Adjusting

Yesterday was Volleyball Guy’s adjustment workshop. Okay, so if I’d thought about it for even a minute, it probably would have occurred to me that non-Ashtangis would attend. And that they would ask to learn adjustments for non-Ashtanga poses. And they would be people I do not know or practice with.

Ah, my limited view! I go around thinking Scottsdale’s yoga folk are the people I practice with each morning at Mysore class. And maybe the Saturday led folks. As it turns out, there are a lot of other yogis out there, and they don’t do Ashtanga. How narrow is my view? Okay, so we did adjustments for Ardha Chandrasana and revolved Ardha Chandrasana and Natarajasana. Sigh. Forgive me, but I am an efficient person, and all I could think was “Don’t do this one. Don’t do this one. Don’t need this one.” Say it in a Rainman voice and it’s more endearing.

On the upside, we did Vasisthasana, which felt delightful and criminal. The woman I was working with complimented my Vasisthasana, which I love to do, and which I learned from Anusarians. For a moment there, thinking back to my Anusara teachers (who rocked, and who are now My Gift’s employers), I put down my prejudices against the non-Ashtangi. (Haha! On re-reading this, I realize we pretty much all just sound like a bunch of nerdy groups from a Star Trek convention anyhow.)

As I adjusted to the reality of the adjustment class, I realized a few things:

  1. I can only understand which “side” of the pose I’m doing if I turn my body to the right on my mat.
  2. I don’t trust adjustments from anyone except Volleyball Guy and the Mysorians.
  3. I don’t like touching people I don’t know.
  4. I don’t like people I don’t know touching me.
  5. I particularly dislike being sweated upon by people I don’t know.
  6. I’m not cut out to be a yoga teacher.


Basically I walked away with a newfound respect for the physical effort Volleyball Guy makes for us every day. Note to self: work more on the Eka-Pada-Bakasana-to-handstand exit from Virabhadrasana B before you kill him.

I was surprised at how many people seemed to think that adjustments were a way to put students into the pose perfectly. My experience with Volleyball Guy is more about him helping me push past the normal edge of a pose. And then the next time I do the pose, I try to push into that new space that was created, that new possibility. Okay, enough about that. A lot of what he was trying to teach us yesterday involves trusting the unsaid, trusting the experiential–so no more words.

Practice this morning was fun, though kinda off for everyone, since we’d all given up our day off to go spend four hours giving and receiving adjustments. Lots of good cheer this morning, but lots of sighs and grunts, too. The team is a little tired. I’m taking a day off tomorrow. I need to do some thinking about whether 6 days a week is making me too tired. I’m not sure if I’m managing to adjust.

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4 Responses

  1. It is amazing the amount of effort and strength isn’t it!

  2. 6 days is freaking rough, I can only muster 5 and many weeks its four. I thi the trick is to build over time.

  3. I always just assumed everyone did 6. LOL! Okay, I guess it is time to take a bit of a break. Five days a week for a while. That’ll be nice!

  4. I practise 5 days a week and, just like Jody, sometimes it’s even less than that. She’s right when she says that one should slowly progress towards practising 6 days a week – remember all will come in time. I’ve recently come to realise that I’ve been struggling for something that I wasn’t not prepared to do yet, setting unrealistic goals. Now I’m taking a much more flexible approach to it and, you know what? I feel much better. I don’t think there’s anything wrong about taking it easy for a while – it’s easy to get burnt out. If anything, backing off a bit might give your motivation the boost it needs. As long as you keep the joy, it’ll be OK.

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