2.25.2010

Back on the Mat and Donkey Kickin'

Aahhh... it's good to be back on track. Practice has been great the past couple of days, catching up on missed opportunities. Tuesday's practice was intense, with a very thorough standing sequence. Practiced lots of standing balancing poses, and worked in a few extra standing twists. After bringing everything to a climax in a crescent warrior- warrior III- half moon- revolved half moon- standing splits sequence, I settled into a nice long forward-folding pigeon to recenter and transition to the floor. So wonderful. After a couple of forward bends, navasanas and seated twists, I practiced a compass- astavakrasana- eka pada koundinyasana II flow, which I haven't done in a while. I've also been working on transitioning from bakasana to a tripod and back a couple of times. It's quickly helping me develop better control in my core and shoulders. My arm balances are getting really nice and easy as of late. I've been enjoying the freedom this boost of strength has given me by playing a lot in the air.

Last night I transitioned to flying pigeon after a standing garudasana sequence, and it was an entirely different experience from the last time, as I recall. Much less taxing, much better lift in the bandhas. Stayed for five steady breaths, and came through a vinyasa with ease. Jump throughs were right on last night. I floated straight through every time. That doesn't happen often.

Handstand practice was delightful, as well. I've been practicing kicking up with both legs at the same time, first tucking the knees while jumping onto the hands, then straightening both legs together-- I believe it may be called the 'donkey kick' method. I'm not sure if this is the preferred approach, but it seems to work better for me. It feels slower, cleaner, and more controlled without the asymmetrical swinging motion of the one-legged approach. It also seems as though the bandhas can be used more effectively this way, since the donkey kick motion requires so much lift. Any thoughts? Is one way better than the other?

4 comments:

  1. Nice posting. Do you know about these yoga books?

    http://www.yogavidya.com/freepdfs.html

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  2. Hey, sounds like you are running super-strong! Sometimes I find my best practice after a few rest days.

    I have been playing with astavakrasana this week too, after more than 8 months - such a fun pose although I always feel I need more height. My arm balance dream is the Tittibasana-bakasana transition used in Ashtanga... sadly I am a long way off being able to just lift my hips and float my feet back... more like lift my hips and fall on my ass... more bandhas I guess!

    Donkey kick is a new one! I'll give it a go next time I do a handstand practice. :)

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  3. Hi there, La Gitane - Definitely running on a little something extra over here. I guess some additional rest can be a boon once in a while, I just get afraid that I won't find my groove again. Silly, neurotic brain. I need to learn to trust myself a little more.

    By the way, I've been following your advice on revolved triangle (thank you so much!), planting the back foot and working the forward bend first. It has definitely made a difference. I don't feel so tipsy anymore, though it still feels as though I'm pulling against more tension than I'd like in the outer hip.

    I can't seem to find that knot in my right outer hip when doing hip openers... it only shows up in deep twists, which are hip openers in their own right, I suppose. I've been avoiding it for a long time, but seem to have reached a point where I can't avoid it anymore, so I'm trying to face it head on with extra standing and seated twists in my practice. I am seeing slow but steady opening.

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  4. Hey, glad I could help! Breaking that pose down helped me a LOT when I was working with that teacher. But no doubt, those standing twists are BIG hip openers. I find revolved angle pose (or one of many variations, like lunge with a twist while hands in prayer) is the best place for me to work that because the bent knee brings all the focus into the hips... from there it's just breathing!!

    It's great that you are seeing progress - slow and steady is the Yoga way!

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