Monday, January 3, 2011

Kissing the mat, deep opening in kapotasana

Practice this morning was great! A couple of "practice highlights":

(1) I landed on my face while trying to get into handstand after the fifth navasana today. Not fell, landed. After my fifth navasana, I exhaled fully. I then inhaled while lifting my body off the mat. I then exhaled and titled my upper-body forward slightly. I then inhaled again (probably taking too many breaths already, but I couldn't help it: Either I take this extra breath, or I have to stop breathing!) while moving my hips more in line above my shoulders. Still inhaling, I extended my legs up into the air. They stayed up there (cool!). I then tried to straighten my arms, but they somehow wouldn't straighten (I can't remember whether I was exhaling or holding my breath while doing this). Eventually, my legs decided that they had done enough time up there, and allowed gravity to pull them back to the ground. The trouble is, my face touched the ground before my legs! Still, I managed to maintain enough control, so that I kind of kissed the mat (as opposed to crashing face-first into it) as I landed in a very weird variation of chaturanga (face-kissing-mat-four-limbs-posture: What would this be in Sanskrit?). Well, at least I landed better than the last time. If any of you seasoned handstanders out there have any suggestions/feedback/advice, I would love to hear it.

(2) I got deeper in kapotasana this morning than I have ever gone. It's kind of funny that this should happen, considering I was actually feeling a bit stiff in the backbends leading up to kapo. I didn't feel that my front body opened that much in the Dhanurasanas, and Ustrasana didn't feel particularly open either. But then I got to kapo. I started by hanging in the posture for a few breaths, and was surprised that it didn't even take me that many breaths or that much effort to get to the point where I could see my toes in that hanging position (I use being able to see my toes as the cue to tell me that my front body is open enough, and I can dive into the posture). I brought my hands to my feet, and then walked them to the heels. And then, something told my right hand that it should try going a little further. So I arched back up a little to give my right hand more space to "walk". And, voila! My right hand hooked itself around the heel and grabbed the ankle! Now the hard part is to persuade the left land that it can do the same thing (Right hand: Come on, left! You can do it! Left Hand: Okay... I'll try...) It took a bit of maneuvering and jiggling around (is this even the right expression?), but my left hand eventually managed to execute the same maneuver. I then used the leverage of both my hands to pull myself a little deeper into the posture. The back of my head was touching the soles of my feet, and my quads and hip flexors were going into overdrive to keep me in that posture. Very powerful feeling.

After 5 to 10 breaths, I then moved into Kapo B, and then got out of the posture. Gosh, I was so winded! But the opening was so deep. And there was this feeling I had at some point while I was in the posture that's kind of hard to describe. But I'm going to try to describe it anyway. It's this deep, dull sense of sadness. Not the kind of sadness that makes you want to bawl, but something deeper and stiller. It's like my entire being is this very deep well, and the sadness is a pool of still water at the bottom of this well.  Nothing can get to this water. And nothing should. Because it just needs to be there and be acknowledged. I feel that this feeling has something to do with my going deeper in kapo. I just don't know whether I got deeper into kapo because this feeling was there inside of me, waiting to be discovered, or whether it was my getting deeper in kapo that caused this feeling to arise. Does this make sense?              

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