14 September, 2012

Como si dice sblocco dei fianchi

This morning was 2.5 hours of Power Vinyasa + Restorative (we'll call it Yin) with Sue.

It was cold, and dark, and windy, and rainy this morning. Think "Seattle in November." At the crack of dawn, or thereabouts, we were back in the studio again for the morning session of Day 2. After yesterday's morning tightness, I came to the mat (or, I should say "mats" since I am using four of them) with more of a mental readiness for whatever might come. I wouldn't say I anticipated it being tough. It was more positive than that, but I came with the awareness that it could be anything.

Near the beginning of class, we did a tough series that was based around Knee-to-Nose from the hands and knees position. Instead of just going forward and back, though, we would bend our knee and extend it out to the side, and around, when making the transition. First set of five, we brought it to the nose, and then out and back. The second set of five, we brought it to the nose by coming out and around. This was difficult for me not because of the motion, but because my wrists were killing me, bearing the weight. I tried shifting around a bit, and finding a place where the weight was less. I thought about Cassandra's direction of pushing down the hands like unscrewing pickle jars, and that helped a tiny bit, but I felt that made my shoulders more tired. There's a lot of fatigue in the upper body, and it was really just a question of which location I was willing to carry the load.

All in all, I felt stronger through the long standing series today than I did yesterday. There was a good blend of going hard, and then backing off, without coming to a full rest for probably 90+ minutes.

I tried the basket headstand again today, this time without the wall assistance. She got us into the starting position, which was sort of like a modified "Rabbit" pose with the hands cradling the head, and then we stood the back legs up like Downward Dog. From there, anything more was optional. I decided to see what it felt like trying to begin shifting momentum toward headstand. This amounted to taking hops with my legs to see where it would take me. I am not sure, but I think if I were to try to just throw my legs up there, at this point, I would likely go right over the top and crash down on the other side. After taking several of these hops, I must have either earned a B+ for effort, or sympathy, because Sue came over and assisted me into headstand. Bring one leg up to horizontal. Kick the other leg up to vertical (holding my top leg, then both). Squeeze the legs together tightly. I guess that's it. I was in a headstand. The acknowledgment I make here to myself is that I'm trying. In the past, I surely could have asked a teacher to help me try, but I have not been ready. So, there's progress.

After the standing series, we did a lot of hip opening on the floor, holding poses like Frog for at least 5 minutes a piece. We also did the extending one leg out to the side (in my case, using a strap) and holding for long, long time, then bringing the leg across and doing the same. There were at least a half dozen of these long-hold poses. By the end of it, I learned a few things: (1) My hips are fucking tight, and not just in the places I thought, like deep in the joint. All of the muscles of the hips, including muscles I didn't even know existed, are tight. (2) My right side is far tighter than my left. In fact, when we were working on the left side, with the leg extending out to the side, it was still my right hip that was reacting and sending sensations. I was like "Hey, what are you doing over there? It's not your turn!" But the hip has a mind of its own. (3) Most importantly, I see that I can get somewhere with this practice toward opening it all up. It's not a short road, but there is progress.

When we were doing all those hip openers, the thought that came to my mind was about all of the various ways in which we struggle with being "stuck" in our lives. And the hips (mine) are a good metaphor for it. You know there's so much work to do, and it's so easy to just berate yourself for having let it get this bad. You tell yourself that you can't do it, or it's too hard, or you'll never make progress fast enough. And it hurts. And it's scary. But once you actually start taking steps toward "unsticking" yourself, it's kind of amazing how quickly noticeable progress occurs. But then, the next day, it's the same battle again, because "stuck stuff" tends to be a "3 steps forward, 2 steps back" kind of scenario. It takes patience and perseverance.

Okay, that's enough for now.

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