I had a very good yoga week, but for some reason I didn't have much to say about it. I was doing a lot, thinking a lot, but I didn't feel like writing.
I glanced through my private practice notes to form a bigger picture and realized that I covered quite a lot of ground over the past week. Here's an overview...
LBH: This week, I started consistently getting Eka Pada Sirsasana on the right side hands-free. Near the end of the week, I was able to come back up from the forward fold without the leg slipping at all. The pose is slowly coming on the stiffer left side and by Thursday, both sides of the pose were hands free. The exit is also getting stronger. Lately, DT has been holding off on the Dwi Pada Sirsasana assist, letting me flail around a bit before coming in at the very last moment to help me get the right leg back. Because my left side is stiffer and that's the leg that goes behind my head first in Dwi Pada, it's a bit tricky. I end up rolling onto my back a lot.
Kapotasana: For awhile, I was taking the traditional entrance into this pose and dropping back to the floor, but it was getting to a point where I felt I wasn't going anywhere with it. This week, DT suggested I go back to working against the wall for Kapo and walk my hands down while trying to deepen the bend/lift in the upper back. I'm working on finding muscular support from below (to help me lift my hips up and forward).
Backbending: I used those fancy, expensive 'Health Bridges' twice daily for almost a month, but wondered if they were really making a difference. So I stopped using them for about two weeks and realised that they really *were* affecting depth of my backbends and my ability to connect with that part of my body, especially the upper back. So I'm using them again and working up to two sessions a day. Mid-week, DT suggested I practice UD with my feet closer together, hip width. I tried this and I like it - I feel a stronger connection to my legs. I shot a State-of-the-Backbend photo after practice on Friday. Given that I wasn't practising Urdhva Dhanurasana for almost four months this winter, it's looking pretty good. I'm nearly back to where I was pre-shoulder-injury.
Headstand: Sirsasana is one of my stronger poses and I deeply enjoy it. I've been trying to hold it longer, but feeling shy about using my iPod alarm at the shala so I'm not sure how long I've been going. DT has hardly adjusted me at all in that pose, but this week, she encouraged me to lift my head off the floor to build more strength in my arms and back. She didn't say why, but I'm thinking this is a good prep for Pinca Mayurasana. She also talked to me about building strength in my neck, alluding to the 'seven deadlies' at the end of Intermediate. That's far, far away for me, but no reason not to get started.
Lolasana: I've been diligently doing as much of this as I can in my practice. On Friday, I filmed my Lolasana to see what it looked like and it was pretty disapointing. I don't seem to be getting any stronger. I'm going to film every Friday to measure my progress.
Other stuff: In the Saturday class, we workshopped Mayurasana a bit, using blocks under the shoulders to come into the pose, trying to get the lift in the legs. It's hard, but I had one absolutely magic moment when everything activated and my legs floated up.
So that's a wrap! Onward to the new yoga week!
Though our spring has been damp and cold, summer is waiting in the wings. It's forecast to be July-hot next week. I only have one more week of my full-time schedule - As of June 7, I drop to part-time. With evenings free, I'm looking forward to doing a second practice on most days. I plan to work on extracurricular stuff that will supplement my morning practice. I'm also adding another weekly vinyasa class with my old teacher HS and maybe an additional hot class.
As my attitude towards my practice has shifted, my goals have shifted too. My main goal for the summer is to build strength. Every week, I'm sore somewhere. The week before last, it was intense in my hamstrings and my core. This week, it was a general soreness around my torso and upper back and my legs were tired. I'm connecting with all these muscles I didn't know I had (or had never communicated with before).
Each time I hit a brick wall in my practice, DT says: 'That's because you're not strong enough.' So for now, I'm focusing on getting 'strong enough' and curious to see what happens when I do.
State-of-the-Backbend, May 27, 2011
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