Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Is This What Nerve Cleansing Feels Like?

Today's practice was interesting to say the least. I was excited to get on my mat this morning to give my shortened practice a try but it didn't seem that much shorter. Well that's sort of a lie. It did feel a little bit shorter and less physically taxing but I managed to somehow let my practice take up the whole two hours that I allotted myself. Something else for me to work on I suppose.

What I'm finding is that the back bends of second series aren't so physically taxing per se but after kapo and supta vajrasana I feel completely wrung out and I curled up into a ball on the front of my mat feeling nauseated after each pose. Supta vajrasana was especially fun today because I was on the verge of tears after I came out of that one. Oh and it took about 12 minutes for me to regain any feeling and sensation in my hands. I also felt like a complete failure doing that pose because I was unable to hold on to my feet at all during that pose. It seems like every muscle in my back is getting worked these days and it's reminiscent of how my hamstrings would feel when I was learning primary. Each day would be successively worse in terms of soreness in my hamstrings and my ability to fully execute most of the forward bends. I guess my back is the new hamstrings. The saddest thing about this whole situation is that my hamstrings still get pretty sore after each practice so it's not like the back soreness has replaced the hamstring soreness. I'm just sore all over these days.

One positive development today was that I only did laghu vajrasana once today. I got my head pretty close to the floor (it may have even touched at one point) and I hoisted myself back up fairly gracefully. I didn't give it another go in an effort to conserve some energy.

During assisted drop backs with JB today "we" walked my hands pretty close to my feet. I touched my hands down on the forth exhale and he had me stay there for a few breathes while he straightened out my feet. He then instructed me to walk my hands in some more and THEN he started to count from one. I used to enjoy assisted back bending with JB because it would give me a great buzz that lasted throughout the day however, today I just wanted to puke after all was said and done.

If there's one thing that this practice has taught me is that I know that in a few weeks time my body will adjust to these new asanas and things won't be so terribly bad but from where I stand now I'm in a dark dark place and I don't see the light yet. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

No Benefit, Incorrect Method and Splitting

I fought off nausea throughout this morning's practice. As if the practice isn't hard enough on it's own, throw a little nausea into the mix and practice was a rip roaring good time this morning. I practiced next one of my buddies this morning and as we both watched the Ashtanga Police video yesterday there were a lot of "incorrect method" and "no benefit" comments thrown around. We are indeed a bunch of bad yogis.

Other than the nausea practice went relatively smoothly and I was able to bind supta kurmasana again for the third day in a row. I think the bind is a direct result of the nausea I've been feeling the past couple of days and the lack of appetite. I did get yelled at again for my breathing in kurmasana though. But to my credit I WAS breathing for the first five breaths. A shalamate taught me a very helpful tip a few days agao for binding in pashasana. She basically told me to use my hand to move my abdominal flesh out of the way as I twist which helps to bring the shoulder lower down on the leg and thus encouraging a deeper twist. So far it seems to work and I've been binding both sides on my own. The next frontier in that pose will definitely be to try to work on getting the heels flat which will probably happen in another lifetime. Surprisingly krounchasana is coming along nicely and I'm able to touch forehead/chin to knee on both sides these days. My hamstrings have been so sore from practice the past couple of weeks I'm not entirely sure how that came about. I'm able to lower down much further in laghu vajrasana these days as well. It's not the prettiest of asanas for me but it is definitely coming.

Sweet sweet kapotasana on the other hand feels like death. It's not even that it's that particularly painful of a pose but after I exit out of the pose I feel completely, absolutely and utterly spent. Today's attempt was particularly intense as JB held me up trying to get a good hip extension I suppose before bringing my hands to my heels. By the time I actually got into the pose my quads and abdominal muscles were on fire and I'm pretty sure the people practicing to my left and right saw smoke coming off of my body.I told JB that kapo makes me feel like my muscles are being ripped from my bones and he basically said that's what happens when one has such a muscular build. I told him that I would happily be a flexible noodle if I had the choice. As I was laying in a heap on my mat trying to recover from kapo he tells me to get up and prepare for the next pose supta vajrasana. I think I'll eventually grow to like that pose, even though it's essentially a limbless back bend, once I'm able to hold onto my feet as I bend back.

After that endurance effort, to my surprise JB told me that I can start doing half primary each day, alternating which half I do every other day. I was happy to hear him tell me that because my practice has been inching up towards the 2.5 hour mark. This shall be an interesting change to my practice as I've become quite attached to primary since I've been practicing it almost daily for the last year or so. I wonder what my dear hammies will think about this and if they will tolerate it at all. I guess only time will tell. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ashtanga Police

I don't really feel like posting about my practice except to say that kapo is kicking my butt and I have a very sore back thanks to that pose. In other news my quads seem to have adjusted to the addition of ustrasana, laghu and kapo so I'm able to walk up the five flights of stairs to my apartment with no problem.

In other news I came across this video and just had to post it here because it's so funny.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Over the Moon

I'm over the moon that today is a moon day which is a rarity because I would practice everyday if I could. But for some reason I felt like I've been hit by the yoga truck multiple times this week. My body felt so sore some days I wasn't sure how I was going to be able to make it through practice. Add to that the three new poses that I got Tuesday and needless to say my muscles could use a break.

Speaking of new poses, I'm pretty sure that JB hates me and that's why he tacked on ustrasana, laghu, and kapo all at once. I'm pretty sure it's written somewhere is the annals of ashtanga yoga that that is a no no. JB usually gives out ustrasana and laghu and then a few weeks later he'll add on kapo. But anyway my first actual attempt at those poses on my own was quite laughable and I failed to lift myself up out of kapo correctly the first time which led to a complete fail. The second time was slightly better but my challenge is being able to get my left elbow to the floor. Oddly enough I've got some serious soreness going on in my left triceps close to the insertion point near my elbow. I never expected that at all from the pose as I was mostly anticipating pain and soreness in the lower back. Don't get me wrong there IS soreness in my back but nothing compared to what's going on with arms and legs. Did we discuss my legs yet? My poor quads felt like jell-o and I had to think twice about leaving my apartment since I live on the 5th floor of a walk-up.

I did however leave my apartment to treat myself to a massage yesterday and that coupled with the time spent with my has really helped the situation. I'm happy that tomorrow is led primary and I won't have to face second again until Sunday. Hopefully by then my muscles will have had a chance to recover and I plan to help things along by increasing my protein intake.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ustrasana, Laghu Vajrasana and Kapotasana Oh My

Today I was given kapotasana along with ustrasana and laghu vajrasana. Now truth be told I've been a little obsessed with kapo since last january when I recieved a postcard from manduka with a woman doing kapo on the front. Mind you back in January I had only just finished primary.

I'd been stuck at parsvo dhanurasana since early August and having been itching to move forward for weeks. Seeing many of my shalamates progress didn't help the situation much at all. So today as I'm preparing to do my back bends JB comes over and tells me go back back into downward dog.

Ustrasana wasn't so bad as I've done it before in my past life during my vinyasa days. Laghu was a whole different animal and I'm pretty sure that my quads and glutes are already sore from that pose. One thing I noticed about laghu is that I really need to hold on to the bottom of my legs for dear life if I'm going to get anywhere in that pose.

Then there was kapotasana. I wasn't expecting to get that pose today as well but it wasn't nearly as bad as I expected it would be. Of course JB was there practically manipulating my body into the pose itself. The real test will be tomorrow when I get to try these poses all on my own. One of my initial concerns about kapo was how it would affect my unstable rib cage area and the good news is that I barely felt any sensation from the pose in that area of my body.

Surprisingly, because of all of the new back bends from second series, drop backs came a lot easier than normally today.

Lastly, on the assisting front I'm learning to do assisted drop backs as well.

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