Online Auction of the Day

January 31, 2007

Pasasana/Krounchasana: Set of First Two Intermediate Ashtanga Series Poses
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Starting bid: All of Primary, Drop-back to, and Stand-up from, Urdhva Dhanurasana (and bear in mind, that’s just for starters)
Buy It Now: N/A (Practice and all is coming)
End time: When you’re ready and not a moment sooner.
Shipping Details: N/A (Must be picked up in person)

History: 0 bids

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Meet the seller: Anonymous YC Commentator (ivdp)

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Member Since: 06-01-05 in United States

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Item Description:

Insanely deep spinal twist requiring the pressing of both heels to the floor while squatting and simultaneously wrapping the arms around the knees and binding one wrist with one hand, like Marichyasana C, but with BOTH knees within the bind, followed by a moderately deep one-legged forward bend, where one leg is raised to at least a 45 degree angle from the mat, with the sole of the foot caught between the backs of the wrists and the other leg is tucked behind a la Tirianga Mukha Pada Paschimotannasana. The latter posture is thought by many to be more accessible than the former; however, mastery of both is required for the practitioner to acquire the next set of postures. In this way, the Item is seen as a “gateway” to the rest of the asanas in the Intermediate Series of the Ashtanga Yoga System. Acquisition of Item may cause deep obsession with spinal twisting and feelings of desperation for backbending postures. Item is NOT RETURNABLE under any circumstance, Buyer’s remorse be damned. Accordingly….BIDDER BEWARE.


P.S. Thanks ivdp!


This is my mind.

January 30, 2007

And THIS is my mind on YOGA*:

*And by “yoga”, I mean yoga done the way Sir has demanded of me. I finished up THROUGH Garba Pindasana in 40, that’s right FORTY, minutes today. I didn’t rush. I just DID it. I just did the practice. I added nothing. And every once in a while, or more often than that even, I would notice a place where I eliminated a “tick” or a “flourish”. There was even time for me to get smooshed in Paschimotannasana after SIX backbends. And I wasn’t the last person to get into Savasana or the last one to leave. It was a wonderful feeling. And this, despite heavy traffic and getting to Shala X after the Invocation.

Now, to somehow not get attached to how good my practice felt today….


I will not let my ego ruin my practice.

January 30, 2007

I will not let my ego ruin my practice.I will not let my ego ruin my practice.I will not let my ego ruin my practice.I will not let my ego ruin my practice.I will not let my ego ruin my practice.I will not let my ego ruin my practice.I will not let my ego ruin my practice.I will not let my ego ruin my practice.I will not let my ego ruin my practice.I will not let my ego ruin my practice.I will not let my ego ruin my practice.I will not let my ego ruin my practice.I will not let my ego ruin my practice.I will not let my ego ruin my practice.I will not let my ego ruin my practice.I will not let my ego ruin my practice.I will not let my ego ruin my practice.I will not let my ego ruin my practice.I will not let my ego ruin my practice.I will not let my ego ruin my practice.I will not let my ego ruin my practice.I will not let my ego ruin my practice.I will not let my ego ruin my practice.I will not let my ego ruin my practice.I will not let my ego ruin my practice.I will not let my ego ruin my practice.I will not let my ego ruin my practice.I will not let my ego ruin my practice.I will not let my ego ruin my practice.I will not let my ego ruin my practice.

Wow. That was way easier than I remember it from childhood – writing something fifty times on a blackboard is WAY more grueling than typing something once and then hitting paste 49 times.



Accentuating the Positive

January 29, 2007

So, after much deliberation, resistance, back and forthing, self-flagellation, self-pitying, a long and very hot bath, I got back on the mat and did what I love the most: my Marichyasanas and all the way through Supta K. And I did them OVER AND OVER again, using a camera on self-timer for structure and to keep myself interested.

No, it wasn’t exactly a yoga practice. It wasn’t exactly Ashtanga. I was posing. But I was moving my body in ways that make me feel GOOD and that remind me that when it all comes down to it, it’s still my body, it’s still my practice, and I can still do with both what I want when I am in the privacy of my own home.

Thanks for all the wonderfully supportive comments, and thanks V for the email. You hit that nail. But what to do.

As Pink would say, “I’m a hazard to myself…don’t let me get me”….

But let me play at it a bit…


The Opposite of Not Demoralizing

January 29, 2007

Today began like any other day. I got my kids to school relatively painlessly, took Lewis on a walk and got him into his doggie den rather painlessly and got my car from the garage. Unfortunately, someone who had driven down the FDR Drive before me did not do so painlessly. One of three Southbound lanes was completely closed to traffic, and what with the rubbernecking, my ride down to Shala X took more than 40 minutes, where it should take no more than 20. By the time I walked into the Shala, I realized that the gluteal stiffness from two hours of ice skating yesterday was starting to set in.

No matter. I set my mat down and set out to practice nice and slowly, nice and smoothly, since I knew I had no hope of any adjustments, save for maybe Uttitha Hasta Padangusthasana, which I could have really used, and which I didn’t end up getting. There was no point in rushing. It was going to be the same as a home practice, only I was borrowing (paying for, really) the energy of the shala and the hope of maybe an adjustment or two before Sir left the room.

Practice wasn’t bad, really. It wasn’t the bendiest or the strongest. But it was fine. I took as long as I needed to get into each and every posture, and I like it that way.

It’s my practice, after all.

Can you guess where this is heading?

I should stress that I didn’t add any prep or R&D postures into the mix until Janu Sirsasana C – I just did my practice, albeit slowly. Then, the clock struck 10 a.m., and Sir was preparing to leave the room. I knew I had my work cut out for me in Supta Kurmasana, so I figured that it would be a good idea to get really deep into Janu Sirasana C – a nice Sacrum-opener. As such, I saw fit to take my leg up behind my shoulder in order to super-externally rotate my hip.

It’s my practice, after all, and I was about to face my hardest postures on my own, without assistance from a teacher, and knowing that everyone else in the room was settling into their finishing postures or already in savasana. That alone is a recipe for tossing in the towel. But I wasn’t going to toss in the towel. The plan was to plug along.

That is, until Sir came up to me and mocked me: “You think that putting your leg behind your head is going to make Supta Kuramasana easier?”

I was mortified.

I stammered something about the knee in Janu Sirasana, but I managed to censor myelf from making the excuse that the medications I am taking (Arimidex, in particular) can make me arthritically stiff, and so sometimes I need that extra stretch. I’ve been thinking about that all day too. Is my body simply not cut out for Ashtanga, with its rigid requirements of NO PREP poses and strict adherance to a specific sequence that does not leave room for the possibility that maybe, just MAYBE, someone in the room is on a lifelong prescription for medication that is KNOWN TO CAUSE JOINT PAIN, and oh, by the way, it was like 11 degrees Farenheit today with no humidity?

Sounds like I am making a big deal out of a little dig, right? Sounds like a chord was hit, and I vibrated to it. Right? Well, no, actually, because it didn’t stop there. Sir went on to say that I should be able to get through Supta Kuramasana in 45 minutes (which was all I had today after the traffic debacle, which he knows nothing about, and which isn’t his problem, and which I had no intention of making his problem; hence, my relaxed approach to practice today, with no expectation of assistance in the tough poses).

Forty-five minutes to Supta Kurmasana?!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Not this body. Not at this point, at least. Not in the dead of winter, with a bottle of Arimidex on my dresser, turning my joints into concrete since the summer of 2003. That’s nearly four years of joint damage at this point, damage that I have been trying to alleviate through yoga. Maybe the young, or the middle aged with no health issues or even the elderly with no health issues can plow through Primary with nary a hesitation. But not me. My body is not the same as the 41-year old next to me, even if it LOOKS the same.

“You need to go to your backbends now,” I was told.

And so, I wasn’t even permitted (permitted?! whose body is it anyway? whose practice?) to finish my practice in the remaining half hour. I resisted the urge to give all of my reasons for my difficulties in practicing “quickly” enough – the meds, the cold, the ice skating – because Sir had already made up his mind that I spend too much time “playing”.


And so, I did three awful, painful backbends, one horrible forward bend, a pathetic set of finishing poses and high-tailed it out of there.

I went home, curled up on the sofa, shoes and jacket still on, and passed out for the rest of the morning.

This isn’t supposed to happen. It isn’t supposed to be this way. My practice was not only ruined, but so was my day.

I have no insights about this. I don’t know how to go back to the shala tomorrow. I don’t know how to practice with any teacher if this is what it is going to be like for me – with my body being different INSIDE than it LOOKS on the outside, with a practice that seems to require adherence to a set of rules that my body does not adhere to exactly according to plan. I’ve been a good student. I’ve been diligent in my practice. I don’t want to turn to Viniyoga, or the disciples of Desikachar for a “personalized practice” because it’s never athletic or vigorous enough for me.

Like I said, I’m the opposite of not demoralized.

Advice, gently given, is welcome.


Happy Birthday Jill!! Thanks for making my practice suck today.

January 29, 2007

Hmmmmm…now why was my practice kind of stiff and fairly anemic today? Could it have been the birthday party last night for my sister (in law) Jill (center, flanked by me and her other sister, Robin)? It’s not like I had more than a glass of Riesling. It’s not like I ate any meat. It’s not like I was even tired today. After practice, I ice skated for two hours with Adam at Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers. Totally fun. I had totally forgotten how much I love to ice skate. And it’s a great way to practice skiing….you simply ski the ice instead of skating it, keeping both skates on the ice at all times, simply shifting your weight into one set of edges and then the other. It actually feels quite good, and I bet my butt muscles are tired tomorrow.

Oh, yeah, I’m pretty sure that I held my hands together in Supta K long enough for Sir to attempt to cross my ankles. Sometimes, after crossing my ankles, he’ll come back to my hands and put them back together, having to hold them together lest I lose my grip. Not today. Alas. But it was just as well. As I said, my practice had no oomph. Even my bujapidasana was sloppy (now, why did I have to go and jinx it yesterday with that effusive buja-bragging post?).

One other thing before I go off to order groceries from Fresh Direct: I have gotten down to brass tacks with Lewis the Bagle. I met with an animal behaviorist on Friday night, and we’ve got a plan. I will discuss it when I have more energy, and in fact, I should probably keep a log of our progress. The animal behaviorist has his own blog, so it will be interesting to see if he writes about us (he said he probably would, well, not about me, but about Lewis, although, truth be told, the one who needed the training was me, not Lewis…more about that in days to come). A link to said blog will be forthcoming. I think it might prove interesting to some of the dog-owners out there. And yes, I said “dog owner”, not “dog parent”, and let that be a foreshadowing of what the crux of the problem is with me, vis a vis Lewis, who I should add, is taking to my newly revamped attitude like a yogini takes to a brand new Lululemon tank top.


The ramblings of a woman obsessed

January 28, 2007

Now that I’ve said that I have little to say about my practice, I suddenly am irresistably compelled to say something about my practice, on a topic that has heretofore bored me to tears. Really two topics that have bored me to tears in the past. Those topics would be Bujapidasana and Navasana.

Neither posture has been particularly interesting to me in the past two years, and Navasana has never been interesting to me, as I have always been able to hold it for like, forever, without any effort at all. For those of you who would envy me that, well, just think about my struggles in Supta K, which are mighty. Not mightier than what some others have gone through, but mighty nevertheless.

Anyway, I have recently been called out by my teacher for slacking in Navasana, as I mentioned in a post earlier this week. And knowing my teacher as my teacher, I am pretty sure that he wouldn’t have called me out on it the first time he saw it either. He would let it go a few times, maybe even more than a few times, essentially cutting me slack, until he saw that the more rope he gave me, the more I would continue to hang myself. So, let’s just say it’s been months, or possibly even the better part of a year that I have been phoning in my Navasana, seeing it as nothing more than an annoying time-suck before I get to the shoulders-behind-the-knees poses that come next (Bujapidasana, Kuramasana and Supta Kurmasana). Yes, hello, I’m leaving a message for Navasana, call me back whenever.

Having been made conscious of my slacking, I have since turned to working Navasana with the same gusto with which I work just about everything else in my practice. And whaddayaknow? Suddenly, my Bujapidasana has gone from “jump, scootch, cross, THUD goes the top of the head to the floor, grunt my way back up to a pathetically low-flying Tittibasana and haul the legs back into Bakasana whereupon I jump back and land on my belly” to “jump, cross, FLOAT my FRIGGING CHIN TO THE FLOOR, all the while thinking how the hell am I even doing this?, breathe, float back up, float out, land in chatturanga”. If that makes sense.

I have to say, I have always thought that the chin-to-the-floor version of Bujapidasana is incredibly and almost mysteriously graceful. Yet I have never aspired to it. I only have begun doing it because, well, because it has begun to seem like the logical place to land.

I would assume that the change in my Bujapidasana is the result of my Bandha work in Navasana. But then it occurs to me that I have been doing some other Bandha-working work in my vinyasas – lotusing up legs after half lotus asanas and lifting up to jump back, half-lotusing up my legs after Tirianga Mukha Pada and sometimes after the first two Janu Sirsasanas. I wonder if Sir is going to stop me from doing this soon. I hope not because I am really enjoying the feeling of floating up, and I feel like I am building a lot of core strength without overworking my shoulders, which would be counterproductive to binding.

Now, if I can just crack the code to holding the bind in Supta Kurmasana….although I do suspect that I will never crack the code as a result of trying to do so. It is only when I stop looking for the answers that I ever seem to find them in this practice.