This was my second attempt at the Week 26-30 sequence - I only made it half way through.
Still it was better than my first aborted attempt a few days ago:
Anticipating the Urdhva Padmasana in Sirsasana (Lotus in Headstand pose) I’d started practice with a series of Padmasana warm up poses. After 10 minutes of these I felt overcome with vertigo and had to abandon the yoga practice.
I’ve experienced this kind of vertigo a few times before (not in the past year) and I think it comes from the strong redirecting of energy that is stirred up in Padmasana poses - my head is flooded with prana (this is just a hypothesis). I do know that yoga practice gradually purifies our physical and energetic systems so that we can channel increasingly strong energies in preparation for the power surge that comes with enlightenment.
Tonight I may not have been in the best condition to try this sequence again: a long hard day at work, a half hour walk home, a one hour marathon caught at my talkative landlady’s back door in the chilly night air…I started practice at 7.15pm, hungry.
But figuring that any practice is a good one, I started…
Warmed up with Dog Pose, Uttanasana and lunges. The into Padmasana preps: the standing half lotus forward bend (Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana), the seated half lotus forward bend (Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana); seated full Padmasana, and from there I laid backwards and allowed my Padmasana legs to lift up before VERY gradually lowering them to the floor into a pose I’ll call Supta Padmasana.
This Supta Padmasana stretches open all the front groin muscles as well as the deeper internal muscles, and if I'd cupped my hands behind my head it would have simulated a horizontal replica of Padmasana in Sirsasana.
I didn’t feel physically or mentally ready to start the sequence but I did anyway.
Straight into the first pose: 15 breaths in Headstand, then the Parivritta and Eka Pada variations. I lifted back up to full headstand and spent a few moments dissolving my anxiety about the next pose Urdhva Padmasana in Sirsasana. I needed a clear, calm approach, not a scrambled one.
From Headstand, I bent my right leg into half lotus easily; although I could bend my left leg OK, my left foot just wouldn’t slip in front of my right shin into full lotus now matter what I did. I had to be content with a semi-lotus. Same story on the other side: left leg bent easily into position, but the second leg wouldn’t quite comply. I fell out of the pose landing safely.
With the hands cupped around the head in Headstand, you can’t reach up to pull the legs into the lotus position like you can in Shoulderstand. I guess the joints in my hips and knees have to become more and amenable to slip into lotus unaided.
Shoulderstand and all its variations took 15 minutes again tonight.
I made a point of trying Iyengar’s ‘legs up’ version of Urdhva Padmasana in Shoulderstand. It was more difficult for me than the Ashtanga version. Knees pointing up stretches the front groins and hip joints a lot more, and the tailbone has to move deeply into the body as the pubis slides upwards which pinched into my sacrum. Even so, this variation felt beneficial and oddly stimulating (as new poses often do). I look forward to working more on it.
Next: Jatara…then the abdominal poses…then on to the seated forward bends – nothing new here except the observation that my body is releasing a bit further into the seated forward bends.
Not wanting to burn out too early, I limited myself to 5 long Ujjiya breaths in all these poses.
Then came the four Padmasana poses and the realization that this sequence is ALL ABOUT PADMASANA.
Four consecutive Padmasana poses doesn’t sound like much, but by the time I got to Matsyasana, I’d really had enough. My hips ached which drained my energy and I suddenly felt mentally and emotionally worn out.
On the second side of Matsyasana (with legs still in full lotus), Buffy climbed onto my lotus lap with her toy. I just flopped out of the pose and gave it all away!
I was tired and hungry.
This sequence will be a good test for my commitment because already I don’t like it. Even though I can do Padmasana fairly easily, staying in it for more than a few minutes causes strange, unearthly, unfamiliar sensations (mmm…yoga pain)
So it was only half the sequence but still a good practice even though I didn’t get to the backbends.
I’ll have to try again later this week when my evening is more settled.