Thursday, July 27, 2006

Two boobs away from Supta K

The big bath towel worked like a charm. It absorbed all my sweat and was entirely wet by the time I was done practicing today in the 87 degrees (farenheit) heat and the God-only-knows how high humidity. Practice was sweet. I was focused, I was working hard, I was undistracted, even by my practice. I did spend a bit too much time in Parivritta Parsvakonasana, but I am really, really into twisting right now. And I did get up to steal a bit of cool (relatively speaking) air from the vestibule of the shala between Part I of my practice, as I seem to be delineating it these days (everthing up through Janu Sirsasana C) and Part II of my practice (everything up until Backbends, also known as Urdvha D). But other than that, it was super nice...Mari C and D were REALLY deep, and I am beginning to make it a habit of feeling that internal massage in Mari D, where the foot is really pressed hard into the abdomen as the twist gets deeper. And this was without any adjustment. Come to think of it, I didn't get even ONE adjustment until Supta Kurmasana. Not a single one. And this, despite that I came EARLY today (a shala mate and I were discussing the possibility of being "punished" for showing up late by not getting adjustments). No, wait. I'm lying. I did get a couple of standing poses!! I had forgotten this completely since I am unaccustomed to getting adjusted in standing poses. But Mark pays amazing attention to detail in the standing poses, and I am reminded that he is giving a workshop at the shala on the standing poses. As he says, "You can't build upon a shaky foundation" or something like that.

So, guess what? My shoulders are having a bit of trouble in Supta Kurmasana....but here's the rub: I am beginning to understand what I am really up against here. I had the pleasure of lunching with Ms. Facing Inward today at Candle Cafe, and of course, the discussion came round and round again to Ashtanga, and in particular, to challenges facing girls who have breasts that won't quit, literally. If only I could draw like Sweaty Brain, I could show you with a simple line drawing how the little domes sitting high up on my chest hold me suspended about two inches off the floor in Kurmasana, and how when I reach my arms around behind my back in Supta Kurmasana, my shoulders are completely ungrounded and basically fall forward to support me...thus using gravity against me and making the bind a near (or possibly complete) impossibility.


Now, I could talk to Sir or Mark about this problem, perhaps see if this will get me out of the duty to bind in Supta K before moving onto the next pose. Or perhaps see if I can get a note from Guruji to get out of Supta K (thank you Anonymous Shala X-mate, once again for the brilliant idea) on this basis. But the thing is, the problem will only come back to haunt me in later postures...Yoga Nidrasana for sure, if not sooner, assuming I can ever get that far, and yeah, I guess I am assuming I can, although Pasasana would be quite the roadblock with those non-movable little boobies in the way of my twisting.

But this reminds me: I overcame the obstacle of the boobs in Mari C and Mari D. I simply push them out of the way and twist past them. In fact, Mari C and D are quite a bit easier for me than Mari B most of the time, and I attribute this to the fact that I had to learn to twist even FURTHER in order to surpass the whole boob roadblock.

And thus, I am inspired to overcome the problem again in Supta K, even if it takes me years. I am wondering, however, if it might be helpful for me to shoulders with a blanket under each one, like the way vinyasa students sometimes support their bent-knee hip with a blanket in order to ultimately go deeper. THIS is something that I would consider discussing with Mark. Perhaps tomorrow if I have the guts.



Julie said...

Hey YC, thank you for lunch and taking me around! It was a pleasure meeting you :) Having now seen your body and your breasts ;) I don't think Supta K is impossible but I DO think you are working with issues that others simply don't understand including, perhaps, your teacher. Having felt your boobs (yes, I felt YogaChickie's boobs) and seen how little you can move them, you have to work other places than "what is normal" -- not to say it can't happen but it may be that the recommendations you get are not exactly what you need to be doing. I was thinking about this after we left (and by the way I found myself just fine in SOHO... WHOOHOOO I'm the subway Queen now)... there is something I do to help me in Supta K get a bit "flatter" if you will. I can't really put it into words though so my plan tomorrow is to do it and then concentrate on how I'm doing it for you :)

I'm not sure yet what we are doing as far as tomorrow night... I may just stay here at Kathy's to make it easier for her with Gus. Will call you.

Yogamum said...

Have you tried putting your feet up on a block? Actually, having someone else put your feet on a block for you (after they're crossed)? That gets your torso off the ground and lets you wiggle your shoulders through further.

Recommended to me by a Certified Ashtanga Teacher, BTW.

Vanessa said...

First of all, I think you have the right attitude regarding finding a way to make Supta K work for you instead of getting that no-need-to-do-this from Guruji. As you say, the issue would come back to haunt you in later poses.

Now, for the technicalities: I can see how un-squashable b**bs would prevent you from flattening out in kurmasana, but I think I can offer some advice for Supta K, based on my own experience of having a long torso. For me, it has all been about bending forward at thoracic level. When I do Eka Pada, my knee doesn't rest as high up behind my back as other people. So in order to compensate for this, I need to lean forward with my body. When my teacher gets me in Dwi Pada, my torso is very definitely hinged forward, and when he lowers me down to the floor, my b**bs are nowhere near the floor because of this.

So I think this might work with you and could be something for you to concentrate on. Why don't you ask your teacher if he can put you in Dwi Pada and then lower you back? If he has that, then while he is manouvring each leg you can use that time to wiggle your shoulder further in front of the corresponding I making sense?

Email me if you want more details.

Wayne said...

Being "stuck" at Supta Kurmasana myself this is a revelation. My man-boobs are the problem! Wait, that won't work for me. Nevermind. ;->

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.


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