Primary Friday: Round 2
As I was saying on Wednesday, things have a way of coming and going.
I had my second go at the full Primary Series yesterday. It was something of a wreck. To begin with, I was in a rush. Last Friday, the whole series took me two hours, so I knew I'd need to speed it up since I only had about an hour and 45 minutes. The practice was hurried and disjointed from start to finish. I had not reviewed the sequence before getting on the mat this time. And yet, I had the most adorably naive idea in my head that I might actually remember all the transitions. This was untrue.
The standing sequence went well enough. I needed to peek at the sequence just a couple of times to be reminded of when to return to Samasthiti, but flowed smoothly otherwise. Parivrtta Parsvakonasana is still thoroughly baffling. The pose feels completely impossible with the back heel turned down. I keep thinking I need to get my opposite armpit to the outside of the front knee so the arm is flush with the shin, but looking at Swenson's book now, it appears that his arm is a few inches in front of the shin and the armpit isn't even touching. I'll have to play with it some more and see if I can make it work.
The seated portion was a struggle. Jump backs were awful. I confused the sequence a couple of times, and my hips and thighs were very tight. The floor touch in Bhujapidasana entirely eluded me, which is strange because it happened so effortlessly last week. For whatever reason, I could not hinge forward at all. Baddha konasana, which is and has always been a problem pose for me, was unsatisfying. I can never release into this pose. If I don't use my arms and/or abdominals a lot, I can't fold forward in the least. I'm not sure why this is because, while I am unable to move deeper, I feel almost no stretch. What is the problem here? Short adductors? Tight lower back?
Transitions are where I'm struggling most. The pop up to Upavishta Konasana B is not happening. I've tried initiating the motion in a few ways, but nothing ever results. My legs barely lift from the floor for a split second before they crash back down. It's mystifying. The roll forward from Supta Konasana, however, was much closer this week than last, and the roll up from Ubhaya Padangusthasana was relatively smooth and precise. Both transitions were much improved.
Urdhva Dhanurasana, a pose that I normally look forward to in my practice, was stiff and painful. The first lift was especially intense, but I came up twice more, touching the crown of my head down for an exhale between lifts. It got a little better by the third round, but I have to ask: why so little backbending preparation in the Primary Series? It's all ab, arms, and hamstrings.
One of the more interesting things I've noticed doing the series so far is the distinctive heat of the practice. The constant work of the abdominals and the relentless twisting keeps me warm from the inside the whole time, but in a way that is highly energizing. I leave the mat simply buzzing with strength and energy after an Ashtanga practice.