It was divine. So lovely to be on the mat in this way again, never knowing what comes next, just listening to the body for direction. I started out with 5 minute holds of Adho Mukha Svanasana and Sirsasana. I used a timer, a first in my asana practice, and I really liked it. It was challenging to be at the mercy of the timer rather than a predetermined number of breaths. Just when it started to feel like the longest five minutes ever, the bell would go off. I haven't done any practice with long holds (except for Sirsasana -- 5 minutes is normal, it just seems longer with the timer) since I hopped the Ashtanga train, so it was interesting to see that I haven't lost that strength and in fact felt stronger than before.
I practiced lots of luxurious hip openers, big, sprawling hamstrings stretches, and some pretty arm balances that I don't get to do much any more. I also focused on some asymmetrical backbends (i.e. upright variations of Eka Pada Rajakapotasana and Hanumanasana) to build strength for my 2nd series poses and release the psoas. I noticed in these postures that I seem to be developing a major imbalance between the right and left sides.
My right psoas is very tight, which I was already aware of, but my right sacral region is clogged, for lack of a better word. It just feels like there's some extra junk in there, marbles and pebbles mixed in with molasses, obstructing extension at the base of the spine. I'm wondering if Ashtanga is making my one-sidedness worse because prior to the Ashtanga experiment, I had made some major headway in building symmetry between the two sides. Could it be that modifying all lotus postures on one side (because of the beleaguered knee) is leading to chronic imbalance? I hope not. I'll have to observe this more closely.
And all of this brings me to drop backs. With all of that psoas-stretching I figured it would be nice to see how my drop backs and stand ups were affected, and since I had my phone in the room with me because of the timer, I figured I might as well get a video and see what exactly is going on there.
It was strange to see the drop backs in relation to the way they feel. The floor appears to be much closer to me when I'm in the process of dropping back than it actually is. I'm dropping pretty far to the ground, but it's definitely getting better because the landings feel much softer on my wrists this week. I can feel that the control necessary to create that softness in the landing is coming from the thighs. I just need to develop that strength. (By the way, my legs are not freakishly long as they appear to be in the video. It's the angle, I guess, and the fact that my feet are not in the frame. I'm actually pretty short.)
So that's my web video debut. A bit behind the times, perhaps, but better late than never. I may make this a regular thing, so if you're into watching other people do yoga, come back and see me. I'm looking for advice here, so if you've got any feedback on the backbends, please leave your thoughts in the comments. Let's polish these backbends together! :)