Day off

More folks finding my blog via Dansko-related searches. Today, “ugly square shoes.” Knock it off, you guys! Danskos are beautifully shaped and not square at all.

***

Practice again with The Cop. He is on vacation this week, and I took today off. Couldn’t get the whole week, since it’s performance evaluation time and everything is crazy.

Last night, The Cop mentioned that he’s been having back pain. He was reluctant to say, because we recently bought a new bed. One that I picked. A hard bed. Anyhow, apparently he’s been having mid-back pain for the past month or so. Very pronounced first thing in the morning, though it tapers off quickly once he’s up and about.

I did some research and didn’t come up with much in the way of evidence that a hard bed causes thoracic back pain. Mostly I’m finding info related to lower back pain and soft beds. I did come across a site that talks about healthy sleeping positions, though, and it did note that when one sleeps on one’s side, the spine is supposed to be supported in a nice straight line. I don’t think The Cop is really cut out for side sleeping. He is very tall and slim, but he has disproportionately wide shoulders (which I quite like, BTW). There’s pretty much no way he would be able to lie on his side and maintain a straight spine. So back-sleeping it is. He is less amused by this experiment than I am. But it did bring his pain down from a 10 (on a scale of 10) to a 5 in one night.

When we got to navasana this morning, I pointed out — again — that we were half way through the series.

“Do you know why I’m mentioning that?” I asked.
“So I have an out?” he replied.

No, not that at all. It’s just that if he keeps doing occasional full primaries, it will always be a difficult project. On the other hand, if he does somewhat more frequent half-primary practices, he will be able to grow into — and learn — the series. I guess I am a traditional teacher.

***

Are they called “Iyengis”? Is that the name for folks who practice with Iyengar and use lots of props? I have a prop problem. The Cop made note of how crowded the yoga room is getting. I have this, and this, and a crash pad for chakrasana. Plus straps and blocks and sandbags. And Swiss balls. And now this new favorite toy:

chair_prop.jpg

So beautiful! I was looking for a backless folding chair and could only find ones in the UK. I asked The Cop if he could just remove the back from a regular chair, and he did. I tried it, pronounced it delightful, and then said I might one day ask that he remove the rung between the back legs.

“The support?” he asked. “Uh, I guess I can do that.”
“You seem hesitant,” I said. “Do you think the chair’ll collapse one day with me on it?”
“Probably,” he said.
“Well then, why aren’t you trying to save me from myself?!” I asked.
His answer was simple: “I can’t.”

He knows me so well.

Anyhow, here’s one of my favorite chair games. It opens my shoulders and kills my triceps.

chair_shoulder.jpg

And here is another fun thing. First off, me lying over the chair in a comfy manner:

chair_viparita.jpg

And here is me trying to figure out how to get my hands on the legs of the chair. Oh brother, that is SO not happening. More work to be done…

chair_viparita_gah.jpg

And last, but not least, I spent some time playing with the wall ropes.

Fun. And my back is slooowly starting to respond. But geez, what about that part where I try to stretch my arms back and the internal monolog switches to, “Hey! My arms don’t go over my head!”

Oh well. It’s much more fun than being at work.

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11 Responses

  1. silly donut! why did you stop? that was a beautiful bend!
    and your cop is lovely πŸ™‚

  2. Haha! That’s as far as it goes! End of bend. If I go back any more, I think I just fall to the ground in exactly that configuration. πŸ™‚

    I’ll play around with it more once I’ve digested my lunch.

    And yes, he is the best.

  3. you think you fall on your head, or you know you will fall on your head?

  4. I won’t actually fall on my head, what with the ropes and all. But to get my hands to the floor, I have to bend a LOT through the knees — ’cause, as I’ve mentioned obsessively πŸ˜‰ my arms won’t stretch out over my head enough to finish the arch. Once the shoulders open up, though, I’ll be good to go.

  5. i just find that so hard to believe. look at where your head is in relation to the floor. your bend is so much deeper than you think. soon you will be doing that all on your own, no problem.

  6. Hi Karen
    That’s a nice video. How about if you stand a bit closer to the wall, put more weight on the feet, then get the hands all the way to the floor? The arching of the upper thoracic looks good.
    Cheers,
    Arturo

  7. where is donut?
    iyengar says make sure to put your arms out so you don’t land on your head–read it in light on yoga, it’s hilarious. Anyway, when i was learning dropbacks, i did a workshop where the teacher said that there is always some element of falling in a dropback when you are beginning, so go with it. I am only now, after like 3 years, able to go down perfectly slowly and touch very gently with my hands.

  8. In photo 3 (reaching for the legs) it looks like your arms are out. Think of reaching back more like in photo 2; you can also use a strap on the legs to help grap.

    That looks like a pretty complete torture chamber you’ve set up πŸ˜‰

  9. Nice “Ashtangar” set up you’ve got there, Karen! Rock on! BTW, there is a Google-able piece from Yoga Journal, about “propping” your way into Kapotasana, and it involves chairs and your tricep-opener and some other stuff. Roger Cole wrote it, and I THINK it’s called “Bend it Like This” or something.

  10. I do the SAME series of backbend prep when i have time and when i am not resisting myself too much. I got it from Yoga Journal, just like Patrick said. You must have gotten it from the same place, right? I am happy (for me) that you are also not at the point where you can lie on the chair and grab the bars with your hands. It makes me feel better to know that perhaps that is just waaaaaaaaaay in the future, and I might even be able to do Kapotasana before being able to do that.

  11. And karen – I agree with Cranky and Laksmi that you should just put your hands over your head and finish the dropback. You are really really deep into that backbend. And your legs seem strong. I think you just need to do it. Might it help to put the rope behind the small of your back, padded with a towel, if needed? I have practiced with the ropes and have found that useful as well.

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