I had an early practice today and I’m happy to be back ‘on schedule’ again. The weather has returned to ‘hot and muggy’ and I’m loving every minute of it! I’d be perfectly content to amble through an entire August full of hot, damp days. This is my season!
My practice has been steady and satisfying this week. No big breakthroughs, no great difficulties.
I’m modifying for the left hamstring less and less. In general, the hamstring has it’s good and bad days (today was a Good Hamstring Day). The only lingering discomfort seems to be the cramping sensation of angry scar tissue. It’s healing, it’s just not happy about it. I’m always aware of the injured area during my first few sun salutations, then the sensation begins to ease. I’m almost always fine after the first Prasarita.
I got the Prasarita Padottanasana C adjustment this morning and R didn’t have to work *too* hard to get my hands to the floor. After months of struggling with this adjustment (then losing it completely) it’s my new favourite thing. The pose felt fantastic! No hamstring pain and my right shoulder (which has been a shade wonky since my gremlin decided to move in) felt good too.
Three breaths with my pinkies on the floor. I would have happily lingered there for 10.
The wrist bind in Marichyasana D went bye-bye this week. Muffins lead to ‘muffin top’! Who knew? I’ll have to take it easy on the ‘treats’ for the next few weeks. Gotta get back down to ‘Pasasana Weight’. You know, in the unlikely event that I ever need to actually DO that pose. *eyeroll*
There was a LOT of backbending this morning. My schedule is light on Tuesdays so I didn’t need to rush off today. My practice lasted almost two hours. I think I filled my backbending quota for today AND yesterday, so at least I’m out of the ‘dog house’ now.
There have been some notable shifts in Urdhva Dhanurasana recently. The biggest one is that I’m finally feeling a stretch in my front hips! I can access this stretch if I push the heels of my hands towards the end of my mat and push up and forward through the hips. If I stay there, the stretch also moves into my lower ribs (engaging Udiyana Bandha is helpful here). This has become the new focus of my ‘warm up’ Urdhva Dhanurasana. I try to find this ‘front stretch’ and breath into it.
My first few attempts at rocking today were miserable, but then I fell into a groove. My new strategy was to walk my hands in with each inhalation/rock forward. On the last few rocks, I try to come up on my fingertips and stay there for the duration of the inhalation. Repeat!
At one point, I started to come forward and my hands actually lifted...up...up....but I fell over on my left shoulder instead. CRASH!. Ouch. And funny. And totally unnerving. But it's the first time I've ever done THAT at the shala! It was acrobatic!
If 'Fail Better' is my new motto, then that's PROGRESS!
While R was assisting me, I came VERY close to standing up. So close that she couldn’t resist - she started to bring me up. But then I panicked and crashed again. I really wasn’t expecting to stand, so I was caught off-guard. But afterward, I was wracked with frustration at the missed opportunity.
Why, why, why can’t I get this?!
It feels SO close! Have you ever been working on a puzzle and managed to construct major portions of it, only to get ‘stuck’ searching for the pieces needed to bring everything together? That’s exactly where I’m at with this ‘standing up’ business. I’ve figured out parts of it and I can do those parts pretty well. There are some other scattered parts and I’m trying to figure out how they fit in to bring it all into one coherent picture.
I’m a bit worried that my dog ate a few of the key pieces I need because I can’t find them ANYWHERE. :-D
During my last rounds of rocking (number 10? number 15? I lost count....) I was coming right up onto my fingertips and hovering there. Yet another valiant effort! R finally told me to stop and take Chakrasana: “That’s enough. Commitment without attachment.”
To be honest, I didn’t have a lot of juice left for my Second Practice today. I did a few ‘research poses’ and two Urdhva Dhanurasana to warm up for dropbacks. I wasn’t on the mat for more than 25 minutes.
Great news on the dropbacks! My stance, which has been quite wide, is narrowing! My hangbacks are feeling much ‘hangier’. If I start to feel panicky, I just move my hips forward more (this has been a theme over the past few days) and root down through my feet. When I do this, I feel like I have so much more control!
I did three dropbacks and rocked four times after each. In the last two, my hands were lifting off the floor completely and I even managed to crash to my knees once.
It’s been a few weeks since we checked in with the 70s Yoga Ladies. Today, they’re working on twists...and checking for rain.
But actually, it seems pretty sunny out, so maybe they’re just looking for a hand-out. Does anyone have a tea biscuit? Spare change?