A little guilty

I feel a little guilty when I decide to stay home and practice, rather than going to Mysore at Starbucks of Yoga. I realize: a) there are plenty of folks who would love to have an opportunity to practice Mysore with a good teacher, b) the folks I practice with are terrific people who have a strong investment in our community, c) Volleyball Guy gives quite selflessly to all of us, d) it’s a good idea to contribute to the community of Ashtanga in general.

On the other hand, I feel a great pull to solitary practice. It’s familiar–like zazen–a delicate, stabilizing force. I love when practice is divorced from “the yoga lifestyle” and is just a practice in a room with dim morning light. I’ve always admired the Dalai Lama and the monks who get up in the middle of the night to start their sitting–a sort of integrated biorhythm that is beyond thinking. No “shall I get up?” or “who’ll be there?” or “ow, my hamstrings hurt”–just the practice. None of this is easier or more difficult according to where I practice, of course–that part is all in my mind. But it’s something that is working in my subconscious at this point. Like a koan, I’ll have a look at it and then leave it to its work. Eventually it’ll come clear.

All that said, practice at home is an opportunity for adventures in style. I put on a polka dot top and black tights. Went into the livingroom and felt cold. Layered on a camouflage shirt that left the bottom of the polka dot top showing. Still cold. Added plaid pajama bottoms. Passed by a mirror and had to laugh at my get-up. It worked, though. Along with the space heater.

When I got to supta kurmasana, I grabbed a couple of vacuum cleaner belts (popular with Volleyball Guy and Sanskrit Scholar as aids when one is learning to bind). I have a couple left from when I was learning, and I decided to use one for supta k so I could get the hand bind without stretching my shoulders to the limit, figuring that with a little extra mobility I could try to get more happening with my hips/legs/feet. It was quite a thrashing about that took place. I usually go directly from kurmasana into supta k–from that position, my legs are high enough that I can grab my hands. But then, of course, I am “stuck” in the upper body if I want to hold the bind–and then there is little I can do with my legs.

I got the hand bind without the ring (just to practice it quickly), then let go and tried pushing my legs higher up on my shoulders–with my right hand pushing the right calf, then the left hand pushing the left calf. Quite an ugly self-adjustment, I’m sure. It occurred to me that if I were at the shala, someone would have hurried over to help by now. But wait! I’m not done ruining this pose! 😉 Oh no, not by a long shot. At this point, with my hands up at my ankles, I have to rotate my shoulders back for the hand bind. Of course, the flopping makes my feet fall to the floor. I shift my shoulders again and get underneath as much as possible, then go ahead and cross my feet on the floor. More cross than I can usually manage. And then I grab the vaccuum cleaner ring for the hand bind and call it good.

Despite the ugliness, I consider this a rather successful attempt. At the very least, I am beginning to explore how the whole thing works, even if I am kinesthetically clueless. Eventually, something will start to click and I will feel what I’m supposed to be trying to do.

In the spirit of using props, when I got to urdhva dhanurasana, I did the usual three, then broke out my climbing harness. Yup. And a carabiner and a daisy chain. Hooked myself into the higher ropes on the wall, and did some hanging-back pre-dropback practice. On the one hand, I feel like a wimp: I know folks do the hanging back stuff without props. On the other hand: I have ropes on the wall and a harness that’s gathering dust. I can use them to spot me. Plus it’s fun. At the end, I walked my feet up the wall and stretched my arms back for a nice urdhva d with my upper body and legs parallel to the floor.

Lots of fun before 7AM 😉

For some reason, I keep thinking of the end of the Diamond Sutra, so I’ll end with that:

Thus shall ye think of all this fleeting world:
A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream;
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.


4 Responses

  1. I know what you mean about the pull of solitary practice. I always feel like that’s the “real” practice for me — unfortunately I also feel the pull of sleeping later! Discipline is lacking!

    LOL at the outfit! I tend to wear my least favorite yoga clothes when I practice at home — the tops that ride up a little too much, the pants that don’t quite fit right — since no one can see me!

  2. AT least you practiced!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Yes, home practice is for tops with high exposure factor and bottoms that fall down 😉

  4. hee hee! i love the harness idea. good job!

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