Back bending

Morning Mysore practice this week is led by Govinda Kai. The theme, as least for asana, seems to be back bending. It’s easy for me to feel like my back bending is “good enough” — I reach toes in Kapo on my own, I drop back and stand up without much fuss, I’ve got the nutation of the sacrum figured out. Occasionally my head gets a little dramatic, but good enough, right? So, I often don’t push myself, and CL is pretty gentle with us in back bending. I occasionally get adjusted to heels in Kapotasana. After backbends, I attempt a few handstands and call it good.

So the first two practices this week have been intense. Heels in Kapo A and strong legs in Kapo B. After 3 urdhva danurasa and three drop backs on my own, he assists three tic tocs (a first for me), toes to head in handstand, then three arms-crossed drop backs and a fourth with hands in close to heels and strong legs. I absolutely lose the breath between tic tocs and arms-crossed drop backs. My heart is just racing too fast, and I have to catch my breath. Even as backbends have gotten easier, my breathing is still shallow and the effort strong, so it doesn’t take long for the oxygen supply and demand to get out of whack.

This back bending sequence is pretty standard in some studios (like the first place I practiced Mysore in LA). But here, there are, perhaps, not enough assistants to drop everyone back every day, so CL saves herself for the students who are still learning to drop back on their own. I get a little lazy and self-congratulatory by the end of practice, and I do what is “required” but no more.

Today in practice, I got a bit overheated. By the time I got through Kapo, my face felt like it had a heat aura that wouldn’t dissipate. Perhaps too much effort, perhaps too much dim sum yesterday — I woke up sweating last night, too. (It’s not that unusual for me and it’s a running joke with H– my surface temperature by infrared thermometer is 3-5 degrees hottest than his. Whatever dross there is to burn, I’m burning it.)

Last practice thought– Karandavasana. I can get legs pretty well into lotus and bend a little at the waist. My Pincha isn’t as stable as it should be and my hands tend to come together. In the last couple weeks, Glen and now Govinda has taken me all the way down to the duck and back up a couple times. But it’s all wrong– I know the idea is to get the feel for the whole asana, but the poor teacher is just heaving me back up. I am thinking that I need to find the hollow belly lift that I sometimes find in Utthana Padasana (I had to look that one up, I’m not sure I ever knew its name), and then the last curl at the bottom is the same lift and rounded upper back that I imagine (but dont achieve) in Bakasana. Anyway, we’ll see how this develops. Karandavasana got back-burnered while I was traveling so much.

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