5.04.2011

Kapotasana and (Much Improved) Drop Backs

As promised, I managed to record Kapotasana today, and since I had the camera ready, I went ahead and got another video of dropping back and standing up to check on how all that business is evolving.

FYI:  These were taken within the context of my full home practice.  I have not showered.  I have frizzy practice hair which is wrapped up in a monstrous, man-repellent ninja bun on the top of my head because that's the only place it can go that isn't in the way.  Don't hate.

Here's Kapo:


I do it twice for the purposes of exploration.  I haven't been repeating the pose regularly, but seeing how much the second round improved upon the first, I think I might start doing Kapo twice every day, at least until I have a better grasp on it.  In the first round, I manage to grab my pinky toes for Kapo A.  In Kapo B (straight arms, for you non-Ashtangis), you can see how the ball of tension I've discovered in my left chest/shoulder/armpit is causing the hand to slide.  I have to reset it at one point, and it still slides a little further.  In the second round, my hands get a few inches further in Kapo A and I am able to grab the outer edges of the feetI almost get both elbows down, but not quite.  Kapo B looks much better second time around and my left hand pretty much stays in place.  

At first, Kapotasana always feels futile and the floor looks impossibly far away, but if I just hang with it and keep curling back, actively engaging in the upper back and pressing the hips forward, I can make it work.  It surprises me every time.

Drop backs have felt really good lately -- softer landings, less bend in the elbows, with the hands landing much closer to the feet.  Stand ups have also been better, though I'm still not able to keep the heels down as I initiate the lift.  Have a look:


I see a lot of improvement here from the last drop back recording.  I'm landing in a decent Urdhva Dhanurasana pretty consistently, and I seem to be better able to root into the feet as I stand.  If you watch closely, you can see how in the second stand up attempt, I almost tip back but manage to stay grounded in the feet.  Then in the fourth attempt, I almost tip forward, but again, manage to root strongly enough into the legs to catch it and maintain my stance.  Definite improvement.

15 comments:

  1. Beautiful, slow, controlled. Must build up the courage to film mine sometime. Thanks for the inspiration x

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  2. Thanks for sharing your evolution and journey. Love the ninja bun.

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  3. Thanks, y'all! It has been an odd experience to record my practice and see it as opposed to feel it. I do think it's has been helpful, though, in targeting areas in need of refinement, and the feedback from readers has been invaluable.

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  4. Those are looking really good! Great control! Good job!

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  5. Very nice, Megan. You are actually very close to getting your heels in kapo A. Can you see your toes at the edge of your field of vision at the moment before you dive for the ground? I always hang there with my chest open till I can. And then I try to aim for my feet as I dive. I don't always land on my feet, but I find that when I do this, my hands always have a shorter distance to walk to get to the heels.

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  6. Tara - Did you notice I've been utilizing your "pause on the fingertips" technique? You may have meant to actually pause there for a few breaths, but I like to pause at the top of the inhale when I rock. It really helps me feel where to engage in the front body and thighs to bring me up. Thanks for the tip!

    Nobel - Sometimes I can see my toes as I hang back for Kapo. The second time in the video I definitely could, and I made a little dive for the feet as I went for the final drop which brought me in a bit closer. I'm just now starting to feel a boost of strength in my back from all this work. Seems I'm able to actively curl back for much longer. I'll have to work on that last little dive a bit more to get my feet from the air.

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  7. I can't believe you can "hang" for so long before your hands touch the ground. You have very strong muscles indeed! I think I would sprain something if I try to hang like that.

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  9. Yyogini - I can't imagine doing it without hanging back. I like to move slowly into the sensation in backbends and wait for an internal cue to take it to the next step.

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  10. Meghan: I did notice! And that's pretty much what I meant-pause on the finger tips long enough to feel the weight shift more to the legs, 1 breath, 2, 5...however many you need/like. I'm actually kind of amazed that any advice I could offer would be helpful because your practice is already pretty amazing! Yay! Glad it helped! :)

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  11. I know I don't need to remind you this because I can tell you are fully present in the journey and getting a lot out of it, but dare I say it, remember to cultivate unattachment to improving your backbends. The less you focus on 'improving it' the more you can focus on what actually is. :) p.s. totally diggin the ninja bun. I do think you may be scaring those poor newbies afterall ;)

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  12. Hi Domestic - I suspect this is something all of us struggle with from time to time. It seems to be an inherent challenge in Ashtanga Vinyasa, being such a seemingly linear, progressive path, honoring the effort without attachment to the outcome. It's a fine balance. Funnily enough, this is a concept I've been stressing a lot more in my classes lately. I am in as much need of the reminder as my students are.

    PS: Hahaha! I think you may be right about that. Maybe I can devise a less intimidating hairdo...

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  13. Yeah, it is human to want to improve. No one wants to regress :) Thanks for not ninja slapping me!

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  14. Thank you my kapotasana is exactly where yours is

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