Sunday, September 19, 2010

Astanga

Uh oh. I fear a ‘bad yoga week’ may be in the works.

I had a VERY angsty, distracted, unhappy practice this morning. I can’t put a finger why, though. I was definitely feeling lethargic and my back was tweaky (I’m blaming *that* on the 10 hours of sleep I had last night. Seriously! TEN HOURS!! I never marathon sleep like that! Intermediate series is driving me into a coma!)

Also: Backbending was *dire*.

Often when I have a bad practice, I can’t get it out of my head, so I’ll think through it pose by pose, trying to troubleshoot. Seen from this lens, my practice was actually pretty good. I was doing all the stuff I usually do, binding to wrist in all my Marichyasanas, binding and crossing ankles in Supta K. Pasasana had a solid bind to fingers (my recent ‘Twisting Epiphany ‘has made this pose easy-peasy, except for the heels part, which I’m still working on).

I had my best Bhujapidasana *ever* (this silly pose is becoming one of my favourites!): smooth controlled decent to the floor, to my chin. Yay! Plus, I nailed the Bakasana exit! Lately, I’ve been pushing into my hands, focusing on using my bandhas and trying to swing both legs back at the same time. This worked the first time I tried it, but it’s been sketchy ever since.

The video clip of Kino teaching the transition has been floating around the AstangaBlogosphere again. I reviewed it and noticed that Kino suggests leaning to one side to bring one leg around and then the other side and then *staying* with the Bakasana, even if it isn’t a ‘pretty Bakasana’ (and mine never are). This morning I combined my method with her one-leg-at-a-time tip and it totally worked for me!

So, why so glum? Backbending. Stupid, impossible backbending! Urdhva Dhanurasana was uncomfortable, which should have been a warning. Then dropbacks were horrible. I did them - just three of them - but with many last-second-bailouts and angsty fussing. I nearly wimped out completely - the only thing that kept me going was a firm ‘reminder-to-self’ that this stuff isn’t ‘optional’ just because I’m practising at home.

I also tried to stand up three times (on the futon) and ended up collapsing into a Pity Puddle (also on the futon). Thank God for the futon, or I’d probably have a concussion!

I can’t remember the last time I had this much trouble with backbending. Is it the two-day vacation I took from dropping back? The avocado sushi I ate on Friday? Too many vegan cookies on Saturday? Too much sleep? It’s a mystery. I just hope it’s not one that plagues me for the rest of the week.

I didn’t get a State-of-the-Backbend photo last week. I put it off, thinking I could just take one today. Ha, ha!

So...this is what my backbend looks like when I’m angsty, uncomfortable and near tears.

It looks almost *exactly* like last week’s backbend.

I know there’s a lesson here someplace, but I’m too busy stuffing my face with peach muffins to look for it.

Tomorrow is another day!

9 comments:

Fran said...

Thank you for sharing your humor, your angst, your perspective, your insight, your humility, your process, and your triumphs too (yay bhuja!). I want you to know it is helping (at least) one other home practice Ashtangi out here.

Kaivalya said...

@Fran
Thank you! :-) I'm glad my words are useful for your practice. It's the #1 reason I blog. This practice is SO much easier when we help and support one another.

Helen said...

Hey Kai, great post. Your so reflective and honest with yourself and us!

my backbends vary more than anything else in my practice. There is no reason to think it will be like that all week. Backbend photo is good, isn't it great that you now drop back on a bad day. Sounds like you are going through something to me. Every time we step onto our mat it's different, I love that.

daydreamingmel said...

"Uh oh. I fear a ‘bad yoga week’ may be in the works."

No!! Most important thing to bear in mind....one "bad" practice is just that. ONE practice. Leave it behind, move along, tomorrow's another day. Oh and Kino did the no pretty bakasana line on us in London the other week too! You are inspiring me to think that maybe the much maligned buja may ONE DAY be something I enjoy... >sigh<

LI Ashtangini said...

Can we talk about the fact that she just HANGS OUT in bhujapidasana for like two minutes, talking, in the same way I hang out talking and sitting on my arse???? Goodness! That's actually a really good clip, I always wondered if it was ok to step on my hands while I was figuring it out.

Kaivalya said...

@LI Ashtangini
OMG yes! Though I'm sure my students are similarly gobsmacked when I chit chat with them from Bakasana or Sirsasana or [fill in the blank].

Have you been to her workshops? She stands at the front of the room and talks a blue streak while standing on one leg, other foot on the upper thigh a la 'Tree Pose'.

It's not SUCH a big deal, except she's there for like 7 minutes. Then she switches sides. That's how you know she's half-way through.

Funny!

Kaivalya said...

@Mel
:-) You'll get it eventually, then you'll wonder why you're doing it at all. Buja is such a weird pose. Every time I do it, I think: 'This is like yoga from another planet!'

Kaivalya said...

@Helen
True, backbends do vary. And I was having an exceptionally good backbending week last week. A lot of movement in Astanga seems to be '2 steps forward, 1 step back.'

You're probably right. I'm moving through something. I'll know what it is when I get to the other side...

Haley-O said...

Nice backbend! Mine changes every day. Thanks for the Kino video. My teacher just added bhujapidasana to my primary series, so this was really helpful!