I wish there were physical therapists who were also ashtanga yoga teachers. Let me explain; no, let me explain this most tired of paradoxes first.
The age-old, the most-tired, and yet the never-ending question:
I backbend; the wheel and I are friendly, and that's fine. I only sometimes, and sporadically, however, drop back, and I do not (yet) stand up. I have formulas for this and strategies, which I learned over the summer. However, whenever I half-bend or drop back, my outer hips get REALLY FUCKING SORE for like 72 hours, and they STAY THAT WAY for freakin MONTHS if I continue to work half-bending. My twists begin to vanish, and while I realize that sustained effort is good, sore hips put my in a rotten mood much of the time, EVEN THOUGH the half-bending itself feels fantastic.
It's the "hangover," if you will, from indulgence in more advanced backbending that I don't like.
Thus the questions and the paradox: if I lay off the half-bending for even three days, my hips aren't sore, my mood improves, and my poses return. The asana "I" to which I am accustomed, resurface. If I half-bend even TWICE in one evening class, the next day, the outer hip hangover returns, often with a vengeance.
There is never "joint pain," which some people also call "bad pain," and there is never any low back pain (although I do feel some intense muscular action in a pattern which duplicates that of the iliopsoas muscular pair).
So painwise, one vote for "keep doing the half-bending."
Moodwise, one vote against doing the half-bending.
Ashtanga practice is exceptionally difficult with cranky outer hips. The last freaking thing I want to do is 11 forward bends. But I know that if I cut Primary and only do Intermediate, vinyasa will get harder and endurance decreases.
Plus, a great many non-Ashtanga poses really answer my outer hips' need for stretching, so it looks like I need a substantial extra-curricular practice. Where the hell am I supposed to find the time for THAT?
Things that I believe I can trust as true:
1) I do NOT wish to make some hybrid Ashtanga practice. That path leads to the Dark Side, as our resident Dark Sider Cody can attest.
2) The Matthew Sweeney vinyasa sequences feel absolutely FANTASTIC on the outer hips, even when they get really backbendy.
3) Freeform standing sequences (like rotations in Warrior 1) also feel fantastic. Erich Schiffman is on to something with that whole idea.
4) Winter ashtanga practice, even at the Y, is hard-fought struggle. Rewarding, but not appetizing. I need to put my tapas hat on if I'm to maintain that.
5) Ashtanga backbending in the winter tends to crack me open in ways that border on traumatic, and much moreso emotionally than physically. This is a challenge I'm willing to accept, but said backbending also comes with "outer hip hangover." Not too attractive a prospect.
6) BUT, apparently "my pose" is dropping back and standing up. This is really the core of the paradox. HOW BADLY, given that there's no authorized ashtanga within A HUNDRED AND FIFTY FUCKING MILES OF ME, do I need to acquire that skill? How badly?
What do I do here? Ashtanga when I feel like it? Risky; dark side thinking. Sweeney sequences early in the day and ashtanga practices LATER? A little "pre-practice" routine to crack the outer hip hangover? Give up the dropbacks? Drink more water? Add some kind of daily cross-training like running a mile or hitting a stairmaster? Pursue poses that seem to hit these muscles, like halfmoon bow pose (reach back for the extended foot)?
What is the formula?
Of course there's no answer to that; I would have come across it by now if there were.
Or do I just wait for warm weather when all of this gets easier? Of course, that won't do either.
I wish that wrestling with this beast was, itself, enough of a warmup. Now that would rule.