Friday, July 16, 2010


I didn’t go to the Shala this morning because of my Lady’s Holiday. *sigh* I felt bit sad and wistful not to be practising. The rest of the day felt just like a Saturday!

I slept until almost 7, got up and immediately started doing stuff. Yeah, I know I’m supposed to rest, but my Pitta likes to putter! I had an entire to-do list of things I’ve been putting off for ages so I dove right in. I cleaned the apartment, did three loads of laundry, scrubbed the floors, cleaned my desk and generally tidied up. It’s a joy and a relief to have a clean space again! It was beginning to feel a bit grimy in here.

I also clipped Princess Fur, who has been getting furrier and furrier as the summer has progressed. Poor thing! All that fur and it’s SO hot out! But I was afraid the extreme temperatures would cause the clippers to overheat. It was cooler this morning and I finished the task in a little over an hour. She looks great and so much more comfortable. Balled up, the fur I removed was bigger than a head of lettuce!

Then I restrung my guitar and played Beatles songs for an hour. :-)


I took a long walk, but didn’t do any backbending in the park - it was too hot. When I got home, I did some restorative yoga: hip openers and supported backbends. I goofed around with Laghu Vajrasana, hanging back into it and curling up slowly, lifting through the chest, head last (trying to visualize how this would feel while ‘standing up’ from Urdhva Dhanurasana). I stood up from a few (not particularly deep) hangbacks.

I didn’t do any dropbacks to the floor, but I’m definitely coming down more easily with the support of the wall - just one ‘hand tap’ and I’m there. That’s a HUGE change from even two weeks ago! I’ll bet I could do it if I was properly warmed up (and my silly brain would just shut up).

I came into a couple Urdhva Dhanurasana and did some rocking. I discovered something surprising: I really *am* rocking onto my fingertips! The heels of my hands are coming off the floor! Of course, my knees are bent and my heels are up, but I’m definitely getting some lift on my own!

Yesterday in the Shala, I was so certain that my hands were lifting only because R was muscling me into it. To be honest, I *still* think it was mostly R pulling me forward, but I *am* capable of doing this on my own. Exciting! Today is the first time I’ve observed any impact from my ‘park work’ on my backbending practice.

I also see some improvement in today’s State-of-the-Backbend photo:

In this one, I was trying to straighten my legs more and push my hips forward.

Yes, that’s Princess Fur on the futon. I didn’t forget that it’s ‘Princess Fur Friday’ :-)

Look how bored she is! She actually stretches out a little deeper as I come into my backbend. Oh, more backbending? SO boring!

Entirely unimpressed!

Ha, ha!


Finally, I know that not all of you read the comments section on past posts. I wanted to share a particularly good one with you. This is from KateR. She recently ‘cracked’ the whole standing up thing and offered some advice:

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 possible 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.

Thanks Kate!!! I’m rolling this information around in my head and plan to put it into action tomorrow at the park! I’ll let you know how it goes!


Boodiba said...

Ahhh the sleeping pets!!! So funny. I've got a video where mooshi looks like a stuffed animal for most of it, so immobile is he.

At least Princess is stretching too!

Are you practicing tomorrow or taking another day off for L Hol?

Kaivalya said...

I'm going to the Shala on Sunday. I'm lucky - my lady's never sidelines me for more than two days. It's lousy and painful, but short!

After I practice, I'm going to a backbending workshop at Shala North in the afternoon, then teaching all evening. Full day, actually. I'm glad I had a couple of days of laziness preceding!

Boodiba said...

Oh that IS a pretty full day. I'm just practicing but I'm hoping to do some extra credit, seeing as I'll be solo & not getting any assists. I've also gotta take a bit of time to clear off my old laptop cause I sold it to a friend & she needs to pick it up soon.