Wednesday, August 03, 2005

When does one move on from a pose?

A comment I received on my last entry made me wonder: when DOES a teacher move one on from a pose? I always thought that tradition has it that one does not move on until one has mastered the pose one is working on. But then, what is mastery? I have noticed that many people who are working far into Primary and even in Intermediate still seem to struggle with certain poses in the Standing Series. Are there certain poses that are less important to master before moving on?

For example, I see a lot of struggle in Ardha Baddha Padmotannasana, even with practitioners who are well past that in their practice. I also see students who are not even close to "completing" Janu Sirsasana C(i.e. the Manolo Blahnik Stiletto Foot Pose). And it seems like the teachers I have had so far do not give a lot of adjustments in Janu C (looks a bit scary to go there, at least to me...). In my case, Parvrtta Parsvakonasana is not quite there yet - my bottom fingertips are just grazing the floor now. I do note that this pose has not always been IN the Standing Series - it is not included in SKPJ's Yoga Mala.

So the question is: Is there a MINIMUM level of competence for each pose?

Then also, in my case, I have been permitted to move past Mari D despite needing help to bind every single time I practice - presumably because the poses that follow (Kurmasana and Supta Kurmasana) will help me to soften the scar tissue along my chest and shoulders. But that is a special case. But then, aren't we all unique and special cases?

Also, what happens if one day you are practicing and you just can't bind in Mari C, and the teacher is not available to help you? Do you stay there and wait? Do you move on? Do you just give up and move on to backbending? Similarly, in Supta Kurmasana, I have noticed that at AYS, the teacher always places me (and most others I see) into the pose from Kurmasana. But is that true everywhere? Am I supposed to be learning how to get into it myself? Am I supposed to be learning how to pick myself up from the prone position into the vertical arm balance transition to Tittibasana?

So many questions.



Anonymous said...

I had many of your same questions when I first started practicing at Guy's. The thing is, you have no idea what is going on with the individual. Have they been practicing full primary, but recently hurt their knee? Did Guy tell them to modify certain poses due to a pulled hamstring? pregnancy? etc, etc.
I think you have try to focus more on yourself and less on others. This is not an insult - just a lesson learned...

yoga chickie said...

Definitely true - I do tend to notice what others are doing. But just to clarify, in case it needs clarification, for the most part, I am noticing with equanimity and not envy. Just noticing. Not judging. Lauren

Anonymous said...

I hear ya. As for your other questions - if Guy or the "teacher du jour" isn't available to help you bind or whatever - the protocol seems to be to try your best, use that time to try to get into it yourself, and if not, you move on to the rest of your poses. There are poses that I can usually bind on my own and I tell Guy to let me try it myself. Other times I just let him put my into it...eventually, yes, as you know, you shld try to "get" the pose yourself...

yoga chickie said...

Thanks...The help is nice, but I don't want to become attached to it if that is not the intention....Lauren

yoga chickie said...

Thanks...The help is nice, but I don't want to become attached to it if that is not the intention....Lauren

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About Me

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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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