Folly, Fighting, Friends

As we’re practicing, I hear a chuckle. I look over at The Cop.

“Just happy?” I ask.
“Laughing at my own folly,” he says.
We go on.
“I’m waking up at 4:30 to put my own foot in my own gooch.”

Yeah, I guess that’d be hard to explain to the other cops.


I look over during the second side of marichyasana B, to see how he’s faring.

“I’m fighting with it,” he says, having gotten the pose again this morning.
“What’s your fight-to-surrender ratio?” I ask, “100% fight?”
“90% fight,” he responds. “I know I have to surrender, but it’s conceptual knowledge.”


The cybershala.

Yesterday it was Owl talking about stress in the jaw, and Vanessa talking about her body as “soft.”

This morning, Tova has a video of herself putting her chin on her mat in bhujapidasana. I was thrilled to see it. I have been hovering, but not putting my chin down. Mostly because when I hover, I can feel that I am decreasing the angle between the forearms and upper arms to counterbalance the weight of leaning forward. I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to be able to put my chin down while keeping the 90 degree angle of the arms. Watching Tova’s video, I saw that she, too, decreases the angle of the arms. As does Arjuna, now that I look up the pose.

Okay, so I was busy thinking I shouldn’t do something until I could miraculously figure out how to do it the way that is probably actually physically impossible. Yeah, good idea.

Suffice it to say, watching Tova’s video made me understand how to just go for it. So this morning, in bhujapidasana, I put my chin on the floor. The fact that I smooshed most of the lower part of my face into my mat and my feet were dragging is immaterial. That’ll improve with time. I am curious, though, about why I thought I was going to suddenly be able to do this perfectly without going through the messed-up, just-learning-how-to-do-it stage?

My other inspiration this morning was Laksmi, who also posted videos. I was particularly taken with her supta vajrasana video. So strong and yet so delicate. And all I could think about was how GOOD it would feel to stretch my shoulders/traps out. So I did the entire practice as officially given to me by Volleyball Guy. To a delightful supta vajrasana, by way of a sketchy-at-best kapotasana.

And for my poetintellectual inspiration this morning, Patrick’s post. Kapotasana. The introverted pose. The Barnett Newman of asanas. I am going to think of my spine as one of Newman’s zips from now on. That’ll be more helpful than the Pollock-like energy chaos that usually happens in my kapotasana!

Thanks to all of you, cybershalamates. You really help my practice.

14 Responses

  1. i think you are meant to hover? i would find that control much more difficult than plopping my chin down. what would Sharath do?

  2. I’m starting to think, more & more, that it’s all the same stuff. The particulars of struggle. Doesn’t matter what asana they are related to.

    Course there are a lot of pointers to be gleaned from the world of the cyber shala…

  3. Oh boy, I’ll have to go look in all of my books to find out about the hover question. I think in Sharath’s CD he instructs people to put “chin down.”

    And yes, Boodi, same struggle, different asana. LOL! Because it’s about the struggle and working it through. Once you get the asana, well, there’s a new one to carry on the project…

  4. Yep… To a beginner, learning to headstand in the middle of the room is quite daunting. Seriously. Once you conquer something, another challenge awaits. That’s the great thing about Astanga.

    All I need to do to feel a whirl of nervous energy about my spleen is CONSIDER the Viparita exit. I want it to the point of obsession. Why? Cause I can’t do it. (Yet.)

  5. Hover: for the record, I like to hover in just about everything that involves “put it on the floor.” Recently this has also included headstand (damn you, Yoga Mala, for saying “no pressure on the head”).

    Bhuja: I think Swenson sold me on “hover just above floor”.

    Laghu: Hover keeps the thighs engaged.

    Rumor has it that when Sharath does Eka Pada Bakasana, he, now get this, floats the “down” knee and isn’t actually touching his arm. Ahem.

  6. Annie says hover with your chin just slightly above the floor in Bhuja, FWIW. Not that I can do it.

  7. I can hover with my chin up a bit. It’s scary to try to hover it really close to the floor, but I guess that can be a new project. Putting it on the floor this morning taught me more about extension through the neck. Now it’s a case of hovering with that degree of extension…

    Hover on laghu makes it way easier. But as soon as the hair on the top of my head grazes the floor, all the energy pulls downward!

  8. Patrick, that is the funniest, most absurd, thing I have ever heard tell about ashtanga yoga. I will believe it because it’s so insane, even though it’s surely untrue.

    This am I hit the first real good EPB ever, full vinyas. Good timing.

  9. hi karen
    folly fighting friends. that’s quite alliterative. okay, so i have my homework to review these videos at other friends’ blogs. i’ll have to check that dangly bujapidasana. i have trouble with that one. the feet usually get stuck on the floor, i guess from not compressing them around the shoulders high enough.

    now that i’ve read the other comments, when guruji and the family where last in san francisco and we got to bujaphidasana, sharath and saraswati were more concerned that we get the chin to the floor than whether the feet where hovering or not. if you had to push the feet away, that was okay, but getting the chin to the floor was important to them. the problem is, i tried that in front of a teacher later (not my usual teacher) and she said to continue trying to learn to hover without the feet touching the floor, until i got the right balance and was able to bring the chin down and the feet where still aloft.
    so what gives? should i go back to saraswati and sharath’s way?

  10. Well, your Owlness, not to steal the thread or anything, but not long ago, weren’t you saying it would take you a few lifetimes to stick EPB? How time flies, eh?

  11. Wasn’t that around mid-Februrary, two or three lifetimes ago? 🙂 This one comes quicker than expected, but I still go head to floor in bhuja unless the ashtanga po-po are in town.

  12. My tendency not to go head to floor in Bhuja reminds me of your panoptical considerations a post or two ago (so, you wanna steal the thread, or shall I?).

    And come on, you KNOW you wanna call’em Ashtanga Five-O.

    Hit it, the Ventures!

  13. Swenson: hover
    Scott: touch
    Maehle: touch
    Yoga Mala: touch

    That’s what the books say, kids.

  14. I do so love the Cop!!!!!!

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