Monday Milestones

Yesterday was a long day.  I taught five classes all told -- the earliest at 6am and the latest at nearly 9pm -- and, somehow, I managed to keep a medical appointment in the morning (nothing serious, just blood work.  Interesting results, though.  Thinking about doing a post on it...) and do my full practice in the afternoon.

I wasn't expecting much from my practice.  I was just glad to have found the time and grateful for the opportunity to withdraw after teaching all day.  Teaching yoga is such an energy intensive experience in a very reciprocal way to the practice itself.  In my personal practice, I withdraw from the external and journey deeply inward.  In my teaching, I project myself in nearly every way that I can:  my voice, my energy, my awareness.  I feel as though I must be everywhere at once, and somehow, sometimes, I feel as though I am.  Teaching used to exhaust me, mentally and emotionally, but lately I'm leaving class feeling all abuzz with the vibrations still resonating off the proverbial walls.  

It may have been the echoes of that energy that fueled me through practice yesterday, which was surprisingly pleasant and deep, all things considered.  The big surprise was the depth of the twists.  I bound Marichyasa C at the wrist on both sides for the first time.  I never even consider going for the wrist in this pose without assistance, but yesterday I just felt so loose that I crawled my fingers up the opposite hand and grabbed the wrist rather comfortably.  To that effect, I also got a good, solid four-finger clasp on both sides in Pasasana, which doesn't happen often.

The first part of Primary flew by and before I knew it I was at Navasana.  I landed a nice jump into Bhujapidasana and lowered down.  As I tried to press up, I found that I was completely stuck.  There was no going anywhere.  I kept trying and failing, bouncing my chin on the mat until it became clear that I would need to abort.  I tucked my chin and rolled out, somehow hitting the left side of my face on the hard floor.  I chuckled, checked the swelling in the mirror, and tried again.  Second try was a success, but there is definitely a threshold in that maneuver where it feels, for a second, like an impossibility but if you push against it, you make it through.  It has something to do with the legs, I suspect.

Intermediate backbends were good.  I indulged in the Ardha Bhekasana prep on each side before going for the full pose, which I don't technically need to do to get into Bhekasana, but I could use the extra length in the quadriceps for the health of my knees.  Kapo sensation was strong, to put it mildly.  I considered bailing for a split second as I began my descent to the floor, but breathed through it and found my way into a nice expression of the pose.  It was so nice, in fact, that I decided to give it another try and make a grab for the heels.  They torment me.  I'm so close, but it takes me so long to get there that I feel like I'm working against the clock.  How long can I stay in Kapo without combusting, I ask you?  

I didn't quite get the heels, but I came closer than ever before.  I kept Eka Pada on the first side with no hands for the five full breaths, which I believe to be another milestone.  I had to hold the leg for the fold, but that's no surprise.  Left side was not as deep and doesn't seem to be opening up a whole lot with practice, a least for now.  I'm sure it will.

Drop backs were reminiscent of my Kapo experience.  Very strong sensation, particularly in the right mid-low back.  I'm also beginning to experience a very strange, almost elastic sensation in the front body as I lift out of Kapo or stand from Urdhva Dhanurasana.  It's deep and quite delightful.  It took me a while to open up enough in the drop backs to go up and down with the breath, but I managed a nice round of three sequential drops and stands after 3 or 4 slow, savory drop backs to warm up.  I've also been doing a final backbend in which I walk the hands in as far as I can and stay for five breaths.  This has always been something I did only when practicing with a teacher, for whatever reason, but lately I've brought it into my home pratice and, yesterday, I stood from the final backbend without rocking or walking the hands out at all. Another first for me without assistance.

All in all, it was a really great practice.  I'm about to step on the mat again and I am still feeling the backbends from yesterday.  I wonder what that means for my practice today.


  1. I used to get stuck in Buja!! Glad it's not just me... ;) Interesting that you think it's the legs, I always thought it was the arms. Could be both! :)

  2. Wow! So you did your practice after 10pm? I teach late evenings a couple nights a week, and have considered taking that energy home for a personal practice considering I don't usually fit it in on my jam packed days... Love to hear about the blood work too! :)

  3. La Gitane - Not sure, but I think the trouble with Bhuja may be the position of the legs on the arms. They can't be too high up the arms or it's tough to lower down, and they can't be too low or it's impossible to press up in one piece. Keeping the weight back as I lower also seems to set me up for a better lift when five breaths is over.

    Alice - Fortunately, no. I find that if I do my practice too late in the day, it's difficult to get to sleep. I did my practice after teaching my afternoon classes and before my final class of the day.