Gah! Seriously, I have always been pretty liberal regarding the “no onions, no garlic” rules — especially as regards garlic. It’s part of my heritage, after all. Last night, though, The Cop and I went to see “I Am Legend” (four thumbs up, BTW) and then out for Italian food. The croutons in the salad — garlicky. The garlic in the pasta — garlicky. The spices in the olive oil for your bread — garlicky. This morning on the mat: gahhhh! File that away with the “look out for margaritas the night before practice” rule.

Being a nerd, I made a note for myself to look at before urdhva dhanurasana. It read: “Lower psoas. And rotate hands.”


I skipped the blocks and went for awareness in the lower psoas muscles — which are STEEL, signifying SUCCESS at the gym… 😉 And I checked out my hands when I was up there, too. I do tend to rotate my hands the way Vanessa suggested, but what I found this morning is that I don’t pull the rotation all the way up into my shoulders. That may well be what’s making the stress/stuckness in my upper arms.

So a step forward, thanks to your comments.

I did want to remark on (0v0)‘s note that the UDs don’t seem to fatigue me. This is absolutely due to a combination of Annie’s order not to do more than 5, and my own “first pass” with all poses that I’m working on. First order of the day is always to get the breathing squared away. I know I’m a dork with the ear plugs, but listening to see if the breath is ragged in any places helps me understand how my energy is working. I try to deal with that before doing any detail work or mucking around with mechanics. You should have heard when I first started doing UD: it was all about huffing and puffing and straining and gasping. The thing that’s surprising is that you can actually do all of those things pretty quietly, and without really noticing anything more than that you feel anxious.

One of the more interesting things about yoga. Always revealing the very things I keep secret from myself…


2 Responses

  1. Hi Karen
    I’m interested in the earplugs idea, but I envision that it would be difficult to do it in the shala unless I tell the teacher I’m experimenting with ear plugs. I’m just envisioning that if I don’t communicate about my experiment, the teacher might give me some instruction and I might have to stop, take the plugs out and ask her what she said.

    Lower the psoas and rotate the hands in UD? Well I’ve heard that you need to tell the psoas to relax, because that is one moment when it is not supposed to become engaged. When you’re lifting the body upwards, the psoas should not constrict, perhaps not until the moment when the thighs bring you up. Now rotating the hands. That’s interesting. Do you mean inwardly spiraling? That would seem to me to give strength to the hands, making them stronger to help keep them straight. If that is what you mean, I will give that a try. Somewhat related to the subject of spiraling motion, one of the most useful comments by Seven Pointed Lotus to me was than when I need to extend the leg in the final part of Utitha Hasta Padangustasana, to keep the foot up, it is good to rotate a spiraling motion going in the external muscles of the legs (both in the thighs and below the knees). I find that this makes sense even from a structural perspective. When you look at rotating towers in architecture, it is the torquing motion of the skeleton of the building that helps support it. So I wonder if that is what you, or Vanessa mean by rotating the arms. Inwards? Outwards? Any which way to cause muscular strength?

  2. spiraling, always interesting to think about. i’m inspired by your attention to breath.

    one note- you mention psoas muscles of steel from the gym and lifetimes of shoulder tension. don’t underestimate the power of chairs and desks. unexciting relics of modern lifestyles.

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