This is from a note I just sent to a friend about how practice is going:
I am struggling with practice — which doesn’t surprise me. It’s not pleasant, but I guess it’s necessary. Today I did three kapo tries on my own, then one of the assistants squatted down and said, “Do you want help?”
I said, “Yes. I want you to tell me the secret to making this work.”
He said, “Don’t think too much.” Hahaha! As if!
So now I am not just trying to undo all of the years of weightlifting, but also all of the years of trying to figure this pose out with my analytic mind. He suggested I NOT walk my hands up alongside my feet, but that I put my feet further apart & walk my hands right up the feet. I had that very thought a few months ago, but the common teaching method is alongside the feet. So I’m going to go with his suggestion tomorrow and see how it goes.
Then he assisted me on my last one. I caught my right heel, then was scrabbling at the very top of my left foot. He just pushed my elbow a tiny bit and I had my other heel. I can tell this pose is different from last year because once I have my heels, it feels comfortable to settle my elbows and take five pretty lengthy breaths (whereas last year, it was intensely uncomfortable to be in that position). And when the assistants help me grab my ankles at the very end of practice, it feels fine — whereas last year it felt like I was going to tear in half.
As he was leaving he said, “It’s coming.” And he’s right. All I’m battling right now is my own impatience. It makes me deeply uncomfortable to not be able to do something. I feel incompetent — and that makes me feel ashamed. This is deeper stuff than yoga practice, of course! I’m pretty accustomed to being able to do whatever I want, as soon as I want. So now it’s about just working and having patience — and a good dose of faith.