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On Second Thought

February 6, 2011

So Local Ashtanga Teacher has gone rogue and declared that I can move on to second series, even if I haven’t been officially blessed by Toronto Ashtanga Teacher, and even if my slow recovery from last summer’s back injury means I’m just now starting drop-backs again, and haven’t done one unassisted since that fateful weekend last August when he-who-will-not-be-named made me do an urdhva danurasana so deep that I stopped being able to breathe while he commanded me to crawl my pathetic fingers ever closer to my clown feet.

This isn't me.  Not even close.

What I felt like that fateful day

I’ve been pretty ambivalent about my Ashtanga practice since then, playing the yoga field, so to speak, for the past few months.  I know in a perfect world, it wouldn’t be the allure of new poses that would draw me back, but I’m no more perfect than this world, and it has.

Truth be told, doing nothing but primary series six days a week is tolerable when you can be in a Mysore room every morning and sort of zone out and rock the ‘moving meditation’ groove, but it’s significantly harder when you have to apply that level of discipline to a home practice where nobody can see whether you’re in utthita hasta padangustasana, or just napping on a bolster.  Likewise, Led Primary classes are great once a week or so when you usually do Mysore practice as a way to re-set your pacing and remind you of correct vinyasa.  But typical led Ashtanga classes don’t make it through all of the first series, and end up more often than not feeling like a kind of dull Vinyasa class where you already know the whole flow before the teacher starts talking.  I’m sure I’m supposed to find inspiration from within somewhere, but I looked, and it’s not there.

So instead I’ve been doing my best to do as many full practices a week as I can, be they at home or in the studio, Ashtanga or Vinyasa.  Any yoga’s better than none, right?  But the thought of second series has put a little spring in my step, even if the very first pose has been deemed off limits by my chiropractor(s).  I modify the hell out of it, trying to wring as much twist and oblique strength and Achilles stretch as possible out of the little bugger without giving in to temptation and binding.

Knowing that a safely bound pashasana is a long way from here, LAT has also blessed me to move right along in the series, as long as I take it one pose at time and stop when I get to one I can’t fully do.  With that instruction, I took it upon myself to add krounchasana to the mix this week. Something in my hip needs to open up a bit before I can do that one without being a bit tippy and sloppy, so I guess I’ll stay here for a few weeks and see how it goes.

And that’s how it goes.

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