I had the nicest practice! The downpour waited until I walked into the warm, dry shala, with little pitterpatters on the roof and windows. Then, a serene quasi-dark fell over the room while the storm moved over us. I savoured my forward bends and watched water drip down the big picture window in front of me. I basked in the feeling of being warm and safe and happy.
The highlight was when I managed, for the first time, to 'Dwi Pada' myself and lower into (an extremely sloppy) Supta Kurmasana. The LBH poses seem a lot easier in the context of Primary Series!
Lately in my Primary, I've been working on vinyasas and transitions. Last Friday, the theme was getting the right kind of exit and entrance in the various poses (like the Marichyasanas, for example). I suppose the operative word here is 'trying'. It was a bit of a 'fail' but fun.
The healing of my shoulder has been a slow process, but last Friday's practice confirmed what I already knew: my shoulder is completely back to normal. All of that lifting and jumping and experimentation didn't leave me sore or re-injured. I've been backing off from this part of my practice for months and it helped me heal.
But I think the biggest help was having a teacher around to watch out for me and correct my quirky Chaturanga. The modified vinyasas were not hurting me, but I think I was straining my shoulders (both) by collapsing them forward each time I lowered down. I'm not doing unasssited dropbacks on right now because I land too hard (during one of my hard landings, I swear I could feel DT cringe from all the way across the room).
Today, I worked on simple jumpbacks and jumpthroughs. Prior to the injury, I had a decent jumpthrough, jumpbacks were coming along. For now, while I work on form and building strength, I'm using blocks. The handful of ashtangis I most admire, who have controlled, floaty vinyasa transitions (my teacher among them) learned this way. I'm going with what works. DT mentioned that I will probably need shorter blocks (closer to the floor) soon. She's going to look for some.
I spoke with her before I started practice today to confirm that I was working in the right way. She made a few changes. I need to jump through with crossed legs part of the time, alternating legs so I don't develop a imbalance. I can alternate those jumpthroughs with straight-leg jumps (which, oddly enough, I find much easier!).
The timing couldn't be better: DT is teaching a jumpback/jumpthrough workshop on Sunday from 1-3. I'm really looking forward to it. I think it will help a lot.
DT has given me some new backbendy things to do against a wall. She's beginning to emphasize extension of the hip flexors more with me now. Today, she showed me a backbending exercise facing the wall (while standing and hanging back). It's wickedly difficult, mostly because it requires me to reach my arms overhead and back while pressing my quads flat to the wall. I feel like I'm going to fall over backwards (or die) which, of course, means I'm not strong enough. ;-)
But yay for narrow hallways! I have one at home so I'll work on this with two walls until I can build more strength. I've been cheating on Astanga a bit lately. I teach classes at gyms, so whenever I have the opportunity, I've been using the Magic Hamstring Machine and doing some exercises to build core strength. When I add stuff like this to my routine, I do it in the spirit of experimentation. If I don't see any benefit to my practice, I move on to other things. Time will tell.
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