I guess that would be my Hip Hop name. Tenacious YC. Slamming repeatedly into a brick wall and still, she keeps going. Is there any question as to what I am talking about?
Apparently, there IS a reason that I don’t see many people struggling with Supta Kurmasana. And it isn’t that it is an easy pose. And it isn’t that I’m just too retarded to be able to do it properly, even when my teacher and an assistant (actually a fellow Adjustments Workshop trainee) double-team me, as they did yesterday and today during the Adjustments Workshop. And it isn’t ALL in my head.
Today, after yet another failed attempt to keep my hands firmly clasped while having my feet hoisted over the back of my head, I said to Sir, “I must be in the minority on this one. There just don’t seem to be a lot of people who have so much trouble with this pose, right?”
His answer surprised me.
“Most people who get to your point in the practice who struggle with Supta Kurmasana stop coming. They just give up and move onto something else.”
I can think of at least a couple of Ashtangi(ni)s who struggled mightily with Supta K – hi, V. But for the most part, it does sound quite feasible…that those who find themselves struggling with Supta K simply lose interest. I suppose it could happen at any point in the practice. I would think Marichyasana D would be a place that would be ripe for quittin’. Yet I have seen with my own two eyes a number of Ashtanga students struggle with Mari D, and some even with Mari C, and keep coming back and coming back and coming back. And they’re still there.
I wonder what it is about Supta K that makes drives people who struggle with it to quit the practice altogether. Is it just SOOO damn complicated? Mind bogglingly so? Is it the lack of control, the surrender, that is inherent in the adjustment for it? And by adjustment, what I really mean is, well, for many people, there IS no pose without being put right into it. That notion has been very hard for me, even historically, even before I ever was given the pose. I used to see Sir tying people up like little packages and think to myself, “NO WAY. That will NEVER be me. I will learn to do it myself.”
Well, that has not come to pass.
And as a result of this Adjustments workshop, I have learned exactly how much surrender is necessary for the pose to happen: 100 percent. I saw one of my fellow trainees get put into it today, sighing exquisitely the whole time. If I didn’t see herwith my own two eyes, getting tied up like a bow, my ears would have told me she was getting a neck massage. I was like, heh???
Notwithstanding the “above the neck” discussions I have had with Sir, he did note today that he believes that my muscularity is an issue. But what does one do about that exactly? I mean, I was born this way. I’m a naturally muscular person, and all of this yoga is just making me more muscular. Not bigger, mind you. I hear some people saying, “My arms are getting so muscular, my shirts are getting tight.” That has not been the case for me. As I have grown more muscular, I have gotten smaller, more compact. My shirts are looser. Significantly so, in fact. But apparently, the hard, rounded muscles of my shoulders to present a challenge for my legs to slide over said shoulders. And then there’s the issue of the heaviness of the muscles. Having put my fellow trainees into Supta Kurmasana repeatedly over the past week, I have come to appreciate exactly how much heavy lifting is involved in putting someone in Supta K. And in my case, it must be even more heavy.
I am tempted to try to lose five pounds, on the assumption that I will lose muscle. I mean, you have to feed muscle to keep it. Feed the muscle less, the muscle has to shrink. It seems elementary. But am I even capable of losing five pounds? Do I even WANT to lose five pounds? If I lost five pounds, I would be at or below the very bottom edge of being able to fit into adult clothing. Is that something I want to deal with just so I can bind in Supta K?
Is it really even necessary to think this way? At some point, with practice, shouldn’t my arms slide nicely up and over my shoulders? Sure, losing muscle mass could potentially speed up the process. But then I’m not really gaining any flexibility. I’m just doing the pose better because of logistics.
Well, it’s all moot anyway. I have no idea how to lose five pounds of muscle, and I don’t feel like finding out. I’ll just keep plugging away, Tenacious YC, embracing the rock each time it falls back down the hill and then pushing it back up again.