Again, Primary to Kapo, four of what are coming to be called my cat-paw Kapo hangbacks, five wheels, three dropbacks, closing.
Yes, that is a lot of backbending, I agree.
I took Kapo about a foot and a half from the wall, and dropped back right to the wedge where floor meets wall, and it was hands-and-head at once, like in a slightly clumsy dropback into the wheel from standing. Now, I'm of the opinion that some months ago, I was clearly hitting hands first. WTF with this hands-and-head show? But while I was puzzled, I decided not to walk in (which has been disappointing) but simply to press up for five from there. It worked, the inner thighs turned to flaming steel, and then I was able to raise my hands, STILL arching back, put my hands "in my pockets," as they say, and then RAISE the whole torso. Like God's own Laghuvajrasana or something. That's totally uncommon; NEVER happens.
So I was puzzled by the bad of it and I was puzzled by the good of it.
What a fantastic mystery that pose is.
Anyway, on to four cat-paw Kapo hangs. They're not really hangs (although they are); I think of them more as controlled, calm dropbacks from kneeling, the MAIN IDEA being to press the arms straight for five. That's MUCH more important to me than hanging back in the air, because I want EXTENSION of those hip flexors, not endurance (or, I want endurance so secondarily to extension, that it's as if I'm not interested in it).
And I got it!
Yesterday I got to just-under-knees height by the fourth Kapo hang-drop.
Today I got my fingertips to the FLOOR (hands still to wall). Now that may seem unremarkable, but I then pressed my arms straight from there, and let me say, as the Texans do, BOY HOWDY does that get into the hip flexors. I had to MAXIMALLY engage the inner thighs just to be able to do it. Blazing stretch across the front hips, deep bend in the lumbar spine. Downright reminiscent of Matthew, and later Kate, bending me into Kapo barehanded over the summer.
Again the formula is this:
1. Kneel, in my case about 16 inches from a wall.
2. Arch back, hands to hips; hands to chest; hands to chin; hands to forehead. Hang if you want (I did, for probably 10 breaths or more). Extend arms straight.
3. Drop back, and (it must be) CAT PAW SOFT, hands to wall. No wall walking.
4. PRESS ARMS STRAIGHT. This is the money shot of the whole sequence.
5. Take five breaths (or more, but I take five) and then the THIGHS lift you off. No pushing the wall.
6. Hands come up overhead, arms straight as long as possible, then namaste, then sit. Recover in seated for 10 breaths or so. Repeat, if you like.
It is massive, massive intensity in the front thighs. My breathing got challenged--steady still, but under a bit of duress--in the deepest of my four bends today. It's the closest I've come to my summer Kapo adjustments, EVER. And I think it's my doorway to Kapo. I can imagine hands flat on the floor, and pressing arms straight. I can imagine seeing my feet, as the initial hang back develops. I can imagine seizing the feet from the air.
I believe that I SEE THE LIGHT at the end of this freakin' insane TUNNEL.
(Ah, but you say, that light is the train of Bakasana B, of Eka Pada Sirsasana, of Dwi Pada, of Tittibhasana C, of Karandavasana, of Mayurasana/Nakrasana....yes, yes, it's true, all of it's true, but as someone once told me, Intermediate plays to my strengths AFTER KAPO).
I may begin playing with coming to standing in my Urdhva Dhanurasanas. After the four cat-paw Kapo's, my wheels are clean and strong. Time to add some difficulty, right?