Sunday, March 09, 2008

An unexpected detour

I was kind of sort of planning to go to Shala X today. I miss Sir and Lori, and all the folks with whom I used to practice. My little one had a playdate scheduled on the Upper East Side, and it's really just a hop skip and a trip down the FDR Drive to get to Shala X. The trouble is, the onset of Daylight Saving (NO S!) Time made no one (read: me) want to get up at 6:30 a.m. and be out of the house by 7:30 a.m. in order to drop Adam off and get my own ass down to the shala by 9. And 9 was the absolute OUTSIDE time that I could get to the shala and still do my entire practice without rushing or feeling guilty about being (at least in my own mind) a pathologically late arriving slacker. Sir does not take pity on latecomers and leaves the room promptly at the designated time, which is, on Sundays, 10:30 a.m.


What to do, what to do.

I certainly couldn't drive all the way home to practice. And I really don't want to practice at Yoga Sutra because there is a group of practitioners there who hate my guts (only one of them even knows me, the rest just jumped on the bandwagon), and what do I need the drama for? Which is too bad, I might add, because I like Gregg and Christopher as well as a few other delightful students there, one of whom I ran into on the street on Wednesday, just by chance. And of course, David K is the best. But I digress. Eddie's isn't a possibility since I have no idea what his hours are or whether it's even open to drop-ins at this point.

That left...da da dum...Shiva Shala!

That place is f-ing gorgeous. I had no idea. And Patti was incredibly gracious, as was Chuck. I recognized a couple of students, one with whom I practiced at Shala X in the past, and one whom I taught at Yoga Sutra way back when.

I had a really nice practice except for Chuck and I did not see eye to eye (hand to hand?) on how I was gettting into Pasasana. I like to bind way down (up?) near my knees. He had me binding way up (down) near the fleshiest part of my thigh. Granted, my thighs are not very fleshy. But getting my back arm around is difficult as it is for me because, well, how do I explain this? When I bind in Mari C and D, I often use the non-binding hand to help the binding arm into the proper place for optimal wrist-binding, and then I often use a nearby leg to push the non-binding arm up high enough to really bind deeply. What does this mean? It means that my arms do not swing freely enough in my shoulder sockets to find their way by themselves. And I blame this entirely on my multiple breast surgeries and residual scar tissue. Really and truly. Not that it won't "give" over time. In fact, it is. Sometimes, I find myself swinging my arms right into the sweet spot in Mari C. But that is rare. Really rare.

Anyway, the sheer effort of trying to bind around a larger part of my thigh made balance nearly impossible. So, whatever. It wasn't a banner Pasasana day. It WAS, however, a banner Supta Kurmasana and Kapotasana day. Yeah, I went up to Kapotasana today because, well, why the hell not? I was feeling great.

In Supta Kurmasana, Chuck waited for me to take my own bind in Supta K. Then he got my hands really hooked deeply. Then he got my ankles crossed so high up over my head that for once, they did not touch the floor. Yay! And when I lifted up, I was actully IN Dwi Pada. And then I held a really awesome-feeling Tittibhasana for five breaths because, again, why the hell not. It felt great.

As Dhanurasana approached, I debated whether to continue on after that one. I am not accustomed to practicing Kapotasana in front of anyone, and I often use the wall (climbing down it) to keep my chest lifted. But after a really nice Laghu Vajrasana, it felt right, and I got down, didn't touch my toes (did not get an assist either) but then...I got my arms as straight as they ever have been in Kapo B and...I came up without losing my arch. This was a first!

A first!

I went immediately to Urdhva Dhanurasana, and by immediately, I mean, I pressed right up into it. Also a first. Usually, I hem and haw and futz and play in bridge pose. But today, I don't even know why, because it involved no thought at all, I just pressed up. And it actually felt great. I kept thinking - this is all I ever wanted. This is all I ever wanted out of Urdvha D. I just wanted it not to hurt.

Dropbacks were, of course, different from the dropbacks at Shala X and the dropbacks at the CT Shala. This is always something that gives me anxiety when at a different shala. But it went smoothly.

Then I did a nice long finishing, ran into Andrew P on his way in as I was on my way out, and we pretended not to recognize each other. I thought he moved far far away? Guess he's back.

Swung by Liqueteria, picked up some fresh, young coconuts, picked up my child from his playdate, drove home listening to (not my choice) Hannah Montana, I mean, Miley Cyrus, who seems to be phasing out Hannah, not like I care.

Then, not wanting my yoga buzz to end there, I did my Unassisted Assisted Dropbacks, pictured in the video. How could I have not thought of this all last summer? I was really thinking about that. How could I have had these lovely, sturdy posts and not used them? Then it occurred to me - even if I had, I wouldn't have been able to. A year ago, I would not have been able to stand up from a belt-assisted dropback without yanking on the belt with my hand.

So, again, yay!



Bhakti Yogi said...

Thanks Lauren! You have totally inspired me to try doing dropbacks with a belt. I too have a deck with a sturdy railing that will allow it!

joy suzanne said...

Ooh, I'd like to try that, too. I don't have any posts, though. Maybe I'll have my boyfriend hold the belt.

I had him take a photo of me in backbend and although it looks ok in my chest and ams (though not great), my feet are splayed out to the sides. I hate backbend. It hurts and it exhausts me. I shudder to think of 2nd series...

Have you or your readers ever seen a really twisty-back person have trouble in arch postures? I was able to bind the wrist in all the Maris when I first started yoga, but my back just doesn't seem to bend back!! Grrr. And there doesn't seem to be any further I can go, either.

Carl said...

When I bind in Mari C and D, I often use the non-binding hand to help the binding arm into the proper place for optimal wrist-binding, and then I often use a nearby leg to push the non-binding arm up high enough to really bind deeply.

What??? What "nearby leg?" Your shala has extra legs lying around for use as props?

alfia said...

I like the use of the belt this way. Only I have the same problem, as Joy Suzanne - nothing to attach it to. Sigh...

Yoga Chickie said...

Carl - the nearby leg is MINE. I will try to do a video demo one of these days. I use my own legs in very creative ways.

Yoga Chickie said...

JS - is it that your back is twisty? Or is it that you are slim with long limbs? If it's the latter, then you were just blessed with a body that made those primary poses easier. But either way, a backbend is putting your back in a different direction from a twist. Twists neutralize the spine from backbends and deep forward bends like Kurmasana. It will come. I have to believe that...or I'd have to quit now!

joy suzanne said...

Hmm, I think it's both. You're right, I do have long arms and legs, but I'm also a good spinal twister.

It's going to take a lot of work and dedication for me to ever grab my ankles in UD, though. I guess I'd better get busy.

eeyore said...

how genius! if i ever get to prison i'll be able to use the bars, too.

Yoga Chickie said...

Silly, Eeyore. They don't let you have belts in prison. Suicide risk and all.

eeyore said...

well ya, but i was thinking more my porthault bathrobe sash.

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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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