Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sharath in Sydney: Week 2, Day 2

Holy Headstand, Batman! I had a mini-breakthrough today. Note the key word "MINI".

So, no, I didn't hold for all 15 counts, but I did hold till his EIGHTH count! If you recall, I've only ever managed to hold till SIX before (only once), and all other times I've averaged til FOUR or FIVE.

I came down for 2 counts, then went back up again from TEN till FIFTEEN.

WHOO HOO! ...it's all about the baby steps, innit? I'm just thinking that it's only another 2 counts I need to get over to hold the whole way. Of course by the time he came to FOURTEEN, the voices in my head started back up again. "HOLD... HOLD... HOOOOOOLD... Almost there just haul yourself up!"

Oh, and at 90 degrees, again I held for the last 5 of his 10 counts (it actually took me the first 5 of his counts to catch my breath after the first round of Sirsasanas!). By the 10th count, I've usually just come down straight away instead of bringing legs back up again on the inhale, before releasing on the exhale.

Today, after the 10th count, I gave it my best shot and hauled those HEAVY legs back up again on the inhale. I didn't make it all the way straight to the top though, and had to release about 3/4 of the way up.

What made it easier today to hold for longer in the regular Sirsasana is pulling my legs further back. It's complete fear that has held me back from bringing them too far back. Fear of what? Fear of falling over. (Sharath says "No chakrasana!" a lot when we come to Sirsasana!)

...and all this on only 4 hours of sleep. If Sharath hadn't been in town, I would've probably had a lie-in, telling myself I'd be no good at practice with not enough sleep (as you can tell, this has happened before). So I'm pretty chuffed that even though I was exhausted and crabby and didn't want to be there today, mini-breakthroughs are still possible.

So... how long more until I get to this variation? Look Ma, NO HANDS! HAHA.

Photo Credit here

I realize too, that after almost one and a half weeks of Led, what I'm really missing from a Mysore practice, is as follows:

1. Adjustment in Supta K. I need help in catching my hands behind and getting my legs bound behind my head. Once I'm wrapped, I'm in the pose... I miss the tightly, snug bound feeling in this pose, and on my own I just can't seem to grab my hands behind my back, let alone wrap the legs behind my head fully. It's starting to piss me off too (why can't I find my hands behind my back? Is my belly roll getting in the way THAT much?)

My hands feel kinda close-ish behind me but they can't seem to find each other. Anybody has any tips or recommendations on what the heck I'm not doing enough of? (I'm trying to scoop as much of my shoulders under my legs to get more of my arms through. Now what?)

Oh, I'm also missing doing that lift up into Dwi pada from Supta K... I've recently been able to actually lift off my bum in this more regularly (even though I can't hold past 2 breaths!) Hello Mulabandha!

2. Dropbacks. I miss doing these. I've started to stand up on my own from backbends (right now, it looks more like I'm hauling myself up and hurtling at the wall in front me, or stumbling around at the top once I'm up. No grace yet)... though I'm still working up the nerve to drop into the abyss from standing, on my own. So, I miss getting the dropback assists.

3. Handstands. I've recently been given these, and still working on bunny-hopping into it. Just before the workshop started, I was just kinda getting the hang of hopping up (CORE CORE BABY!) *sung to the tune of "Ice ice baby"* and wondering if I'll still be able to find that point after this week? (shoulders over wrists!) Staying up is a whole other story... kinda like my Sirsasana issues... what's supposed to be "straight" doesn't feel straight to me. Yet.

4. Paschimottanasa Squash. Need I say more? ...oh, that glorious squash after backbends.

I wonder if I'll "lose" any of these poses after not doing them during this 2-week workshop? (not #4 of course, teacher always gives that squash). :)


  1. on Supta K, why not come up from Kurmasana then if you already could, place ankles behind the head then come down and bind your hands? i still have a long way to go because of my shoulders and hips.

    you won't lose the poses, just like you said, baby steps and your body will get familiarized with them once you start Mysore style again.

    I do miss the paschimo-squash too. but am letting you know, there's a chance i won't be in for mysore on the 9th. truly giving my body its rest! =D

  2. HAHA! I tried doing that once when I was practising on my own... so I'm up from Supta K and I can get the left leg behind my head no problem. But I can't get the right leg behind the head too coz then I'm just balancing on my butt. I wobble and start rolling around, it's extremely ungainly. And then I'm also scared the opposite will happen where I roll forward and squash my face flat on the floor!!

    The physics of how it's supposed to be done on your own still eludes me. Those youtube videos make it look sooooo easy!

  3. You won't lose anything. You stood up form UD before learning to drop back? Colour me impressed. Wow!

    Have you tried this entry into supta K?


    I can't do the dwi pada thing either, same problem for me. Mostly I just cross my ankles and be done with it; I'm lazy. Sometimes I work on it properly.

    Forgot to thank you for your kind comment on my blog - thank you! I did post a comment after, but didn't express my gratitude - I really appreciate your sharing your experience. Thanks again.

  4. Yeah - people in the twittershala were saying how it's actually easier to stand up first than to dropback... I was inspired... and hey presto! It happened within the same week we were having those discussions. But I seem to have a block with dropping back and letting go of that fear. (I've also dropped onto my head many times while self-practising!) On my own, I find myself wondering "where the heck is my drishti as I'm dropping back?" and then before you know it, I'm on the floor!!

    Great Supta K video, thanks! I just always thought it was "wrong" to wrap the legs first - since when you're being adjusted, teacher binds the hands first, then the legs. But it makes more sense to do it like how she does it the other way round - get the legs out of the way, creating more space to get your shoulders under. I'm gonna try that tomorrow and let you know how I go! :)

    No worries about my thyroid experience - I think I was young and invincible at the time (who isn't when they're 21?) so it didn't seem like such a big deal at the time. That "no fear" attitude probably helped too. x

  5. I was going to suggest the dwi pada sirsasana entrance, but sounds like you've tried! There's a woman I practice with who squirms into it in such a delicate and cool looking way. At this point I may be able to do it, but I admit I love to just whip it into dwi pada and lower down (tighter feel).

    I don't know if it's considered cheating or not. hmm.

    Great advancements on headstand! Hey, 2 counts is good- especially just since yesterday!

    (the YouTube link was great. She has a strong practice! I couldn't watch the Kapo calf grab because then I might hate this poor woman I don't even know)

  6. Liz, you're so funny! ...if I could "whip it into dwi pada" you know I'd be doing it all day. Who cares if it's cheating (that's a party trick and a half!) I still feel like I've no control over my body once the right leg tries to get behind the head (from dwi pada position). And I'm convinced it's my belly roll I have to get rid of before I can bind on my own! (even if my teacher's able to bind me into it, belly roll or not. She's just invincible.)

  7. Eh, you won't lose a thing as long as you're still practising! The headstand work will really help your handstand (I predict)... you really need a strong headstand first.

  8. What you could try for Supta K is easing the squish from kurmasana, and then the standard bring your legs together "above" your head, whith a bit of a bend in the knees, but make sure that your shoulders are sufficiently under your legs - if they are squeezed too much, binding is difficult.

    From there, lift your right knee a teeny bit while reaching the right hand around, and vice versa on the other side.

    What really did the trick for me in led classes before finding that ass balance, was discovering that the spot where the hands actually find together and bind is usually a bit higher up the back than you might think, so try to get them way up there..!

  9. oh... the "whip into it" has not always been the case. Trust me. Years and years...

    "that ass balance"
    HA HA!!! so key.

  10. Thanks guys, tried to remember all of this advice in today's practice... the body is still struggling and going "what the eff?" ...I feel like I've been spoilt by being bound into the pose all the time and something in me is refusing to do it on its own. Hmm.


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