The crest of the wave

Looks like I caught that wave, you know, that wave of happiness with the yoga practice that sometimes rushes up and catches you, taking you with it, and there you are, astride your board, your feet firmly planted, your knees bent just so, your balance and your gaze locked and steady, and you don’t bother to wish that it could always be like this because you already know that if it were, you wouldn’t be able to appreciate the magic. So instead, you ride it, enjoy every second and feel a tinge of longing as you pack up and head into the rest of your day, knowing that you can’t capture what you’ve just felt or make it happen tomorrow, although maybe it will.

Okay, so, enough with the metaphor. I had a wonderful practice today, despite sleeping poorly last night. It was sooooo cold in my house. It’s only September. But I think Northern Westchester must be a completely different weather zone from NYC. It is COLD here. And the leaves are already starting to turn. And the plant nurseries are all about the mums. And my white hydrangeas are starting to turn kind of orangey. The good news is that the new grass we planted is starting to grow.


Okay, back to practice. So, what I’ve noticed is that I am one of the ONLY students practicing full Primary, nothing more nothing less. Maybe I AM the only one. I’m not sure. But I am also one of the only ones who does the full version of every Primary asana. Some students can backbend all the way into Kapotasana, but can’t bind in Mari D, even with help. Some students can bind at the wrist in Marichyasana A and C, but can’t do any pose involving a half lotus. Some students can bind all of the Marichyasanas and float gorgeously through their vinyasas, but can’t reach their hands together in Supta Kurmasana. Nevertheless, all of them do at least some of Second Series. And most who go past Supta Vajrasana are not even able to bind in Baddha Padamasana.

Um…but I do. And I can… And all of this is TOTALLY FINE.

The AYS Kool-Aid is still having its effect, and I don’t WANNA add anything new while I am learning to backbend.

And frankly, I am going to bet that Val doesn’t teach me any new poses until I can stand up properly from a backbend. Her website professes a traditional approach. I think that the students who are exploring Second Series are doing so because it makes them feel good, and if they feel good, they want to keep practicing. There is something to be said for that too. Not everyone WANTS to take the ego-busting-patience-is-a-virtue approach. For me, with my obsessive mind and my intense desire to learn everything I can about whatever it is I am learning, the latter approach keeps my head from exploding into a million tiny little pieces. If I had to learn backbends while exploring getting my heels down in Pasasana, well, then I would have TWO obsessions to feed, or three, if you count Supta Kurmasana, which remains an obsession to this day. A little deeper, I think, a little more indepenently, I ruminate, a little leg behind the head in the bathtub, how about, or perhaps a yoga nidrasana thrown in for good measure. Yeah, I can’t afford another obsession.

I don’t now how Third Series I Want More does it. I need to feel like I can do every pose with precision, which would be impossible, at least for me, if I were learning 10 or 20 poses in a several month period. I like to count out the vinyasas in my head in Sanskrit, which would be impossible, at least for me, if I had to learn 10 or 20 poses and their related vinyasas in such a short timespan. Plus, my brain wouldn’t be able to focus on that sort of precision if my body was being challenged to the point of trembling, as TSIWM says hers is.

I wonder what that is like, to work to the point of trembling. I don’t believe I have ever put myself through that. Not that there is anything wrong with it. I just have no desire. It’s enough that my clothing is soaked through to the point where I can wring it out. What more is there I could possibly give?

Who would have ever thunk that I would ever espouse moderation? I don’t even think that my approach IS about moderation. That’s what’s even funnier to me. I am obsessive about my poses, to the point where I will do Mari D twice if I can’t put my non-binding hand on my calf while my wrist is caught with my binding hand. On the other hand, perhaps I simply wouldn’t CARE about all that if I were busy working on getting into Astavakrasana from headstand (isn’t it handstand though? and if it is handstand, then I definitely wouldn’t be satisfied with doing it from headstand, which seems much easier and almost doable). Tangent: ah, I remember the days when I used to dread when Andrew P (TSIWM’s exboyfriend, also known as “the GxBF”) would make us do Astavakrasana in his Jivamukti class, and that was from a seated position, after practicing Sundial pose (the fakey version of Eka Pada Sirasana, where you get your leg behind your shoulder and hold the up foot with the opposite hand…it is way easier than EPS because you don’t have to catch your ankle behind your neck and keep it there, but rather, the foot sticks straight up). I am proud of how much more I can do now, because, well, I practiced, practiced, practiced.

But the double edged sword: there is always more, more is never enough, and it never ever ever ends. At least not for folks like myself, for whom Third Series is the perfection and practice of about a hundred poses that come first.

This is not a dis. It just is me savoring the AYS Kool-Aid.



One Response to The crest of the wave

  1. patrick says:

    hi lauren,

    haha, i’m turning into one of those 2nd-series experimenters in home practice; in a mysore room i was told “drop back and stand up first, pasasana second” but in my home practice i’ll sometimes dash up to the eka padas. i’ve written at length about justifying this…good to have your .02 here!

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