state of the backbend 2013, plus sophie does kapotasana with no effort at all

Time to do a back bending check and…not much to report.  It’s so sad!  I think I’m just….stuck.

Anyway, black sleeves is this morning, 2013,  and red tank is 2010, three years ago, or about six months after I started ashtanga.  Which definitely shows some improvement, but….


[WHY can’t I get wordpress to put these pictures next to each other??? It is driving me batshit.  Oh well.  Moving on.]

…but I’m not sure there is any difference between today and 2011 (blue tank top).


My back had opened quite a bit between 2010 and 2011, and so I thought for sure things would continue in that vein, but not so much.

Can we say plateau?


One thing that has shifted (a tiny bit) is that my upper back has a bit more give.  In the 2011, I was hinging at the lower back a lot, with nothing in the upper back.  Here is the upper back without the lower back hinge (so I wasn’t going back as far as I could, rather, trying to lift through the upper back), this morning:

Compared to the red tank picture three years ago, there is something happening now in the thoracic.  But not much.

As for urdhva dan…


(Gah, hate that my shirt was all baggy, oh well…vanity is bad for me anyway)

Compared to last year…


Maybe those hands are slightly more underneath the shoulders?  Maybe my arms are slightly more straight now?  When Sophie was taking the pictures this morning she kept saying, “Come on, Mom, straighten your arms!  Straighter!  You can do it!”  “I AM straightening them!  This is straight!”

Millimeter by millimeter….

But, and perhaps more importantly, backbends are still grueling. I have to talk myself into it every time.  “You can do it, Maya!  Stop being a wuss!”  It’s hard to make myself do them, which, I’m sure, contributes to slow progress.  What to do, what to do?  If anything.  I long for a strong and flexible spine, but instead I’ve got a back made of cement.  Longer stays, but they are so uncomfortable.  Longer stays in milder versions of the poses, but I’m having a hard time finding that balance, I guess.

Backbends and jumpbacks: the two parts of the asana practice I just can’t seem to make progress in.

How did my spine get so intractable?  I seriously wonder whether it is even possible to soften up at this point.  Or if, at 42 (well, not quite, birthday is next week), this as flexible as it is going to get?

In contrast, here is Sophie’s 9 year old spine (well, 8 today, birthday next week, too):

Full kapo with ankle grab, no warm up, just flopped onto the mat and slammed back into it.  She calls this pose “the lump” because a lump is what she feels like she becomes.


A lot happens to a spine between 9 and 42.  Little fairies come and inject cement into the intra-vertebral spaces while you sleep….

2 thoughts on “state of the backbend 2013, plus sophie does kapotasana with no effort at all

  1. Pingback: fun with props! backbending over a folding chair for extended stays without panic | mayaland

  2. Pingback: ashtanga yoga, five years in: state of the backbend | mayaland

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