16 June 2011

My Standing Series

In the interest of full disclosure, I thought it time to actually to discuss how I’m doing in each of the postures. I do this for a couple of reasons. First, it forces me to be honest with myself about bad habits or areas to work on. It gives you, the reader, an idea of how far I’ve come in two years of practice -- and more importantly, how far there is for me to go.
Today, I’ll talk about the Standing Series.

Pranayama: Always difficult to keep my legs locked. Left leg is a bit longer and I tend to rock side to side. On the exhale, I almost never remember to keep my eyes looking for the back wall.

Half-moon/Hands to Feet: Most “up and down” posture. If my back is loose, I can get myself fairly deep but keeping the knees locked is always tough. I can sway front to back in this pose, too. If I’m tight, forget it. My back grabs and it hurts. A lot.

Awkward: the first part is OK for me, but the last two parts are hell. If I can merely stand on my toes in the second part (forget about bending my knees), I’m ecstatic. That rarely happens, though. On the third part, I have trouble squeezing my knees together, and one or both knees pop and crackle on the way down. Ouch.

Eagle: My current favorite! I have come very far here. I can now get both feet to hook behind my legs almost every class. Working to keep my upper body straighter once I’ve hooked the foot. I tend to “curl” my spine once I’m in.

Standing Head to Knee: Ugh. I have yet to keep my knee locked for the duration of the posture, much less progress to extending the leg, and on from there. I still have trouble keeping hold of my foot, and I my grip breaks every time. LONG way to go here.

Standing Bow: Another “up and down” posture. IF I can keep my knee locked, and IF I can keep my ankles (both sides) from rolling, and IF I can think to “STOMP THAT HEEL” into the ground, and IF I remember to kick the foot up AND reach for the mirror, I do OK. Some days it’s kind of easy, many days I do nothing but fall out over and over.

Balancing Stick: Not good. Never get arms and legs level. Always feel like I’m falling over to one side or the other. Extremely hesitant to go all out – just leads to me keeping myself from falling, or taking the easy way out and going to my knees.

Standing Separate Leg Stretching: Yuck. I can’t get my legs wide enough to touch my forehead to the floor. Hell, I can barely get my hands to my heels, no matter how wide a step I take. Either way, my hips scream at me. On the rare occasion I do grip my heels, I don’t seem to go anywhere. I pull and pull but I feel very weak when I do, like I would if I was trying to pull a city bus – nothing happens.

Triangle: How do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways. I find it impossible to get either leg to bend to 90 degrees – my hamstrings give me a “cease and desist” order and my hips continue their complaints. If I can manage some semblance of a bent leg, and move my arms to the vertical, I sway backwards and have to hit the deck. I can think of only a few times that I’ve been able to get even close to a decent expression of Triangle. Yuck.

Standing Head to Knee: Another ugly posture. I feel smothered and can’t breathe when I get my forehead to the knee. If I do suck in my gut then it’s harder to bend forward. Again, I have trouble keeping my balance coming in and out of the posture. (This lack of balance thing is REALLY frustrating – tell me again why I do this?!!?)

Tree Pose: More balance issues here too. I used to love this posture – it was the only one where I could actually keep my knee locked and stay balanced. Now, it is tough at times.

Toe Stand: If I’ve had a good Tree, I will try Toe Stand. I can get down there, but balance again is iffy, at best. Coming back up to Tree can be an adventure.

So, there you have it. I’ve come a long way from that 280 pound lummox who huffed and puffed and flopped through his first class. A million miles to go, though.

Hey, it’s all about the journey, right?


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