Video Snippets

Since yesterday was a home practice, I decided to take the opportunity to grab some video of a few things that I've been wanting to see in order to get a better handle on.

First up:  Bhujapidasana.  I've been wondering why I can't seem to bring my chin to the floor.  Every time I venture to try, the back of my neck feels uncomfortably crunched and I nearly break my nose.  From what I can tell, looking at the video, my back is rounding way too much.  It needs more extension.  Looks like I need to focus on leading with the sternum and hinging rather than rounding forward.

Still polishing the exits from these poses.  I used to flex my feet very strongly when swinging back into Bakasana.  For some reason, I seem to have dropped that technique.  I should probably pick it up again.  As I recall, it really helps with the lift not only in the legs, but all the way up into the belly.  Kurmasana is good.  I love this pose for it's balance of strength and stretch and I've never had a problem lifting my heels.  Then there's Supta Kurmasana... My back is WAY too rounded.  No wonder I can't get my feet behind my head.  Must extend, elongate, lengthen, and grow.  That's my new Supta Kurmasana mantra.

I also recorded the on-the-knees backbends to see what's happening there.  Surprisingly, they look pretty good and, more importantly, they feel good.  Now I'm just trying to eliminate all the preparatory fuss and resting breaths between poses.

Kapo A is coming along nicely.  Still haven't reached the heels, but I'm sure it will happen in time.  Kapo B is INTENSE.  My hands still want to slide forward and my wrists try to lift from the mat.  I can't quite get the arms straight, either, and I don't feel any considerable progress in that regard happening from day to day.  Maybe I should spend some time hanging off the side of the bed each day... 

BAGH!  So much extra-curricular work involved in this practice.  Now I have not only my daily practice which runs in excess of 2 hours, but also regular tennis ball trigger point massage, a hip opening routine to build up to the leg-behind-head postures, shoulder stretches to counteract the soreness from the backbends, and bed hanging to open up the chest and armpits for Kapo.  Not to mention daily meditation and pranayama...  It's a lot.  My life has officially been hijacked by the yoga.  

Listen to me... complaining about yoga.  Who am I kidding?  I love every minute and wouldn't have it any other way.


  1. I love watching your video snippets because I know as you've pointed out before, that staring at someone else during their practice is a no no, it's the easiest way to know if you're doing something right as well as yoga is so amazing to watch! As weird as it sounds I would love to sit in and just watch an advanced yoga class.

  2. Does your current teacher want you to jump into Bhuja/Kurmasanas or are you just doing it "by the book"? I'd advise (if I were teaching, that is) jumping in and then putting the feet to the floor and walking the thighs up closer to the shoulders. Squeeze the thighs on the arms to keep them up high. Duck the hands under, cross the ankles (well, for Bhuja) or lower down (for Kurmasanas), look for a stretch across the lumbar and lower thoracic spines; all that musculature in the back body (to say nothing of the back of the thighs in the K's either). When I spent a summer determined to get Kurmasana, that's where I felt the stretch.

    If you're hung up in the shoulders, this might be a long-term project, but in hanging back in the 2nd series backbends, try bringing your elbows closer (I hear that elbows out makes Kapo A easier, but elbows close is more classical). This will also, when you press up into Kapo B, create a really intense stretch in the outer shoulders, which will then serve you in all backbends.

  3. Hi Andrea - It's understandable and expected that beginners will need to look around a bit to get their bearings, especially in a Vinyasa class which is a little more complicated because the poses morph into one another. In Ashtanga, the style of yoga that I practice, the gaze point or "drishte," is taught right from the beginning, and students are given the postures individually, which makes looking around at other practitioners somewhat less acceptable because everyone in the room is doing their own practice.

    I'm glad you like the videos, and I don't think it's weird at all to want to watch an advanced class. I have some DVDs of advanced practice that I like to watch from time to time purely for the purposes of inspiration. It's amazing just to see the capabilities of the human body.

    Patrick - One of my teachers told me a while back to try coming into Bhuja in one smooth motion, but I was looking at some of Maria Villella's Primary video clips yesterday and she performs the entry the way you describe. That would certainly make it easier to get the exit. I managed to bring my chin (or, more accurately, my chin, mouth, and nose) to the mat in Bhuja for the first time yesterday. It felt strange, very low to the ground, but I did notice that stretch in the back body. I'll watch for that sensation in Bhuja and the Kurmasanas this week.

    I have been told to bring the elbows closer together in Kapo A, but I always forget unless someone is there to remind me. Kapo kind of blanks my brain, if you know what I mean. I did notice watching this video, though, that my elbows do splay way out wide as I try to come into the pose, which I think is compromising the curve of the thoracic spine. My shoulders are probably the most stubbornly tight area in my body, so you're probably right that it's more of a long-term project.

    Thanks for all the advice!