Monday night saw me do two things I didn't know were coming (well, three actually):
1. I took off from Pasasana and held--for like three breaths--a tucked pressup (knees in air, not on arms, arms bent, face not on floor). Just hangin' out there. It was like early stuff written by Jason back in the day. Shucks! This also happened after both Krounchasanas. It had receded by the Bakasanas. It completely suprised me and actually it cracked me up.
2. Supta Vajrasana, with toes bound, and almost a full arch back to the floor. It was really nice having someone assist (my self-assist at the Y never pins my knees well enough). My elbows were not touching the floor, but I couldn't BOTH touch my head down and keep the toes. A spectator said I was about an inch away. So that's super cool. I'm not sure how it translates in my Kapo, but it's cool.
3. I did Kapo by myself; down, walked in, bumped the toes, counted five, pressed bent-armedly up, held for five, launched upward. Ahhh.
TODAY's Kapotasana (which, as usual, is at the end of a full Primary and ten poses of Intermediate), I did twice. The first time was at the end of my asana practice, and I got stuck, forehead and feet, and couldn't get the toes. The side grab made this worse, not better (it runs into some weird tightness in the shoulder as I rotate outward). No good.
So I did three of my catpaw Kapo dropbacks, each one lower than the last, pressing the arms straight. I took ten breaths in the third one. The hip flexors got this big beautiful cranking stretch, and I found that I HAD to engage the inner rotation of the thighs, powerfully, in order to keep the low back safe.
Then I decided to Kapo again.
I hung back a bit deeper, a bit longer, with hands to forehead. Dropped back; hands landed, head was quite clear. Good. The walk-in was easier, and I spidered it. Hands crept forward toward feet, by fingers, creeping and crawling like happy little spiders. And QUICKLY. This was not my usual elephant-plod of pick hand up and then plunk it down before my head lands. There was PLAY in the spinal bend.
It was like, "hands walk in, arch gradually lowers." Then, thighs engage and hands press down, and arch LIFTS. Then some more spidering in, and then sinking, and then LIFT. I've NEVER felt that in Kapo before. Something like it when I described it as "lifting the triangle from the top," but really, not like this.
Then my fingers ran not just to, BUT OVER, my toes. Ran right up them, climbed over, and dug into the divots between them and the foot. This amazed me. It was, well, suprisingly undifficult! I won't call it "easy." That was as far as I took the pose, and I think now I could have taken it even further, a bit! I actually LOWERED my elbows down, took five, and then walked the fingers BARELY off the toes and pressed up, took five, and rose. Again, Undifficult!
It was an awakening moment. Ahhh, so THAT is something like what REAL Kapotasana feels like!
For the record, over the summer, toe-divots are as deep as I have been TAKEN in that pose. I have NEVER BEFORE, without help, gotten that deep in Kapo.
But let us dress this down some as well:
I have some serious intense sensation in my spine. I did my five wheels after the Kapos, but did one hangback from standing, and no drops (they are still some ballistic and I wasn't in the mood to crank into the spine THAT MUCH on a Tuesday with a whole practice week remaining).
I could feel energy/fascia moving around in the right hip and glute ALL OVER the practice. That goes for Monday night's Intermediate, too. Stuff is MOVING in there. Transformation is coming, and transformation in the hips is DANGEROUS BUSINESS. SI joints are in there; spinal discs are being squeezed and such. The musculature that provides stability while walking is in there.
This is NOT a place to be cranking into new territory at full charge. Much care must be taken. Not that I'm going to back into fear and anxiety, but I really have to proceed with caution. Proceed, of course, but with full attention. Breath, bandhas, inner thigh rotation, ribs away, backbending lessons.
After upward facing dog, which always stretches it a bit, Trikonasana is where I first feel right-glute-hip action. Any twist; seated or standing. The Hanumanasana I've been adding after the Prasaritas (for about three weeks now). Half-lotus forward fold from standing. Any Janu Sirsasana (those are currently DELICIOUS hip openers for me). ALL Marichyasanas. Baddha Konasana if I hold it long enough to get it out of the adductors. There is unbelievable release in the opposite hip, during the swing-to-the-side position of Supta Padangusthasana. Pasanana gets ALL OVER the right hip; BOTH SIDES of it do. The Dhanurasanas are particularly intense there, and all backbends which follow them.
The Kapo dropbacks, as I've said before, FINALLY really move the stretch from the outer hip to the hip flexors proper. After those, my wheels are right-hip-stress free.
The second Kapo was a miracle, really. But it's not that I don't believe it; it's that I DO. I realized that I STILL haven't really gotten it into my head that it's a pose I can do. So when it comes (and it took a BIG step toward me today), it's a deep, deep change. And this is for my SHALLOW little TOE-Kapo. There is still all KINDS of work to be done with it.
I'm going to revisit "rest" later; as Owl once said, one of the keys to integrating deep backbending is MORE REST and FOR LONGER.
I am pleased with all things asana, and I'm totally chilled out after, as the semester ends and grading piles up. It's easier for me now than it used to be; less complaining, fewer inaccurate expectations.
We shall see, in the morning, how my spine feels. I find that I am very glad to have all of Primary's forward folds, and heating vinyasa, before I do my backbending.