Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Are You Stepping On My Toes?

I'm liking writing about my (almost) daily practice. I find it helps me process better when I write about it... um... because it forces me to think about it. Otherwise, I'd just be practising and going through the motions. (although I've had a teacher once tell me "Don't think, just DO! I can see you're over-thinking the pose!")

Don't ask me how he could tell. James is Super Yogi, he can read your thoughts (and no, he didn't wear his underpants over spandex tights).

But anyways, I guess my point is... yeah, I think this is really turning into a yoga blog, innit?

First half of today's practice was laborious and slow coz I didn't really want to be there. But it got better when it came to the seated postures. It always does. Somehow forward bends force me to concentrate a bit harder (also coz I love all the forward bends?) Plus, with drishti on my lavender pedicure, that also helps.

Dropbacks - I was hanging back at the Limbo-Rock point, when Teacher's Assistant came over. Today, she stood on my feet to prevent my Spatchcock Feet Syndrome (SFS). You know Spatchcock Chicken with its splayed out feet?

(Photo credit here. Yes, it's not a pornographic term at all, people!)

That's my SFS in dropbacks.

I'm fine in UD - I do 3x Urdvha Dhanurasana and consciously keep feet turned in and that's not a problem, but somehow after dropping back, when it comes to standing back up again, SFS occurs. Especially when standing up.

So she stood on my feet, I dropped back, and she hung onto my thighs at that last point when I hit the abyss. I can't believe I have to stand up on the very next inhale! I feel like I need to rest here to catch my breath first!

She's no longer offering assistance for me to stand up, since I've been standing up on my own after the 3rd UD.

It was just lots HARDER with her standing on my feet. I had to think of pulling my navel up to the ceiling in order to get the lift. Plus, the non-stop moving with each breath! No time to rest and catch my breath! It's so much easier to go down and come back up again when it's assisted, I am just getting my head around how much MORE energy it's taking me now.

When it came to the 3rd (or was it 5th? I still can't tell) dropback, I had no more strength to stand up, and had hurled myself halfway back to the Limbo-Rock point and was just hanging there for what seemed like forever. Somehow I couldn't find my way back up to standing again.

I was almost starting to panic when the voices in my head said "Don't Panic. Just use the inhale to come up and ground through your legs." And it worked. Bravo. For once, there's a good use for these voices in my head.

It was one of the weirdest backbend experiences I've ever had. Like... WHY AM I HANGING IN LIMBO-ROCK WITH NO CONCEPT OF HOW TO COME BACK UP AGAIN?!? It was like my brain and body were disconnected. Brain says "UP!" ...Body says "Say whaaat?" I guess when your body is tired it just goes on the fritz and does stupid things.

Wow, I've been dissecting this today. I guess coz it's part of the take-the-training-wheels-off stage in dropbacks and it's all still new and fascinating to me.

In other news, Kai linked to an old post of Arturo's where he spoke about Kino McGregor's talk on nutrition for yogis. It's making me re-think the way I eat (yet again).

I've gone vegan for about... 3.5 months now, and been trying to up the raw food intake too. But I've always done it the other way around - lighter salad for lunch, heavier meal for dinner. Makes more sense to do it the other way like Kino recommends. Er... although her idea of "heavy" is a salad for lunch. No, I need more than that! I'm Chinese, pass the rice! (only at lunchtime now though)

So let's see how a much lighter raw food dinner goes in the next few days or weeks. It's good to mix things up.


  1. I've noticed over the years that some teachers care about SFS and some don't. It's been my experience that vinyasa teachers care more than ashtanga teachers. Have you found this also? A great vinyasa teacher (who also progressed pretty far into the ashtanga series in his personal practice) told me recently that it had something to do with how open someone's back was, and if it doesn't crunch the back to stand up with SFS, it doesn't really matter. Then it's just about how it looks, and who cares.

    I am an SFS girl myself. :-)

    I recently went back to vegetarian/vegan myself. It's interesting to feel the differences in the practice, even though I didn't want to admit it...

  2. Hi, yet another great post. I love "For once, there's a good use for these voices in my head." So funny.

    I am with Annabella, some teachers care about the feet splaying others not so much. I have worked on this a lot on my own but still splay a bit coming up. Think it's great that your getting help with this and I am not surprised you are finding it hard, most people would.

    On food, recently been eating more raw food myself. Thanks for the link you posted. I had no idea Kino used to be raw or that she studied nutrition. Very interesting.

  3. P.S. Have linked to your blog re the kino link as have been blogging about recent changes in my own eating habbits.

  4. I've been told the same thing about splaying feet - straight feet preferred, and it can crunch the sacrum. I think that's why I was putting so much effort into the heels-lifted stand up. I could do it either way, but I have to admit it was smoother with the SFS. I never had that jamming feeling in the lower, back didn't want to risk hurting anything. My back isn't very open (yet!).

    Kino's diet - there is no way I could sustain my body on that sort of regimen! I've been vegetarian for ages and ages, but I do eat a LOT. Several (small) meals a day. I just get so HUNGRY! I would really struggle to give up a lot of carbs; not sure I'm going to try that any time soon.

  5. Interesting points! Annabella - you're right about the power/ vinyasa teachers. Every time it comes to backbends it's always "turn your feet in!" ...but maybe because in a Mysore setting there's less talking and "instructing" going on? My teacher doesn't seem fussed about SFS though. It's her assistant who's been hammering that point home to me (the 2 of them work the room together).

    Lew, I don't feel any jamming in the lower back/ sacrum at all. It just feels like I'm using more of my glutes with SFS (BUTT POWER!), but with feet turned in I have to concentrate harder on using core and quads to bring me up.

    Thanks for the link, Helen! I don't think I could go completley raw like you. I once went on a 7-day fast at a detox place in Ko Samui (including er... a couple of colonics a day to help with the detox) and they also talked about how your diet should be at least 70% raw. Something about increasing the alkilinity in your system leading to less disease.

    I think I'm going to tag all my vegetarian/ veganism posts under a new label as this really interests me. :)

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  7. Hi sorry about that, just made a mistake. I'm not completely raw, just mostly. I have no intention of going completely raw as I like to go out for dinner and do not think it is necessary for my wellbeing to be completely raw.

    Was your detox at the Sanctuary. I lived in Thailand for a while and used to go there sometimes for yoga. How did you find the detox?

  8. No, it was part of the Spa Resorts (Spa Samui by the beach). More basic and DIY. :p ...although my girlfriend and I stayed up the road in a private villa. We wanted to be nearer the "touristy" area and not have to drive all over the island, so decided on the one closer to the beach.

    LOVED IT! Keep wanting to go back to try the other detox places like Oasis or the Sanctuary, coz those seem like they have better programs. My guy also now wants to go coz he saw how I was healthy & glowing when I came back and now doesn't seem to mind the thought of a tube going up his bum. (oh dear, did I just say that. But only in this context.) :p

    It was eye-opening for me and an introduction to the concept of "you are what you eat". It kickstarted "mindful eating" for me. I couldn't recommend it enough!

  9. hi Skippety
    the discussion by you all about that old post made me go read it and i realized it had good points, which i still observe today, such as avoiding breads because they are mucous forming. i am not currently raw food vegan. i'm cooked food vegetarian now, except for fruits in the morning. it's difficult to practice raw foodism when living in another country. i also need some dairy for calcium, so i consume yogurt.


  10. I can imagine how difficult it must be in China for you! Meat everywhere! Even when I was there about 5 years ago now, and I was eating meat at the time too, mind you... I had a hard time finding anything to eat. Coz it was all fatty pork and greasy meat. Even the soups had a layer of oil floating on the top. Ugh. Maybe things have changed there now. x

  11. good work on the unassisted drop backs!!

    Yes, this is a yoga blog. I have 2 blogs, one for yoga and one for my business (which is basically a craft blog)- the yogis are the crazy ones who rally around and read each other's blogs!

    keep it up!


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