Thursday is fun and games day (I think you know who TOLD me I can experiment on Thursdays…). I did my usual practice and then some research. Before urdhva dhanurasana, I used the rack and lay over the ball while holding weights (Hello, coracoid process!). After UD, I did some weirdo dropbacks.
First off, arms overhead.
Then, arms overhead with my arms bound. (Kinda scary at first. “What if I need to bail?” I wondered, “My arms will be bound together…” But wait, the LAST thing I want to do is try to bail while dropping. I mean, what would I do, windmill my arms like a cartoon character to reverse the fall? Yeah, I’m probably better off with my arms safely bound!)
Next, arms overhead, bound, and on tiptoes. Here are some pics. It is VERY hard for me to coordinate (i.e., I was NOT coordinated). But I just had to try it, after all of our discussion. Did I feel like David Swenson? Maybe a little. Especially cool is the little flying sensation when your heels go up.
And finally, arms overhead, bound, in the red shoes.
Now I really need to learn how to do this so I can take a proper picture of a dropback in the red shoes. And some other shoes. Surely there’s an artsy portfolio opportunity. :-)
Owl calls it the “candy cane.” The upper back curl that you need for a nice dropback — or any backbend, I suppose.
I’m hoping the hands-overhead dropbacks start to crack open the candy cane. That, and draping myself over the rack and over a block, and perhaps a few rounds of viparita dandasana.
The curve is good when my arms are down, but as soon as they go up, zip!, the curve of my back straightens right out. As I lay over the block this morning, I could feel pulling in my shoulders — across the collarbones, actually, and in the little nubbin of the shoulders, more officially known as the coracoid process.
Oh coracoid process, how little I know about you. Well, except that the pecs, brachialis and short head of the biceps all connect there. Hmmm, let’s see. All the muscles that seem to inhibit my putting my arms overhead easily, or to reach my arms back in kapotasana.
We’re going to get to know each other, coracoid process. Yes, we are.
Okay, I’m liking the overhead dropbacks because my arms are always straight and strong when I hit the ground. (Yes, you get a nice, accurate perception of my dropbacks when I use phrases like “hit the ground.”) I am thrilled to be landing on strong straight arms, so I’m not going to feel too concerned about the crash aspect. At least not yet.
What I am feeling the past few mornings is some sensation in the vastus medialis. Fondly known as the “teardrop” to bodybuilders. It’s a knee extender and a muscle that I understand and trust. It’s feeling sore because of my coming up from dropbacks with turned-out feet. A no-no, I realize. (But Matthew Sweeney TOLD me I could! That’s my new excuse for everything.)
Yes, I am turning my feet out on the way back up from the dropback. So far, it feels like “training wheels.” If it starts to feel like more than that (i.e., like something I can’t keep incrementally moving away from), I’ll ditch it and forget about coming back up for now.
Oooh, I rarely come back into a post to add something, but I want to share the shoes.
So I was out and about on Saturday, and I spotted these shoes. Gah! I loved them. But I felt a little unsure. Pulled out the iPhone, took a picture, and texted My Gift to ask her opinion.
“They’re heinous. Step away from the shoes.”
Sigh. I was sad. But I stepped away.
Still, I kept thinking about them. Later that evening, on a whim, I pulled out the iPhone and showed the shoes to The Cop. He was surfing mountain biking sites, so I didn’t think I’d get much of a response. Plus, he’s not particularly interested in women’s shoes.
But he actually paused and looked at the picture, and said, “I like these!”
Okay, that did it. I went back and got the shoes. I <3 them. There is some question (in The Cop’s mind) about whether they are too “dominatrix” for work. [Note to self: that last sentence ought to make for lots of hits on the stat counter.] I think not. I think they’ll be great with a black pencil skirt. I’m drooling a little as I write that.
Here’s my picture. And now you know what size shoe I wear. And that I shop in cheap stores. I could pull the shoes out of my closet and take a better picture, so now you also know that I’m kind of lazy. If you hate these shoes, don’t write a comment. I love them and don’t want to be swayed.
Next post: stilettos and spray-on stockings.
It occurred to me that when I do namaste hands at the start of dropbacks, I get some internal shoulder rotation. Which leaves me landing with kinda bent arms (“kinda bent arms” is a technical yoga term). I default to unconscious internal shoulder rotation as a matter of course (i.e., in daily life), so getting past it is probably going to take some conscious effort.
Okay. The next three screen captures are a dropback with namaste hands — sequenced so you can see the drop.
I’ve been thinking and theorizing about this since I finished my practice on Friday, so obviously I had to try hands overhead dropbacks this morning to see if I landed with my arms more locked out.
To set up for overhead dropbacks, I extended my arms and actually rotated my palms to face the back of the room. That makes for a good external rotation, which locks my arms out. Something I cannot do, apparently, on the fly.
Here are three screen caps of the overhead dropback.
Yup, straighter arms with the overhead dropback. It’s also interesting, as I sit here typing this, I can feel a lot of sensation in the front of my body, between my lower ribs and hip bones. Muscular sensation. The good kind.
Usually, after dropbacks with namaste hands, I’ll get the sensation in the lumbar region.
The overhead dropbacks are super-awkward feeling, but I imagine that’ll get better. And the weight of my extended arms ought to help crack open the chest and mid-back more effectively than the namaste hands.
One thing I learned from VBG is this: if you have a hunch about something in your practice, give it a go for a month to see if you’re really on to something.
So it’s overhead dropbacks from now ’til… aw, let’s make it April Fool’s Day. I can decide then if the experiment was fruitful.
I know I’ve written about this before, but once again, I am baffled by my arms.
Dropback practice proceeds, with the entertaining addition of the vinyl sand dune. The balance thing is coming clear. The back bend is working itself out. All’s well.
Except for my arms. I keep looking at them, but I can’t seem to figure out how to make them straight — as in, how to extend and lock them out. I always land with kinda bent arms.
I figured it might be that my chest needs to stretch out more. Or my shoulders. Or my lats. Or even my triceps. Why is this so hard to figure out?
Today (after practice, of course, so I haven’t tried it out yet) I got the idea that I need to
internally externally (Geez, see? I’m in here editing, because I can’t keep it straight in my brain!) rotate my arms. Figuring this out was is an enormous brainteaser. It’s like my arms aren’t really connected to my brain, somehow. I can figure out my legs, hips, feet, and back, but my arms are off the grid. I have to put my hands up over my head to think about the rotation of the shoulders, and even then, I feel like I kind of grasp what’s going on, but not quite.
All of my body makes sense to me like language, except my arms, which are math.