Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Husband wants to go to "Mysore"....!!!

OK, let me qualify that first by saying that he thought "Mysore" was the name of a gym. "Gym?" I said, laughing.

"Well, yoga studio, gym, same thing," he scoffed.

Methinks this could be a long and difficult journey.

Rewinding a bit, it is a testament to the powerful and awesome nature of Ashtanga yoga that my husband has even expressed an interest in it at all. He has been practicing yoga for several years, on and off, and mainly once per week at the Sports Club/LA in a Level 2/3 class that includes an "Inhale to plank" before every chatturanga, even in Surya Namaskar A. But he has seen how the past two months of Ashtanga practice has made me strong and centered, and 8-10 pounds slimmer. I explained to him that what I have been doing is not Led Primary Series, which he had practiced with Govinda Kai when Govinda was at New York Yoga (well, actually, half led Primary, since Govinda never took us beyond Navasana, fine by me), but Mysore style Ashtanga - where the practice is self-led and yet one-to-one with the teacher. He didn't quite understand but he knew that he liked the results.

Now, please...for the moment, I ask that you withhold any comments here about NOT attaching to results and about not practicing for selfish reasons (like acquiring a hot bod). My experience has been that most people who come to the yoga mat do not do so for any reason OTHER than getting "yoga butt" and "yoga abs". The rest - the good stuff- the "yoga" (as in Chapter 1, Verse 2 of Patanjalis' Yoga Sutras: "yoga chitta vritti nirodha", which translates as "Yoga is the cessation of the fluctuations of the conscious mind.") comes later. If "the rest" were there already, we wouldn't really be looking for anything at all, and thus we would never have had to find yoga, right?

So, I have told the Husband about the four shalas where he could take early morning Ashtanga in the Mysore style, and he immediately gravitated towards Yoga Sutra NYC in Midtwown, where Christopher Hildebrandt teaches. He liked the idea of a midtown location, he liked my description of the Mysore room, he liked my description of Christopher. So, his plan is to go tomorrow morning (I told him that Christopher is away right now but that the other teachers will take care of him)!

What I am concerned about are the questions he has been asking me.

"So, I just tell the teacher what parts of my body I want to work on, and the teacher will give me an individualized practice?"

No, I explained, there is one set sequence of postures, and everyone does the same sequence (no point in explaining about the various Series at this point), and it works on your whole body, and you'll have to be patient and wait for the teacher to teach you each posture.

He totally didn't understand, and I admit, I don't think I am making it clear. So, I tried a different tack: "When you go into the classroom, you quietly introduce yourself to the teacher, and you tell the teacher what your experience is with Ashtanga, and the teacher will tell you what to do. And you only do what the teacher tells you to do."

"So, do you think I will be done within an hour and a half," he asked me?

Oh boy. I am obviously not being clear, but I have no idea how to be clear in my explanation...

I explained again that he might not get to do much more than some Surya Namaskars on the first day or so, and that he would have to be patient and realize that it would take time to learn the sequence and for his body to be master the individual parts.

"If I don't get a good work out, then I'm leaving."

This conversation left me feeling quite helpless. If someone could clearly benefit from Ashtanga practice in the Mysore style BECAUSE they need the patience and the surrender that the practice helps its students to develop, how does one ever GET to the mat in the first place when they do not have the patience or the ability to surrender themselves to the practice???? To say to someone that they need something precisely because they THINK they don't - well, it's rather circular, isn't it?



Anonymous said...

very brave of your husband. let him observe first (like the teacher at ayny, they might tell you the same thing at ys) and tell him to observe everybody, not only people that can put their legs behind the head, but also the students that can hardley reach the floor with their hands. no need to give a reason WHY he wants to practice, just that he WANTS to practice, thats the ultimate goal.
if he will start he does not have to look at other people, he'll know whats out there. wish him good luck, and i am sure once he starts, he'll be as enthousiastic as you are (can we expect a blog? :-) )
greetings, ivdp

yoga chickie said...

I hope he sticks with would be so great for him...

As for a blog, I just asked him if he knows what a "blog" is and he said, "It's like a website, only simpler?"

Nah, I don't think he is going to be blogging anytime soon.

So, are you? How's practice going? Did you go to led practice this morning?



CCC said...

Very funny! :o)

Anonymous said...

no, did not go to the ledclass, was in the country. my practice is simmering along,(especially in this heat!) i am not a huge fan of ledclasses, but it makes me realize that i should try not to dilly-dally too much during my regular m.practice, but realy make an effort in doing it in 1 hour and 15 minutes (including finishing,)its funny, most people in the studio started with ledclasses in gyms, or shala, and eventually ended up doing mysore,
i did my first led when guru-ji was here in 2000, having done plenty of yoga, but never ashtanga, it was FUN to say the least, a yoga friend would be wispering to me what the next pose was, and...the very first time guruji came over and adjusted me, i was THRILLED, to say the least. it took me another year untill i decided to start doing exclusively mysore, but then, when the new shala opened in gokulam, g-ji started doing led classes twice a week, (in his old shala, he could only accomodate 12 people, so no led)and eddie started doing it also, first in the puckbuilding, now just at his studio. anyhoo, my doggie needs walking, so, gotta go,
greetings, ivdp

yoga chickie said...

Wow..that is so interesting to me. So, is it a correct observation that Eddie makes an effort to conduct his shala the way Guruji conducts his and to keep up with the changes? Does Guruji have a shrine to Ganesha? Just wondering....:) Lauren

Anonymous said...

it is actualy a ganesha tempel and
eddie performs puja every morning before the opening mantra, also, every thursday's at 1:30 there is a ganesha puja, (open to anybody who is interested),ivdp

Anonymous said...

What is a puja? Someone mentioned this to me recently, something about my puja on moon day. It seems like it's a ritual related to a sacred space. As it pertains to ashtanga, I'd love to learn more. Thank you.

yoga chickie said...

What I can tell you from my limited knowledge of this is that "puja" means prayer and that it is not uncommon for a Hindu family to have an idol (statue) of Ganesha (the Hindu god that is said to be the "remover of obstacles") in their home and to pray and place offerings like flowers in front of the image of Ganesha. At Eddie's shala, I usually do see flowers at the entrance to the Ganesha temple. I suppose that having a temple to Ganesha at the shala really does make the shala a "home". I don't think this specifically relates to ashtanga yoga so much as it relates to Hinduism and the worship of Hindu gods. IVDP, do I have that right? Lauren

Anonymous said...

yes, that's right, its an offering to ganesha, it could be flowers,(many students bring flowers) fruit, sometimes money, coconuts. after the thursday puja, you'll often find a bowl of fruit
near the exit, and people can just take a piece, its called prasad (blessed food)

Anonymous said...

So, how did your husband's trip to Mysore go?

I should add that my husband had no idea what I was talking about either.


yoga chickie said...

husban seems to have chickened out for now....will see what happens after we come back from Fire Islan....lauren

yoga chickie said...

(sorry about dropping all my "d's"...don't know what that's about! L

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.


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