Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ashtanga practice ramblings

My hammies really got stretched at practice, in multiple poses. I find it hard to balance in uttiha hasta padagustasana since I tend to try too hard in the previous pose (Parsvottanasana). Should back off a bit in pyramid and see if my UHPs would improve. At least I haven't been suffering from blinding dizziness coming out of standing forward folds recently (still dizzy, but not blinded). Had trouble binding on the left side of Mari D. I guess self-pretzeling is much harder than teacher-assisted pretzels. Binding in supta kurmasana is also inconsistent. I actually wouldn't mind doing this pose in a half-assed fashion and move on with life (sorry about the language), but my teacher's determined to get me to accomplish this pose within the foreseeable future.  Coming out of the pose and lifting up into titibasana was pretty disastrous, even with the teacher's assistance. My arms felt like jelly after trying so hard to bind. I also got corrected in my toe tuck technique for my vinyasas. I thought this was a bit nit-picking but the teacher said my alternate toe flipping method was probably the reason my chaturangas arms were uneven. OH!!! This whole time ever since I started yoga I just thought I had uneven arm strengths.

I love my Ashtanga practice - the accomplishments as well as the difficulties.


  1. Love it! "self-pretzeling" is for sure harder than "teacher-assisted pretzels"!

    As a mostly "home-practicer" I'm oh so familiar with the struggle of "self-pretzeling"...especially the supta k variety! :)

    I'm looking forward to 7 days of teacher-assisted pretzeling starting Saturday (I'm headed to a workshop with my teacher for a week)...can't wait!

  2. Yes, self-pretzeling is harder than teacher-assisted pretzels :-) Self-intense-backbending is also harder than teacher-assisted intense backbending (e.g. kapotasana). But in the long run, I think that self-anything is safer than teacher-assisted-anything. Sometimes I think that in a shala, we tend to rely too much on the teacher's adjustments, which can deprive us of the opportunity of understanding our bodies limits and working with them by ourselves in a creative fashion.

    Personally, I don't think you should back off in Parsvotanasana just to improve your UHP. My view is that if you fall over in UHP, you fall over. No big deal. Why "cheat" yourself of the full Parsvottanasana experience :-)? At least this is what I think. I'm sure there will be people who disagree with me.

    Yes, I think many teachers are very determined to help their students get the bind in Supta K. Probably because Supta K is one of the "gateway postures" to second series. If you can bind in Supta K, it is easier to bind in Pasasana and to get your leg behind the head in all those second series LBH postures.

  3. @Christine - Yay! Have fun on your body-pretzel making adventures! Hope you get lots accomplished with your teacher!

    @Nobel - I have the special power of messing up poses that I never mess up in class and end up injuring myself while practicing on my own. So my self practice isn't really safer than teacher-assisted practice. But I agree that in a shala I don't have as much time to explore variations in poses and vinyasas.

    As a good scientist, I still tested out my theory today, and my UHP was even worse today than last time. So out goes my original hypothesis! And you're right: I was deprived of the "full parsvottanasana experience" :)

    Gateway posture eh? Thanks! Now I'm suddenly more enthusiastic about getting this pose!