In A's class on Saturday we did primary to Navasana without rounding the back or folding forward. All seated postures revolved around extension and lengthening...this was to warm us up with vinyasa and flow, but not close off the front spine for the backbending to come. I found this made my back work harder. The smaller muscles were doing more to keep me upright and lengthened when it would have felt natural to curl in and fold.
We then did 2nd to Kapotasana and repeated Kapo several times...very helpful work. Usually in mysore I'm rushing a bit through Kapo in order to make it out of the pose before I'm assisted, haha! It isn't the heel-grabbing assist I mind, I find it bothers my back when I am pulled out of it. No matter where my back is touched pulling me out it gets a little crampy when pressure is applied in an area where the muscle is already contracted. I find it much easier on my body to rise out of it naturally on my own so that is what I aim for - J is really cautious about her students in Kapo and she can't resist helping us out.
After Kapo we did a fun exercise which turns out to be viparita dandasana prep. We start out in sirsasana, bend the knees and arch the back drawing hips and chest back (same direction elbows are pointing) and feet slowly approaching the floor. At some point when you reach maximum extension you drop. Then come to UD and stand from it. SO FUN! I was scared to drop feet to floor first time but A assisted me and I wasn't nearly as far as I'd thought I was so I was happy to try on my own the next few times. Something about that stretch in Sirsasana made my back feel so open that standing from UD was easy for me yesterday. Bit of rocking, then UP! And back to the floor to do it again! I can hardly imagine the opposite motion, of bringing the feet BACK over the head...I hope we try it one day. This work was the closest I've come to tick tocks and it was exciting!