Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Today is a moon day. I couldn't have practiced today anyway since I'm on call for 24 hours, so that worked out well for me. I did do a led first series class last night. I guess it begins to sound like a broken record but it still amazes me how tired I can get doing that series. Stiffness may have contributed somewhat to the exertion. I hadn't done first series in five days and I had been standing in the OR all day, so I wasn't too limber when I got to class. I wasn't too sure I'd even get to class. Both of my first two cases went well over the expected time. I didn't even start the last case until 2:30 pm and I was thinking it had the chance of being the most difficult of them all. Luckily, it turned out to be very straight forward and we were done by 4:30. Traffic was light enough that I was able to get to class with a few minutes to spare.

I've been trying once again to see how close I can get on my jump backs. I usually do my best at it early on in the seated postures, before I get tired. Yesterday I got closer, one time at least. My feet almost passed through the hands before sinking to the ground, but the foot on the left bumped that arm, stopping the backswinging motion. There is just no internal sense of what action I need to be doing to elevate the hips and butt and to get the legs tucked in tight. I'll keep trial and erroring it. JMS gave me some pointers again but I wasn't able to do what he was suggesting, which is to look forward rather than looking back and down while I lift and attempt to slide through. If I keep looking up, I don't get what little sense of forward tilt that I think I am currently able to generate when I look back to see where my feet are. The problem I have with going full out each vinyasa is that, over the course of the seated postures, it kicks my butt. By the time I get to Navasana, I'm just going through the motions, ending up with little more than a weak Lolasana and roll over. This bothers me because when I watch the people who can do jumpbacks, they seem to be able to do them just as easily after the fifth Navasana or after Uth Pluttihi as they do on their very first one. It doesn't seem exertional to them, from my viewing angle anyway. I think I need a bandha tutor. I had a tutor once for geometry and it helped.

I was quite the showman when attempting my standups from back bend last night. In the first back bend, I felt a catch in my shoulder and spent most of that rep trying to get my hand repositioned so that the shoulder felt okay. I was just starting to feel the back loosening up by the third rep. The teacher had already told us we would only doing four reps so I decided to try and come up after number three. I figured if I didn't make it, I could still get up on the last one. About half way up on my first try, I realized that my body and upper legs were in an almost straight line out horizontal from my lower legs. I had committed my wife's favorite error, I had let my head come up too soon. I stalled out a half a second later and went cart wheeling back down. The legs sort of automatically extended as I was going back, which propelled me head first straight toward the wall. I managed to bail out and fall to my mat in an inglorious heap. The guy next to me inquired if I had hurt myself. I was too embarrassed to even look at him as I shook my head no. Determined to get at least one stand up, I went at it again with the last rep. I started to lift but quit on it shortly after pushing off and dropped back to the back bend position. By then, just about everybody else was up and I had visions of another spaz attack but with everybody else watching so I tried to go up as quickly as I could. I got the weight out over my feet but I had little arch going. I managed to power up with an almost straight back but it was by far the ugliest stand up I have done so far.

Beyond that episode of comic relief, the rest of the practice was middle of the road. No new firsts. Other than the fatigue issue, not too much regression. Just another practice. Maintenance.

Some time a ways back, I started trying to do Urdhva Sirsasana just before going into Balasana after completing the headstand sequence. After the lifting the feet from Ardha Sirsasana back up to Sirsasana, you press firmly into the elbows and forearms and lift the head off of the ground. You keep pressing up until the shoulder is full extended, lifting the head as far off of the ground as possible. I had seen my teacher do it when Guruji was here in 2000. I later saw a friend of his, Johnnie S., do it in class one time and thought, "I wonder how hard that is?" The first time I tried it, I found out, it's not that easy. Over time, I got a better sense of what muscles to use and what ones to not use and I can usually do it okay now. It feels like I'm getting reasonably good extension of the shoulder joint. It's hard to know if what I'm sensing is what I'm really doing but it seems that my upper arms are close to vertical with my head well off of the floor. Interestingly, on the occasions when I do Viparita Dandasana variations as shoulder research before attempting Kapotasana, I can't get my head any where near that far off of the ground.

After I get off work tomorrow morning, I'll head over to do a mysore class. Among other things, I'm working on Supta Vajrasana. I can get into Baddha Padmasana, but I can't arch back very far before I lose the bind and my hands slip from my feet. I'm presuming the greatest area limiting me right know in that posture is my shoulder range of motion. I can't tell if my hips and ankles are limiting me yet. Each time I do Baddha Padmasana in the closing sequence, I try to lean back a bit to see what I can do. I tend to feel some discomfort in my Achilles tendons, so I think I'm pulling on the toes in the wrong vector. I've also been trying to practice for the next posture ahead of me, Bakasana, by jumping into it after we do Utkatasana. I can do Bakasana A okay but, being as bandha challenged as I am, Bakasana B usually eludes me. I did land it last night, I guess that's one highlight. I held it for about two or three breaths then started to slip, so I jumped back. I want to be able to do it when I am given that pose but it's not so easy as just wanting to do it. It's also likely much easier to do it in the standing sequence than it will be to do it after doing all of rest of my mysore practice.

The kids go back to school this week. I have weird kids. They all said how much they were sick of summer and how they wish they could have just kept going to school instead of having to do summer. They didn't get it from me, I can tell you that.

I just noticed the reader feedback function that I used to have is no longer there. I have no idea why. Maybe it was only good for a few months before some fee had to be paid or something. I wasn't that happy with how it had been working, so I'll look around for a replacement. Maybe I'll finally take suburbfreak up on her offer to switch over to her blog system

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