“Next week Krounchasana.”

That will be, for me, like getting Supta Konasana or Upavishta Konasana. It’s just too within my comfort level to be exciting. Pasasana is very doable – I can get a finger bind on my own now, with heel up, though, and by walking my hands towards each other using a strap. But that’s how I learned to bind Supta Kurma on my own, so I am sure I am on the right track. Notwithstanding how doable Pasasana is, it is still a very intriguing posture for me. There are so many pieces of that puzzle. There’s the twist (duh), but a twist with a bind that is doubly longer to get around than the twist with a bind in Mari C – it’s two legs, instead of one. And instead of sitting, you’re squatting. So, that adds an element of balance. And there’s the achilles lengthening action going on. And the lengthening of the side bodies and opening of the thoracic spine and the deep internal rotation of the arms. Finally, and this came as a huge surprise to me: there is some serious leg strengthening going on.

My legs are brutally sore these days. I feel like I’ve been running up and down stairs. I think it’s the combination of spending lots of time in Pasasana (usually, I put myself in it, or attempt to, once or twice, and then I get help…) and working hard to stand up from backbends.

I kind of new a new pose was coming. How did I know? It’s always this way for me when I am about to get a new pose: I get incredibly burnt out and bored with what I am doing, and I start doing my home practice more often. No, I don’t think that my teachers start to get worried that I am leaving them or losing interest. I just think that there’s a correlation between my readiness to add a new pose and a waning of my interest in being in the shala. I mean, right now, I could go days without any assists, except in Pasasana. Many days, I get no help in Supta K anymore because I can pretty reliably bind it on my own. Today, not so much, because, well, every day is different, and I think that some days, I would rather NOT bind it on my own because being put into it is soooooo much deeper.

But I digress. With very little to get help on, it gets to be kind of much to schlep out to the shala, driving 35 minutes through back roads or 40 minutes of highway (yeah, the highway takes longer because it takes longer to get to the highway). So, I end up doing some practices at home, and by the time I come back, my teacher tells me it’s time for a new pose.

I chalk it up to my own understanding of what my body is ready for. And since it is my body,it stands to reason that I would “get it” before my teacher does. But usually, the time lag is only a matter of days or weeks.

So, Krounchasana. Yay. I really really really want to start working on what comes next though – the backbends. Because I like to be all warmed up for my backbending, which went amazingly well today, I might add.

Here’s what I think is going on there:

1. I finally learned to press down just a teeny bit harder on my big toe when in up dog. Doing so releases that pinchy feeling in my low back. Technically speaking, what it does is it internally rotates the thighs.

2. I finally figured out why people go all penguin toed when standing up for backbends: the turnout only LOOKS like a turnout. The feet turn out, but the legs rotate inward, putting hard pressure on….what else but…the big toes! I had no understanding of this for such a long time. Now, it would be MUCH better to have the feet point forward and for the internal rotation to happen energetically, but, well, that’s a lot to ask of someone whose backbends look like mine. Have you SEEN those painful updogs?

3. I finally realized that I am NEVER, at least not presently, going to improve my backbending via PRESSING UP into Urdvha Dhanurasana. Let’s call that the “Basic Backbending” portion of practice. Before dropbacks. I have seen better backbenders than me really really juice it up in the Basic Backbending, leading up to some lovely stand-ups. But in my case, the Basic Backbending just serves to scrunch my shoulders. How much better it all feels when I drop back! Or when I come into Urdvha D from headstand or even from a handstand (yes, I can tock, but please, let’s not get all pissed off about it). Or when I walk my hands down a wall, keeping my legs as straight as possible for as long as possible. Yeah, yeah, I do the stupid, jackassed Basic Backbending because it is part of the program. And I evn stand up from a that last Basic Backbend, like a good little Ashtangini. But the real juice, the real work, the real release is in everything else that I am doing, especially, the Laksmi-magic-half-dropback, and the wall-walking. Then I do my pressups, and….voila. I stood up twice on my own today. One was with the back hand drag. But the other…it was the best standup I have ever done. It was ALMOST normal.

Almost normal. Music to my ears.

Then I came home and spackled my front door with some concoction called “plastic wood”. Then I got a call from someone’s handiman saying, “I have Lewis. Is there a reward?” Oh crap. Yeah, well, how about 20 bucks. OK. I go to pick Lewis up, and it appears he has a sprained ankle. If only dogs could talk. I wish I could know what adventure Lewis had today. And if it was worth the sprained ankle. Do dogs even have ankles?

Time for a quick bath and then it’s off to pickup the kids at “Safe at Home” class, where the moms and dads send their children to learn how to deal when mom’s not home and there’s no doorman.



5 Responses to Krounchasana

  1. Carl says:

    2. I finally figured out why people go all penguin toed when standing up for backbends: the turnout only LOOKS like a turnout. The feet turn out, but the legs rotate inward, putting hard pressure on….what else but…the big toes!

    Whoa, what are you trying to say? That you’ve been turning your feet outward? I’m not one to offer expertise here but the direction of the “spiral” is something that’s routinely explained to me. The legs rotate all the way through the feet so that the force comes down mostly on the balls. The heels rotate outward. Check out Laksmi’s backbend photo. That’s what I imagine mine will look like someday except that the feet should eventually be parallel. I saw a great photo of Iyengar in a backbend but I don’t have the hyperlink. Iyengar… he’s such a great model for all us ashtangis.

  2. YC says:

    What I am trying to say is that the feet TURN OUT. NOT ideal. NOT what you want to strive for ultimately. But I am here to say that the cure for pinchy lower back pain is to turn your feet out and to then PRONATE deeply so that the inner edges of the feet dig into the ground. THAT creates a strong internal spiral. Damn, I hate to say spiral. Makes me sound anus-aresque. But three people commented to me today about how open my updogs were looking today, and no one knew that I was using the inner-foot-press-down to acheive that.

    If you are a good backbender without a pinchy lower back and a constricted chest, then you can backbend with feet in the appropriate position. Laksmi needs no assistance in her backbends. Her backbends rock. She is a natural. But for someone like me, the road is often quite circuitous to get to the proper place.

  3. Carl says:

    I don’t think it’s actually so tough. David talks about rotating the femur heads forward, which is what occurs when the legs are spiraled (sorry!) the same as in all the forward bends, etc. Like you, I currently have little ability to rotate my femurs around a vertical axis. My body is almost flat from upper legs through abdomen when I do backbends. But therein lies the trick — manipulating the legs by forcing the feet and knees is not the way to do it. I get what you mean now, though.

  4. YC says:

    Hmmm…my knees were hurting today. That might be why!!! OH!!! CRAP!!!!!

  5. laksmi says:

    i’m too afraid to have my feet parallel when I do drop backs. I could probably have my feet much closer together than I do when I drop back at this point, but I still have some of that backbend fear, which is kind of silly because my way down is so totally controlled that there is no ‘drop’ anymore at all. I will have to work on that with mr. a next week.

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