Monday practice - back to intermediate, have some low back pain so I'm not going to push it. Even Shalabhasana feels weirdly congested and achy. I focus on pulling myself forward as much as possible and try not to worry about kapo. Sigh.
This is the first time Kapo has caused me real anxiety. For me this pose has been all about exhilaration and excitement and "rush", not fear and claustrophobia. Today I am scared as I go back and feel my lumbar & SI protest. It isn't injury-pain but it is at the very northern tip of discomfort and I know better than to push it. Proceeding with caution. Toes, breathe, up. Relief. Dropbacks will be out of the question today.
Bakasana was very nice. I am really trying to pull my feet higher every day. Starting to feel myself bringing a bit more bandha to the party and less brute force as the feet rise up higher. Also now that it is more reliable/stable getting in and staying in, I'm trying to use core strength to scootch my knees in a little higher once I'm up. It's probably imperceptible but even doing it in my head is a start. The higher the feet, the more comfortable the jump back.
Dwi pada arrives and I try it on my own, the real thing, for the first time. I've always either modified it or been adjusted into it. I allow myself the struggle today. Surprisingly, I get the left leg back there - I balance precariously and try to swing my right leg up. It catches momentarily, my head is deeply bowed, but I hook into the balance needed and I can see just for a breath, what it will feel like to do this on my own. Right leg slips out, but I feel utterly thrilled with this small victory, and I modify for the rest of the breaths.
I bust out my old man tittibhasana, with superbent legs and I decide for fun to try straightening them in A. They can actually go straighter, I've just been lazy. My theory on this is that before Goa I haven't really learned to manage my energy in 2nd. By the time Tittibhasana rolls around I'm dead. My Titti A is just dead weight swinging in the breeze. I engage and lift and it's much better. Still bent but better. Still can't bind B-C-D on this mother but I get a fingertouch today which is lovely.
S's elbows-out advice for pincha worked today!! I get up there and hold 5 breaths and am amazed! The idea is not to physically move the elbows out but concentrate on "pushing" outwards (this likely has the real physical impact somewhere in the shoulders but forearms are easier to instruct and have that tangible connection with the ground) and the difference is amazing. I am so stable that I bring my right leg in to my hip and I seriously start thinking about the left...ZOMG!
J appears and watches for a second. I lose it and come down - we're going to do his karanda-vrischi adjustment today. In Vrischi, I have to tell him when to stop as he rounds my body for (presumably) a head-toe connection. My lower back is not on board with this at all. I hope he doesn't think I'm a big baby, I probably should have mentioned my back beforehand. I thank him afterward. That was a highlight.
Headstands feel dynamite today. I hopped the legs up together for most of them and didn't need a wall touch for the toughies - must learn pike. So many things!
Moral of the story, even when backbends suck the practice can be great. Leave it with the pose and move on to the next.
At breakfast there was a designer selling her jewelry. I am smitten with a gorgeous, giant blue topaz ring and immediately claim it. She tells me it isn't part of her normal collection, and it's the only one she's ever made. Perfect.