Dog Breath

Mysore this morning was permeated with vague regrets about Saturday led. Which rocked. Among other things, there were eight urdhva dhanurasanas that actually made me feel like perhaps I am not sentenced to a lifetime of sucky backbends. Sunday, though, I was sentenced to screaming hip flexors, care of those urdhva Ds. Especially the left side. Kinda good, though, because tight hip flexors are really hampering the udhva D improvement project. So I welcome the growing pains.

So yeah, this morning I was a mess. Left hamstring pain, as usual, plus the screaming hip flexor. Oh, and a burning sensation in the right hamstring insertion. Joy.

I struggled through practice, feeling a good bit of pain. Interestingly, I also was in a really happy mood. No idea why. Just wanted to practice. Right around triang mukha eka pada paschimottansana, I suddenly thought about the dog. When I am sitting on the floor in the livingroom and she wants something (generally a biscuit or for me to open the back door), she’ll come over and put her head on my shoulder, take a normal inhale, and then exhale in this little shuddering breath that has the teeniest moan threaded through it. It is delicately long-suffering and hysterically funny. I really want to learn how to do the dog breath, because it’d be perfect for when I’m having a painful practice. I gave it a couple of tries this morning, but I need to get her to teach me the subtleties. It cheers me up.

So yes, Saturday led was great. I got a really solid hand bind in supta K, and managed to get my feet together (usually they don’t quite touch without my losing the hands). Baddha konasana is next on the tough pose to-do list, and it’s going well. But between the supta k and the baddha k, I am feeling weirdly destabilized in the hips. Driving to work this morning, I thought of rubberband-jointed dolls. I’m not sure if Barbie was one, but there were Barbie-like clone dolls with articulated joints, and if you pulled the ball of the joint out of the socket, you could see that an internal rubberband held the whole thing together. Today my rubber bands feel pretty gnarly.

For some reason, though, I don’t mind all of this. Maybe my mind, as well as my body, is realigning. Weird, huh? Sometimes you feel physically great but your mind gives you huge suffering about practice, and sometimes you feel bad physically but your mind is happy. Who knows? I wish I had a picture of the dog’s big brown eyes–just to illustrate that remarkable combination of suffering and joy.


One Response

  1. “Maybe my mind, as well as my body, is realigning.”

    Well said! I think most of our asana (and other) obstacles are right up there in the old noggin’.

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