Monday, June 25, 2007


I just felt like saying that. Maybe someday.

But hey, I never thought that someday I would even be saying "maybe someday" about anything past Supta Kurmasana.

Sir is leaving sometime this week, and unlike the last time he left, when I was mid-torment with Supta K, this time he sat down with me after I finished backbends and gave me a sort of progress report. Or, a state of the "union", if you will (yoga does mean "union" after all). Apparently, my Primary practice is totally dandy, nothing much to really work on now. It's just the backbends, which is the bridge between Primary and Second. In some shalas, like Eddie's, there is NO backbending at all until you finish Primary, not even pressing up from the floor.

I have to be honest. I don't get the assisted backbends at all. What is it that I a supposed to be doing anyway? And why do some people drop back all the way onto their head? My assisted dropbacks consist of me standing with my arms folded across my chest, a la Setu Bandasana, and then on the exhale, going back "halfway", repeating this two more times, and then dropping back onto my hands and holding it for five breaths while being told to walk my hands closer, while keeping my heels down. Today I was like, "How much am I supposed to drop back when I go halfway back?" And Sir was like, "As far as you can."

Now that I think about it, the whole exchange made no sense because if I am to go halfway back, then that is as far as I am to go, no? So then, if I go as far as I can, how is that halfway? Is the word "halfway" the problem? Perhaps what is really meant is "drop back as far as you can without using your hands to stop yourself"?

I would be ever so pleased and grateful if someone could explain this whole assisted dropbacks thing to me, the different kinds of assisted dropbacks, and when is it that one is supposed to be attempting to stand up from a backbend, since no one told me to start trying?

Oh yeah, and another question...if I stand up from a backbend, does that mean that I am ready for Pasasana? Or do some people never get "the next pose"? Greedy girl that I am, I want to know...

Oh and another thing: we sold our apartment today. The money is in my account, so I can either use it to by my new house next week, or I can take the money and make my great escape.....hmmmm...which will it be?



cranky housefrau said...

i have never done half backs without an assist. the last time i did them was with Paul Gold. he had me do three backbends, three drop backs, three assisted halfbacks in which i was meant to just trust him and go until he stopped me. on the third he had me drop my hands to the floor and helped me bind my ankles which i had no idea was even possible. i have never been told to do the same backbending routine by two teachers. i asked Paul before i started my backbending if i should be working towards viparita chakrasana or triang mukha uttanasana he just said "we'll see". and so we did.

are you not allowed to just ask your teacher?

laksmi said...

do not say or think pasasana while i am working my voodoo magic. While such thoughts and words cannot really affect my magic (because I am so powerful), they may affect your mojo. So be careful.

laksmi said...

okay, the halfway thing is like this: you are really going all the way down to your head, but just coming back up again. So you go back and up 3 times and then you go down, put your hands down, and hold. My teacher would do these ('cossack style' drop backs) with me AFTER doing 3-5 'normal' dropbacks--go all the way down, place hands down, come up. So it's 3-5 'normal' ones, and then come the cossacks. Once you can drop back and come back on your own, your teacher only helps you with the cossacks and then the final ankle hold (ha fucking ha, tova, there's that 10 years of youth you've got on me).

cranky housefrau said...

laksmi, i am not really ten years younger than you, am i? you look like a kid in your pictures. also i am BIG girl, so there is much more of me to move around even if i do have youth on my side. i did gymnastics as a kid, before i realized i was WAAAAY to big, so i think i have some muscle memory of the backbending stuff. AND i have done the ankle bind once, and once only, so that proves pretty much nothing.

laksmi said...

yes, frau, i think you are a spring chicken. i am 43 (mutton). Also, what do you mean BIG? You don't look 'big'. Big people (kaphas) are supposed to be the perfect body type for ashtanga. I am like a vata with giant bones--I blame my heavy frame for everything.

Vanessa said...

Backbending sequence:

3x Urdhva Dhanurasana from the floor, head down between repetitions, after the last one, stand up

3x or more dropbacks, stand-ups

(not sure about this as I don't do it, but) Tic-tocks: 3 full ones - handstand to urdhva d and back, 2 only-tics - handstand to urdvha d and stand up. Then vsrchikasana (handstand backbend, feet on head)

Assisted backbends then:

1x hands crossed over chest, drop head to the floor, stay there for 5 breaths

3x half-backbends

1x dropping down into urdhva d, walk hands. At this point, assister takes hands to ankles or higher up if you can do it, then hold for 5

stand up, paschimattanasana

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.

About Me

My photo
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.


Ashtanga Blogs

Thanks for reading Yoga Chickie!