Bad Lady Lite? ;-)
I did a YogaDownload class, 'Heart Opening Flow' with Jackie. After months of silent Astanga self-practice, it felt weird doing YogaDownload again. I was struck by how awkward some of the cues were, but I appreciated being led through a unique sequence, with a teacher to keep things moving along (or not - some of the holds felt interminable to me).
The sequence was a continuous flow of standing poses with no inversions. But there were backbends, glorious backbends! And what a difference a couple of months of Intermediate Series practice makes! I was totally rocking the backbends. I've done this class before and found the backbends challenging in the past. Not today. Today, I found them fun and satisfying.
It was just an hour - enough to get me warmed up and stretched out before heading off to teach my class. And when I came home, Aunt Flo was waiting for me. Drat. It may be Wednesday before I'm back to my Astanga practice. That's lousy timing. :-(
I shot a State-of-the-Backbend photo earlier this week. In my backbending, I've been focusing on alignment and not carrying tension into the posture. I've been walking my hands in, but only to a point where my breathing is still deep and free flowing. As soon as I feel tense or constricted, I bail out (and try again).
If D managed to convey just one concept to me vividly, it's this: No breath, no Prana. If I'm holding tension in my body, I'm blocking the flow of energy in the pose and there's no benefit. If I'm not breathing deeply in a pose or the breath feels 'blocked', I need to figure out why.
In this photo, I emphasized proper alignment of my feet and especially my shoulders. Then I only walked my hands in a bit. I wanted to find my 'edge' but still be able to breath deeply.
What surprises me about this photo is how deep the backbend is given that I'm not engaging in any heroics or trying to walk my hands a huge distance. In past SOTB photos I've walked my hands in until I was gasping for breath. In those photos, the backbends look great but I'm DYING to get out of them because they feel *awful*.
Maybe it's just me, but I think I *look* more relaxed here than in past photos (and damn, it looks like my feet are turned out again. How does this happen?! Grrr.)
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