Improv, the rack, and dying for a burrito

Improv class this morning. Started right off with vasisthasana and vishwamitrasana. Uh oh, I thought. But we settled in and spent some time on my current hunk o’ second (pasasana through supta vajrasana), which was nice. Since the new shala opened, I’ve been doing the usual Monday, Wednesday and Friday Mysore practice, along with Saturday led primary. Used to be that I’d do home practice on Tuesday and Thursday, and take Sunday off — all of which added up to 5 shots at the intermediate poses per week. With my new schedule, I take Tuesdays off and do home practice on Thursdays. And while I was eager to attend the Sunday improv class, I was a little concerned that it’d mean I’d only practice the intermediate poses four times a week. So anyhow, I was happy to hear Volleyball Guy call for pasasana, and happier still as he proceeded to move us through the rest of the series up to supta vajrasana.

Speaking of supta vajrasana: yesterday, in a comment to my posting, Inside Owl (I’d link to you, A, but looks like your site is off-line today…) mentioned a Manduka-prop self-assist for supta vajrasana. What?! I am the biggest tool nerd in the world, so the very thought of using my mat to assist me in supta vajrasana was just thrilling. (It’s not just electronic gadgets that I love, but any tool. From smart phones to butter knives, any tool that gets a job done makes me curious. Nothing more delightful than images of chimps using sticks as tools to fish for termites. I have no idea why tool-use pleases me so, unless it’s some kind of flashback to a previous chimp life.)

Anyhow, IO wrote back and told me how to use the Manduka to self-assist. Roll it up, use the very end of the roll to sit on, then push the roll into your sacrum and lean back over it. For sure, I thought I was going to crash on my head, but no! It really works! Yay for self-sufficiency! Of course I had to show all the Mysorians this morning, because a chimp always shares this sort of thing with the rest of the tribe.

I also shared “the rack.” Brought it along to do show and tell. Everyone got on it and stretched and groaned and asked where it came from. It got set aside for a bit, until Volleyball Guy turned it on its side and sat on it during class. “A very good prop,” he joked as he sat there. “I’ll do five more breaths.”

Other notable entertainments during class were eka pada sirsasana and yoga nidrasana. I have some claustrophobia issues with hooking my leg behind my head, and I’m hoping it diminishes by the time I get to those poses in my own practice. For now, I’m not stressing. They’re off my radar for the time being and no sense creating a mental block.

About an hour and a half into class I felt exhausted and starved. Pretty unusual. I limped through to the end of practice and had a deep savasana — and immediately thought of a leftover burrito in the fridge as I came to. How yogic and mystical. The burrito was left from My Gift’s visit this week. She forgot to bring it with her when she went back up north. Handy for me. I talked with her a little last night: she went hiking at the creek yesterday and burned her foot on a rock. Badly enough to blister. It’s unnerving to have to do Mom first aid from a distance. But I also recognize that it probably wouldn’t be healthy for me to drive 2 hours to inspect a blister on an almost-20 year old. Believe me, though, the impulse is there.


7 Responses

  1. oooh! exciting about the supta vajrasana with manduka mat. i always just sit up for my supta vajrasana because i am by myself. but husband helped me today and CLEARLY i need to be doing something else, i was really tight! can’t wait to try the manduka!

  2. I do a similar assist in supta vajrasana, with a bolster. Make that 2 bolsters, since I have just started 2d series and my back is stiff. Does VolleyBall Guy have bolsters in his studio? Maybe a rolled up mat plus 1 bolster would work.

  3. That’s the old for you. Proliferating practice technologies like a dream. I’m happy this worked for you.

    Suzie, I practice this with a bolster sometimes too. It’s a boon in that the larger size makes the bend a nice shape, but a bane in that the squishy bolster isn’t much to press into with the elbows. Both teach something, though I suppose the mother-of-all-mats (the black manduka) method is more precise.

    I practice with a little sweat towel and tend to fold it in two as a little pillow. It seems like a kind way to pay respect to the sahasrara, and to spare other practitioners the hollow ring of my head smacking against hardwood if I come down too quickliy. Also, whenever I press my head directly into a hard surface (e.g. last pose in 1st), my scalp flakes off three days later. Eeew.

  4. Yup, the mat works like a dream. I used it “for real” (in improv class I just showed it as a demo) in Mysore practice this morning. And yes, the mat makes a very strong adjustment to the arms. Nice!

    I, too, love when the internet works like this. I had asked a few times about getting the legs crossed on supta kurmasana, and JMS (formerly of ezBoard fame) made and posted a video demonstration. That’s net technology at its best!

  5. Hi Karen
    I’m interested in the supta vajrasana self adjust, but I’m having trouble picturing it. Okay, say you rolled it up. Let’s say your feet are close to a door close to which you are practicing, your head away from the door. The rolled mat is perpendicular to the door. Do you sit on the end furthest away from the door, get your feet in lotus, then drop back? But there is no counter weight, so why is the manduka helping? Because it gives you grip against your back? I can see the fear of hitting your head, since you are propped up higher than the floor. Thanks for sharing, but if you don’t mind could you clarify if you are sitting on the end of the roll furthest away from the door in this scenario, therefore, there is nothing but floor behind your back. Thanks very much.

  6. Hi Arturo,

    The mat is actually parallel to the door in your example. It goes across your lumbar region — parallel to your hips. Does that make sense? There is no counterweight, which is what makes it cool. The roll of the mat, though, supports the lower spine and also give a nice smoosh to the arms when you lower back.

  7. Hi Karen
    Oh, I get it, thanks!

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