To answer my own rhetorical question: observe moon days! And that's what I did. Today was my very first moon day. And it was good... but I have to wonder, if I'm going to buy into this whole tradition, with rest days and moon days, and ladies holidays and the whole bit, when am I supposed to do my practice? (Answer: in my dreams, apparently.)
As I mentioned early last week, my teacher J had suggested I stop at Eka Pada Sirsasana instead of practicing Intermediate through Yoganidrasana until I can get my leg to stay behind my head. Well... since then, we've taken it down yet another notch. For the past week, I've been stopping at Kapo.
Why, you ask? A few reasons. For one, I'd been having problems sustaining my energy through the practice so much so that I couldn't healthfully sustain a heating pace through the later postures of 2nd series (my sweating too much, too fast without dying issue). It was a long, slow trudge through the leg-behind-head postures, particularly since I needed to stretch first, and even then could never quite get my leg to stay behind my head without using a hand to keep it there. And this leads me to another reason we decided to shave it down for now: my knee. Or, more accurately, my (two) knees. Not only do the leg-behind-head postures have the potential to re-injure my knees, but J seems convinced that I'll be able to do the lotus postures in time, and she would prefer that I focus on opening my hips and performing Primary in it's fullest expression before I move on. Fair enough.
While I'm not too keen on the idea of giving up postures I've only just acquired, I have to say that full Primary plus 2nd to Kapo is a really lovely practice. And it leads sooooo nicely into the finishing backbends. After Kapo and it's series of preparations, my spine and shoulders are primed for Urdhva Dhanurasana. I can feel every single vertebrae in my spine unfurl individually in the drop backs. It's like nothing I've felt before (I never stopped at Kapo before, remember? S took me from Laghu right on to Bakasana B).
While I don't feel it during the bulk of my practice (the Suryas and Padahastasana seem to take care of it), I am still experiencing unprecedented levels of tension and resulting immobility in my shoulders and upper chest. After a long day, I need to take a couple of deep breaths before I try to slip a shirt off over my head. During a class I assisted in today, I could just barely demonstrate the proper arm position for Garudasana (Eagle Pose), and not without vehement objection by my posterior deltoids. It must be the backbends, right? I can't imagine what else it could be, but as my dreams clearly reveal, I'm not terribly imaginative.