So useful to read and re evaluate again what you think you already know. This started by wanting to refresh a little knowledge before traveling to India in October, but it has turned into listening to other smaller booklets, pamphlets, links and articles I have saved. I know I am not the only one who has found daily practice incredibly hard this winter. Repeating to myself you only have to do 3 As and 3 Bs has saved me from not practicing. Goodness knows what stories I would be telling you and myself for not practicing if I had to still get my ass to work outside the house in this weather. It is not just the cold and the bad driving conditions and the lack of sunlight that is throwing curve balls at me ( I don’t even know what that means. Trick balls? I never chased or caught balls well anyway). It is realizing that I am at the intersection where progress in asana is defined by the poses I get to keep instead of the poses I might be given in the future. You know how we all see ourselves as the same kid/teen/20 year old in our heads? I always thought if I loose weight, and never drink again, and take glucosamine, and amp up my pranayama and suck up my bandhas while I fold the laundry the impossible poses will be accessible to me. But no. I know there is a lady in Kentucky who started in her late 50s and received authorization in her 60’s. I am going to guess she was not talking about how Winstons and Kents tasted awful compared to Marlboro reds and Camel filters at age 12. I am not saying I cannot be like her because I did that. I cannot be like her because the samaskaras I have to work keep being those kinds to this day. I listed to Claudia interview Matthew Sweeney yesterday and he had an interesting take on access to Mula Bandha. He said resolving certain aspects related to appetite and other root chakra “issues” is a precondition to finding it. Makes sense to me. I also saw an FB post today on my feed where David Garrigues shuts down the fantasy that you surely one day drop back or lower yourself to chaturanga like what you see on youtube if you started at 45. I thanked him for making that realization available to me. I was glad when I asked myself if I wanted to continue practicing ashtanga if I was not going to make asana progress and I (mentally) shrugged and said sure. I now know for sure that standing on the mat makes what my cyber friend David Cain describes as “the sky has fallen a million times already” an occurrence instead of a disaster. He follows with the following advice: Being overwhelmed comes from a breakdown of your thoughts NOT the breakdown of your PRACTICE( okay he said your life). He finishes by saying “Things change pretty quickly when you start DOING things instead of thinking so much”. I’m also pretty sure that in my case it still means asana because he also mentions that “it is most tempting to not do things when you most need to do things.” So between re reading a post he wrote on Raptitude back in 2013 and the house recommendations from AY Ann Arbor’s Angela Jamison, I get to hang in there until spring!
And I’ll be there! Preferably wherever it was that those waves were pounding, but I’ll go to Michigan, or maybe she can come to CT/NYC (I’m thinking of suggesting this to teacher). The caliber of qualified young teachers of Ashtanga Yoga available to students in the Northern hemisphere is looking rather high. Finally, an answer to a bandha question that prevents you from obsessing:
I was going to use the word elevate to describe this new website featured above, instead of refine, but that would imply that everyone else is at a lower, level and that is not what this is about. The people that contribute their writing to this site and its publications, are people whose opinions and comments stand out for me when they appear in other venues. They go deep, but you don’t need an oxygen tank to follow. You probably are familiar with many of the contributor’s writings, so you know you will not find saucy or coy headlines, which is okay for us who need to grab your attention because we are still defining our content. There are many decades of study and experience gathered in these publications. I will read with much pleasure and with very much deserved respect. I am not saying this site is better than other existing ones, but I will venture to say that trite or petulant will not thrive in this field. I hope you will collaborate by enjoying what is to come.
The link above has a series of articles on the practice of Ashtanga Yoga where I found very eloquent answers to my question of whether 3 months in Mysore would find an equivalence in 3 months with Sharath at Jois Center in the West. The latest article in the series written by teacher Angela Jamison is just excellent. I would not mind heading north and paying three months rent to study with her….