Wednesday, May 17, 2006

You're fine; you just need to work on patience

Thus spaketh Sir.

I had one of my typical internal debates this morning before getting my ass down to practice. It went something like this:

Ego: I can't show up to practice feeling all stiff, my sacro-iliac joints practically immobalized with inflammation, with the taste of garlic and butter croutons still in my stomach after munching on them mindlessly while the Husband ate his dinner last night, to boot.

Self: You need to go to practice when you feel like that. Let it be a lesson not to eat disgusting croutons, not to eat after dinner, and not to eat white flour for that matter.

Ego: You don't understand. I can't show up like this. What will Sir think? How will it look?

Self: Life happens. You still practice. You don't practice only when you think you're going to look good. That's not practice, that's performance. You go. Now!

Ego: NO. And, Self? Shut up ya big bitch.

Self: OK, woa, that's no way to speak to your self. Do you want to practice Ashtanga? Or do you want to ruin it for yourself by setting up all these silly expecations? You need to practice on days like this. They may be even more important than the days that you feel good. Resistance to the mat is a natural phenomenon, especially after a particularly good practice. Just move through it, and get to the shala.

Ego: Alright, alright, alright.

And so I went. Ego complained bitterly. Ego explained to C that my s-i joints were stiff, as a way of excusing some pretty sad looking bending. C asked if that meant I wanted her to go easy on me. Self squelched Ego there, and said, "No, I was just complaining. Don't listen!" Self, kind as she is, did recognize that the stiff s-i joints are likely the result of the work I'm doing with my hips and lower back in Supta K. So, Self prevented Ego from rushing through practice in order to get a Supta K adjustment. Self thought it best that Yoga Chickie do Supta K on her own today and gently too.

I ended up spending a lot of time neutralizing my spine after Supta K and working on opening my shoulders in backbends and decided to skip most of the finishing sequence and go straight to the three sitting poses. I also happen to think that I am in need of a chiropractic adjustment, so I wasn't really anxious to potentially exacerbate my
subluxation by balancing on my neck and then on my head, as much as I enjoy doing so. No, really, I do. I am an inversion fanatic. It's just that my spine tends to get out of wack after a couple of weeks as a result. Those of you who don't do chiropractic are probably giggling now. But don't knock it til you try it...

And as I finished up, Sir came into the room to open windows and what not. I decided to ask him what postures prepare the body for Supta K. The Marichyasanas, he said. I asked him if he came across many students like me, who can't even be adjusted into the posture. He offered me the truism that every body is different, but he did explain most of his students are deeper in the Marichyasanas before they get to Supta K. This was a bit horrifying to hear - if that is the case, then why am I even DOING Supta K? He must have his reasons. It's not like I demanded a new pose, or even asked for it.......I suppose that Supta K will ultimately help me with the preceding postures, but it's going to be a while before my body adjusts to it, gets used to it, finds some consistency with respect to it (the way I have found consistency in every posture that comes before Mari A).

Before my head could spin 360 degrees around into a veritable vritti vortex, Sir said, and I repeat it here in case I ever forget it, this way I can look back and remember that this really happened: "You're doing FINE. Your work is learning to be patient."




Vanessa said...

Teachers don't give you a pose when you are ready to achieve it. They give you the pose when they think you are ready to start working on it.

Students who can't even be put in Supta K? I stayed in that pose for a whole year. And I was one of those who couldn't even cross their feet (as much as that surprised you when I mentioned it on the ezboard).

If you think about it, you will ALWAYS be stuck in a pose (the last one you "have"). And those are the poses that give us the most opportunity. As much as I hated my year in Supta K (especially when a big part of the struggle was done in Mysore where most people practice beyond Primary), the lessons I learnt from that struggle are invaluable, and now I'm actually grateful for my teacher, who worked on it daily since day 1 at his shala, and still works on it even though I've "progressed" beyond that.

Anonymous said...

Ditto. There is about 60 feet between my hands in supta K. Once in blue moon (when I haven't eaten so much the day before?), Sir is able to get my fingers to grace each other... Sir did tell me that he will not "keep me here" until I can do it - he'll move me along in the series, but to me at least, Kurmasana and Supta are "never gonna happen" poses. Hang in there Chickie - this is one of those poses.

samasthiti said...

Sir is a very observant man...

Sergio said...

That transcription of your inner dialogue was hilarious XD

Learn to enjoy the challenge. There is improvement in challenge. There's no improvement if you keep things within your comfort zone. We've talked about this before and you know there's a logic in the system - not behind everything, but in the most part, there is. You're lucky that you can follow the "best" path (like in "you're doing it the traditional way and I'm not"), so enjoy that as well.

Btw, do you think we'll ever chat again? Or is it one of those pleasures life lets you try to take it back from you later? XD

yoga chickie said...

The obvious question for my shalamate long have you been trying these poses from hell?

V - I actually didn't remember that you couldn't cross your ankles. Did you ultimately get that worked out before you bound, or vice versa?

Sergio - I just opened a chat window....

S - S, S, S....I need to check your blog now to see if you really actually did eat a pop tart!

Anonymous said...

From your anon shalamate: I got kurmasana and supta within the past year - 8-10 months ago? Something like that. It got easier, then I blew out my neck or shoulder or some area from one of the adjustments and backed off for months - I wouldn't let Sir near me in kurmasana. It just healed and is slowly getting better (ie, fingers can sometimes graze for a millisecond if Sir uses all his strength).

Vanessa said...

For my first year of practicing Supta K (when I only had access to a teacher a couple of times a week in the context of a led class) I couldn't cross the feet at all, not even in front of my head.

Then, in Mysore, Sharath could initially bind my hands but my legs were still not behind my shoulders deeply enough for my feet to be anywhere close to each other.

After about a month of yanking me daily, he managed to cross the front of the feet on top of my head, but nowhere near behind it.

And in the 8 months I've been with Hamish, we progressed from there to being able to cross the top of my feet behind my head, and lately executing the full pose: hands bound and legs crossed at the ankle behind my head.

But I can't still do it by myself. I predict years for that.

Anonymous said...

One month later: with Sir's help, totally bound in supta K today with ease. First time! So, a month ago was grazing finger tips, today, full on hold...looks like this stuff DOES happen eventually!

---your anon shala mate

Copyright 2005-2007 Lauren Cahn, all rights reserved. Photos appearing on this blog may be subject to third party copyright ownership. You are free to link to this blog and portions hereof, but the use of any direct content requires the prior written consent of the author.

About Me

My photo
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.


Ashtanga Blogs

Thanks for reading Yoga Chickie!