Today, Teacher told me to go from Parsvottanasana straight to Paschimottanasana (and then continue to my 2 Intermediate poses at the end).
I have no idea what the thinking is, and OK, so it's nowhere near splitting the series either... but if I get to cut out about 5 poses from the Primary series, I'm not complaining. Hehehe. (Anybody care to comment why you get to cut out poses now? ...simply so that your practice gets a tad shorter?)
It's funny how your brain gets scrambled just by shifting a little bit of the sequence that your body's so familiar with, since it's been practiced a certain way day in and day out. After Parsvottanasana, I did a vinyasa and came to seated and instead of going into Paschimottanasana, I sat in Dandasana for 5 breaths. It wasn't until I was into B variation of Paschimottanasana that I realized what I'd done.
W.E.I.R.D. I guess I've always just associated Dandasana with the "next section" of the Primary series. It's the first pose of the seated poses after all, and I find it kind of centers my focus.
It certainly hadn't centred me today though - coz after all the Paschimottanasanas, instead of going into Purvottanasana, I folded my leg in for ABP Paschimottanasana. HUH? I NEVER get my primary sequence scrambled (well, not in a long time since I learnt the series by heart ages ago anyway). I realized my mistake before I exhaled forward and corrected myself.
Wow, cutting out 5 poses really does mess with the sequencing in my head!
After dropbacks and what-the-heck-do-you-call-it-againasasana (cross arms in front of chest and get assisted dropbacks 3 times and go down fully on the 4th)... Teacher said "Handstands".
I used to love handstands. I have no idea why now, but the thought of handstands now fills me with DREAD and IMPENDING DOOM. I'm trying to figure out why. Maybe because I realize now how much more work I need to get done before I get a near-perfect handstand done? Anyways, my brain went "BLERRRRGGGGHHHHH" as I prepped myself.
I bunny-hopped up easily enough, I think Teacher was supporting me quite a bit for this coz I've always had trouble getting hips over the shoulders, and today's handstand felt quite strong. She let go of my legs and put her hand (I think?) in the small of my back and kept tapping me on the front of my thigh but I wasn't budging (I couldn't quite connect what she was telling my body to do). She got fed up with me and said "Just TRUST ME and let go there".
There are just too many things going on in my head in a handstand - I used to have a similar internal dialogue with the other pose I struggled with for a long time... Supta Kurmasana. It feels like your brain is gonna BURST out of your head with all the screaming thoughts you've got going on (y'know, kinda like when Sharath forced me to stay in headstand for his full horribly LONG counts). I no longer have internal screams in Supta K, in fact, it's a pretty peaceful pose for me now. I've transferred these big screams to my handstands now.
It goes a little like this:
"SUCK IN YOUR BELLY! KEEP THE FEET TOGETHER! POINT THE TOES UP! PRESS DOWN THROUGH EACH FINGERTIP!! STOP ARCHING YOUR BACK SO MUCH! (This is definitely my problem in handstand) MELT YOUR HEART MORE! (A technique I learnt from my Anusara teacher) KEEP THE HIPS OVER THE SHOULDERS! DRISHTI AHEAD! DRISHTI!DRISHTI!DRISHTI! STRONG LEGS! KEEP GRIPPIIIIIING!"
I think I let go wherever she was telling me to, then she helped flip me over to a backbend and went to assist someone next to me. So I stood up on my own from the backbend. I felt major SFS (Spatchcock Feet Syndrome) in this. Too tired to be bothered with feet alignment. Then I sat down, relieved, but Teacher said "One more time".
So I did it again. This time, something felt like it connected a bit more, for a split-second at least. It felt like she only had a finger or a hand on my back, with no other support (I think? I couldn't see, so can't tell). But I felt a lot more stable this time round. Then a flip over to backbend again (Is this called a tic or a toc again? ...Or is it neither of the above?)
OK, so it wasn't so bad this time. I can conclude now that 3 nights of Christmas Cake for dinner didn't really affect my practice as much as I thought it might have. Hehehe. All binds are still there. And I was surprisingly strong today too. The body sure is weird like that, innit?
Anyways troops, I'm off to Bali tomorrow for a week for this wedding that I've been talking about. It'll be a nice break from stuff (I hope!) ...I don't plan to bring my laptop with me coz I think I need to decompress from the interwebs a little bit (I'll still have my Blackberry with me though. Gulp.)
So... no updates from me for about a week - but I'll come back with photos from the beach to make you very jealous. I still have awful tan lines on my... er... decolletage from when I got burnt from helping out at the Cancer Council Bondi Beach event (yes, the irony). So I will look really weird in my strapless bridesmaid's dress in all those photos forever and ever, Amen. DAMMIT!!
Anyways, hope you have a Happy New Year and all... and if you can't be good, be good at it. ;p
(Photo credit here. I heart LOLcats very much.)