Did full primary and second up to Supta Vajrasana this morning.
Practice was good. Primary was strong and smooth. Grabbed my ankles in kapotasana today. Made me think of Grimmly's recent post about how deep backbends feel. To me, kapotasana always feels very intense in a good way. I don't consider myself a natural backbender, because I don't feel as comfortable in a deep backbend as I feel in a deep paschimottanasana. So for me, backbends are very much about getting the body (and mind) to go beyond what it is comfortable with, to boldly go where my body/mind hasn't gone before. It doesn't matter that I have been able to grab my heels consistently and my ankles occasionally for the past few months: Every single kapotasana is a new challenge for my mind/body. There is always a point where my mind/body questions itself: Are you sure you are up to this today? I have found that the way to "silence" this questioning by the mind/body is to not play its game. Basically, I listen and acknowledge the mind/body's question, and then forge on slowly and steadily anyway. I hang back for a few breaths and open my chest till I can see the tips of my toes at the edge of my vision (this is probably a drishti violation, but whatever: I got to do what I got to do. I find this less laborious than just diving down right away and walking that seemingly interminable expanse of mysore rug to my heels). Then I dive and walk my hands to my heels/ankles.
In his recent post, Grimmly wrote that when he gets into a deep backbend,
"I don't get any of the bells and flashes of light, the epiphanies, ekstasis, buckets of tears or kundalini rising, perhaps guys are wired differently."
I basically have the same experience as he does, except that I'm not going to commit to that part about guys being wired differently (don't want to start a gender backbend war on my blog... How many more people can I afford to offend anyway, in light of my recent posts?). Truth be told, I really don't know anything about the wiring of guys vs. gals in backbends (or any other kinds of postures, for that matter), so I'm really not in a position to say anything about this.
But as I was saying, I basically have the same experience as Grimmly does in deep backbends. I have never, to my knowledge, experienced any kind of epiphany/bucket of tears/kundalini rising... Is it possible to experience the kundalini rising without being aware of it? I don't know. If you know something about this, please share.
Of course, anybody who has taken Philosophy 101 knows that just because something hasn't happened before doesn't mean that it will never happen. For all I know, my next kapo might be the epiphany-magical-experience-kapo. Maybe at the very instant that I grab my heels or ankles, Lord Shiva will descend from the heavens and grant me the boon of teleportation. And then I will be able to go to Mysore right away, and be in one of those very nice Mysore pictures that Claudia and Skippetty regularly post on their blogs! And I'll be able to teleport myself back here to Minnesota every day just before my classes meet. Now that would be pretty cool, wouldn't it?
But, magical experiences and epiphanies aside, I like to think that practicing deep backbends has a certain effect on one's overall disposition and character, even if I can't scientifically prove it. I feel that, around the time I started doing deep backbends regularly, I also became able to manage fear better in my daily life. I feel that I have become better able to face the uncertainties and unknowns in my life, acknowledge the challenges that they pose, take the necessary actions to address them as they arise, and simply go on with my daily life and handle the tasks and responsibilities of daily life without over-thinking things and succumbing to the fear of the unknown and uncertain future. Of course, as I said, I have no way to prove this with certainty: It's not as if I can do a controlled experiment with my life :-) But I feel it, nonetheless... (Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon: "Do not think, feel...")
Got to go teach my class now. More later. May the Force be with you.