Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Another "not being in the present moment" moment...

I kept my promise to myself to get to the shala with a minimum of drama and get going with my practice with a minimum of drama and to get through all of Primary with a minimum of drama so that I might have something left to give in Second Series. And voila, what do you know, it was good. It was really really good. I even enjoyed a wonderful, peaceful five minutes in headstand and another wonderful, peaceful five or so minutes sitting before Uth Pluthi. I didn't even cheat on Savasana.

It was so good, I started to feel pangs of sadness at the notion that it might not always feel this good.

Yeah, I know, this is no way to be present. This is no way to practice non-attachment. But to witness these moments of not being present, of being attached, that is a step in the direction of being in the moment, unencumbered by desire.

OK, enough of that crap. Back to the physical realm.

So, even though I missed Kino's workshop, I did manage to spend 15 minutes listening to her talking about Urdhva Dhanurasana. Ever moment of those 15 minutes was useful. She showed us exactly how to get into UD without pain, without compressing the lower back. I'll try to paraphrase:

Set up for bridge pose, with the heels right by the hips, feet parallel. Press the feet down, really driving down with the feet until the pelvis MUST lift. Do NOT lift the pelvis. Let the feet cause the pelvis to lift. Lift the ribcage away from the hipbones and place to top of the head on the floor. Continue lifting the ribcage as you place the palms. At this point, the backbend is really DONE. All that is left is to straighten the arms. Sounds too easy. But it really works to keep the DRIVING UP motion from stopping the backbend from happening, as it does tend to do with me. Carl are you listening?

But that's not all.

Stay there for five breaths, and as Vanessa has said countless times, straighten the legs. And oddly, it CAN be done. When you enter into UD in the way described, you CAN straighten your legs. When the legs are straight or as straight as you can get them, walk the hands in, one two. That's all. Just one, two. Hold. Lower. Repeat.

There is also something she said about the tailbone, and I cannot remember what it is. Oni told me today again, but I still can't remember. All I know is that it is counterintuitive, but now when I try to intuit so that I can counter-intuit, I find that I can't do either.

I tell you, 15 minutes of Kino was so dense with information that I cannot imagine what I would be going through now if I had been there the whole weekend.

My head would probably have exploded.

YC

4 comments:

susananda said...

Hi YC. I think you use the mula bandha to lift the tailbone so it points up and away past the knees, rather than downwards completing the arc shape? Lengthens the lumbar spine.

kayla said...

Ooh! Thanks for the UD pointers. I am definitely going to use them, since I tend to crunch my lower back in that posture.

Carl said...

Lauren, Lauren, Lauren, I went through all this backbending not long ago. You're so derivative!

The trick to UD, I discovered, is in the transitions through which the legs are powered up/straightened. When I'm down in the bridge pose, my knees are bent (obviously). That place isn't an intuitive spot for the quadriceps and gluteals to become powered up. It's the bandha work that makes it possible to drive the quads hard while the knees are deeply bent like that. Once the bandhas are redlined, the legs can lift up the body while still PROTECTING the lower back. The sensations seem to me to be quite counterintuitive.

Lauren, you just wait until you get your back to arch backward more. The reason for the powered-up legs becomes crystal clear when the lower back screams.

laksmi said...
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About Me

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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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