Back Bend Break Throughs

It is no secret that the APP loves the blog Stories of Spontaneous Combustion. This latest post on Gabriela’s break through in full wheel is amazing.


wheelpose954 During self-practice these days I decided to revert back to the primary series. Mainly, to give myself an incentive to stand up from urdhva dhanurasana. I decided I wouldn’t work on intermediate again until I could do this. I know that Sharath doesn’t let anyone start intermediate till they’ve mastered this bit, and I figured, there must be a reason for it.

I researched online and found every possible resource to guide me through it. I found some really valuable advice by Kino MacGregor, saying that you should press the insides of your feet on the ground. What a difference that makes. A blog on the Ashtanga Picture Project said you need to believe that you can do it. A few weeks back, I’d asked a certified teacher who lives here in Mysore, Philippa Asher, how to stand up and she said you have to use the breath.

So every day, I completed the primary series, dropped back, pressed the insides of my feet on the ground, tried to believe that I was gonna spring back up, and breathed. wheel956

Nothing happened.

I wasn’t anxious to get the pose or anything, there’s no rush and I’m well aware that all is coming if you just keep practicing. And if it didn’t, well, pura vida, at least I tried my ass off. So I stuck to my little routine. Pressing, believing, breathing.

Then last Friday, something miraculous happened. No, I didn’t stand up from Urdhva Dhanurasana. The Costa Rican football team (called la Sele) beat Italy at the World Cup in Brazil. Jaws dropped everywhere. Tears were shed. No one was expecting this, not even the Costa Rican football players, I’m pretty sure. I was chatting with a friend back home after the game and we resolved that if our team had beat Uruguay andItaly, then everything was possible. EVERYTHING.

The next day, when I stepped onto the playing field of my mat I thought, if Bryan Ruiz scored a goal against Italy, then I can surely get up from urdhva dhanurasana. wheelpose1008

I finished the series. I pressed. I believed. Only this time, I really believed. I breathed. I pushed my pelvis forward and got onto the tips of my fingers. I felt waves of electricity circling from my hands to my feet. It was like being strapped into the electric chair. I was zapped, my body collapsed to the floor. But I’d felt something. I’d felt energy moving to my legs, and I was pretty sure this was the energy that lifted you up.

The next day…

I pressed. I really believed. I breathed. I got zapped. And then my body sprang up to standing. Gooooooooooooooooool! Gooooooooooooooool de Costa Rica! Gooooool gooool goool.

Like a replay on television of the moment of victory, I repeated it about twenty times to make sure it had really happened. Yup. It was for real.

I assumed I was going to feel ecstatic all day. Ha.

After I practiced, I showered, ate and got ready to start working. As soon as I sat down in front of my laptop, I started sobbing. Uncontrollably. The tears took me completely by surprise. It couldn’t be PMS. Everything was great. But I couldn’t stop crying. How could one not cry, when the sky turned orange and pink and yellow at sunset. I went to the grocery store and I couldn’t reach the toilet paper on the shelf so a man came and helped me. He was just so kind, so sweet looking. I walked out of the store and started sobbing again. I wanted to call my mother. Then the floodgates really opened.


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Join the movement. Send Ashtanga posts, pictures and videos to shanna@wellnessfrominside.com.

Pictures in this post from APP contributors and the views of the author are not necessarily their own.

Shanna Small has been practicing Ashtanga Yoga and studying the Yoga Sutras since 2001. She has studied in Mysore with Sharath Jois and is the Director of AYS Charlotte, a school for traditional Ashtanga in Charlotte NC. She has written for Yoga International and the Ashtanga Dispatch. Go here for more information on AYS Charlotte. For information on workshops, please e-mail shanna@ashtangayogaproject.com.

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