Monday, April 14, 2008


They look so innocent, don't they? And yet...I am told...they steal your prana.

This is what the Good Doctor told me that he was told by his teacher, SKPJ.

It came up because after Savasana, I got up, energized and brought a block back to my mat and proceeded to come into Kapotasana, with said block upended (the tall way) under my back. My feet were touching the block, and my hands were gripping the block, which meant that with the help of the block, I had gotten my hands as close to my feet as I had ever gotten them without the help of the Good Doc - about three inches apart.

Elated, I skipped out to the lobby, where GD was hanging out before his noon class, and interrupted his conversation, block in hand, to tell him what I had done. The rest you already know....block = prana stealer. Wall = prana stealer too, by the way, which I can attest to, myself, since after about three Kapotasana research forays at the wall, although I was able to hold my toes in Kapotasana with GD's assistance, when it came time for Kapotasana B, I literally fell on my ass. Prana all gone. Wall sucked it out of me.

Yeah, yeah, you could look at it as a case of me just exhausting myself with three versions of Pasasana (basically, Mari A done in a squat, Mari C done in a squat and then the full version of more rolled up mat, and I didn't even miss it, although I only touched fingertips on the first side and on the second side, my wrapping arm kind of slid off, but whatever), two versions of Ustrasana (one with hipbones pressed to the wall, and one without the wall as a guide), and then at least four versions of Kapotasana before I even got my assist. TOO MUCH.

Note to self: chill. After 15 months in Supta Kurmasana, you'd think I would learn that all is coming .... slooooooooooooooooooooooooooooowly.

The Good Doc told me that if I insist on departing from the way in which he was taught (which I do NOT), there are some girls who practice at the shala who use sundry torture devices to prepare themselves for poses. I believe that I know of whom he speaks, and further, I am quite sure that no tet a tet will happen vis a vis blocks and racks and ankle weights. Ha.

Note to self: see above note to self.



Carl said...

How much prana does a block dissipate? Just figure that out and take in that much more prana.

Anonymous said...

If I wear Prana clothes, can that replace the dissipated prana?

Yoga Chickie said...

I think that if you wear Prana clothing, you're safe from all prana stealers, except Prana stealers in the locker room.

Yoga Chickie said...

Tell it to my teacher, Carl.

DebPC said...

I love doing triangle with a block. It does not steal my prana. It makes me feel so much better aligned in the pose that it actually increases my prana. Even more so when I use a block in ardha chandrasana. Then my prana is filling up the room and all of the other people practicing are becoming pranacized. Tell that to your teacher.

Diana said...

Although I have utmost respect for your teacher--please consider that Pattabhi Jois has been known to hand someone a towel or their shirt to do a forward bend or a twist.
And what are adjustments if not supplemental help?
I respect the rules of each shala I practice in. Our goal is to go deeper TOWARDS a pose--whether that is hot baths, change of diet, evening stretches, or extra breaths in the asana. Who is to say that raising the level of floor by use of a block is detrimental. For many--it is the ideal way FOR THEM that particular practice--to practice trikonasana.
As for your teacher, notice that he says "that is the way my teacher taught me." It is crucial to him to pass down the original practice-bravo to him-that is important.
So I am not a strict traditionalist. I used to be.My solution is I don't say I practice ashtanga--just yoga.

Polly said...

I am new to Ashtanga, and today's class made me cry. Tears of frustration. I had 4 babies at home, I've run several marathons, I've overcome melanoma and Grave's Disease, but I cannot do these seated bound poses.

Glad I found your blog.

Yoga Chickie said...

Polly..I sent you a message on your blog.

The rest of you...I don't take it all that seriously, the whole prana stealing thing. I know that the Good Doc is just trying to pass down what he was taught with integrity. He allows us to find our way. So far so good on that.

I, myself, am a purist at heart...probably goes along with compulsive tendencies. I started yoga with Bikram, where no props are allowed, and even towels to get a better grip are shunned. At some point, when does a mat or wet skin or the cloth from your yoga pants become a prop? I sometimes wonder about that, but I know that what I work towards is using the least amount of externals as possible, assists included. I like to be able to do it myself and not depend on a prop (which, in my opinion, includes rolling up my pants for garba pindasana, of which I am sometimes guilty, depending on the day).

Just rambling here. Debby, I wish you would come practice with me and share some of that prana! Then Carl's theory would never even have to apply...we could ALL just use YOUR prana!

DebPC said...

Yeah, but I'd have to stay in ardha chandrasana, and my leg might start to get tired sticking up in the air like that.

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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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