Pep talk

Interesting to read other blogs — lots of people talking about the pep talks they give themselves for backbending: “this is easy,” “I’m bendy and open.”

I did visualization, instead of a pep talk today. Imagined my bones were like bird bones — light, honeycombed, full of space. Damned if it didn’t work.

My traps, after last month’s last ditch, painful effort to contract until my head got pulled entirely into my shoulders (it was quite reminiscent of the non-stop, horrible collarbone ache of learning supta kurmasana), have apparently given up. I have an astonishing amount of mobility through the trap area — I don’t think my traps have EVER been this loose.

And the thoracic spine is opening up marvelously. I imagined the opening to be something that would happen more in my back, but it really is much more about expansiveness through the whole thoracic cavity — an expansiveness and articulation that feels INCREDIBLY good, and also just electric with energy. I always oversimplify, in my imaginings. I thought it would be a crack and then there would be more bend in my spine bending back. Nada: it’s the whole ribcage, as if my ribs have been disengaged from the overlying muscle and skin. As if now my ribcage is bigger than my body.

Okay, yeah, I have a strong imagination. Don’t judge me. 😉

I like how these thinds are never the way I imagine they’ll be.

On the down side, my right wrist is acting up. I never think about my wrists at all, so this is a surprise. (Though, obviously, it shouldn’t be, since I never think about my wrists…) I hopped on ezBoard before practice and took away the suggestion to put the weight into the L of the index finger and thumb, and that helped immensely. My wrist cracked a few times and actually felt much better for it.

The Cop, in the meantime, had a mouth-breathing practice. Allergies, perhaps. I tried to figure out how one can breathe through the mouth “properly” (in other words, in a way that regulates the breath), but didn’t come up with much. If anyone has suggestions, let me know. He is often too stuffed up to breathe through his nose, and yes, he netis.

Up late last night because My Gift called, upset with trying to figure out bank statements and financial info. Sat up working through all of her data. She has never had to manage her own money, and has never been very diligent about keeping track of accounts, etc. We’ll talk later on today and figure out a budget, etc. Poor kid, she felt bad for having to ask for help. But how else would she learn?

Okay, off to look for some Prana shorts for The Cop. He’s now officially a yogi.


21 Responses

  1. Not sure we can afford two Prana habits. And, to clarify, I’m a mouth-breather by physiology. I have a deviated septum and my nose has been broken a few times. I can only breath through it maybe 50% of the time.

  2. And to further clarify: I am working from home today, so The Cop is sitting in the other room (I can hear him turning pages of his book) and responding to my blog.

    Very high tech, we are.

  3. crazy how it works, right? I like the “bird bone” bit. I’ll try that manana… 🙂

  4. Hmmm… Prana? Black boxer briefs are de rigueur among Serious Ashtanga Boyz, even at some NYC shalas.

  5. Elise, I’ve seen your backbending video, and I believe you actually HAVE bird bones!

    Rick, guys just wear regular unders? Everyone goes around with Hanes on their waistbands? I imagine there will be Prana boxer briefs soon…

  6. When I visit a shala I wear running shorts, but some guys do practice in public in just boxer briefs. The fad hit its high point when Guruji came to NYC several years ago, and led the class in black Calvin Klain boxer briefs. Though he probably was wearing something underneath that.

  7. *Calvin Klein*

    can’t spell today

  8. Backbend prep talks?

    Does it work? I need to do that for the eka padas, but somehow, I’ not sure if it will work…

  9. I bet it will work. Tiff. I can’t really help you with specifics, though — my only eka pada experience is renegade stuff, and my pep talk is simply, “Oh crap, head please don’t snap off.”

    For backbends, it’s easy — you ask for/visualize light and flexy. Eka pada, don’t really know…

    Perhaps some of the more advanced practitioners can share appropriate pep talk scripts?

  10. Hi Karen

    There is a fellow practitioner in my shala, Moustache Blanc, who suffers from allergies. He’s pescatarian. From what I’ve gathered, he does not eat mucous forming foods such as dairy. He tells me he uses Claritin before practice so he won’t be so stuffed up. I was concerned for him because his breathing was very bad. They don’t recommend one breathe through the mouth in practice. Usually, through the middle of standing sequence, the phlegm should have abated. If The Cop is eating a lot of meat and starches late in the evening prior to practice, that could be contributing to congestion. Maybe he could eat lighter and earlier at dinner time, and limit dairy and mucous forming foods. (now i’ve read about the deviated septum. uhm. don’t know, hope something I said could be helpful.)

    Regarding self pep talk. OK, I’ll try it. But any week in which I’ve said, “yep, this is the week I’m coming to standing in UD” – has not yet resulted in doing so.

    Practice shorts? I have the loose prana ones. Under them I wear my regular boxer shorts. Briefs cause me rashes. I’m not the only one who does this. Dale Carnegie in my studio has the same set up. There is no problem with privacy. There is so much fabric in the combination, that even in inversions I am not flashing anyone. Early on in my blogging archives I did a funny graphic about my set up. If I were flashing, Teacher would have told me. However, it does not hold the Stuff in place, so guys have to put up with some jostling of the Stuff. (My setup is not Alan Little-approved.) 🙂


  11. Target has black, long-length boxer briefs for $6 or $7each. The Jockey variety are of a higher quality but they cost three times as much. Those are probably all the Cop needs for home practice but if he wants to go to a studio sometime, he can put on some Russell mesh b-ball shorts (2 for $20 at Sports Authority) and he’s good to go. No problems with cargo shifting or falling out.

  12. Now we’re talking!

    The official manly man yogi outfit = champion brand athletic cut briefs, bike shorts and tank tops. Bought at Target, with cash, on the way to the shooting range!

  13. Yay, Cop!

    My backbend self prep talk: “Use it or lose it, girlfriend.” I once told this to my teacher and she said that perhaps I could tell myself instead that the next backbend will feel amazing and that I accept myself and where I am. Naw. Doesn’t work.

  14. hey Suzie! i think i emailed you but i don’t know if you got it?

    my backbending pep talk is not so much a pep talk as an anti pep talk, ‘this could be the time i fall on my head?’

  15. Elise gave me the best advice on standing up from a backbend, and it actually changed my backbend, not just the stand-up. She suggested that I come to my fingertips just before standing, and this has created incredible lightness for me. Maybe i was just getting lighter in the backbending thanks to Kino’s pep talk (more on that below), or maybe the fingertips was a kinesthetic visualiazation that worked for me.

    Kino’s pep talk was essentially “start the backbend in your feet, and don’t come up to the full wheel until you’re all but in UD other than your hands being on the floor.”. Again, i have this visual of ALREADY being in UD even before pressing up.

    I don’t go for the “you can do it” type stuff. I need to be instructing myself (“Feet! Press down with the feet!). Must be the bossy teacher in me…


  16. No, I didn’t get it, cranky. My e mail address is suzie at columbus dot rr dot com.

  17. Canky, we’ve seen your backbends, you need no pep talk!!!! 🙂

    I like Cody’s ‘on the way to the shooting range’.

  18. I think he threw that in there for The Cop. 🙂

  19. Yes, that was a gratuitous reference for The Cop. Under no circumstances should I ever be allowed near a gun (or any other weapon for that matter.) I’m way too clumsy for that!


  20. His phone was ringing in his bag this morning. He was sleeping and I wanted to turn off the phone before it woke him. But I hate sticking my hand in the bag, because I’m afraid I’m gonna inadvertently shoot myself with the gun that’s in there. It’s the big gun, too, not the little one I got him for a birthday present.

  21. Cody, I’m surprised you weren’t taught any weapons skills during your all-camping summer tour.

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