Surrender, technology, and I’m gonna be in trouble if my dad runs away

Today’s thoughts on kapotasana: What’s happening with the pose, whether I “get it” or not, is immaterial. And by “get it” I mean both physically and… what’s the word? Intellectually? Emotionally? How do I characterize the superego of the pose? Realized (again) this morning that “progress” can only be measured by change: I wake up and my shoulders feel different. I don’t know how to qualify the difference; I don’t know how to understand it; I simply have to trust that whatever change is occurring is necessary — since I can’t do the pose. Really, there’s no choice but to trust that any change that is occurring is a step in the right direction.

All I can do is this: get to the pose, try the pose, try to absorb whatever the heck is happening, and then go on. My satisfaction has to come from the fact that I did it. Sanskrit Scholar helped me in the pose this morning. She is struggling with this particular pose as well. Afterwards we talked for a moment, and she asked if the pressure she had applied to my elbows to align my shoulders (more) correctly had been helpful. I said I didn’t really know. I said that when I’m in the pose I have no idea what’s going on. I have no clue. I can feel individual sensations: I can feel my lower back, and I can feel my mid-back (which is something new and something that I had hoped to accomplish), and I can feel my legs, and I can feel that the bulk of the tension is in my shoulders. Now, how I am supposed to coordinate all of these sensations, how I am supposed to optimize the action of getting into and being in the pose, I have no idea. Yet.

Delightfully, I may never have an idea. I may never in my mind fully understand how to work this pose with my body. That’s the part I often have trouble with, that’s where despair (and yes, 0v0, self-loathing) can try to rear its head. I am accustomed to understanding things with my mind. I pride myself on understanding things with my mind. I love “difficult” literature (James Joyce and contemporary language poets come to mind), because it eludes me. I could never figure them out. I kept going back. And then one day, there it is: the language just opens up in front of me, it all unfolds. It was like the literature had been going along all this time, and I just couldn’t “get” it. And then, one day, I could. I had an experience like that with a Carl Andre sculpture many years ago, and the same thing happens with the work of my favorite sculptors and painters. I guess that’s why I love non-representational art. There are few clues on the surface for the mind to grab. You just have to be patient. And adjust your expectations for how accessible something should be. And then throw in some persistence. And openness. And if you try too hard, you’re not going to get it. But when you do, what a terrific surprise!

Yes. That’s the thing I love most about asana.


This entry is brought to you care of voice recognition software. Very nice, to just speak my thoughts, instead of typing. I was wondering how different it would feel to actually say things out loud. I tend to be very quiet. When I was in graduate school for poetry, the other writers around me often said that they couldn’t understand what they were writing until they read it aloud. Not me. I’m a huge fan of silence. As is The Cop, luckily. I hated doing readings. Only agreed when it was a request from a publisher – figured I owed them for publishing my work.


For Father’s Day I bought my father a book on the birds of Arizona, a pair of binoculars, and a water bottle with a holder that you can clip onto a belt loop. I want to encourage his inclination to wander out past the fence and walk in the desert.


4 Responses

  1. I used to be a voice recognition software engineering. The CNN live transcription that you often see in airports and bars is a system my company built and I adapted for those scenarios. We also did lip synching for Shrek, and some other funky stuff. Shame that job was so poorly paid and had no future (for me), it was the most fun I’ve ever had at work.

  2. I meant I was an engineer (not “an engineering”).

  3. Re: self-loathing and self-defeatism and their respective rarities in me and you and their recent appearance in dreams: what is up with that?

    Another place to locate kapo’s superego, rather than head (intellect) or heart (emotion) might be the little condyles/ stretch receptors in muscles’ ends. They say that’s where (proprioception) lives. From your description today, the pose is working on your sixth sense.

  4. Gosh, I have no idea where it’s coming from! The other day, my husband said, “You made a weird blog entry today.” I asked him what he meant, and he said, “I’m not used to you doubting yourself.” LOL! I am going to blame it on the backbends. You can blame it on dissertation. Luckily, I am always aware that these hyper-sensitive phases pass.

    Yes, proprioception. There’s the answer. I always think of it as kinesthesia, and can never quite get the distinction between the two. Nevertheless, it’s a lovely thing to consider, that the superegos of poses reside in one’s proprioception. I guess that’s probably intuitively obvious to the more body-oriented among us. Luckily we have lovely words to name these things, for the enjoyment of the (clueless but well-meaning) head-obsessed rest of us 😉

    I’ve always thought laghu vajrasana preceded kapotasana to do the same strength/flexibility combo punch as bhujapidasana/supta kurmasana. Now I’m thinking it’s also there as a dramatic intro to stretch receptors, before you deal with the kinesthetics of kapotasana.

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