Ups and Downs

Practice last night was a little wacky.  I felt off all day -- not tired exactly, just a little left of center, and it showed on the mat.  I fell.  A lot.  It was really strange, and kind of funny.  I tipped over TWICE in ardha chandrasana standing on the left leg, which never happens.  I tipped over again during a low anjaneyasana with a bhekasana bind.  I tumbled out of a tripod headstand during a bakasana to tripod sequence.  And I fell flat on my face trying a firefly to bakasana transition.  Lots of falling.  Very unusual.  Obviously, something was awry.

That isn't to say that I didn't have a good time.  By the third fall, I was laughing and shaking my head, what the hell is going on here?  I took my rest day on Sunday, so... maybe I was a little rusty?  Doubtful.  I'm guessing it's just that I've got a lot on my mind.  I have a debate on the use of assisted-suicide to prepare for my philosophy class, and another short story for my writing class that must be compelling and complete by Sunday.  On top of this, the possibility of teacher training is still whirling around in my mind (update on that from yesterday:  I'm at about 96% yes, 4% no.  I will make my final decision on Saturday, but I'm feeling pretty good about it right now).

In spite of all this unsteadiness, I considered it to be a damn good practice.   Let me tell you why:  jump backs!  To my unfettered joy and amazement, I nailed the first jump back of my seated sequence.  As I hinged forward, still tucking the legs, I expected to feel my toes brush the mat, as they usually do.  They did not.  For a stunned moment, I wondered where the floor had gone to all of a sudden.  Then I nailed the second jump back, and the third, and the fourth!  I even managed a decent jump back after a set of 4 navasanas with lift ups in between.  Where did this extra lift come from?

I had read Kaivayla's very helpful notes on the Kino workshop a couple of weeks ago at The Reluctant Ashtangi, where she mentioned that Kino suggests leaning very far forward and bending the elbows dramatically, to an almost chaturanga-like position, but without the legs.  ArkieYogini has also posted a few Kino workshop videos on floating at her site, which I found to be very enlightening.  I kept these points in mind during my practice, and viola!
Jump backs for everyone, on me!


  1. Congrats!!! Way cool. I have been working on mine with some blocks but can't quite shoot back without touching a tip-toe down... The jump-throughs (with blocks) are awesome though, I have so much more control.

    Yay, you! :D

  2. I don't have any blocks to work with, but in the past, if necessary, I have busted out the Charles Dicken's leather-bound collection for my left hand and the collected works of Lewis Carroll for my right (they're about the same thickness).

    As for the jump back technique, I found that really swinging the hips forward on the inhale helps me to tuck the knees to my chest a little more. Active feet, also, seems to help with the lift.

  3. I always tell my students to use Harry Potter! ;)

    Thanks for the vid links, I was trying them out. With jump-backs I feel like I have total control until the last second - I get a lot of lift, but it's just that little touch down when I go back. I'm working on the idea of bending the elbows to shoot back, as if I were coming from Bakasana or something...

  4. Oh, and also, a downward gaze has made a big difference. Keeping the head down helps counter the weight of the lifted legs, so you hinge forward using gravity to bring the legs up. Just another tidbit I found really helpful.