Friday, January 11, 2008

Led Primary Series is F-ing HARD

I don't say "f-ing" very often.  But I think it's deserved here.  Today I marshalled all of my strength of will and made myself go to Led Primary at the CT Shala.  I often skip Led Primary Fridays because, um, well, because, yeah, because, ah...because I am a lazy piece of crap is why, and I'll take any excuse to sleep in and practice later.  There's really no other reason. 

At first I was going to say that I often skip LPF's because I don't need the assistance to do "only" Primary, so why drive all the way to Connecticut to not get any assistance anyway, when I can do the same exact practice at home?  But that's not a good reason at all.  The truth is, it's NOT the same exact practice at home. When I do it at home, I barely break a sweat. There's no pressure to move from down dog to the next seated pose without adding a bunch of breaths. There's no pressure to get into poses quicky enough to be in them for five breaths. There's no pressure to stay in poses for five breaths either. I can phone in a large part of the first half of Primary and still be ready for the Big Kurmasanas by simply taking my time once I get there.

It's quite different when you're on the classical counting system, when you know you're going to have exactly five breaths in Kurmasana to prepare for Supta Kurmasana. When you can't do 10 minutes of research before doing your full wheels.

We finished in 96 minutes, and at the end, I was nothing but a puddle of sweat and exhaustion. I guess that's what it's supposed to do, right?  Burn off the toxins, burn off the thoughts.  There was very little room for thought while I plowed through every pose for Val's count of five breaths, which turn out to be longer than the five breaths I usually do. 

I am simply amazed at how my practice is soooo much easier when I do it Mysore style, even when I go up to Dhanurasana, even with six or seven or more full wheels, depending on how much R&D I'm doing.

I am really on the fence about whether I want to come to the mat tomorrow. I didn't sign up for the World Practice Whatever. But I was there in spirit, until last night, when I ate my weight in chocolate chip cookies at midnight, which I attribute to overtraining. When I overtrain, I overeat. I crave, and I can't or don't bother to control it. I realized this morning that doing my practice every day is not necessarily a good thing for my body. I think that World Practice Month makes sense for people who wouldn't otherwise get to the mat as regularly as I do (like, every day besides Saturdays and moondays, and sometimes even on moondays, since my shala is open on moondays). But for me, I think it might be not such a good idea.

Of course, I could go to the mat and sit for 10 minutes tomorrow. Just sit. But even assuming I were capable of just sitting, why would I do that? What would I be learning from that that I couldn't learn simply by not taking my mat out at all?

Hmmm....This can't be what WoProMo is about.

That was rhetorical, by the way, all you WoProMo-ers out there. I know why you're doing it. I just don't know why I am.



StevenCX said...

One of the things WoYoPracMo is about is sharing experiences, and from what I'm learning about (pure) Ashtanga, I think I'd like it. I like the idea of holding poses for more than a breath. That would allow for proper form and increase strength and balance. Unlike Bikram there are inversions and it looks like more poses too. I'm learning as much in a month as I've learned in years!

DebPC said...

What about other kinds of yoga? Like karma yoga or dharma yoga? What about less athletic styles of yoga, like restorative or yin yoga? What about just giving yourself the day off?

It's hard to take a break. Trust me, I know. I am hobbling around these days with killer sore muscles and yet I am having a hard time taking a day off. Maybe the best yoga you could do is listen to your body and respect what it is telling you.

Laurie said...

After years of asana, I'm finding that meditation is rocking my practice and my life. 20 minutes a day... let the mind have a break. We take care of our bodies, we need to take care of our minds too. I remember that yoga is all 8 limbs worth.

DebPC said...

I totally agree with Laurie. I think a lot of times yoga gets stripped down to asana, when there is a lot more to the system. In fact, I think that traditionally view has it that asana practice is really just a body-calming prelude to mediation and other higher callings.

Carl said...

Suck it up Princess! If led primary is difficult then it's because you slack off too much during self-practice. Start sweating on your own!

This practice isn't about warm fuzzies.

Pink Heels said...

HOLY SMOKES! I had never heard of this intense workout but I have to try it at least once...maybe!

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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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