Sunday, February 11, 2007

Okay, now that we've gotten that out of the way...

I did my first self-practice today since I began YoChiYoPraMo, or whatever I'm calling it, you know, the thing where I have to go to practice no matter what. But it was not slothfulness or eating too much meat last night or anything criminal like that. It was that I decided, kind of last minute, to take part in one of the modules of the Ashtanga Intensive at Ashtanga Yoga Shala: Fundamentals of Ashtanga - The Standing Series. Anyway, the module started today in the midafternoon. While I woke up fully intending to head downtown to practice, head uptown to pick up my kids from Hebrew School and then head back downtown to the Intensive later on when it occurred to me - perhaps this is a bit overkill?

So, I called the shala and asked if there was going to be any sort of Mysore style practice after the Standing Series, and Sir told me that even though it was just the standing poses, it would be a "practice" and that it would be "work". Basically he let me off the hook. Except that I never really let myself off the hook...hence, I practiced at home today after dropping the kids off at Hebrew School, at the same time, thereby also being the good Wife, allowing the Husband to sleep in for once.

My home practice was basically interchangeable with my shala practice, I am pleased to report. NO extraneous poses. NO prep. No R&D. Just me and the Ashtanga (except that I did Badha Konasana after Garba Pindasana, because, well, the criminal in me always has to add "the next pose" to my home practice...I guess it's the burning desire to always be just one step ahead). It was lovely! I felt so proud of myself for doing it "the right way" even though no one was watching. I finished everything up to Backbends in under 45 minutes.

I was really looking forward to the Standing Series Today. I've been yearning lately to go back to the beginning and figure out exactly where I am supposed to inhale versus exhale, where my hands are supposed to be on my waist, what to do with my arms when I come forward into Uttanasana from Samasthiti, what to do with my hands when I go from Samasthiti into know, stuff like that. And it was everything I hoped it would be. Lori was teaching, and she is really an accomplished teacher - incredibly articulate and precise. And I really enjoy being taught verbally sometimes.

And I am really excited about what it means to be learning from Lori at this point (and Guy as well) - they just returned from Mysore, which means that they are able to teach exactly as Guruji is teaching right now. And some things have changed. I am too tired and sore right now to get into the details, but suffice it to say that some of the vinyasas in the Standing Series have changed in such a way that they resemble the vinyasa structure of Ardha Badha Padmotannasana (you know how when you're done with the asana, itself, you inhale halfway up and then exhale there without doing anything? well, that's how Padangusthasana, Padahastasana, and two of the Prasaritas - A and D - are structured now). It's a lot more consistent and intuitive.

Did I mention I am sore as all hell?

I am so excited to spend the rest of the week working on the Standing Series. First regular Mysore practice with Sir and then an hour of Standing with Lori. I feel a teeny bit envious of the boys in the class who have never ever done yoga before. What a wonderful way to be introduced to yoga - by learning Ashtanga from the very beginning. Of course, my journey to Ashtanga has been interesting and lovely. It's just that because of the Jivamukti and the Om, I am still banishing habits that have no place in the system (duh).



Vanessa said...

Hmmm...the way it's written, sounds like things have changed recently, but I was doing those exits from standing forward bends as far ago as May 2004 in Mysore.

"YC" said...

Good catch, V. I really don't know when it changed...all I know is that my first ongoing teacher was a student of Chuck and Maty, and she taught me the "hands on the waist exhale" method. No one really modified that for me at my shala (where I have been since the summer of 2005) until now.

Vanessa said...

That's what I learnt (hands on waist on exhale). Not ready to change it yet! :-)

"YC" said...

It's like Lori said - teachers teach it depending on how they were taught it. Many teachers were taught "inhale look up, exhale hands to waist, inhale come up", but this winter in Mysore, Guruji was doing the led classes like this: "inhale look up, exhale stay there, inhale hands to the waist and come up."

For Padahastasana, from Padangusthasana, he was teaching it: Inhale look up, exhale stay there, inhale hands under the feet..." and I can't remember if it's exhale into the pose or exhale stay there, inhale look up and exhale into the pose!!!!!!

SOOO confusing now...

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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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