Drop-backs…the gateway to advanced backbending! Me! I don’t know how, and I don’t know why, but the substitute teacher at AYS (Gary) came up to me after my third Urdhva Dhanurasana and pulled me up to stand. When I told him I had never done that before, at least not at AYS (I have done it before, assisted at OM and at Jivamukti, and UN-assisted quite unexpectedly at New York Yoga when practicing one day with MaryBeth), he simply told me the lowdown: Exhale on the way down, Inhale on the way up. Land on the hands the first three times, and then cross arms over the chest and go back and forth four or five more times, the last one reaching the hands down and holding for five deep breaths. It was AWESOME!!
Now, how weird is it that just YESTERDAY, I was posting here about a psoas-lengthening, quad-softening R&D pose that would help pave the way to better backbending? Is it pure coincidence? Psychic ability? Or perhaps somehow my body told my mind that it was time to start working toward deeper backbends?
Anyway, I had no idea what to expect from drop-backs – I have heard students giggling and acting terrified in drop-backs, especially the first time, but it was like buttah for me. Hooray! Something I can do without all the tsuris! I don’t think I will ever forget that exhilerating feeling of the first time I ever got dropped-back….
I came in a little early for me today, since I think some of the root of my tsuris is starting so late that I don’t have time to get a proper warm-up (I am not even talking about R&D here) and and not rush, when certainly, rushing and getting anxiety about “falling behind” is really counterproductive. I was nice and slow and methodical with each of my Five-and-Fives, rolling over my toes like Mark taught me and stepping nice and long and straight through to between my hands for each Warrior I of Surya B. Gary gave me a great assist in Uttita Hasta Padangusthasana, getting my front leg higher than I have ever gotten it before and making sure that my standing leg was straight. I was patient and took eight breaths once in each side of Ardha Baddha Padmotannasana. Same with Ardha Baddha Padmo Paschimo.
At one point, I felt like I was going to “wok” as my eight-year old calls it – vomit – so I went to the bathroom and came back. Don’t know what peeing did to relieve that up-chuck feeling, but maybe it just made some space in my torso. OK, I will admit it – I did have coffee this morning. I LIKE to begin my practice with some artificially enhanced tapas…is that really so wrong?
Lauren, you really have a lot to learn, I know, I know….
Anyway, Mari the Awesome and Mari the Beautiful went very nicely. But Caution and Dead-in-the-Water, not so much. Gary’s adjustments didn’t really get at the heart of what needs to be done in those poses, which isn’t his fault – it’s just that he doesn’t know my body. I need help TWISTING!!! My arms will bind just fine when I can stop my back shoulder from collapsing down into my chest. But still, we got through them with a minimum of drama (except for my confession that “C is my nemesis”, which actually is no longer so true, to which Gary replied, “I don’t know what that means”. For one split second, I was all awe-filled, thinking, ah…what a profound notion – to not have “nemesis” in one’s Ashtanga vocabulary. But then Gary broke the spell, saying that he was just kidding, “I actually do have a pretty good vocabulary.” To which, I laughed, not at Gary’s bit of self-deprecating humor, but at myself, for assuming that everything that drops out of someone’s mouth in a yoga class must be, of course, a profound pearl of yoga wisdom. Ha!)…
I slipped off my arms a little in my exit out of Buja Pidasana but redeemed myself (at least in my own eyes) with a very nicely executed Supta Kurmasana and lovely Tittibasana exit out therefrom. And I didn’t even forget Navasana today.
All in all – a nice practice.
On another quick little detour topic, you know how Andy Warhol once said that everyone could expect to at some point have their own fifteen minutes of fame? And then in the 90’s that little aphorism was modified by popular culture such that “everyone can expect to at some point have their own talk show”? And then in the past several years, it has seemed more like everyone can at some point expect to appear on a reality TV show? (And certainly, it is feasible that everyone at some point will be publishing a blog…but I digress) Well, the thought first struck me when I was part of Om Yoga Center’s Teacher Training Program, that my yoga teacher training program would make a really interesting and borderline CRAZY (crazy in a good way) reality show. There were 10 of us students, all women, and two primary teachers (with two other teachers rotating in and out, and then, of course, there was Cyndi Lee), and we were together for nearly 28 days straight, anywhere from 10-14 hours a day. There was drama and bitching and yes, gossip and backbiting, and if a clever tv producer wanted to add a “game” element to it, he could make it all about “And only ONE of you will get to teach at Om” or something like that.
Anyway, I always thought it was a clever idea. Similarly, wouldn’t “The Shala: The Show” make an interesting reality tv series? The personalities, the drama, the big moments of triumph. No, none of this is “yogic”. But is would make some fine entertainment.
Keep those comments coming…tomorrow is Saturday, no practice….so we can ONLY talk about it….