I’ve been rambling about bad Bikram experiences and taking in all of the comments. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been doing the Ashtanga too. I practiced every day this week, and today, I actually did the old-fashioned thing and did Primary in the morning (led class at the shala) and then Second in the afternoon (okay, only up to Kapotasana, if that’s what you’re willing to call it:
I decided to take a photo of myself practicing Kapo because it FELT so good. So, I was at first a bit demoralized to see the relatively flat curve to my spine and also the fact that my hands are not nearly as close to my feet as they FELT.
But then…then I realized that had I not had the camera lying around, I could have gone on feeling like I did quite a nice approximation of Kapotasana, and I would have felt pretty good about my practice, my progress and all of my hard work. And from that thought came this: what it actually LOOKS like matters not nearly as much as what it FEELS like to me. I’m not saying that this is the rule for all asanas and all students of yoga. I’m saying this is how it is for me with regard to backbending. See, for me, backbending is generally uncomfortable, alien and anxiety-provoking. So, for it to FEEL good is a HUGE victory for me. The rest, well, maybe later.
And here is where the Urdhva Dhanurasana is today, again, same rules applying (it felt good, so even if it doesn’t LOOK like that much progress is being made, progress is definitely being made in that it didn’t hurt, it didn’t feel weird, and I wasn’t all freaking out):
Acually, I think the angles here are better than they have been in other photos. I think that the my hip flexors have DEFINITELY softened. But the chest and shoulders have far to go still so that the angle of my shins to thighs can become more open.
Standing up unassisted is still not happening. Thank goodness that is not a prerequisite for Second at the CT Shala because otherwise, I would never get to practice Pasasana and Krounchasana, which feel really good and which make me feel competent, and I would never get to work on backbends other than UD. Because trust me, if I couldn’t do the backbends of Second Series, I would NEVER stand up unassisted from UD. Never. Not all bodies are the same. And yeah, yeah, whatever, it’s not the way some teachers teach it. So what. It’s what I need.