Primary Friday: Back to the Grind
On Wednesday, I figured I could use a little extra self-care, so I took my first castor oil bath. The next day, I had the lightest, most fluid and graceful practice of my life. I felt weightless yet grounded and effortlessly powerful. My hips and shoulders were open and my creaky knees were like new. That oil bath business is no joke! I am completely hooked. In fact, oil bath #2 is on the docket for later today. I'm making it a weekly event. I wonder if the second will be as potent as the first. We shall see.
In conjunction with this life cleansing, the shedding of emotional weight, I have lost a few actual pounds. I might not have noticed except for the fact that I am now binding Pasasana and Marichyasana D with the leg in half lotus on my own! I never saw that one coming. Just two weeks ago, binding Marichy D with the leg in half lotus seemed completely impossible, as in "not in this lifetime." Then J helped me bind the full pose for the first time on Monday, and suddenly, there it was. It's been totally available and within reach ever since. Funny how that works.
This release of weight, both emotional and physical, has also affected my jump backs and jump throughs. Where my jump backs had been feeling especially labored over the past several weeks, now they are floaty and smooth. I've continued to play with alternating the straight-leg and cross-legged jump throughs, using the straight-leg variation for entering symmetrical poses and the cross-legged jump through for asymmetrical poses. This has been a lot of fun and it keeps me from checking out during the vinyasa. My cross-legged jump through is still not as smooth as the straight-leg variety, and I tend to scratch my forearms with my toenails as I swing my feet through (ouch!), but they're getting better. I appreciate the extra opportunities to practice the half-handstand hover, which is still eluding me within the context of the practice. Must be a mental block.
Backbends have been great. Kapo is going nowhere fast, but that's alright since it's not terrible as it is. I am finding it much easier to move through the Intermediate backbends without pausing for rest, at least until I get to Laghu and Kapo. Both still demand a couple of breaths on my knees in preparation for the deep surrender. Drop backs are going extremely well. I've begun to practice dropping and standing in a single breath. It's coming. Thursday, I managed two sets of three, exhaling down, inhaling up, and then exhaling right back down again. Yesterday, however, without the Intermediate backbends to open me up, it was a little bit harder. After 6 or 7 slow drops and stands, I managed to do a couple without the pause, but they weren't as nice as the ones the day before.
While I think the extra rest was good for me last week, coming back full force this week with a daily practice has left me with sore hamstrings and tight sides. Hopefully, the rest and castor oil bath today will take care of it. I might even throw in some tennis ball massage and make it a whole day of self-maintainance. I recommend you do the same. Kick back, relax, and do something nice for yourself. Happy Saturday!