But I do feel obligated to write an update regarding my practice.
I’ve been practicing every day, although I’ve been a bit off kilter in terms of what I do on what day (like, I skipped Thursday and did my Thursday practice on Saturday, although I did my Friday practice on Friday with the addition of a few Second Series poses; yesterday, I skipped the closing sequence altogether), and I am rectifying that starting today.
When I do my Second Series poses, my Urdhva Dhanurasana is “ready”, rather than raw.
On Friday, it was terribly raw. Painful. Pointless. To try to press up into UD when I haven’t warmed up my front body is painful and seemingly pointless. When I’ve warmed up my front body, then the backbend is already there when I place my palms down and press up. When Kino was at the CT Shala, she showed us how when you set up for UD, if you do it right, meaning, if you start by grounding the feet until the hips lift up, and scooping the tailbone to protect the lower back, and pressing the ribs open with the breath and lifting the arms straight up overhead before planting the palms, then by the time you go press the palms into the floor to lift up, you’re ALREADY in a backbend. SO true.
Unfortunately, my front body is slow to warm up and quick to cool off, at least at this point. There was a time when my hips were slow to warm up and quick to cool of, when Padmasana (lotus) was possible only after lots of heat and sweat. Now, I can take Padamasana in the tightest jeans, in the middle of the day, at the crack of dawn, whenever. Thus, I assume, or rather, hope, that some day my backbends will respond the way my hips have to steady practice.
My feelings about Second Series:
Kinda not into it.
I know I just said that without Second Series, I have no backbend. (Even with Second Series, I barely have a backbend, at least on Ashtanga Planet). But Second Series is demoralizing and humiliating to me. From Pasasana on, the only pose that doesn’t leave me feeling like “The Girl With No Backbend”.
I don’t have any desire to get my hands to my feet in Kapotasana. Funny thing is that no one who teaches me seems to realize that. I’ve always been so ambitious. I’ve always “WANTED” to master whatever pose I am working on. But in this case, I’ve climbed that mountain – with help – and I don’t really think I want to go back there at this time. As I tell She-Sub every day, “It’s not you, it’s me.”
I’m actually quite proud of the fact that I just don’t care about Kapotasana at this point. For once, I don’t feel like grasping for a pose. Or for once, I am willing to acknowledge and OWN the fact that I don’t feel like it.
Maybe I felt like that for a long time regarding Supta Kurmasana, only I couldn’t admit it to myself….I think back to all the times that I didn’t show up to practice until it was too late to get an assist from Sir, and all the periods of time during which I didn’t show up for practice at all and chose to practice at home instead, giving myself the ability to slowly, gradually, work on the pose. Maybe I just didn’t WANT to do Supta Kurmasana for a whole large part of the 15 months in which I “struggled” with it. Maybe I wasn’t struggling at all except with pretending to myself that I actually was ready to do it and wanted to do it.
But I keep on keeping on with those Second Series poses. I don’t see any other way. Primary Series doesn’t help me with my backbending, Updogs be damned. My Second Series poses are prep for Urdhva Dhanurasana. Without them, there IS no Urdhva Dhanurasana.
For as long as I was working exclusively on Primary Series, I was phoning in my backbends. From foreign countries. With really bad reception. So, it’s a kick for me to press up and be like, “Hey, wow, this doesn’t hurt.”
By contrast, it is NOT a kick for me to attempt to put my hands on my feet, or my fingers on my toes even, in Kapotasana. I feel that it is enough at this point that I can drop back and straighten my arms. It’s more than I could do a few months ago. Why the need to do the full pose?
The Whole Teacher Thing:
I miss the Good Doctor and hope he comes back soon. But I really like the His and Her Tag Team Teachers. Something I really really like about She-Sub is that she tells me to stop making excuses for myself and to stop saying what I can’t do and why I can’t do it, and it’s enough about the surgeries already. I really really like when people don’t see my potential as limited because of the breast cancer.
I guess I had something to say after all.