Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bhujapidasana, where are you?!

Well, THAT was interesting! It appears I owe a debt of thanks to Mr. Bikram for keeping my Astanga practice *completely* intact as I rested my shoulder.

I did my full practice this morning and was able to do every single pose to the full expression I was capable of, pre-injury. This includes *all* the binds in the Maris and Supta Kurmasana. In fact, my bind in Supta K is actually more solid than it was before! Keep in mind, many of these binding poses were impossible with the shoulder injury, so clearly some healing has happened.

I have a bit of a confession though: after my fourth or fifth Bikram's class, I noticed my hips tightening up, so I added a series of hip openers to my pre-class routine. I think this was really good for me and had the intended effect. Even Baddha Konasana was easy peasy.

Not surprisingly, I was solid as a lampost ("Unbroken! I have no knee!") in Uttita Hasta Padangusthasana and I'm now the World Champion of Lifting My Heels in Kurmasana (there was a lot of heel lifting going in those Bikram's classes).

But there were a few surprises, too. Navasana is *very* strong. Chakrasana is smooth and effortless. And I can pop right up into Urdhva Mukha Paschimottanasana and straighten my legs without falling over (this is NEW!). I was going to give my new-found Super Bandhas credit for this, but Uth Pluthi still sucks so I guess it will remain a mystery.

Headstand is solid, but I'm just a bit nervous in it. I can still hold the pose for a couple minutes, though, and half-bend wasn't a problem. I think the nervousness is my just brain being silly.

That terrific breathing-during-backbends habit I developed in Bikrams carried through to Urdhva Dhanurasana today, but I know I've lost strength and flexibility in the pose. That's okay, though - it will come back with some practice. I'm hoping the breathing will stick around and maybe the new openness in my back (developed doing hangbacks into Ustrasana every day) will eventually translate in the pose.

I also did my Intermediate series poses. They felt strong and effortless and I've actually gained some ground in Laghu Vajrasana. But I expected this, given the spine-strengthening component of Bikram's. Also: No knee pain in Dhaurasana!

In my entire practice today, there was only one pose that was a big 'fail' and that was Bhujapidasana. I came into it awkwardly and just barely managed to get the crown of my head on the floor. But even with the strength and Bandha awareness I had gained over the past month, this pose was a complete mystery to me. This makes me wonder if it's more about physical mechanics and 'getting the knack' rather than specific strengths. Of all the poses of Primary, this is the one that suffered the most for lack for practice.

My practice took just over 90 minutes this morning, which was also a nice surprise. I've decided to stick to more-or-less the same morning routine because it was really working for me. I'll get up at the same time and hit the mat by 8:30 a.m.

I'm planning to do my full Astanga practice again tomorrow, but on Friday I'll be heading back to Hot Central for the Pine Nut's evening class. I may do Jivamukti on Saturday and I'm planning a bit of Yin on Sunday. Back to Astanga on Monday. I won't be doing a six-day practice, but I will be trying to do as much Astanga as my body can handle.

The sky through my kitchen window, just after I wake at 7 a.m.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


daydreamingmel said...

This is GREAT Kai, I love how your rounded approach to practice has given you so much already :) Whilst I admit a little tiny selfish bit of me freaked out when catching up on your recent posts ("oh no, one of my favourite ashtanga bloggers is defecting!!") at the end of the day only you know what's right for you. And I think balance is the name of the game in 2011, it's what I'm aiming for too :) Oh, that and to *finally* figure out the mechanics of that good old "WTF??!" pose bujapidasana. I am planning on asking Ms McGregor herself when we're in Goa - every day if necessary!! xx

Ragdoll said...

Glad you've found your practice right where you left it, interesting that all those binds are still there without directly practicing them.

Regarding the 'knack' of Bhujap, I'm right with you on that one.I've discovered a weird sort of 'gathering' that goes on. Mental and physical, as I focus in and sort of have a moment of bringing my head inwards, before going up/forward/out.

Flo said...

All awesome news to report!

Flo said...

Also glad to see you are mixing it up and feeling things our. P.S. I do love Jivamukti.