There are about 3 legal-pad pages PER DAY for Wednesday and Thursday, so I think I'm going to try to divide them into one post each. No wonder Kapo developments are coming if I'd been processing the pose to this degree. Anyway, to it!
"Wednesday backbending! Tired, even with about seven hours of sleep. Up before the alarm, less inner-organs distress than yesterday; pleased. But tired, good ole generic tired. Mostly guys in the room today: a group of about 8 for most of my practice, maybe 12 by the time I left. Notably more tired, slower, taking some extra breaths, some rest, but still a stout practice. Resistance in the outer hips in everything from updog to Utkatasana. But still fine; in fact, Navasana was easier than usual. Same fun, big Supta K and Kukku. Baddha K felt smaller, but wasn't. I had some weird dread of Intermediate, like performance anxiety. A feeling of relaxation threatened to flip over into enervation, like in action movies where the guy's buddy is shot and the guy tells him to 'stay in the light' or something. So I stayed with power rather than ease. Ease felt deceptive.
"K was all about 'finding the legs' today, from Laghu to Kapo to dropbacks. Thighs pressed toward each other in all three of those. Laghu was all good; I did a Kapo prep (fingertip dropback) which K had me hold for five, and I couldn't get the endurance to come up from it. This was the theme: quads, hip flexors, 'find your legs,' engage, endurance. I did a Kapo on my own and couldn't rise, and then we teamed up on it. 'Hips forward. Find the legs.' Fingers to toes. Then press up. 'Straighten the arms.' Twice. They remained bent. The hip flexors and outer thighs went jelly-anaerobic. I asked them for effort and they just glowed like coals. Again, assisted up.
"I think all of this effort is actually progress. It just doesn't feel like it. Enervation is spooky; it's surrender, it's like dying, you just can NOT get there, wherever there is. I took two half bends to Chakra Dhanurasana (MS calls dropbacks that; doesn't it sound sexier?) and missed them both. In the first, the left arm collapsed under me, and in the second, both did. Too much effort asked of the hip flexors and quads; K asked me what was going on and I said that the stability of the outer thighs doesn't seem to be happening today. Shaky and unable to hold tension--like intense writer's cramp or too many sit ups. K said we'd so some together. Twice up-and-down to UD, then down, five breaths, 'walk in,' 'breathe into your chest,' (and I did, re-finding uddiyana bandha, and boy HOWDY did that ease things up) and then 'inhale up' and it was easier. A great big final squish with vertebrae popping and closing. A lot of sensation on the left side of the thoracic, all next to the shoulder blades. I'd done three Kapo's, each deeper than the one before it, six wheels in two sets of 3, walking in on the third one each time, two clunky dropbacks and 3 more assisted ones. Quite a backbending week this is turning out to be.
"Key elements (ED: again, watch me do this, trying to grok the holistic movement):
Find the legs, engage BIG.
Breathe into the chest: uddiyana bandha!
Press hips forward: that will straighten the arms. I didn't feel restriction in the shoulders, but in the hips--not even physical restriction, but fear telling the psoas to tell the hips not to move and thus the arms not to straighten.
The enervation threat in Kapo is there in Dhanurasana too; put the Bow in the hip flexors; press the feet UP and feel it. It's the SAME.
(ED: next time, the final Boston installment! Another round of Kapo and dropbacks, and the meeting of my nephew, and the changes he's bringing to the family dynamic!)