Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Planning for Easter But No Bunnies, Only Tortoises

It's a manic day at work, 9.35pm and still going. But I just have to say: I LOVE LIVING IN EUROPE!!

Just yesterday, my brother and his wife decided that they were gonna stay in London for this upcoming Easter holiday after all (they were planning to go away initially). So they asked if I wanted to fly up and go hang out with them.

So in one afternoon, I booked a cheap ticket to London (it's PEAK Easter travel rates, but even peak rates on crappy EasyJet are very affordable). So I'll be there this weekend! :)

On the yoga front - I finally got my ass into gear and practised early in the morning. It was the first time in Beige Heaven that I got a dawn practice in. It's interesting comparing the evening versus morning practice sessions... Sure, my body was a lot less flexible in the morning, but there's something extremely soothing about practicing yoga in the dark, with a few candles burning... and gradually having your body wake up and connecting with the rest of yourself, just as the sun comes up too.

The mental focus is also on a completely different level. It's much easier coming to that quiet space inside. I'd pulled my mat back to where the coffee table was - so it was on all kinds of funny inclined levels. Something that irritated me to no end before... but somehow I didn't seem to take notice of it this morning.

The one thing that irritated me is: SUPTA KURMASANA. Just when I thought "I have mastered you" some months ago... just coz I could get my hands to bind on my own... this asana turns around and says to me "See ya, SUCKER!"

At the shala, I always bound my hands first, then Teacher would pull my legs behind my back and help me bind my legs. So... of course that was easy. DUH. Now that I've gotta bind the legs on my own now too, I can't for the life of me figure out how to get BOTH hands and legs bound. At the same time. On my own.

Trying to get into it the Intermediate way (with Dwi pada) where you come up from Kurmasana and put left leg behind head, then right leg behind head and cross your ankles... is beyond me. I can get the left leg behind my head, but the moment I pick my right leg up, I just start rolling around the floor. IT'S IMPOSSIBLE!!

So then I get back into Kurmasana on the floor, and try and get the left leg behind the head from down on the floor. It doesn't quite work. I kinda sorta hook my ankles together (barely), but no way are the legs over my shoulders, behind my back. My arms can't seem to bind either when I try to hook the ankles together first.

So... I'm back to square one with Supta Kurmasana. Pffffft! Just when I thought I'd got it with the hand bind.

How the heck do you home practitioners bind into this on your own? I was sure Mel posted a great video on her site but I can't find it there now. It's this one of Maria V.

My one terrorizing thought: If and when I get to Mysore, I'm gonna be stopped at Supta K coz I can't bind BOTH arms and legs at the same time on my own! ARGGGGHHHHHHHH!!! (Hello Ego, so what's wrong with that again?)

Anyways, I've been on another youtubing blitz and this dude is another good example (is that just a hint of a moustache? HAHA!) Right at about the 0:33 mark is where I end up rolling backwards. Um... I'm guessing I need to engage bandhas more? ...and then? I'm back to huffing and puffing and swearing at this asana while I'm struggling to figure it out. Believe you me, now that I'm practicing at home, there are more grunts and cusses of frustration. Bad lady.


  1. hey just read quickly - but I posted the video on facebook. you can probably find it there :)

  2. that looks like Juan from Austin. he's in mysore now if that is him.
    Liz, do you think this is Juan? I'm trying to remember the tattoo?

  3. I cracked up when I played the video and recognized Juan... he's in Austin! Many years ago, he was the first one to get me into Pasasana. I can squat, but at the time I couldn't bind or hold it. He literally wrapped his body around mine and squished me into it. I'll always be thankful to him for that full-body assist.

    I have no tips, by the way. ha ha!! I'm no help.

    (word veri: slantiol, like your floor)

  4. Don't do the Intermediate entry if you're not doing Dwi Pada (some would say).

    In 2007 an authorized teacher let me do this, unstopped: Kurmasana for five, then raise knees, swivel shoulders forward, so palms turn up. Walk feet toward each other, get toes to cross; then sort of "walk in" until ankles cross. They never got over my head. Bind hands behind, by moving shoulders apart (heart open). Try to duck head under feet.

    Note: as I've written elsewhere, my legs are EIGHTEEN feet long, and so it's easy for me to cross them well beyond my head, especially if I'm in a big back-rounded Supta K.

    Anyway, that's what I did for almost a month, and I only ever got adjusted in it twice.

  5. I've noticed that Supta K is very flakey; it comes and goes as it pleases. If you keep practising, you'll get the bind back.

    My method of choice is to bind the hands first, then scootch the feet together and prop the edge of the right foot on top of the left, then use leverage to get the ankles crossed. Then I tuck my chin and kind of squish myself into a little ball, engage my legs and pull the ankles together, which pulls my legs further behind my shoulders (not much further, though - I'm still working on that part).

    Then I suffer for five breath cycles and fret about Garba Pindasana. Aw, Astanga Yoga, where would I be without you?

    Here's my favourite YouTube video of Supta K:

  6. You're coming to London! Bummer that I won't be there (even though I'm sure you'll be very busy anyway).. BUT.. you can still practise at my shala if you want, as it's the only one open during Easter: 9:30-11:30 mysore on Mon and Tues :) Don't know where you're staying, but it's in Bethnal Green.

    As for supta k, don't set impossibly high standards for yourself! Your legs won't be fully behind your head/neck! Do what Kai said - hook your feet and then slide your head under. Arms first works best for most people. Leave dwi pada till you're doing dwi pada (a lot of teachers frown on that entry anyway). The really advanced version is to learn to hook your feet behind your neck from the floor... different method, you have to use your arms to help get the feel over and then bind the hands last. That is super hard (i.e. I can't do it!).

  7. Ugh, I still haven't woken up yet... let's try that again... 9:30-11:30 mysore on SUN and MON. back to normal (6-9) on Tues.

  8. Pat/ Kai: OHHHHH! That's what it is. I just always thought hooking ankles together then ducking head under was... er... "cheating". I guess coz I've never known any other way to do it when you get your legs bound for you all the time. I'm kinda sorta doing this already, but got frustrated coz the bind is not as deep (DUH. Everything with a teacher's adjustment is always deeper.)

    Susan - HAHAHA! I was trying to cross feet behind my neck from the floor, not realizing that's an advanced entry! So I'd try it the "forbidden" intermediate entry way, fail, then try to cross feet behind neck from the floor. No wonder that was also: FAIL. My feet would get stuck on my ponytail/ bun as well. So by the end of it, my hair would be a ragged mess. :p

    Thanks everyone, this bind-arms-then-cross-ankles-then-duck-head under approach is definitely more within my reach. Will report after my next practice.


  9. Oops, missed the first 3...
    Mel: Found her on youtube, it's been linked to. :)

    Lilli/ Liz: Youtube makes the world a really small place. :)

    Thinking about it more now... so if you're crossing ankles and ducking head under, how do you exit? You can't quite lift up into dwi pada, so I guess you'd lift up with ankles uncrossed straight into tittibhasana. Right?

  10. I figured I'm comment on the appropriate post instead of your current one-
    Found this and thought of you. Kino gives some good mechanical advice for Kurmasana-Supta K transitioning.

  11. Thanks Liz! I like how she breaks it down. I've got the arm bind like she says. I'm stuck at the part where she says "Now wait for your teacher". HAHAHA! Because I've always just waited for a teacher there, so I'm waiting forever for a teacher in my Beige Heaven living room now. Taking Kai's advice and trying to scoop feet together and hook them over each other, then ducking head down. I like the other videos from this workshop too though! :)


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