It seems that backbending has re-emerged as a topic of discussion in the blogosphere, so I'll use this topic as a launching point to get myself out of my recent blogging funk.
Sereneflavor, Grimmly and Boodiba have all recently blogged about backbending. The latter two have also made some cool videos of their backbending exploits. I have not made any such videos, although I do know that a picture of me in Kapotasana has recently been making the rounds on the web. I've also learnt that said picture has apparently been re-blogged on a gay site... I'm not sure what to think about this. I've nothing against gay people. But still, it's a little bit unsettling (not to mention creepy) to consider the possibility that my backbending likeness may be the subject of some guy's fantasy right this moment... I guess this teaches me something: One has no control over whatever content one posts online. Let it go.
So, as I was saying, backbending. With my left knee being... (how should I put this)... out of optimal Ashtanga performance mode, I have recently found myself focusing more on my backbends. In particular, I have been working on reducing the level of splay in my feet when I drop back. In a recent post, Frank suggested that a certain amount of splay is to be expected if one's thighs naturally turn outward. The idea is not to allow the feet to turn outwards more than the degree to which one's thighs naturally turn outwards (does this make sense?); if one's feet turn out more than the angle to which one's thighs are turned out, the knees get compromised. Which gives me an additional reason to work on reducing the amount of feet-splay in the backbends, since I need to do everything I can to protect the knees at this point.
Here's a little discovery I made during this morning's practice. I discovered that rather than just drop back immediately after first coming up from Urdhva Dhanurasana, it is useful to hang back for two or three times before actually dropping back. I discovered that doing these two or three hang-backs brings more of the backbend into the muscles of the front body, which somehow also results in less feet-splaying. There is also an added benefit: When I finally allowed myself to drop back after these two or three hang-backs, I was able to walk my hands to touch my heels more easily, probably as a result of the added front-body opening. I still can't get into Chakrabandhasana unassisted, but maybe if I keep working on this, I will be able to do this one day.
Alright... that's all for now. More later.