I'm somewhere in the middle, but it is so easy for me to fall back into the first couple of stages of the process. I mean, every day at practice, I fantasize about plunking my mat over by the wall and, if not using blocks, then at least pressing my wrists flat against the wall for leverage to crank my armpits open.
Several factors have contributed to my renewed interest in backbends. One is that my twists have gotten really really twisty, and I am no longer at the edge of my edge in any of the Marichyasanas, even D (yay!). The second is the practice-altering advice Aliza gave me to now begin to press my big toes into the floor in Urdhva Mukha Svanasana (Updog). Advice I had previously been given to press into the outside edges of my feet and lift my inner thighs up is now woefully out of date (most alignment tips have expiration dates), now that my lumbar spine is nice and juicy. My thoracic spine remains practically immobile. Aliza's advice somewhat quiets the bend in my lumbar spine, requiring me to lift my sternum and bring some of the bend into my upper back).....I am now able to give some attention to backbends. Finally, I think that I am pretty much 100 percent healed from my abdominoplasty. That was in August, and it has taken me all this time to be able to stretch my abdomen vertically without discomfort.
But hey, it was...
...sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo worth it. And my bhandas are thanking me for pulling those rectus abdominii back together.
So, I am no longer regarding the backbending interlude within my practice as an annoying interruption of flow. It feels like it belongs in my practice once again.
Today Sir gave me the MOST INTENSE Mari C and D adjustments I have ever ever experienced. At one point I became frightened that I my spine would splinter into "a million little pieces" (ha), or unravel like the cardboard center of a paper-towel roll, but I told myself that if I tensed up, it would only make it MORE likely to happen. "Breathe," he had to remind me. "BREATHE." Well, that was an understatement. It seems that I take a nice deep breath to begin, I let it all out to wrap myself into the pose, and then that's that. All done with breathing. Sir pointed this out to me. "You seem to regard your breath as a unit that begins with an inhale and ends with an exhale. Well, there's an inhale at the end of the exhale, and so on."
I realize that if you are someone who does not practice yoga, your eyes have either glazed over by now, or you are long gone (bye!) or you are continuing to read while shaking your head in disbelief, thinking, "Is THIS what you do in yoga class...obsess about whether the breath begins with an inhale and ends with an exhale or begins with an exhale and ends with an inhale or keeps going and going or whatever.........??!!!! Pardon me while I rip my hair out strand by strand."
But crazily enough, yes, this is what we do, and it seems to matter how you breathe. And it seems to matter, not just on the mat, but whatever you're doing, whether it's driving your car, feeding your kids, listening to your boss or talking to one of the crazy moms at school who yells at you for no apparent reason about an incident that you don't even remember involving your child and her child, who you couldn't pick out of a lineup...but I digress.
As I sat in Mari D and just breathed, I felt like I was curled up in the tiniest little ball, and I liked it. Is that what we're trying to do in yoga? Get really really compact? It sometimes seems like it. Perhaps by getting really compact, we are expanding the space around us. I'll have to think about that.
I wonder if I am ever going to move onto the knees behind the shoulders poses. I didn't say that. I did NOT say that. Did not.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Copyright 2005-2007 Lauren Cahn, all rights reserved. Photos appearing on this blog may be subject to third party copyright ownership. You are free to link to this blog and portions hereof, but the use of any direct content requires the prior written consent of the author.
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