I <3 Upside Down

Did a Matthew Sweeney inspired Thursday practice. From Ashtanga Yoga As It Is:

On one day per week you can practice Intermediate on its own, even if it is only the first four or five postures. Thursday is usually the best for this, sometimes called “research day.”

It is normal to try moving ahead and practice more difficult asana. At some point just give it a go, even if the practice is a little rough around the edges.

I had a blast. Standing through ardha baddha padmottanasana, then into pasasana. Through to kapotasana exercises. On through to eka pada bakasana.

Do not fool yourself, however, that you are doing it correctly or that you have mastered a posture or sequence when the reality might be quite different.

Um, yeah. Reality wasn’t looking so pretty.

***

During the hanging back exercise, I had a teaching tool idea. I have little marks on the wall so I can focus on something lower and lower as I hang back or drop back to the wall.

They’re a little line of Xs written in pen on athletic tape. (Amusingly, the dog occasionally spots one and tries to bite it. I think she thinks they’re flies.)

As I was hanging back, I thought about using a mark that has a distinct top and bottom orientation, and, specifically, putting it up upside down.

The little heart on the wall made a remarkable difference! It deeply affected my equilibrium, as if my brain, usually worried about trying to figure out what is happening and how to orient my body in space, was suddenly given a little treat to soothe its anxiety.

I’m going to experiment with slightly more complex images with distinct up and down orientations and see if that makes any difference. Fun experiment!

Anyhow, when I stood up, I could feel all kinds of energy and sensation in my spine and limbs. Usually that gets overridden by my brain disorientation, which blots out sensibilities and “blinds” me to my body.

***

We went to visit the puppies. Below, The Cop with our current two favorites.

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8 Responses

  1. Cute puppies. I vote for both.

  2. Awwww….the heart on the wall and the two puppies have just made me all gooey inside.

  3. LOL! I love how puppy on the left is always shaking his head like mad and spoiling the pictures.

  4. Ohhhhh…..they could not possibly be more cute. Don’t separate them!..and please bring them to yoga in August.

    Your Matthew Sweeney posts have been interesting. I look forward to the info on classroom management.

    Namaste

    Suzie

  5. Karen, the markings are brilliant. I can see why that heart would be very comforting. I sort of visualized it in backbends today. Very intersting mind trick!

  6. awwh. looks like a puppy has chosen y’all
    hugs
    Arturo

  7. The “X” down the wall are a great idea, though they all look the same, I wonder how hard it is to realise how far you have bent back. I thought about sticking a tape measure on the door.

    Love the puppies

  8. I just focus my eyes on each in turn, further and further down the wall as I go. Two Xs above the heart, two Xs below — pretty easy to keep track of how far I’m bent back.

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