Pain. Early. Travel.

The trifecta for ashtanga yoga apparently. Bullshit. All physical pain is the result of a motion that the body was unprepared to make, or a tree/car/piano/hudlum, ____ injures a body part. What happens after that pain is anyone’s guess. Could be good news, could be just awful. You do not have to wake up at sunrise or just a little before, to do ashtanga. It is more efficient if you do that, particularly if you need to make rent, and specially if you make rent by teaching ashtanga, I imagine it is better to get your practice done first before telling others how to do theirs. A lot of us (I’m not saying most of us, I am just saying a lot of us, so calm yourself) can do 8, 9, 10 AM no problem if we can hold out that long without stuffing ourselves. Some people love it so much that they do it after 5 PM (very light lunch) because it’s better than not being able to schedule it in. You do not have to go to India to be an ashtangi. Let me clarify that. You do not have to want to go to India to be an asthangi. You do have to go if you enjoy the which ashtangi can piss farthest championships, because that is one of the qualifying events. IMPORTANT: not every ashtangi who studies in India is participating in the international ashtangi pissing championship. Please do not write me to explain your very personal reasons for studying in Mysore. I am saying that if you prefer a non humid, not too chaotic environment, shorter plane rides, and less curry, you are not a heretic or a dabbler, orย  not serious enough, or ignorant and unsophisticated. Why am I going on about this? Because ashtanga is only part of your very important day if you are a student, and a member of a shala or a studio. If you are the owner, or the teacher in a shala, your responsibilities and your standards are different. Don’t act all like you are the abbot or the abbess of the most important monastery in the hood, and you evaluate your aspirants cough!! customers according to their ability to match your very exacting and discouraging requirements.

26 thoughts on “Pain. Early. Travel.

  1. I enjoyed this, I agree with it, but really what set it off? fyi, nice video on david garrigues blog about how asana is for health, and shouldn’t involve your ego. Related. The thing with Ashtanga is if it works for you, great. If not, oh well. It’s been working for me these last few years, so I’m happy. And on days when it doesn’t work I just have to skip. It is what it is.

    • Exactly, Susan. When you hear the words: It is your practice, as an adult you decide how and where you are going to place your efforts. I read a couple of posts in a blog I had not read recently, and there was a lot of pontificating about not being a wuss about waking up early and how there is really no excuse for not going to Mysore which struck me as frat talk if you know what I mean. Fortunately I did see DG’s video and Kate O’Donnell’s guest post in the confluence countdown.

  2. as a follow up I am sometimes intimidated by DG videos, but that one worked. And I think i might see what set you off. Whatever. We just have to do the best we can. If people want to lay out standards for what we should want or do, that’s their problem.

    • I enjoy David’s videos and find them helpful. I took what he meant to say as don’t kid yourself into thinking you can bypass discomfort while you walk this earth. I love David Swenson’s advice: “Don’t let yoga ruin your life”.

  3. Everything David Swenson says is wise, warm and loving. He’s a joyful teacher and a kind and delightful person whose good heart and intelligence shine through. If you ever have a chance to study with him, go for it.

      • we are a wonderful bunch ๐Ÿ™‚ and I know you were talking about Michelle and Kate, not me, but I horned in anyway!

      • Ahhhh, I’ve been kind of regretting my rant today. Too many vrttis! My (PJ authorized) teacher sent me a sweet and humble email afterwards, saying, “Love from the 1%” and I felt terrible – a self-indulgent ass. Still, I had to get it out of my system. (I just wish I could have been as elegantly succinct as you.)

      • Hey, if the laid back contingent of the 1% is sending love, you cannot really be a SI ass. I run out of steam after one paragraph (which a less lazy blogger would edit to be two) so thanks for calling it succinct! I think all those “musts & have to’s” are veiled attempts to create a VIP section in the yoga lounge/club house/High school cafeteria culture we were raised in….

    • D! It might be by invitation only for all I know, hahaha. I hope I made it clear that most people who go to Mysore have personal reasons to study there and that wanting to get certified or authorized or whatever it is called can be smelled by Sharath from blocks away. I only wanted to convey that Ashtanga can be practiced at other times that are not dawn, that injuries are is part of the human experience not just the ashtangi experience, and that you can study with teachers that have Sharath’s and Guruji’s blessing, if flying long distances is a significant life disruptor. You know what? No! Even if you just don’t want to visit India, It’s okay. No disrespect, but I don’t want to go to Russia, or to Chile. Are those places bad? No. I don’t like cooked cabbage either, is steamed cabbage bad? No. Love your practice the best way that you know how. The things you show love to tend to blossom. Phew! I’m still ranting hahaha!

      • It probably is invitation-only ๐Ÿ˜‰

        You most definitely did make it clear, and you’re right that he can smell authorized-only intentions from blocks away. I think this whole “Ashtanga Police” rubbish is really a perverse form of ego maintenance via self-flagellation. We don’t learn the entire Primary Series in one day so how can one expect to follow all the Ashtanga “guidelines” overnight? Talk about ambitious!

        Sorry to hear you dislike cooked cabbage…..if you ever feel like giving them another shot, try steaming them then serving with a miso-mirin sauce for dipping.

    • True. We forget that is the main reason why we all wanted to be grown-ups to begin with. I did put myself in blog detention for a couple of days. It’s not skillful to heat yourself up too close to boiling because you end up making a mess.

      • Ah the old “repenting”! I know what that’s like! I used to regularly & unapologetically blow people out of the water on the old blog. Once, when I got to the day’s rendition of Durvasana, C sniffed and after making sure I knew the pose name, said he wanted me to google Durvasa that day. No wonder! He was the angry sage :), someone you definitely don’t want to invite to the party.

        Luckily in yoga, there are still the non evangelical types. They are the minority in certain circles, but can still be found.

        Sent from my iPhone

      • There were a lot of unpleasant sages apparently. I’m not sure why they got poses named after them. Durvasa’s is the one where you’re standing on one leg with the other behind your head.

        Sent from my iPhone

    • And if Ashtanga is going to be part of how you make your living or how you define yourself, I agree. Some of us are going to continue to be students so all of those teachers in training can make rent! I was telling a friend earlier this week, that my opinions about travel to India might be colored by the fact that I live in the NYC metro area and have access to many authorized teachers and live 20 minutes away from Jois Yoga in CT, so in April I can attend 1week of workshops with Sharath & Saraswati. I might be more motivated to travel far if I had less resources available to me. I have quite a bit of respect for tiny Ms. Kino. She got me off the floor in Bhuja during her Dec. workshop and I’m 5″2 and 172 pounds!

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