Fun with inexplicable impulses

The Cop did not get up for practice this morning. He wasn’t feeling well last night and needed some rest.

Which left me to my own devices. And thus did I:

Practice standing, the second half of primary, and intermediate to supta vajrasana. Why did I do this weird split? I have no idea.

It was really nice, though.

Actually, I think I might know how this happened. For the past 6 months, I have been working on my own. I had a grasp of primary and felt like I needed to work it through in a way that I could only accomplish by going at it day after day after day. Didn’t really need to trouble anyone else to watch over this process — and there was the added benefit of seeing for myself if I could sustain a practice on my own.

The challenge, in the working through, was to find a way to meditate through each moment of primary. To be present in it. I knew it well enough that I didn’t need to think about what I was doing, and it was pretty smooth sailing except for a few places. Namely, the kurmasana-through-baddha-konasana gauntlet. For a long time that was where I was most concentrated — where I felt anxiety, or wondered if I could do it, or felt my breathing tense up, or whatever. Those feelings seemed to linger, even after I could do the poses, so the solution seemed to be to do them day after day with the challenge of keeping my mind still, until they finally smoothed out.

The other issue was a tendency to roll mindlessly through the all the poses after baddha konasana. After “the gauntlet,” the rest of the poses seemed easy, and of course there were always other things to get on with in life, so that part of primary was usually pretty impatient. Oh, and don’t even ask about the closing poses! They were extremely thoughtless.

Truth be told, I’m still not really clear about the “purpose” of the end of primary, but at least I’ve slowed myself down and accepted it. And the closing poses are now a refuge.

They were very quiet and meditative and soothing, those months of mindful primary practices.

So why did I rip open the big Pandora’s box of intermediate this morning? Ack! All of the unsurety and clumsiness and lack of mastery! Messy, messy, messy!

And did I mention the fearful feelings at kapotasana? The heart-pounding apprehension? The frustration?!

Yeah. That’s what I did this morning.

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3 Responses

  1. Hi Karen
    Yikes, little me the first to comment? It seems you did a classic routine before you’re split, half primary, half second. It’s my usual routine on Sundays. During the week I split the routine.
    Cheers,
    Arturo

  2. I was just thinking the same thing, Arturo. That is a classic split, apparently. One day first half primary, first half Second, next day second half primary, first half Second. By first half second, I mean up to anything up to Pincha/Karanda.

    Why don’t you do Supta Vajrasana – kneees under a sofa, or under the Ashtanga Police Officer? It closes out the backbends and finishes getting you ready for your UD…

    The last part of Primary is a wind-down, among other things. It also neutralizes the back after Supta K, culminating in Setu Bandasana, which prepares you for UD. I kind of don’t understand why we then undo it all again with Pasasana. I mean, if you’re JUST practicing Second, Pasasana makes perfect sense as a starting place. I guess. But if you’re going from Primary up to anywhere in the backending series, it makes no sense to me why you would go from Setu B to Pasas, BEFORE the backbends…

    Any thoughts on that?

    Oh, by the way, sometime later this month, my third grader is going to see the largest buddha statue in the Western hemisphere! It is up in Carmel, NY. Field trip. Pretty cool…

  3. I did actually add back supta vajrasana the past couple of days. Knees under the futon couch in my office. 🙂

    VBG said he thought pasasana and krounchasana open second so a teacher can quickly assess whether the student has mastered the twists and deep forward bends of primary — essentially whether they are legit intermediate practitioners, i.e., really ready to tackle the backbends. I imagine primary and intermediate (and the other series) were designed as independent programs, for the most part. So there’s a little disturbance in the flow when you link them together. Actually, that kind of begs the question of how they were taught in parallel originally…

    Ah well. Just a little extra challenge for us all. 😉

    Very cool about the Buddha. I didn’t know about that statue!

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