Yoga Works

These past few weeks of restless nights have finally caught up with me and I am now sleeping deeply and long.  Woke up very late today.  It feels strange to awaken with the sun high in the sky as if the day is half gone already, although it's really only just past 8am.  Sleeping in doesn't have the charm it used to.

So far, practice this week has been prolonged and gritty.  Second tries abound.  This, plus high degrees of involuntary shaking, equals very high energy expenditure on the mat.  Maybe that is why I'm sleeping late:  I'm tired.

I have needed to do Kapotasana twice the past few Intermediate practices.  Ever since I figured out how to grab my heels, my back/sacrum have been giving me trouble, hindering Kapo and the dropbacks.  Having a good hold on the heels really changes the posture.  Perhaps, in my excitement, I have used the heel grip too much to deepen the backbend.  If I'm not careful to avoid that weird little counter-clockwise spiral thing that I do as I drop back into Kapotasana, when I come out of the posture something on the right side has to pop back into place.  Which it does -- painlessly -- but it doesn't seem right.

My left knee continues to improve.  Not only have I reintroduced all lotus postures, last week I reintroduced Yoganidrasana without incident and yesterday managed to do Eka Pada on the left side for the first time in weeks.  I took it slow in the preparatory postures, starting on my back as usual.  The hip felt considerably more open than it has, so I took it a step further and worked the leg completely behind my head.  Once back there, my left leg began to tremble, first subtly, then built up to a significant quake.  All the while, the knee felt fine, so I stayed with it and took it a step further to the upright Eka Pada position.  Stayed for five breaths, still quaking, but strangely comfortable.  Afterwards, both legs felt incredibly fresh and alive.

The LBH postures (Leg-Behind-Head, for those of you scratching yours) have never been easy for me, but as much as I have struggled with them in the past, neither have I ever felt any aversion or fear toward these asanas.  Until now.  Recently, the nature of the sensation in these postures has completely changed.  It has gone from the superficial stretch of muscle to a deeper, travelling, nervous sensation.  If feels as though my entire pelvis is vibrating at some ultra-high frequency, the wedge of my sacrum rattling madly in its divot.

What is truly remarkable, though, is the steadiness of mind with which I have been able to meet this change.  Sure, I have thoughts, doubts, fears as this newly familiar discomfort begins to show, but I genuinely refrain from identification with these thoughts.  Yesterday, as I warmed up for Eka Pada on the right side, my mind said, "I don't know if I can do this.  This is will be too painful."  Yet, my gaze and breath and locks remained and my body entered fearlessly.  Having observed both the mind and body do their thing -- the mind balk, and the body plod along like the workhorse that it is -- I was reminded that I, the observer, am neither.  And isn't this exactly what the practice is supposed to do?  To teach us who we are through the process of elimination?

I think so.  And, if so, it works.


  1. NICE post, interesting about LBH, I seem to be approaching these ...resistance's with a kindly amusement these days, been doing it long enough now that many of these postures have come and gone and come back again, god what it must be like to be practicing this for fifteen, twenty years rather than just five : ) Love the picture oh and happy for you that your lotus is back, know it's not supposed to matter but it kinda does, a little, icing on the cake and all that.

    1. Re: the lotus -- Yes. It doesn't really make a difference, but then again, it is not fun to modify on one side only, or alternatively, to modify both sides for the sake of one. It feels soooo nice to have my Primary in tact. I love nothing better than a smooth, symmetrical Primary on a Friday morning.

  2. The depth of your writing about your yoga experience is truly inspiring. Glad to hear that your knee is feeling better and rest up!

  3. Thanks, friends. Indeed, the knee is well on it's way to a full recovery. The injury, as usual, has been informative on multiple levels.

  4. My knees used to pop all the time until I started doing yoga. Then when I finally hit my groove everything seemed to "connect" and the popping stopped. I used to be so scared about it. Once I found this practice everything changed.

    Good luck with your practice.