What V said, Smoky Cop, Haunted by Beet Salad

Things change. Yesterday morning, I felt awful before and during practice. This morning, I felt delightful. Nice.

I was also haunted by the images of beet salad that Tova posted on her blog. Beets, feta, pine nuts. I am going out to Wild Oats to get lunch today instead of huddling at my desk. I must have some beets and pine nuts. And a bag of carrots, because that sounds like a yummy snack.

***

Last night, The Cop dropped by the house during his shift, because he was in the neighborhood. He smelled of smoke because he had just been to a call where a woman tried to light her house on fire. She stuffed a bunch of stuff into the stove, set it at 500, and lay down on the couch. He sees a lot of attempted (and successful) suicides. It makes me terribly sad, that so many people are so deeply unhappy.

***

This morning, I spend a good bit of time doing the Vanessa exercise. Up into UD at the wall, walk the feet in, press the chest open, repeat. Woohoo! It’s starting to really work! And astonishingly, it is feeling really good! It’s a little scary, because I feel sensations that are unfamiliar, and I have to sort them out, because “reactive mind,” feeling unfamiliar things in a weird upside-down position, tends to want to get anxious and label the sensations “bad,” or “pain,” and then bail. But if I just relax a bit, it all works out.

And who was it yesterday who said the arms in UD should be springy and all the work kept in the legs?? I’m thinking it was Patrick… Anyhow, yes! Yes! Yes!

And I even grabbed a couple of screen shots that document a UD on New Year’s Day (first photo) and one from today (second photo).

backbend0101b1.jpg<

ud011708b.jpg

Yes, I am walking my feet in, which I am figuring is a “training wheels” exercise — something that is educational, but which is also a habit that will need to be broken. The relationship of my upper body to the wall is really important, so I can’t get the same effect by walking my hands in (which would be preferable to the feet). Once I get this squared away and the armpits open more, I will jettison the feet-walking business. In the meantime, though, a very useful exercise…

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8 Responses

  1. I think that actually someone else said that, but I seconded it–about a week ago I popped into the Wheel and found that my hands were all like rubber-bouncy on the mat, like I could just pick’em up and move’em around, so I did 😀

  2. Ok, sweet. I have no insights at all, but the work is very quickly starting to show.

    All the images of your practice space are tripping me out. It keeps changing! I’m trying to fit the information I have into a coherent three-dimensional vision of your space, and I cannot make it work. Funny. (But maybe it’s just really intriguing because I’m still stoned from practice.)

    One note for later. There’s some information in all these images about your sacrum. Watch the feet for indications. Is it set in its frame a bit tilted to the left? What is its relationship to the adductors and the arches, and ultimately the lengthening of the psoas? The sacrum has retreated from the limelight for awhile and I think that’s good–much else happening in the arms and shoulders. But maybe interesting another time?

  3. You know, Patrick, after years of feeling like my arms are cement on the mat during UD, this springy thing is really trippy!

    And okay, freaky witch girl, are you seeing the left sacrum issue from the stills or the moving picture? You are right on. The sacrum has definitely NOT disappeared from my awareness, even though I keep talking about the arms. In fact, right now there is a little tiny flame burning deep on the left side.

    The hinky left side is, well, hinky. Every injury I’ve ever had has been on the left side: torn arch (running), blown-out knee (lifting), rotator cuff tear (climbing). My right side is the “stronger” side, and I always lead with it. The left side is looser, but it also bears the brunt of whatever shearing forces or rebound effects the brash right side tends to get itself into. Climbing example: GO for it with a huge move of the right arm. Miss the hold. Catch self on the way down with the left hand. And that’s the story of the rotator cuff tear.

    The solution can’t be as simple as over-compensating and making sure to bring the left foot in on UD more than feels “correct,” can it? I like a nice simple answer to these things, but you’re gonna tell me I need to change my consciousness… 😉

    I’ll do a little 360 video of the yoga room so you can see it.

  4. I actually thought you would ask that. A lot of teachers in SoCal, because backbending theory here is highly Iyengified, would say change the foot to change the sacrum.

    I’ve done a lot of this, and it HAS helped my sacrum (which was rotated to the right for years, sort of unrelated to the massive shift it made last spring). Really rooting into the balls of the feet and making the arches-adductors-uddiyana line strong. That is good work.

    BUT I guess REALLY I am more interested in the relationship than in using the feet to give the sacrum a mandate. Have you ever read Gelb’s _Body Learning: An Intro to the Alexander Technique?_ This is what gives me the idea that the sacrum is still functional even when its alignment is not “perfect.” And that one of the ways you come to understand its current functionality is to watch its ramifications in the feet. Then as you get really intimate with that relationship you start tweaking and transforming it from BOTH ends.

    Kind if like the relationship of the consciousness and the left side of your body. Do you start brushing your teeth and eating and phone-dialing exclusively with the left until you become more of a right-brained person? Or do you go in to the infernal right brain and see about lighting it up and priveleging it a bit over the left, and see how that relates to your increasing dexterity with the, well, left-handed path?

    Both are interesting, but for you probably the relational, observational thing is way more interesting than dictatorial CHANGE FROM BELOW. Who needs change, anyway? It’s all ultimately observation, as a wise person just reminded.

  5. I’ve given up on the parallel feet in backbends. My teacher doesn’t seem to care, I don’t seem to hurt from it and I want to pull my hair every time I want to make them be parallel, so I’ve assumed that it will happen when/if it happens.

    Apart from that, DZM, I’m so glad my advice helped at all and your backbend is looking great!

  6. Thanks, V! It was very good advice. I imagine your teacher can see that you are okay with your foot situation — otherwise he wouldn’t allow it. And yes, it’ll probably square up in time.

    And Owl, you crack me up with the phrase “give the sacrum a mandate.” Made me laugh out loud. Yes, the relaitonship is much more interesting. Annie P made a very big deal about the energy being channeled strongly through the feet and up the midline (as Anusarans would say) or, in other words: arches-adductors-uddiyana. All of this is new learning for me — I was a knee splayer; all of my energy used to go sideways in UD. Understanding that middle channel made all the difference in the world.

    All that said, the foot thing is much less an issue when hands are walking in. Perhaps that’s where that bit of conventional wisdom comes from. Once the feet come off the ground, the sacrum has its twisted way. I’ll see what I can observe. Because indeed, the observation is the deepest pleasure of the practice…

  7. Looking good, dzm. Lovely backbend.

    Yeah, the left side/right side thing is weird. I have similar issues. The left side is looser, but weaker. Which is both good and bad. It’s good in binding poses. Bad in balancing poses. I still can’t do UHP on left leg after 5 years of practice. I thought yoga would even things out, but it hasn’t happened. It’s as if two disparate halves of a human being have been slapped together to create a sort of Frankenstein monster.

    I’ve never seen a really good explanation for this phenomenon. As Owl says, we use our right hands for opening doors, brushing hair, picking up coffee cups, etc., but why should that make the left leg weaker and shakier?

  8. Hi Karen
    But walking the feet in, doesn’t it compress your sacrum? Isn’t the instruction “walk hands inside feet.”? I like the springy arms in UD reference Patrick gave. I’ll have to mosey on to his blog to check it out.
    Cheers,
    Arturo

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