"Man, that turtle stinks."
So, that's where I am at right now in Supta Kurmasana.. I took all of the advice I have received with regard to Supta K, namely:
- Working deeper in Prasarita Pado, and not just C either.
- AHA!!! Finally, a reason for caring about the once-torturous Parsvotanasana (Parsvotanasana, for those who aren't in the know, is forward bend with the hands in prayer, behind the back. The name translates into "Side" (parsvo) "Stretch" (uttana, drop the "u"). Uh, "SIDE STRETCH"!? My ass! I don't understand why they don't call it "Dukhabhujasana", which would translate as Bad Shoulders Pose)
- Really working the reach OUT beyond the bent knee in Mari A and B.
- Really working the shoulders in Mari C and D, and not JUST focusing on the twist (which is good now - now I need to stretch the arms further to take hold of my wrists and stay there).
- Preparing for Kurmasana by getting the shoulders wedged as far back behind (ha) the knees as possible (ha ha, at least at this point) before even sitting down. Then trying to keep the legs as parallel as possible as I stretch them out. Straightening the legs and lifting the heels, and lowering the chest AND the chin to the floor as I pull my fingertips as far out to the right and left as possible and then just hanging out until Sir comes over.
- Transforming myself into a puddle of boneless gelatin as Sir adjusts me, first by bringing my hands together and the my ankles.
No seriously. Good times.
I finally got up the guts to ask my TEACHER for some help in backbends today. I mean, if I can ask all over the internet, and all over EZ Board, and email back and forth with one of Tim Miller's teacher's on the subject, why not just ask my own teacher. Duh. So, I did. Or so I did the next best thing. I asked Christina if she could help me deepen my backbend, and she said that she can't unless Sir tells her to. So....I asked Sir. And he came over and stretched my spine about, oh, I don't know, two extra inches longer, maybe? It was fabulous. FABULOUS, I tell you. Then he suggested that I urdhva dhanurasana at the wall with my wrists pressing into the wall and then use the straightening action of my legs to press my chest toward the wall. Voila.
After class some of us were talking, and I mentioned to Sir that my cousin (hi D!) burst into tears while practicing with Darby's DVD. I thought it might have been at Badha Konasana, but I wasn't sure. He said probably, because that causes quite a lot of people to cry - something about it tends to release something in a lot of people. I said, "That's funny, because it doesn't have any effect on me at all. On the other hand, I was pretty sure that I was going to die a few days ago in my first Supta Kurmasana." Sir said, wait until the next pose. I said, "Garbha? I was doing it at Guruji's last week, and it does nothing at all to me - other than....this.....I said, as I rolled up my sleeve to show him a huge blooming bruise.
Sir said that he thinks that when I get to Garbha I will actually be quite good at it. Cool, I thought...that must mean that he doesn't anticipate that I will be in Supta K for the rest of my entire life. Although, I could be extrapolating. Maybe he means that when I get to Garbha...in my NEXT LIFE....
Anyway, I am totally fine where I am at. LOTS of opporunities to build stamina and work on my vinyasas, especially my jumpbacks, which are increasingly one-step affairs (press up, lift the knees up and scootch them back and THEN jump back, all without moving the hands). It started out that I could do that once per practice - right after Paschimottanasana. Now, I am able to do it right up until Mari A. Then I bag it and just muddle through the easy way. I anticipate that over time, my "scootch backs" will evolve into "jump backs" which will evolve into doing jump backs throughout the entire Primary Series, not just the first third.
I feel as if the time I am spending in Supta, along with the time I spent in Mari C and D, is almost a boondoggle. It gives me that extra time to work on all that stuff I just mentioned without the added pressure of more postures - albeit postures that are easy for me - at the end.
I do look forward to having more Chakrasanas to do. I have gotten quite good at Chakrasana. I never thought I would see the day that I would actually be able to press my hands down and lift my legs up without rolling. But I can do it! All things do come with practice. They really do. It's quite amazing.
Faith in the system.