Dear Primary Series,
Why do you torment me so? Just last week we were having such fun together, and now...? Your indiscriminate brutality is too much for me to bear.
See you tomorrow.
Well... maybe not completely. I carried on, but I was left feeling pretty despondent by the prospect of slogging through the entire sequence after the first couple of seated poses. The vinyasas, which are usually my favorite part, were violently awful. Jump backs were heavy and clunky and eventually started to scrape my knees, which is hard to do on an eQua towel. The jump-throughs were no better: I crash-landed with a loud PLOP! more than a few times.
Fortunately, things did get a little better. Eventually, I was able to accept the situation, feeble transitions and all, and just move through the practice in a softer way, any expectations I'd brought with me blown to bits. Finally, I reached the finishing series.
If I came to the mat with one goal yesterday, it was to take my drop backs all the way to the floor. However, considering the way practice had gone up until this point, I was not optimistic. Nonetheless, I did my three Urdhva Dhanurasanas and set up the meditation pillows by the wall in preparation. My ego in shreds, I moved slowly and carefully into that first drop, and, frankly, it hurt like hell. I don't usually choose to acknowledge sensation as "pain" in my practice, but yeah, this was pain. Still, it was good pain, the kind of pain that indicates there's something more to discover if I can just breathe my way through it, so that's exactly what I did.
I practiced six drop backs altogether. For the first three, I dropped to the pillows. Thinking perhaps that this was not the day to take it all the way to the floor, I almost left it at that, but decided that I didn't want to start a pattern of aversion like I seem to have done with my handstands, which I still won't do in the middle of the room. I thought to myself, if I land on my head, so be it. At least I will have tried. Then I removed one of the pillows and dropped back one more time. No problem. Again, I thought, that was practically to the floor. I could just leave it for another day. But no, this was the day. It had been decided. So I removed the last pillow and went for it, reciting in my mind all the little nuggets of wisdom I've gathered along the way: strong legs! straight arms! chest lifting! head back!
I curled back slowly, slowly, until I could see the place on the floor where I wanted my hands to go. I stared at this spot with razor focus, took a final inhale, and surrendered to the drop. Success! Just to be sure it wasn't a fluke, I went for it again. And again, very slowly, my hands made it all the way down to the floor. I wanted to do a little dance, but felt as though my electrified low back might snap if I tried, so I just smiled to myself and gently made my way to the floor to decompress in Paschimottanasana.
Standing up from the backbend is another story altogether, one that appears, at this point, as though it might go on for a long while. I'll need to do some study on technique, and, as always, lots and lots of practice. But I'm very pleased and surprised with the drop back progress I've made just in this last week of practice. One never knows when the body will simply open up to something new.