12/4/17 - Grounding in Ustrasana
Monday is always a challenging day to practice because I normally sit around and do nothing over the weekend. Glad it wasn't too bad this morning as I moved a little bit last night.
Two main focuses in my practice remain the same. It hasn't changed for months. I might be stuck in Eka Pada Sirsasana prep for a while. I don't know how long it will take for me to get those hips "mobile," but I have faith. While it isn't a very exciting news in Eka Pada Sirsasana, I've made great progress in Kapotasana. I can easily catch my toes now. With the help from my teacher, I can reach the arch of feet. The progress has shown in Eka Pada Rajakapotasana. While I was taking photos and videos tonight for the IG Yoga Challenge, I was shocked and excited that my head could touch the back foot. Few months ago, my head was still few inches away from the foot. I couldn't believe now I was able bring them together. The Kapotasana Prep with the wall (the video I shared in Nov 2017 Practice Journal) worked!!!
All asanas are built from the ground up. Foundation is the key to succeed. I was called out by the teacher this morning to redo Ustrasana. She asked me to ground the top of my feet down, especially pinkies. She wanted me to actively press the pinkies down as I lifted the sternum up in camel. I got what she said. I was so caught up by lifting the chest up for the backbend and neglected some details. It's like Newton's third law: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In order to lift (chest), legs and feet have to press down.
12/6/17 - Quadratus Lumborum (QL) Hurt Again
I don't know why and how I keep injuring QL muscles. Few weeks ago, it was my right side, and this time was the left QL. It started to hurt yesterday when I woke up in the morning, and it wasn't any better today. It definitely affected my practice. I felt the pain the most when doing twisting poses. It showed in Pasasana. I couldn't go as deep as usual. Typically, my finger tips would touch as I tried to bind; but they were far from each other today.
Last time, I fixed the pain from doing Salabhasana. It was a magical pose. It helped to get rid of the pain again today. As soon as I started doing backbends, from Salabhasana to Kapotasana, the pain slowly diminished. I didn't know why, but I figured Salabhasana helped to reset and square my pelvis as well as released the tension. I should find out what caused the problem and fixed the root cause. I was told once that a good yoga instructor should know how to fix his or her injury and learn from it.
12/13/17 - Bhjapidasana
I recently start working on Bhujapidasana, Ashtanga variation in which I lower my chin down and bring the feed back. I had been doing the variation in which I had my feet crossed in front of me with chest lifted. It wasn't until last month did my teacher ask me to "graduate" from that variation. I struggled quite a bit in Ashtanga variation.
While I was in Bhujapidasana this morning, the assistant came over to me. Knowing I was working on this posture, she let me work my way into the pose; however, she did ask me to take an extra breath when lifting back up, pause in Titibasana, and stay in Bakasana before jumping back to Chaturanga. I knew I rushed through those transition poses, but it wasn't an easy task. This was a great area for me to find bandhas.
12/15/17 - Freedom vs. Discipline for Home Practice
I enjoy home practice every now and then. It gives me freedom to work on specific poses or areas, which I may not be able to do in the Mysore room. That said, there are still certain rules to follow or it wouldn't be called Ashtanga Yoga.
This morning, I wanted to explore hip mobility and inversion. Besides my normal practice, I added other poses to open hips and spent eatra time working on handstand. I still struggled in Eka Pada Sirsasana. Although I could bring my foot over the head now, my foot wouldn't stay up if I let go of my hand. Also, I couldn't bring both feet behind my head in Dwi Pada Sirsasana and Yoga Nidrasana. And of course, I could not do the full Supta Kurmasana. I did some lizard lunge variations to stretch my hips and work on external rotation. Also, I brought feet on a chair (either Baddha Konasana shape with feet together or crossed angles) and worked on tucking shoulders under legs. Again, I focused on external hips rotation.
Adho Mukha Vrksasana is not part of my practice as my teacher hasn't given me this posture, but I decided to work on it today with extra care to protect my shoulders. I used the wall to work on L-shape, L-spape with one leg up and crown of the head press. I have been getting stronger in handstand and able to balance to few second, but I am not there yet. I need to work on getting stronger core, more shoulders protraction and better bone stacking. Slowly... one at a time, I will get there.
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