In the comment section on a previous post it come up that in Iyengar, 12-20 Drop backs may be recommended. It was also related that Iyengar himself dropped back 108 times on his 80th birthday.
Now this blew me away, 108! 12-20! I'm used to 3-5 in Ashtanga (Although as I point out in the previous post to this one, there are 21 back bends in the full Mysore back bend sequence as presented in Matthew Sweeney's book ASTANGA AS IT IS).
I take Sunday as my day off regular practice, rather than Saturday so thought I'd give the multiple drop backs a try.
Surprisingly it went well, really well. I did a little Vinyasa Krama back bend prep. basically leaning back in Tadasana with different hand variations. I followed that with Five UD's and then went straight into Drop Back's. The first one went so well that I thought I'd video the whole thing and edit it up later. I expected a couple of good one's coming up after a little rocking, some fails where I wouldn't manage to come back up, lots of pauses. I thought I might manage six.
As it turned out I did fifteen. The first fourteen without any rocking. The last one I had to rock once before coming up and decided to call it a day. A couple of times I go to far forward and have to reach out to the wall and a couple I have to take a step back. in the middle somewhere there are a couple where I come up and then go straight back, those were my favourites.
I'm using my new drop back approach that I try to outline here.
I can't get over how meditative it was. You begin to get a rhythm going (best ones are at 6.00), the breath is steady, your very focused, it was really quite wonderful. If it was like this after the first attempt then it really should be marvelous when I can go straight up and down on the breath.
Best of all I don't feel any strain, tension or ache just very very relaxed, peaceful and mellow. 108 doesn't seem such madness, in fact I imagine it's quite a profound experience.
I believe they tend to do the 108 on their birthday's, mine is in July and I think I might have to give it a try.
UPDATE: The morning after
My back felt a little stiff this morning so decided to go with Primary instead of Intermediate. Went round twice in Garbha Pindasana. Interesting the comment that Iyengar went easy on the backbends when he decided to focus on Pranayama. Some of the Drop Back's yesterday were better than others, smoother, I'm guessing the stiffness comes from the not so great ones. I didn't feel at the time that I was straining to come up in anyway. I might give it a miss tonight and then take ten minutes rest before doing them after 2nd tomorrow.
This has been going on all week now so have decided to christen it the Iyengar Drop back challenge week.