Funky elbows are great learning tools. You have to really balance opposing forces in the joint to make it good yoga, right? It's the perfect place to play strength off of flexibility. Too locked in the joint, and you lose all muscular action, you're just relying on bone stacking to keep you upright. But too much muscular action and you pull the bones out of alignment.
Recent practice discoveries on my end... A couple, yes. I was practicing on my mother's floors recently, and in an effort to keep from waking TT from his nap, I had to work extra hard to control the jumps. I mean, "I reallyreallyreally don't want to wake this baby" hard. Nothing like fear to really engage those bandhas. So that was interesting.
And I've been trying to contact my shoulder blades. As in, I need to use my shoulder blades to guide me through vinyasas. Keeping the little suckers flat against my back, slightly drawn in, opens my chest, lifts my palate and engages my lats all at once. It also keeps the head of my arm bone engaged in its socket. If I keep awareness in this way, jumps are less effort, more about breath and bandha than brute strength (which I don't have much of anyway). Now I'm beginning to see that the mechanics of ashtanga are not just available to men. This may in fact be a gender-blind practice. The secretly self-hating female in me sometimes thinks that she's playing a man's game. But it turns out that a little anatomical savvy neutralizes the field.
Which brings me to this question: do you ever think about the gender politics of this field? Both at the organizational level (teachers, studio owners, etc), and at the asana level, I mean. I need to organize my deep thoughts on the subject. Let me get back to you....