Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Practice Report: I think I am officially becoming left-hipped

Greetings, fellow tubes of flesh! (If you don't know what this means, check out Cathrine's latest blog post)

I don't have that much to say today, so I think I'll just give a practice report. Well, actually, I do have some interesting things to say about today's practice. Practice this morning was good. I went at a good pace through the suryas and the standing sequence. I wasn't speeding through the practice (I rarely do when I'm practicing by myself); the pace was, in the words of Loo's latest post, "purposeful, like a draft horse pulling a plow back and forth making tidy, even furrows." (Very beautifully said, Loo!) I did have a space-cadet moment at the end of the standing sequence, when I went directly into Virabhadrasana II immediately after Virabhadrasana I on the first side (somehow, that just felt like the right and natural thing to do). But other than that, practice was good; the hips and hamstrings opened up very nicely in primary.

Second series was really cool today. Had to hang for quite a few moments to get the chest to open enough for me to grab my heels in kapotasana, but the subsequent chest-opening was... priceless. I decided to take a chance today. Instead of stopping at Supta Vajrasana, which is I what I had been doing for the last few weeks, I decided to forge further ahead, and got up to Ekapada Sirsasana. I hadn't been doing Ekapada Sirsasana since I messed up my SI joint (and probably a couple of surrounding muscles as well) back in June. I had just been doing primary, and then doing second up to whatever posture I felt safe doing (usually Supta Vajrasana). But today, I was feeling quite open, and decided to just see if I can put my leg behind my head without incurring the wrath of the injury/pain demon. So after Ardha Matsyendrasana, I very slowly moved my right foot in front of my face. No hip tightness. Good. Then I slowly moved the foot behind my head. No pulling or tearing (yikes!) sensation. Even better. To be sure, the hamstring did feel a bit tight. But no bad sensations or damage whatsoever. In any case, the hamstring tightness is probably due to the fact that backbends (especially laghu and kapo) tend to shorten the hamstrings.

I stayed in Ekapada Sirsasana for 5 breaths, and then vinyasa-ed out the classical way (keeping leg-behind-head, lift body off the mat with both hands, then kick the free leg back, then release the leg that is behind the head to come into chaturanga). Did the same thing on the other side. Another surprise: It actually feels easier on the second side. Ha! My left hip is now officially more open than my right. How can this be? I'd always been a right-hipped (as in "right-handed") person. Well, as they say in these parts, it is what it is.

So, practice today was very good. It looks like everything does indeed go in cycles. One gets a pose, gets injured/loses it for whatever reason, and then gets it back again. Does this mean that I am going to get injured and/or lose Ekapada Sirsasana again in the future? Uh oh...

But then again, what the hell? Aren't we all just tubes of flesh anyway? What is the difference between a tube of flesh that can get its tube-leg behind its tube-head, and a tube of flesh that cannot?


  1. "what's the difference" nothing more than a slightly more floppy tube.

    nice practice report! amazing how the body switches around, isn't it?

  2. Hey Loo, "nothing more than a slightly more floppy tube"; very well said :-)

    Yes, it is quite amazing how the body switches around in very unexpected ways.

  3. I think a supple tube makes a happier person. Super stiff tubes get stuck/experience sharp pain every time they make a jerky movement that goes beyond their normal (ie. limited) ranges of motion.