Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sorry no write...

... but it's now only one week til advanced seminar and the countdown is ON! Yikes! I've been splitting my time this week between getting in as many yoga classes as possible and getting as much WORK done as possible before I ditch for a week. So I've been cutting down the computer time, which was a good idea. But I figured I'd pop on today, say hi, talk about myself, be boring... I always feel like I'm being really boring when I write about my own practice, but oh well, I don't have anything else on my mind this morning.

This has been an interesting month practice-wise. The numbers have been weird. I did a week of 10 class, a week of 9 classes, then finals hit and I only did 4 classes, and then this week I did 10 again. I think my body was kind of alarmed by the abrupt changes because yesterday I felt really sick and achy all day like I had the flu. That's happened to me a few times before, and it's a bummer, but it's ok. Dragged myself through class, picked up take-away from my favorite restaurant, watched some Pixar shorts, and was in bed by 9pm. Woke up feeling cured!

I've also been COMPLETELY deconstructing and reconstructing all of my backbends. This was prompted by having a teacher tell me that if I kept relying on my lumbar spine for the depth in all my backbends, I would have crazy back pain in 10 years. So he made me stay WAY higher up in my backbends and just try to bend in the middle and upper back. Naturally, there was a part of me that absolutely HATED this, cause you know, everyone thinks that deep backbends are so beautiful and impressive, and everyone's told me how mine is so great, and of course I was proud of that! But I wanted to try to change, I really did, so I kept going back to this teacher and showing him my half moon backbend and letting him correct it, even though at first I didn't like his corrections! I had to take it on faith and keep trying it. And it took a few weeks for me to understand what needed to happen. But after a couple weeks of experimenting, I started to figure out what it really means to bend in the middle and upper back, and I started to feel something happening, and that was cool. And then a week later, I discovered that when I use this approach, I can actually get my arms down past parallel and still keep my arms with my ears. Holy shit you guys. Ever since I took my first Bikram class five years ago, I've thought that this was just a physical impossibility for me. I thought my shoulders were too tight. Never say never.

The main concept that I'm coming around to is that the backbend is "lower back, middle back, upper back" - what it says in the dialogue! - not "lower back, lower back, and more lower back." And even though basically all of my backbends have been completely wrong, I don't really believe that I've done anything wrong, because it's natural to take advantage of whatever flexibility you have, but now that I know better, I have to do better. :)

One more fun thing that's happened lately is that I've been working more on the advanced series either alone or with a friend, and it's been really nice. It feels organic and old-fashioned, the way yoga used to be practiced, just one girl doing her yoga, or a couple of people working together and sharing information. It's not really by the book or kosher (so "shhhhh!") but this is the way that even the regular Bikram practice started off: people practicing by themselves with the book, or people learning the series and then taking it home and doing it with friends in small groups. I like it. It feels like coming back to the root a little bit.

That's enough for now, gotta get ready to take a couple more classes (and then will probably "take it easy" for the rest of the week)... will write again before I take off for Palm Springs! Happy Solstice, happy Father's Day, happy summer, and happy Sunday. :)

7 comments:

Duffy Pratt said...

Of course, your picture looks great because its a very deep bend, which is always impressive. But, looking closer, its easy to see that most of the bend is coming from the lumbar spine, and then a fair bit from the cervical spine, but very little from the thoracic spine, which is kind of flat.

The other great lesson to learn from this is how much there is to learn even when you are doing really well. And yes, its all in the dialogue already, but its so easy to overlook....

thedancingj said...

Right? It's obvious once you see it, once you're look for it... just wasn't really looking at it that way before! It reminds me of one of those inkblot illusions, where you look and you see a vase, and you keep seeing a vase, and then someone tells you to look at the negative space, and suddenly you see these two faces, and that's ALL you can see after that...

Will have to take another pic later when I get better at it so I can stop setting a bad example for everyone. ;)

The Missus said...

I have the EXACT same problem with my backbends too! Mine are 95% lumbar.... 5% rest of my back.

I've begun pulling back on how deep I go. Trying to get that upper back doing it's share.

bikramyogachick said...

Wow, that's great about your backbends! I cannot wait to hear about advanced seminar. It's awesome how there is always something to work on. I keep getting nailed by various teachers on my hip in standing bow, and now that I'm paying attention to it I cannot get my kicking leg up as high, but that's ok. I'm doing it the right way (or trying at least).
Hope your double went well today!!

thedancingj said...

Michelle - yeeaah, that hip thing can be a bitch! I know all about that one, too. Ugh. But you are right, the posture will be better in the end. It's all about letting go of what we THINK is a "better posture" and just doing the posture. Hard work sometimes!!

Missus - YAY, we are backbend buddies. :) Actually, I have a feeling that most people (with a couple exceptions, who are aliens) must have the same problem when they get into deeper backbends. It's just anatomy. Your thoracic spine doesn't bend as easily cause it's got the WHOLE FREAKING RIBCAGE attached to it, not to mention all that stuff inside the ribcage.

But yeah, I found that when I first started pulling up out of backbends, I felt completely retarded, like there was nothing happening at all... but then I finally found something NEW happening, and now it's all about that middle/upper back. Ribcage LIFTS. That moves the "break" into the middle back. The ideal is gonna be an arch - mechanically and structurally perfect. Cool stuff.

hannahjustbreathe said...

Promise to take pictures at the advanced seminar, J! I'm sure it's going to be amazing.

clairmeiz said...

Whoah, thanks for the backbend tip! Tried it today, and though I couldn't go as far back as usual, nevertheless, it's all about the intention and doing it the right way! :)