Each day has been easier than the last, particularly given the week off which preceded them. Monday, I felt like I'd throw up in Kapotasana. Tuesday, I was trapped, hands under my head, in Kapotasana, hands not to feet, but I added hangbacks. Today, I was first not-to-feet, then did four formal to-the-wall Kapo dropbacks (my "catpaw" innovations as Karen has referred to them and as they are now known) and then Kapo'ed again, fingers firmly to toes, about a knuckle deep.
These three Kapos represent MONTHS of practice. It means that my "actual" Kapo is probably larger than any of them.
Standups did not happen on Monday; they happened to the knees on Tuesday; today they happened, but a wall was necessary to "support" the pubic bone and let me complete the un-arching to standing. Again, this is a buildup, a recovery of skills rusted over the stressy week off.
Lotuses were what I was looking out for; those and Supta Kurmasana. Would the right side of both knees permit the poses? Monday, I had to modify, loosen all my lotuses, and really wish the stretch in Supta K from the knee into the hip. It was tough, but no poses were lost. Tuesday I was deeper in standing half-lotus, easier in Marichyasana lotuses, no worries in Garbha Pindasana. Today, again, easier all around. Supta Kurmasana included. I might be able to put that foot behind my head tomorrow.
Primary really IS a healing practice; when I have physical issues with/from ashtanga practice, a return to Primary is always advised.
Backbending recipe: I believe, right now, that the key is hands closer to feet in Urdhva Dhanurasana. The hip flexors are the tight point in the Kapo arch.
Work toward ENDURANCE in the wheel. I moved to 8 breaths once upon a time, over the winter. Do it again.
Keep placing head down CLOSER to feet each time. Each wheel is tighter than the last.
Drop back CLOSER. Feet flat helps this. Sure, the drop with heels up is closer but that's because it takes the hip flexors out of the equation. That's cheating.
WALK IN before standing up. See about walking in TWICE. Work toward springy standups, the ones that will come when the hip flexors and abs aren't maximally straining from the bend and the drop. NOTE: walking in sufficiently far will increase the stretch and technically make standing up HARDER, at first. It might do well to walk in only once and then look for the springy stand.
Intermediate tomorrow--the whole thing--is the plan.