The straight leg jump through wasn't too bad. I'd learned it a year or so ago but had tended to stick with my floaty half Kino crossed leg version. I tried it again the other day, but crashed and burned. Not to worry, I fished out the blocks, the socks and the blindfold and retired to the bathroom for half an hour (slippery floor for the socks). It's taken me a couple of goes to get it back but it's pretty much there (It's on the video below after the lame jump back). Not graceful or elegant perhaps and not a lot of control but hopefully that will come. The main thing is that I've got over the fear of smashing my feet into the mat, can start slowing it down a little now. I'm doing a couple of Ashtanga practices in the evening so will confine myself to the straight leg version throughout the practice.
Jumping back without crossing the legs is hard though..... or is it? There's me tearing my hair out about it and beloved wife M. gets up, gets down on the floor and asks 'Oh, do you mean like this?' lifts up and takes her legs back and through. Now she doesn't practice yoga, or anything else for that matter. She has arms like twiglets and no core strength to speak of (she did the same once before with Marichiyasa D "Oh, are you trying to do THIS'). Once I started speaking to he again it became apparent that she's not really using any arm strength but just lifting her hips up and pivoting. It seems to be all in the hand placement and swinging the head down and hips up.
So I tried it and tried it and...... then I would make her show me some more and kept her at it until her arms were like jelly and then I'd try it again. Perhaps I'm a little closer but only marginally. Maybe I'm too used to the crossed leg version or I rely on upper body strength too much.
Came across this section in Ramaswami's Complete book of Vinyasa Krama, this morning, that I'd forgotten about. It's at the beginning of the Asymmetric sequence. It's basically prep for the jump back.
So you sit on your haunches in Utkatasana. You exhale stop the breath and engage the bandhas, press down through your palms and lift the heels off the floor keeping your knees in the same bent position. You stay in this Utpluthi position for a couple of breaths. Next you do the same thing but this time lifting your feet off the ground, then you bend your knees and bring the feet up and backward while still holding the breath out and jump back into Chaturanga.
I tried and it was much better. I was still having trouble getting to this position from seated. Eventually I realized where I was going wrong. I was still trying to bring my feet in before lifting. It seems to be better to bring the knees to the chest but NOT the feet to the buttocks. Then you lift up and bring your head over your knees, this brings the hips up and the feet pretty much through. It worked well on a couple of thin books and pretty much without, although I took the yogatowel with me.
Ramaswami explains the uncrossed version by arguing that, 'The purpose of jumping back is to move the legs backward together so that the alignment of the legs and hips is undisturbed (as would happen if the legs were crossed or moved back one at a time).' Fair enough.
It'll come...... wont it?
Being the holidays I've been playing around a little, this time with handstands. I'm still working on the press to handstand but am more interested now in longer stays while up there. I want to get controlled enough for tick tocks and that scorpion pose, what's it called Viparita Vrikshasana (picture on the right, except my feet should be on my head, felt so close while I was doing it, the camera lies)?
Saw a video on Youtube of David Kyle lowering down really slowly and then taking it back up again. In the video I'm trying to slow the descent. OK just watched it back, it felt slower than it looks.
What else, taught my first Vinyasa Krama lesson yesterday, to M of course. I chose the Seated sequence as there's nothing too scary there. She did brilliantly but it was a shock realizing all the things that I now take for granted. I was having to adapt poses a lot and realized how perfect Vinyasa krama is for beginners, So many variations that you can pull out of the hat. For instance you might not be able to go deeper and deeper into Paschimottanasana but you can use those hand variations to work your edge and not get bored or too frustrated that your not getting in as deep as someone else. Perhaps I'd like to teach this after all someday, spent a lot of years in other forms of teaching, forgot how much fun it is. Taught her some Pranayama too, nice practicing that together.
There was one point though where she was struggling with Navasana, I swear she was thinking, 'yeah but I can jump back without crossing my legs. And you...?'
Anyway holiday over, the long Asymmetric sequence today.