Thursday, August 12, 2010

Week 24 - Jenny

I couldn't believe it.  I moved through this sequence today without stopping, without plodding, without reading and re-reading.  With all this propping for my injured and healthy knee, practice has been taking FOR-ever.  But I had a certain rhythm today.  I've been doing the sequence enough to have most of it memorized.  That helps.  I've learned and continue to learn where and how to prop, so now I just do it - no fuss.  I look for a lack of strain in the knees (I'm specifically talking about the half-lotus and half-virasana positions that take up the bulk of the second part of the sequence) and an opening in the hip - the feeling that the head of the femur is seated in the acetabulum on the pelvis (the "socket" of the ball-and-socket).  Then I moved to the next pose.  I didn't get caught up in wanting to reach the final pose - the bound arm or the head on the leg.  I just looked for the hip opening and observed the other effects of the pose.

For one thing, I had been trying to get into the full forward bend of all these paschimottanasanas (different seated forward bends with legs in various positions).  This time, I kept my tailbone down on the floor - and the amount I was able to lean forward - well, that was it.  It's like when a new student does Half Pigeon in the leaned forward position.  She wants her head on the floor, so she sort of flips over the bent-leg foot - misaligning the hips in the quest for some perception of the final pose.  But what good is that?  That's what I was doing.  For instance, in Half Lotus Seated Forward Bend (Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana), I was sort of flipping over my bent-leg foot to do the forward bend.  And yes, I did the forward bend.  But my tailbone came off the floor to achieve the forward bend.  And of course this was misaligning my hips and torquing my knee.  Hence the injury.

When it comes to the poses that are super demanding of hip flexibility, I've learned to stay away.  I'm just not ready yet.  So when it comes to Full Lotus (Padmasana), I work on Half Lotus.  And when I get to Bharadvajasana II, where one leg is in Half-Lotus and the other in Half-Virasana, I skip to the next pose.  These leg positions are repeated many times throughout the sequence, so I keep working on them in the other poses.  But I'm just not ready to do both at once yet.

One more week to this sequence, then Week 26 starts a new sequence.  I think I'll need to stay with this one for some time before moving on.  We'll see.  I'll keep you posted.


nobodhi said...

I just want to say thanks to you both for blogging about your journey through Light on Yoga.
I'm enjoying reading your posts because I've attempted to work my way through the course (unsuccessfully) quite a few times over the years.

ariana said...

Thank you! It is encouraging to hear your comment. Just curious, how far did you get and what made you stop?

nobodhi said...

Being a long time yogi, it felt way too easy to start at week 1, so I usually started the course around week 19, but I probably didn't have enough faith in Mr Iyengar's sequencing to stick with it past week 22!
I still dip into the course now and then and actually did the week 19 sequence twice last week.
Your dedication is an inspiration...namaste.

nobodhi said...

After checking my copy of Light on Yoga last night I found lots of the asanas in Weeks 31-35 were underlined, so I must have got up to that sequence many moons ago. I'm going to dip back into the course again and hopefully get time to post about it as well.

ariana said...

yes, please do try it again and post!