A Bound Lotus Diary by Liz McCollum
Bound Lotus Day 1
I probably should have asked this question before I started, silly me, but 11 minutes means 5.5 minutes on each side? Or is it 11 minutes per side, in which case I’ll be doing Day 1 Redux tomorrow. ….Better to figure it out now than halfway through of course…
Anywho, I did about 50 minutes of my regular hatha practice, placing a bit more emphasis on my hips and shoulders. Then I pretzeled myself up. Ok, not exactly. I went with my best half lotus + big toe holding on the one side, and held my elbow on the other. I think I’m not doing it that way again though, because I felt quite crooked. Tomorrow – long socks for my other hand! I knew I had and loved them for a reason. =)
Once bound and folded, I didn’t find it to be so bad. 5 and a half minutes isn’t so long, so my mind didn’t have much time to get restless. And either I was well warmed up and propped up, or I was doing something really wrong, because I didn’t even have much discomfort in the pose. I’m guessing maybe it’s more the doing it wrong. But coming out my shoulders were unhappy. Especially my right one. I’ll have to be aware of that during my warm ups throughout the next 39 days. One side done, stretched a smidge, and back in on the other side. Again, not so bad. I am glad I spent some time listening to the music in the last week, because that helped me gauge my time as well.
(Editor’s Note: Regarding her question on timing for each side, the answer is choose what is right for your body. You can do 5.5 on each side. Or you can do 11 on one side and switch the next day. Or you can do 11 on each side and do 22 minutes a day if you are ready for that….)
Bound Lotus Day 2
Well, today was quite different from yesterday. I woke up feeling soreness in my hamstrings, which is not so unusual for me after yoga. There was also a little soreness in my back and shoulders. The difference between today and any other pre-challenge day was I couldn’t just change my yoga focus and work something else today. Because guess what self, Bound Lotus is Bound Lotus, and it’s not going to magically start using different parts somehow.
So I made the decision that instead of doing my regular style of practice, a mostly vinyasa flow type of thing, I went to the manual. I did my regular warm up and sun salutations, but then did about 30 minutes of the various stretches listed. I also did most of the first series listed. Was that the Spinal Series?? Whatever it was, I definitely felt plenty warm after I finished it all.
As for my Bound Lotus, once again I chose half lotus, plus I tried some creative strapping so I could have something to hold onto with my non-toe hand. I definitely felt much more going on in my hips today, and my mind was really working. I tried to focus on my breath and the recitation to stay calm and present. Of course realizing halfway through that I hadn’t done what I needed to do to get lunch going during my practice didn’t help me out either. But I persevered and made it through. Once again my right shoulder was very unhappy when unwinding and after. And I realized not long ago that my deltoids are quite sore. I’ve had some issues with tightness in that area in the past, so I guess it’s just par for the course.
I enjoyed seeing how different day 2 was to day 1. I wonder what tomorrow will bring me.
Bound Lotus Day 3
Today was similar to yesterday. My mind was antsy, my hips were talking to me about all the other things I could be doing. And still my right shoulder complained. If I remember, tomorrow I want to do half lotus with the left leg first, and see what that does for my shoulder. I’ve been doing right first for these 3 days, and it still hurts even when I switch sides. Maybe giving it a little break will help?
Anyway, I really love my warm up time. Day 2 and 3 were very different from the yoga practice I’m used to (a much more active vinyasa), but really very relaxing and enjoyable. I’m not sure what’s going to happen tomorrow. I have my weekly yoga class at 3, so I’m not sure if I should do Bound Lotus when I wake up, or wait until after class tomorrow. Or something? We’ll see what happens, it should be entertaining no matter what. I see a lot more pillows and props in my future!
Bound Lotus Day 4
Warm up! Warm up! Warm up! That’s the lesson I took from today’s practice, which was the closest thing to miserable I can imagine. Reading some of the comments from various people on the discussion boards and other random places was making me think I might be spending way more time warming up and getting ready than others/necessary. Turns out I was definitely doing the right thing for my body by giving it a good hour of yoga and stretching.
Also today I didn’t have the recitation going because I was using my ipod as a timer rather than the kitchen timer (nice gf that I am, I didn’t want it to wake my bf when it beeped). So I tried to just mentally recite what I could remember of the Re Man, which was only the first 3 lines. My favorite three lines, but not so many. Yeah, that wasn’t so good either. My mind’s voice isn’t nearly as soothing as Snatam‘s!
As difficult as it was to make it through today, it was a very valuable lesson for me. First to trust myself to know how much warming up is appropriate for my body. And second, skipping it because I don’t want to somehow overdo it on yoga is a really bad idea. Next Friday I will treat my body with much more kindness.
Bound Lotus Day 5
Has it really been five days already? I’ve really done this pose 5 times?? Wow, go me.
Anyway, Bound Lotus makes me think of 2 things. Thing 1 is I am really glad that I’ve done a little bit of yin yoga, because I think holding such an intense pose for any length of time is really challenging physically and mentally. Um, duh Liz. Also, it reminds me of To Kill A Mockingbird. I don’t remember the name of the old woman who breaks her morphine addiction by having Jem read to her. And she puts all of her energy into just listening for the timer to go off, to free her from the intense effort she is making. Granted I should probably be putting my mind to other things, like the shabad or something meditative. But one step at a time. First the body, then the mind?
Anyway, I really didn’t want to practice today, being quite sore from my yoga class yesterday. But I did, and it was good. Intense, yes. Challenging, yes. But it was good. Although I did peek at my timer a couple of times. I just couldn’t not, I was so antsy. But I am starting to love the feeling I get during my savasana, and after. So relaxed, and so accomplished. It’s a fun thing.