Definitive. Except, not.

Yup. Rick and Vanessa are both right (comments in previous post). Intermediate makes you crazy. Crazy happy, crazy sad, crazy scared, crazy whatever.

I tend to be quite even-keeled by nature, with no huge ups and downs. So Intermediate, infinitely adjustable, seems to be coming after my own personal weakness: blind discipline.

Yes, people always say, “How can you practice every day?” In the past it was how could I: sit zazen every day, go to the gym every day, practice tae kwon do every day, climb every day, lift weights every day, write every day, draw every day, study every day… You can see the pattern. There are lots of things that I do every day. Things other people call disciplines, but which I just… well, I just do.

And as per usual, I always do my practice. But there is something at the core of it, the something is that gets me all wondering what the HELL I’m supposed to be doing (primary only? first third of second? pasasana only?), that is all about unravelling my blind discipline.

Vanessa suggested that there is a level of discomfort that one needs to endure when working through Intermediate. And she went on to say that perhaps the difficulty for a home practitioner is to gauge the correct “speed” at which to progress through the sequence.

No doubt about that! I was given a big hunk of Intermediate all in one fell swoop, and I am having trouble digesting it. I don’t mind having a pose or two that need work at the end of practice, but quite honestly, I feel like the whole pack of Intermediate poses are quite lame. Like I’m trying to chew too big a bite.

So to anyone who thinks yoga is about blind discipline, I can unequivocally say: it’s not. Trust me, if anyone could make it so, I could. But I can’t. So there’s a piece of definitive research to add to the archives.


4 Responses

  1. Crazy happy, crazy sad, crazy scared, crazy whatever – Ah, so maybe I can add intermediate to my list of WTF? Bewildering crazy-all-kinds-of-stuff tumbling one over the other these last few weeks…

  2. Yes. It is hard to be methodical in the same ways when the nervous system is being reconfigured? This is giving me so much to ponder. The methodical thing.

    It DOES stop being about discipline. Several old timers have expressed this. I feel this.

    If it is crazy though, it must be working. See: “sushumna, discomfort, pradipika….” HYP 5:4…

    This seems like a really good time to draw on the experience of someone who has seen many people through these passageways.

  3. Hi Karen
    For some reason, I prefer the Intermediate Series practice. On the other hand, there might be some wisdom in your observations, because at the same time, I deprive myself of the practice by either falling into bad patterns such as sometimes not practicing on Mondays, or facing other problems, such as this week, being incredibly busy and unable to practice. My present apartment’s space is not conducive to practice. When I lived in a bigger one, I had a clear floor space in which to practice. I think this is important, and you have that by having dedicated a space for yoga. I set up a zafu and zabuton with tatami mat and I meditate daily. If I had a clear space for yoga, I would practice at home on those days I can’t trek to the shala.

    I’ve discussed these difficulties of getting to the shala with my teacher. She is understanding – either sometimes we have problems with our bodies and need to do something else, or we’re just too busy with our lives. It’s difficult to practice and also carry on with a professional life. I find I carry on with my professional life better when I practice, so I worry about if I’m going to be moody or cranky at work on a day I don’t practice. Such is life.

    In any case, despite my love for intermediate, I have not been able to just do it for days on end, because of these interruptions. If I was teaching myself, I would be at Third Series at the moment (laugh) in all the ugglyness of my ineptitudes. If I was going to the shala very regularly, I would probably be doing intermediate 3 to 4 days a week, and primary twice a week. oh well. hopefully later on I shall do so.


  4. Interesting post! When people ask me that question, I say, “It’s like taking a shower everyday. I feel clean afterwards/”

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