I think Owl once said, "The whole practice is in the triangles." Maybe it's a misquote, it doesn't matter, I've let it be attributed or not.
Monday mornings, I try to go to the studio after dropping off the kid at daycare, and practice however much is appropriate (this, currently, means until white-energy-release happens, or if that doesn't happen, Primary and Pasasana).
Most days, particularly in the mornings, I am hung up in the outer right hip and in the right lower back. This, my friends, is the psoas, it's the only muscle (and of course it sets off attendant fascia) that goes from the lower back into the front hip. Have a Google Images search if you're not an anatomy geek.
I can tell often even from Samasthiti that it's going to be a "right psoas day" which usually means that I won't finish standing series. But the bonus of doing that little practice is that when I crack into the white-energy-release of the held stress of the psoas, I get a wonderful opening that lasts all day. Maybe it's not an "opening" in the sense of new flexibility, but it's certainly an opening as to not being shut up with stress, closed with negative emotions.
The adventure begins with the first Uttanasana.
Because the right lower back is tight, I immediately, on the first proper exhalation, feel a sort of vertical "bar" of tightness over there. Downward dog is also a like adventure in the right lower back.
But I work envelope breathing (breathe first, move second) because I am concentrating on the sensation, not on achieving a series, and this has really deepened my concentration overall, for things beyond the asana practice.
The Virabhadrasanas in Surya B are the next adventure: each dip of the right knee brings with it some cranking hip opening. The Urdhva Mukhas begin to get involved, as the front hip stretches and the low back, from repeated down dogs, begins to give.
Padangusthasana and Pada Hastasana are wonderful in that spine-lengthening release of the low back. I feel nothing in the hamstrings until I press into the toes, lightening the heels. But that right low back "bar" of tension, it stretches like an anamorphic image, pulls open, bleeds out psychedelically, like some wacko YouTube video.
And all of that from SIMPLE FORWARD FOLDS that we hold maybe, what, a MINUTE?
Then Trikonasana, consciously pressing the shoulder blades *backward* and pulling up on the big toe. The outer hip (top hip) engages a bit to pull up and loosens a bit to move the shoulderblades back; active release. Brilliant.
A lesson from my own yoga students in Parivrtta Trik: watch the ribcage and its tendency to shorten on one side and extend on the other. Move the front-leg hip backwards, and pull the top shoulder away from it. Uncurl those side ribs and the opening is immense.
Twists are the most impinged poses when I have a "right hip day." Twists, then backbends, and then forward folds. Really, nothing is ideal, but twists take the biggest hit, which also means that twists can give the greatest opening.
Same "shoulder and hip backwards" action in Parsvakonasana. With right leg bent, nothing, but with left leg bent, HUGE almost ripping sensations in the outer right hip. That fascia which binds pelvic crest to greater trochanter: IMMENSE.
Glowing energy hangover; could not go right to Parivrtta Parsva.
Even in that posture, I couldn't make the prayer twist, too deep, too big. Had to grab thigh with both hands and barely tuck the elbow outside it. Scrunching, squeezing, extending: crunch the right hip together on the first side, massively extend that stress-laden fascia on the second side.
And that was enough. I couldn't get energy to flow between my solar plexus and my foot on that side anymore. Big glowing energy jam in the right hip, all over.
So I took rest from that point, and let the stress sink into the floor. It takes about fifteen minutes on the floor for that work to calm down, and I was thinking, "This is no beginner's practice, no beginner can do this with energy" and that got me thinking about Richard Freeman who, in his most recent book the name of which I'm spacing right now, says that the body is the "piece of the cosmos" given to us that we might learn about all of reality.
I've discovered that what I want relationship-wise with J is not so much "to get this" or "to avoid this" as to negotiate to certainty. Here's what I mean by that:
Sometimes in reply to any sort of affection (and this includes hugs in the living room) J will say something like, "I'm really busy and stressed." Now, this is true, but as a "reply" it doesn't answer anything.
For example: does that mean "I'm really busy and stressed, and if you want some attention later, you're going to have to try harder to persuade me?"
Or does it mean, "I'm really busy and stressed, so I think we should hold off all attention until break/summer/sometimelater?"
Or does it mean something else?
By "certainty," I mean a reply I can sort of "graph" on a yes-no line. J is a big fan of talking about her conditions without giving me any idea of what that means for interacting with her. I don't think that's directly evasive (although I did, for a while), I think it's that she's just not thinking of her life conditions in what I've just called "yes-no" terms.
J has what people-who-study-this-sorta-thing call "responsive desire," which means that she's very rarely going to say, "Hey, how about we do this?" and is much more likely to RESPOND to someone else's suggestion to that effect. This is why she can come across as hard to read, especially for someone who likes overt consent, the way I do.
This also means, I've discovered, that when she answers me with "I'm really stressed," I can proceed to be affectionate and suggestive until I get a solid "no" or "let's do this later" or some more CERTAIN answer about if when and how. In fact, the good thing about responsive desire and someone who does not easily say yes/no, is that I can keep suggesting this idea until it becomes a more ready priority, which is how the first five years of our relationship worked. Basically, J's reponsiveness got hooked directly to my more active model (I need consent first, but once I get it, I turn active), and our whole dynamic was as simple as "Mhm? Mhm. Proceed" for years. YEARS. Didn't know what I had in the old days. Oh well. Anyway:
The other cool thing about negotiation-unto-yes/no is that I realize that what I want is Certainty, not a particular outcome. This maybe plays into the long frustration of my former marriage, which was all headfuckery and lived in "Maybe" so that the whole thing became a perennial tease where I could be pushed and pulled to-and-fro at will like a cat toy.
Certainty precludes that: it's as if I can take my current level of interest, introduce it, get a clear response, and then either proceed or put it down, and then it's down, because I know EXACTLY how it fits into that moment of relationship. Yes is yes, no is no, and later it's the same choice between, and it's always like that.
Ambiguity and "maybe" is like a yes perenially ABOUT to fall, but I'm never sure when, so I always have to be ready for it 24/7, which not only takes an ENORMOUS amount of dedicated surveillance and waiting, but takes an ADDITIONAL enormous amount of waiting-ready energy ALL THE TIME. It can never go slack, because you have to be there CONSTANTLY so if that thing tips, you can pounce on it.
What a total waste of life energy that system is/was.
So really, this is all about energy: practice, life, relating. Energy.