Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Vinyasa-less Practice = Increased Flexibility?

I didn't sleep well last night so when the alarm went off this morning I wasn't sure how I was going to make it through practice. In an effort to help things along I purchased an espresso at my local Starbucks before heading to the shala. The caffeine hadn't kicked in by the time I got to my mat causing me to almost forget to chant the invocation. As my left hand/wrist has been tweaked most of the week I’ve cut out a bunch of the vinyasas  since Monday on the recommendation of JB.

Part way through seated I got this sensation as though I wasn't practicing in my normal body. I’m not sure if there is any correlation between my cutting back on vinyasas and my extra flexibility but I felt like elastic girl today. Forward bends were deep and effortless even from the first surya namaskars. I was touching my torso to my highs which doesn’t usually happen until after ardha baddha padmottanasana and it kept rolling from there. Wrist grab in paschimottanasana c, knee to floor in both ardha baddha paschimottanasana and janushirasana c. And the piece de resistance was an actual head touch on both sides of krounchasana with nary a hint of nausea to be found. I’ve seen minimal progress in that pose since I started practicing it and all of a sudden everything seems possible. Oh and there were several titibasana attempts at coming out of supta kurmasana.  On the first attempt I insisted to E one of the assistants that I just couldn’t do it. She told me that I had the strength and flexibility to pull it off and she asked if it hurt in my hamstrings. When I thought about it I realized that there was no physical pain or discomfort stopping me from doing the pose at all so I attempted unsuccessfully a second time.  For good measure I gave it a go one last time and I came much closer than ever to fully extending my legs over my shoulders. Once I was done I tried to simultaneously bring both feet back to bakasana position and I almost face planted but it was fun.

After all that fun I was curious to see what was in store in terms of back bending. After some press ups from the floor and a few attempts using the wall I got out my pile of four blankets. To my surprise I dropped back and came back up three times. I figured what heck and removed one of the blankets and once again I was able to drop back and come up again. Then I did it again and dropped back to two blankets and was able to stand back up. Being one to push my luck I removed the 2nd blanket and attempted to drop back to just one and I didn’t get very far but I was ok with that because I’ve accelerated my 4 week plan by two weeks. And can I just say that standing up from back bends feels like magic? Oh and I don’t think JB witnessed any of it. Or maybe he witnessed all of it but didn’t want to say anything for fear of messing up my rhythm.

Practice can’t continue to be this good and I fully expect to get hit by the ashtanga truck any day now.


  1. Hi there! I'm new to following your blog but just wanted to say that it truly inspires me to continue on with my beginner's practice... Through your sharing of every good and "not so great" experiences with the asanas, I can look forward to some day getting further than where I am today... one day at a time...

    congrats on your back-bends with only two blankets! Way to release the fear back-bending can instill and fully trusting your body and mind's abilities to surrender! Must feel amazing ;) Im nowhere near even the primary series; still just practicing the fundamental asanas after sun salutes.

    And about your last sentence: "Practice can't continue to be this good and I fully expect to get hit the Ashtanga truck any day now".. I understand what you mean, but training the mind is just as important as training the body; for our thought become us... so YES it most definitely CAN continue to be that good and will. Make that your mantra instead ;)


  2. Riquermy, thank you so much for your comment and for reading my blog. If you do your practice regularly and you are committed to it you will be surprised by how your body transforms and acquiesces to it. It won't happen overnight but you will wake up one day and be surprised by what you're capable of that day.

  3. Thank you for the encouragement~ It definitely is no easy task; just trying to be consistent with practice takes so much... but you are right; one day all these current feelings and pov's will be a thing of the past.

    Im sorry to hear your rib area has been bothering you again... You may have pulled one of your intercostals this time? So it may just be muscular... and hopefully not a revisit to worse pain. Feel better soon!