Monday, August 18, 2008

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Kapotasana A.

Sure, I'm using belts to pull my hands in. But at the moment, the belts are my teacher since the kids have come home from camp, and I am now "grounded" (happily, to be honest).

I got the idea to use belts from Donut Zen Mom's use of ropes. Hers were attached to her wall. Mine are secured around the balls of my feet. I couldn't see myself being able to walk my hands in the way DZM does. But I could see myself being able to hold onto a belt and rotate my arms into place as I show in this video:

I know it's not Ashtanga if you use props. But props plus my own personal intuition-based playbook of R&D is the way I have learned EVERY single pose with which I have struggled. Sure, teachers put me in those poses. But to learn to do it myself, this has always been the only way.

I never thought I would get even CLOSE to this approximation of Kapotasana. And it hasn't even been six months. I am feeling optimistic that barring some "unforseen horrible", I will one day be able to take Kapotasana by myself, without props.

Unfortunately, my Supta Kurmasana has been suffering a bit - I am not as easily putting myself into it these days. Not sure if it is the angle at which I am placing my legs, which would be a function of learning Eka Pada. Or if it is my emphasis on backbending lately. Or maybe it's just having lots and lots of Diet Snapple in my tummy - it's summer, and I have been drinking so so so much lately, sometimes as much as 50 ounces before getting to the mat.

No trouble getting into Supta K when someone else puts me in it, whether it's the Good Doc, one of my fellow students or the Husband (on the rare occasion when I can coerce him into helping me). So, not sure what the problem is. But I hope it goes away soon.

Pasasana is steadily, but slowly, improving. I can reliably bind it on my own at home. Never in the shala. Not sure why that is. Maybe it's because sometimes I have to try a few times before succeeding, and I never get the chance at the shala. What is it with that pose? Why is it even THERE?

Eka Pada is going to be a LOOOOOOOOOOOONG time coming. And I don't care. I really don't care at all. I enjoyed it initially because it took the pressure off the Kapotasana. And now that Kapotasana is coming along, and my standing-up is improving as well, I feel less obsessed with Eka Pada. So, my leg won't stay behind my head. It will eventually. The hip sockets simply need to soften up so that the leg doesn't cry out to jump out from behind my head. When it can relax itself right above my shoulders, then it will stay on its own, and nothing anyone does is going to make that happen. It just will happen when it happens.

What else, let's see...

I have been bike riding again, finally. When my kids came home, I wanted to bike again - hadn't biked all summer, maybe due to the heat, maybe due to the fact that I had been spending so much of my energy on the garden. So we have twice explored the North County Trail, a no-cars-allowed (for the most part) trail that runs up through Westchester County starting halfway up (the South County Trail connects it to New York City). I'd like to continue riding through Thanksgiving, like I did last year. It feels nice to do be outdoors, it feels nice to push the pedals, and it seems as if strengthening my legs in this non-yoga way might be good for my drop-backs and stand-ups. Well, it has been for the past two days at least.

I really like having my kids home. They ground me. And I am in need of that.



boodiba said...

The people who are brilliant at Kapo can keep their hips so far forward that they can see their toes on the first arch back. (I'm getting BETTER at this, but I have to lower a bit & twist from side to side to see each foot. For some reason I HAVE to do this before I put my hands on the floor.)

You might try using a longer strap & strapping yourself to the porch. I used to do this w/ my bookshelf. Strap can go under sacro iliac or (in my preferred placement) right under butt.

I used to set my timer and hang there for a minute at a time. Accomplishes the same thing as having someone assist by pulling hips forward.

Just an idea. Enjoy!

Yoga Chickie said...

I am not sure if I will ever get t that point. I might just have to learn how to walk my hands in, which is really, really hard for me. I am much better with the strap, which allows me to kind of play at what you're talking about. But really doing it - without the strap - is another story.

I twist from side to side too - that may be a Christopher-ism. He twists me to catch each foot individually before getting both of them at the same time.

For now, it's just me and my straps.

I did the strapping myself to the porch thing today... but the thing is, when I'm strapped in, I can't get my hands to the floor,so it's more like Ustrasana-on-Acid.

I need Sharon and Christopher at my house to really get int the pose properly!

gilesdm said...

Nice post...very interesting.


boodiba said...

Maybe if you bribe them both with good food they will come over & help you!

I got a tip from a 3rd series reader today re: chin burn. I need to buy big bandaids & put one on my chin before the two "balance on your chin" poses....

Anonymous said...

thanks for this.

DebPC said...

Your backbends are incredible. You may not look like the YJ models but wow. Look at what you are doing!! We are Russian potato pickers, not chinese acrobats (no reference to the Olympics intended).
I am still somewhere between the original photos of your flat backbends and trying to avoid them altogether, even though I know the only way to get better is to do more more more. They actually feel kind of good sometimes, when they don't make me want to puke.

Yoga Chickie said...

Hi Laksmi! I knew you would appreciate it, especially since a couple of people told me that my Kapo reminds me of the way yours looked in the photo you used to display of you doing Kapo! I know you were solidly holding onto your feet, but what's an inch or two when the practice is lifelong?


Deb - such a reality check whenever you remind me of our ancestry. Are you sure we weren't Russian royalty? I don't even LIKE potatoes.


Anonymous said...

gosh, there's that humor again!

Anonymous said...

Here we go. Now I've got a picture just like you. This is pretty old now. I should get my new heel-grabbing picture up to be really current. :)

Yoga Chickie said...

Yeah, that's the picture where your kapotasana looks just like mine! XOOL!

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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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