Thursday, January 27, 2011

Practice report, and some musings on leg-behind-head postures

Practice this morning was very interesting. I got up in the morning and did my Buddhist chanting before I got on the mat. As I went into Surya A, I felt this "off" sensation in my left SI joint. I can't think of any other way to describe it. It's not painful. It's just this dull feeling that something is somehow... off in that part of the body. It feels like somehow the sacrum is not aligned properly with the back of the pelvis (which is precisely what SI joint misalignment is!). But I decided to go with the practice carefully, and see if I can use the practice to straighten this out.

It didn't get better, but it didn't get worse either. Throughout the standing sequence, I could feel the "off" sensation there in that part of my body. Well, actually, it did get somewhat better in primary. I'm not sure why. Maybe something about the way I do seated forward bends/hip-openers helped to put the SI joint back into alignment to some degree. Took a chance with Supta Kurmasana, and got into it from dwipada sirsasana. Probably not a very wise thing to do when one's SI joint is acting up, but I must have been feeling brave/reckless. And then, the moment of reckoning: Garbha Pindasana. Why "moment of reckoning"? Well, in the past, whenever I did something to my SI joint in Supta K, I'll feel the effects in Garbha: Rolling up and down would aggravate the misaligned place, and would be accompanied by this deep pain in the lower back/SI joint area. But today, I didn't feel anything unusual at all in Garbha (yay!). Which means my SI joint is probably in better shape than I thought.

Went on to do full primary, and then second. Backbends felt great. As I was doing laghu, I suddenly thought about Susan's comment on this blog the other day, about how she sometimes goes into child's pose for a little bit before going into kapo. I actually thought about doing this myself for a split second. I wasn't tired or anything, I was just thinking about it. But I knew that wasn't a good idea: Going into child's pose before such a challenging posture would deprive me of my momentum, and make it harder to do kapo (Susan, you are a bad influence: "Bad Woman!" :-) [Insert Guruji accent])

After Ardha Matsyendrasana, I decided to go further, and ended up going all the way to Pincha Mayurasana. The leg-behind-head postures felt okay, but not great. My hips didn't feel that open, and I thought I felt something in the SI joint on the second side in Ekapada Sirsasana. But I am not feeling any unusual pain or discomfort after the practice, so it's probably not anything serious (then again, the day is still young... better not jinx myself by saying this too early).

And what's really cool is that I finished the whole practice (full primary and second up to pincha mayurasana) in just slightly over 2 hours. So I think I might not go crazy after all (if you don't know what I'm talking about, see Claudia's post about Sharath's conference remarks about the recommended length of practice time).

I've noticed something interesting about the effects of second series on my body. Whenever I do the leg-behind-head postures, I am a lot more hungry after practice. Right now, I am sitting in the coffeeshop in my apartment complex. I just had a double espresso, a banana, and a very buttery and chocolatey chocolate croissant. That last thing is really good, but I don't want to know what goes into the making of it; probably lots of bad, bad stuff. The same thing happened the last few things I did leg-behind-head postures too: I just felt I needed more food throughout the day. I wonder if leg-behind-head postures stimulate the digestive system more than other postures? Will I get fat if I do leg-behind-head postures everyday?    

Got to go prepare for class now. More later. May the Force be with you.


  1. Absolutely DON'T get into the habit of taking child's pose before kapo. I wasn't recommending it!! Unless your heart rate has spiralled out of control between attempts :)

    It's my belief that consistently and gently working on the LBH postures eventually creates enough space across the lower back and hips that the sacrum can just float in a comfortable spot and stop getting compressed or misaligned all the time. Postures like janu sirsasana in particular and all those seated formward bends start creating this space in a very gentle way, then it has to be developed. I recovered from SI joint malfunction! (I keep meaning to write a whole post on this).

    And yes, I do think LBH stimulates the appetite, and it isn't hard to see/feel why. I'm RAVENOUS after I do the 3rd series ones.

    May the Force be with you!

  2. Thanks for your comments, Susan. I like what you say about consistently working on LBH postures creating enough space across lower back and hips so that the sacrum can float comfortably. I think Kino said the same thing to me when I asked her about LBH postures and SI joint malfunction, but for some reason, I seem to understand your explanation better. Thanks! But yes, I do look forward to your upcoming post on SI joint issues.

    I like to think that although LBH stimulates the appetite, they also cause the digestive system to become more efficient. Which hopefully means that one will not pack on pounds from eating more after doing LBH. Yes, I do suffer from fat-phobia... I've been through times when I thought I could eat as much as I want because I was practicing a lot, and before I knew it, I had gained something like 15 pounds!