Practice notes: 8/9/06

Yesterday The Cop and I drove up to Sedona, because my sister and her girlfriend were up there vacationing (they live in San Diego). We went up for lunch, and a short visit. The Cop laughed at me when I explained that today was a Moon Day, so I would take it a day early and then go to Mysore practice this morning. He is amused by my poor rule-following skills and my excellent rationalization skills.

This morning’s practice was all about quads. My poor hamstrings have been so tortured. I did some more reading in Gregor Maehle’s book and decided I would devote today’s practice to making sure my quads were mindfully engaged the whole way through. Heels pulled to the floor on sitting poses, feet flexed, the whole deal. This is, at least for me, a daunting challenge. I like to drift off into my yoga bliss, and sometimes that bliss doesn’t include quadriceps mindfulness. But I managed well enough. And sure enough, I remembered something Crim Girl told me months ago: she suggested I pull up through my arches, which seemed like a fine idea, but I had no clue how to do it. This morning, as I engaged my quads in down dog, those arches just popped right up. Nice.

Practice felt a little plodding at the start–perhaps because the air is rather humid here in the desert, and we aren’t accustomed to that sort of heaviness. But the poses and vinyasas were pleasant and I managed to keep doing the quad reminder.

Supta K went well–I managed to grab my hands, and then Volleyball Guy put his hands over mine to stabilize them while I tried to cross my feet, which at this stage in the game means I try to touch the soles together. “Close, very close,” he said. Volleyball Guy does not dole out lots of verbal feedback, so I was happy to hear this.

And this morning, I did normal urdhva dhanurasanas, instead of my usual ustrasana/dhanurasana combo. I asked Volleyball Guy if the switch would be okay, and mentioned I wouldn’t mind skipping adjustments, since his back has been sore. Of course, he couldn’t resist adjusting. I did a couple of urdhva ds myself and then one holding his ankles, where he then supported my upper back and had me take my hands off the floor and just open my arms like an airplane–well, a relaxed airplane, anyhow. It was a great adjustment! He reminded me to work my legs, and with him supporting my shoulders and pushing just a bit toward my feet, I could work into the backbend with my feet and legs and abs and really feel the form. All I need to do now is find a way to always subtract my concrete shoulders from the urdhva dhanurasana mix.

Then a few dropbacks, which felt great. As I sat down after backbends, I noticed The Other Dave (who was practicing second) showing The Cat eka pada sirsanana. Then they played around a bit with kashyabasana. I was nice and warm, and I’ve been messing around with yoga nidrasana in the evenings (in hopes it’ll aid my supta kurmasana), so I tried putting my feet behind my head. To very good effect. I managed to get first my left and then my right foot situated behind my neck. I don’t know why, exactly, but I sure do love those foot behind the head poses. They’re challenging and funny and scary and cool. And way more entertaining post-backbend poses than paschimottasana, which is usually just excruciating.

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