Monday, November 1, 2010

Astanga

I was very organised last night! I set up everything for my morning practice as I sipped my chamomile tea. I sat down with Princess Fur and gave her a good-night cuddle, then I launched the alarm clock application...and forgot to turn it on.

Alarm clock fail! I slept in until 7:30. Oops!

I suppose my body thinks it 'needed' that 10 hours of sleep, but I'm getting a bit skeptical. I seemed to be doing just fine on 8 hours per night last week and I wasn't having any trouble falling asleep either.

If I can manage to remember the alarm clock this week, I'd like to wake early for my practices and take afternoon naps to balance out the sleep.

I got up and did a 'late' practice this morning, on the mat by 8:30. I didn't do any of the extras. No hip openers, shoulder openers or extra backbends. I was finished in 90 minutes.

I loved this practice because I kept moving and I was comfortable. I'm starting to question whether 'comfortable' is really good for me, though.

While reading this blog post from Helen, I was so moved that I started crying. On a public bus (good times!). It really struck a chord in me.

I can SO relate to everything she's going through, even though I'm not quite there yet. Her musings mirror the struggles I've had in Urdhva Dhanurasana. This has started me thinking about how I'm working in my backbends (or 'not working', as the case may be).

The truth is, I can face physical discomfort head on, but I tend to run away from fear and the 'emotional stuff'. These days, I'm still struggling with plain old 'garden variety' backbends. For all intents and purposes, I'm right back where I started with Urdhva Dhanurasana, albeit with a deeper backbend and better alignment. And deeper breathing (I take my victories where I find them).

I find it really, really difficult to work this stuff out on my own. I do practice consistently and I do work hard in my practice, but this is one area where I would really benefit from encouragement and the regular presence of a teacher. I don't know how much I should be pushing! I'm trying to stay in a zone where I'm connected to my breath. But I'm afraid I will lose the openness I've gained by not pushing further.

And to be honest, I don't know if I have the will power to face up to that discomfort and breath through it. I know exactly where my edge is because it's the place where my breathing stops and my heart begins to hurt. I don't like to go to that place and I'm not motivated to find it unless someone is nudging me. Someone I trust.

So here's where I'm at: I'm not really pushing myself in backbends. I think about it. I give myself little 'pep talks'. And I approach my practice every day with the best of intentions. Then, I bail out when I hit that moment of discomfort. Every day. And I feel awful about it. *hangshead*

On the bright side, I'm feeling comfortable with my Intermediate poses and I'm breathing deeply through that portion of my practice. Several of those poses used to push me into the 'freak out zone' and now I enjoy them. That's something, right? It's given me a glimpse of what's possible if I can just move through to the 'other side.'

I have no idea how Kapo is going to play out in my practice when I get it (and it won't be any time soon), but if the current state of affairs is any indication, it's going to be rough going.

Oh yeah, I forgot...on a 'lighter' note: I jumped into Bhujipadasana this morning without my feet touching the floor. Then I did the rest of the pose and kept going, no drama, no worries. Even though I did it, I still can't believe it did it. *mindboggle*

I amaze myself. And disappoint myself. Simultaneously!

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This is for those of you who, like me, are afraid that the stress of your practice may be speeding up the aging process.

The 70s Yoga Ladies have the answer! Anti-wrinkle yoga:




'Fill out the lines', eh? Sounds suspiciously like Botox!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

3 comments:

Helen said...

Woah Kai, I'm really touched that it moved you. Last week when I grabbed my heel for the first time and then cried, I was actually really glad I was at home. I'm not sure I would have let go like that in public. I have cried at the shala but quiet polite British tears that no one has noticed. Whoop and my post made you cry on the bus, sorry!!!

When I read your blog, I am always amazed at how hard you work. Especially in backbends. I know we have been working on different things but sometimes you have kept me going, made me feel less mad for pushing my boundaries.

It is useful to have a teacher, that you trust. My teacher has been taking me to heels in Kapotasana for a long time. I have complete trust in his ability to take me there, even when it seems impossible.

I wonder and I know I have said this before if it might be good for you to occasionally drop in at the other shala, the one you have been to some workshops at with D? You seemed to have a good relationship with him and he seemed to be up for helping you with drop backs. I know you would have to miss the intermediate poses but you could do it on Friday, which is primary day anyhow, right. Anyway, just an idea, it's your practice and I really don't think your taking it easy. I think your work hard at your practice and you are an inspiration to many.

fivefootwo said...

"I amaze and disappoint myself simultaneously" Oh Kai, if that is not true balance I don't know what is! Another awesome quote.

Question: When you say your heart hurts, is that metaphorically or for real?

Boodiba said...

Oh God... yes the stress of yoga. I'm tempted to drop the tick tocks altogether because I hate them so much. John wasn't even pushing me either. For all he knew my shoulder might've still been wonky today, but I knew it wasn't....

Kapo could REALLY benefit from regular work with a teacher, unless you're a natural back bender. But I'll try to help too, when you get there :)