Monday, May 9, 2011

There's no party without the hamstrings

I was working on Ustrasana this morning when DT stopped by to suggest that I bring my legs together - just as an experiment - in order to experience the action in the legs (internal rotation). Then she said: "Extend your toes." I looked at her, then back at my toes with a stern expression. I think I also had my hands on my hips. It must have looked very much like I was 'bad-ladying' my toes because DT laughed. Then she said: "Uncurl them."

Huh?!!! But sure enough, my toes were curled up in Ustrasana! Intermediate Series is highlighting all of my unruly, rebel body parts!

Practice was just hard this morning. I felt stiff. I just can't seem to access my upper back the way DT wants me to. I briefly wondered if I my backbending is backsliding but I suspect Miss D may be raising the bar just a bit. Or maybe not, but it feels harder.

Here's an interesting problem: My hamstrings aren't 'on' in Urdhva Dhanurasana. DT pointed this out one day during assisted dropbacks. I told her my quads were buzzing and she shook her head at me. "You need to use you hamstrings more." I couldn't do it. I can *think* about engaging my hams, but when I do, nothing happens.

DT put blocks under both my feet this morning and I pressed up on top of my head. "Feel it?, she asked. "Now they're on!" But I couldn't feel *anything*. I poked at my hamstrings with my fingers. They *felt* like they were on. Even when DT removed one block, so one foot was on the floor, I couldn't feel a difference (but she could see it). Apparently my hamstrings speak Swahili.

I was mostly on my own today with the LBH poses (the room was pretty busy) so by the time I had some help in Eka Pada, I was bendier. I still can't get into Dwi Pada myself though, except against a wall, so that's what I did. DT has been taking me into Supta K from Dwi Pada.

Here's a burning question: I can lower down to Supta K on my own, but how on earth do I keep my feet from sliding down my head?

I have a feeling I know the answer: 'Engage the hamstrings.' See?There's no party without the hamstrings. Might as well go home if they don't show up!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Anonymous said...

I'm sure you can pickup Swahili in no time. In the mean time, you do have a translator! ;-)

Christine said...

From supta K, to lower down without the feet sliding off the head...yep, engage the hanstrings. ;)
David tells me to think about squeezing the legs down the back. It sort of feels like I'm trying to squeeze at the knee joint an glue the calves to the backs of the hamstrings.
It took me a couple years to really find this action, but it's made a big difference in depth of my LBH poses. Good luck!
Enjoying reading about your adventures in practice as always.