In honor of my day off yesterday, full practice today.

November 27, 2008

And by full practice, I mean Full Primary plus all of my Second Series poses (that means, at this point, up to Eka Pada).

Yoga Sutra today. Yep. I went today because I had an appointment in the city with a breast cancer survivor from Virginia, who had contacted me via email to ask me to teach her some yoga. She was going to be in the city for Thanksgiving, and these plans went way back – months actually – so by GOD, I was going to make sure to be in the city at the designated time and place. That meant that if I intended to practice, it was going to have to be in the city.

My original intention was to go to Bikram. But as I was on the train, I thought…hmmm…Ashtanga…I want to do some of that…maybe I don’t want to go stand on one leg for 60 seconds at a time in a 100 degree room….um….Yoga Sutra?

And so I went.

And it was a good practice. Not particularly hot in the room. Val’s shala takes the award for the juiciest environment. And zero assists until Supta Kurmasana, and even then, I had to beg. I literally had to BEG.

She-C was like, “You can do this yourself.” I was like, “I know, but I do that EVERY day. Today, I want a treat…please? Pretty please???”

Then nothing til Pasasana, where I was torn a new asshole for not putting my heels down. I gotta love She-C. Such a tough cookie, that one. I NEVER put my heels down at home, so how would I be able to suddenly do it on command? Still, one can hope, I suppose.

Then no Bhekasana assist. I have to say, it’s a very strong pose for me, and if ever there were someone who didn’t need that assist, it would definitely be me. My toes are practically flat on the ground – I guess my knees are pretty supple, because it can’t be my hip flexors. My upper body is not up like an up-dog, but I can hold myself up to some extent. Anyway. Nothing at all until Ustrasana, and THAT assist came in the form of, “Do that at home. NOT HERE.”

I still don’t know how she saw me at the wall.

She got my fingers to my toes in Kapotasana, with a minimum of drama, but she wasn’t happy with my breathing.

It’s ROUGH in the city. CT is much more lalala. Both have their place. It’s all good.


Doggie-gate 2008: Straight from the Mutt’s Mouth…

November 25, 2008

Why Obama should adopt a Shelter Dog….

by my dog, Lewis.


How to Hang Over The Bed Using Weights

November 23, 2008

You just hang. Over the bed. Holding weights.

Okay, maybe that isn’t so intuitive for everyone. So, here is what you should bear in mind;

Your lower back probably bends pretty well already. But nor so much your upper back. How do you know this? Well, if you look in the mirror or take a photo of yourself in a backbend, you might notice that you literally fold at your lower back, while your upper back is flat.

The bed hang can change that.
Lie on the bed, with your shoulders just off the bed. Hang. Raise your arms overhead. Notice whether your shoulders tend to hunch in as you do so. If so, focus on externally rotating your arms in your shoulder sockets to broaden across the collar bones. Let the arms hang down. Heavy. Allow gravity to do its work.

If you want to up the intensity, add weights. Have the weights handy on the bed – five or eight pound dumbells to start. Set up for a bed-hang, and take hold of the weights. Gently lower your hands, weights in hand, overhead. Gently. Maintain the open collarbones. Allow gravity to do its work. Feel your chest crack open.

I use ten-pound weights – I am strong, and it feels good. Use your judgement. You want a stretching feeling in your chest and shoulders, not a ripping sensation. Start with a low weight and work your way up only to the point where you feel the gravitational pull.

You can also do this work with a block standing vertically under your upper back – between the shoulderblades. For this, a lower weight is probably sufficient – it is for me. With bent elbows, take the weights overhead and gradually let the arms straighten and hang towards the floor.

For the thoracic spine to bend, the chest has to be willing to open. This allows that to happen, at least for me, in a dramatic way.

Be careful. Use the lowest weights needed to create that gravitational stretch. Maybe you just need to hold soup cans to start. No need to get injured. No need to rush or push.

If it doesn’t feel really good, then stop! Maybe you’re not ready yet. Maybe you need to lie on a ball or just hang over the bed without weights. Remember: if it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it.


Kapotasana…Now, with TWO feet!!

November 20, 2008

Yes, today, I easily touched my toes in Kapotasana (with assistance from Val). If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, then you know it’s not the first time I got hands to feet. BUT….it is the first time that they got there without the searing feeling of skin, tendons and muscles tearing, and without the numbness that followed. It was AWESOME!!

And it’s all because of the bed-hang-with-weights. Which is all because of my friend, Melissa, who practices at Val’s, and Val, who told me that what I needed to do was to open my UPPER back, because my lower back is open enough (for now), but my upper back was barely bending.

So, today, I told Val that I had gotten my right toe on my own yesterday. So, she came over to me and put my left hand on my left foot….and then my right. Made perfect sense. And I breathed. And I breathed!


Not that any of this matters. But it kinda does. Not that it should. But it kinda does just the same.


My Right Foot

November 19, 2008

I can touch it! In Kapotasana. Myself!! Not my left. Not yet. But someday? YES!!! Someday!!!

I took some video footage but ran out of space before I could come back up from Kapo B. But still, this is a huge improvement from where I was at a year ago….

Gotta love those bed hangs…