at the Shala tomorrow. Let’s see if the magic is transferable to a new context...


April said...


Great to keep up with you! Good wishes for continued healing and great practice!


Kaivalya said...

Thanks, A! Good to hear from you :-) I've enjoyed reading about your return-to-CR and all the yummy recipes too!