Sunday, August 30, 2009

A’s class, Quad opening, Learning to Drop Back

I wrote this yesterday and forgot to post it!

Today we started with long holds, mostly quad openers, using the wall, straps and blocks. Then a few Suryas, holding our updogs in the B’s…so if the quad openers weren’t enough of a clue, I knew by the end of the Surya’s that we’d be doing some backbends…so I was excited!

At one point we did Virasana with a block behind us and laid back on it. I propped my block up to it’s highest point and was delighted and surprised when my head touched the ground behind it. I think it had everything to do with having the block in just the right spot. But it felt great to have the opening in the back, and the ease of resting my noggin without using my neck or shoulders.

We did some standing, then into Samakonasana, followed by Hanumanasana. I used blocks under my thighs for both, at the highest setting…this is not a movement I’m used to at all. It was inspiring to see A resting her thighs on the floor and fully able to extend her arms over her head in both. We always say that a pose looks impossible and then one day find ourselves in it, breathing and forgetting that it ever looked difficult. Hanumanasana…looks like something I just.can’! But who knows? 

On to the fun stuff…one of my favorite things about A’s Saturday class is the focus on backbends. Backbending is fun for me. It doesn’t cause fear (anymore) and it feels soooooo good. I also find a curious lack of anxiety or defeat that I need to push out of my mind for other challenging postures (LBH stuff, inversions, notably). I’m at the start of my journey with backbends, having just started working on Intermediate this spring. Laghu Vajrasana kills me, but I am hoping some work on dropbacks and standing from UD will help me build the strength I need to do LV without dissolving to the ground in a pile of knees…then having to disengage from the reclined posture and push myself back up with my hands.

Today we did UD, then UD at the wall, pushing arms and chest to the wall, then walking hands up the wall, then pushing off the wall to standing. It was FUN! We moved on to dropping back, which I’ve only tried assisted a few times before. I started pigeon-toed, trying to rotate the thighs inward, hands on hips/sacrum and arching myself back, as instructed…from the beginning I could see my mat, so I had comfort. A showed me how to use my inhale to lengthen and exhale to deepen, which helped and soon I was seeing more of my mat. I found a place where I could hover (it felt like maybe indefinitely!) then brought my hands to prayer. This is when the assist started. She got me to bend my knees…which was difficult! The inward rotation of the thighs and the semi-upsidedownness combined in such a way that my brain couldn’t instruct my knees to bend. Eventually I got there. With A’s help my hands landed on my mat and then I came back up (used much more of her help coming back up).

It was interesting that even with very few vinyasas, and with the length of the holds, we still got heat. I was sweating buckets. It felt wonderful. There is something so satisfying about pushing that much water through your system…my body tends to hold it and hoard it, so it feels good to purge and start fresh. Sorry if that’s gross! But if you do Ashtanga, I guess vast quantities of sweat probably don’t gross you out too much…

After class I bought a camera so I will start posting some videos eventually to track my progress. I love reading blogs where the authors post videos, mine will not be as beautiful as theirs but it will be good for posterity!

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