Resistance/Reward Ratio

I have found that generally speaking, the higher my resistance to getting to the mat on a given day, the more rewarding the practice on said day.

This morning was the first morning I was going to use the subway to get to Shala X. Had some issues with the little ones before getting to school, namely that Son Number 1 would not stop working on his math homework and leave the house (why was he working on his homework in the morning anyway?), which could have made both him AND his brother late to school, which (a) is unfair to his brother and (b) pressed the “play” button on my “I suck as a mom” tape loop. Finally got them to school, about one minute before the “Mark ‘Em Late Lady” appeared at the door, only to realize that after all that, Brian had left his math homework at home.

Brought Brian’s math homework to school, and walked to the subway, only to find that it had not been running for some time. There were MOBS of people flowing out of the 86th Street station, crowding onto busses heading down Lex and down Second Avenue. Someone who looked official said that the trains were running again, notwithstanding the outflow of people, so I went downstairs to get myself downtown.

The MTA reps and the cops all SAID the trains were running. And yet, the train in the station stood there. And stood there. And I had no desire to spend a half hour in a subway car, smashed against six other people in suits with their briefcases and backpacks smacking my legs. I did accomplish something while I stood there and waited for the train to leave so that another, less crowded one, could arrive…I arranged a playdate with a mom I recognized from the boys’ school. Good work, Yoga Chickie!

I’m pretty good at knowing when it’s time to cut my losses and not getting caught in a proverbial “Chinese Finger Game”, continuing to press on, when doing so only gets me in deeper….and so I decided it was time to give up on the subway and take a bus. When I got out into the daylight, the Lexington busses were still ridiculously crowded. So, I walked over to Second Avenue.

Unfortunately, by the time I got to Second, I had lost all motivation. This was becoming an inauspicious day to practice, it seemed. Instead of waiting on line for the bus, I went into The Little Red Hen for a scone and a coffee. Ahhhhh. Now that was good.

But what of my practice? For about twenty minutes there, there was to BE no practice. And then the clouds of resistance parted, and I found myself moving toward the Second Avenue bus….and on my way to Shala X, where I arrived 15 minutes late for the last Mysore session and somehow still managed to squeeze in my entire practice (alright, I did take only three breaths in each downward facing dog, and Madam did seem to rush me through Uttitha Hasta Padangusthasana, after confirming what NYC bloggers have been saying of late, which is that we start with the leg STRAIGHT, if possible, and for me, it actually IS possible….)

At the end of Mari C, she asked me if I was practicing Mari D. I said no. And then I gave into my urge to ask…”so do you think…soon…maybe?” She said it was up to Sir. But of course.

Later, as I was leaving, I was chatting with a shala mate, who told me that Petri gave her Chakra Bandasana only to have Sir take it back the next day, saying, “Not until you’re in Second Series.”

Alrighty then!


10 Responses to Resistance/Reward Ratio

  1. Tiffersll says:

    Isn’t chakra bandasana the same as tirieng mukhottanasana?
    It’s interesting to hear the different paces studios allow students to go…I’ve never taken a subway, must be a cool experience.

  2. DK says:


    Brava to you for going to practice. And for having a scone power you through it.

    When you have a teacher that gives you the poses one at a time you;
    -learn it the way it was meant to be learned
    -don’t get hurt (not to be confused with working your butt off:)
    -feel like you really are ready when you move on.

    I practice with teachers as tradional as yours. Lucky us

    About two years ago (after two very humbling years of tradtional practice working my through primary), I started practicing with another teacher. My first teacher had changed schools and I was trying to work out my schedule.

    My new teacher gave me second series one day . Whooppee I thought. But I knew in my heart I wasn’t ready. Especially when I saw him giving second series poses to people who had been practicing less than a year.
    The day he gave me karavandasana (when I wasn’t even able to do kapotasaana) I ran out of there. It wasn’t for me.

    7 months later (and 4 years from when I started) Ibegan second series.

    One pose at a time.

    Injured, (my fault entirely–nothing to do with ashtanga)–went back to just half-primary.

    Then full primary.

    One pose at a time again. Slowly working my way back through second. This practice, it uncovers so much:)

    Enjoy your shorter practices. Most people when they start second do all of primary and all their new poses. Hopefully the subway will be working by then!

  3. samasthiti says:

    I like the “press play for I am a bad mom loop tape”.
    I have one too…..I actually didn’t push mine yesterday and let the kids stay home from school because they were so wiped out from the trip. I could just tell I was going to have to raise the dead with my loop tape and I didn’t wanna do it!

  4. yoga chickie says:

    Tiff, the subway IS a cool experience. It is amazing to me and VERY unusual that it is Pay One Price whether you’re going 10 blocks or 10 miles.

    Thanks DK…I know that this one pose at a time thing is the best thing for me, and in all honesty, I don’t even really “want” Mari D until Mari C is no longer a “big deal” to me. One day, Mari C is going to be like Janu B for me (a no-brainer), and that’s when I will be ready for Mari D.

    Sometimes the ambitious Type A in me forgets what’s good for me and just goes into auto pilot though…

    Susan – let’s ban the loop!


  5. samasthiti says:

    Here here.
    They are such beautiful creatures, they deserve the best of us….

  6. yoga chickie says:

    Actually, what I meant was that WE deserve the best of us too…no more mom-bashing from ourselves…!!! Here’s to “good enough” mothers….


  7. Anonymous says:

    I hear you on the whole pace, one pose at a time thing. My teacher is very strict and I have a friend who is studying at another shala thats supposed to be great, and she’s never done yoga before and is already 4 months in doing all the primary poses up to marichsyna D! it took me almost a year to get that far and I don’t see myself leaving it anytime soon.

    I am a little jealous of my friend but at the same time am a little worried that she will get injured easily because her teacher is moving her so fast. When I first started with my teacher I was only allowed to do sun sals and finishing poses and then we slowly bulit from that. It was pretty frustrating but in the end I think it was good for me. My friend tells me that her teacher actually asks her if she “wants more” and if she says yes he gives her more poses! Just like that! And her teacher is one of the major ashtanga teachers in NYC(not eddie), so i am assuming there is a method to his madness.

    I guess I am just a little frustrated because it feels like I will never get passed the Maris and I mean thats okay but when I hear my friend going on and on about her new poses, when she still can’t recite the opening chant correctly, I get a little miffed and start to wonder if I am studying with the wrong teacher. Which i know isn’t true, but doesn’t stop the doubts from creeping in lately. any advice anyone?

  8. yoga chickie says:

    I am pretty sure I know which shala you are talking about…I might even know which student! But I think the teacher you’re talking about is more conservative than it might seem. In fact, in some ways he is downright strict (if it is who I am thinking of). That said, he does give poses more liberally than some other teachers. THAT said, he gives the adjustments it takes in those poses so that the people doing the poses aren’t sometimes getting them and sometimes not. I think the difference between my practice there and my practice at Shala X would be the number of poses the teacher would have to pull my limbs into.

    But that’s just purely theoretical.

    As for advice…the advice I would imagine you would get would be the advice that I am constantly getting…it doesn’t really matter which pose you stop at. Wherever you are at, that is your yoga. If you want to do gymnastics, go to Chelsea Piers…lol


  9. Anonymous says:

    yeah i’m pretty sure you know the teacher i am talking about. and i know, what you mean, it doesnt matter where u are at– thats your yoga. But i am beginning to get a little bored with my practice and I know i need to just change my attitude.

    in some ways I feel like my friend is getting the short end of the stick too, in that her practice is probably very teacher dependant, but at the same time it’s thrilling to hear about her progress and wish it was me! I On the flip side I have also heard that this teacher gives really strong, intense adjustments that are sometimes a tad painful which sounds kind of scray so I think I will remain where I am. I love my shala anyway.

    thanks for the advice.

  10. yoga chickie says:

    I have actually gotten some wonderful adjustments from this teacher. VERY strong, and yet I felt VERY safe. I think that if you are curious, then you should explore. You may find that you are happy where you are, to the point where it doesn’t matter how fast your friend is progressing, OR you might find yourself in a shala and with a teacher that satisfies your needs (whatever those needs are right now). Or perhaps you would enjoy the new shala for a while and then go back to your current shala.

    So many possibilities…you live in NYC…why limit yourself? Standing on the outside looking in, it seems to me that you are curious about what the magic is at your friend’s shala. I am all for making the exploration.

    If you do check it out, don’t be afraid of his adjustments…he is really a wonderful teacher. Also, I should tell you that I HAVE seen people held back in certain poses (Mari D, for example) because they aren’t binding by themselves. I also have seen students get poses “taken away” for one reason or another.

    Whether you explore another shala or stay at your current shala, remember, it’s your practice…get out of it what YOU want, not what some random blogger (moi) tells you to do!


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