Mysore-ing in the new year

First Mysore of the year was with a sub I’ve never practiced with. Was I suspicious? Of course I was! LOL!

The Poetess, who is also a teacher, was there this morning. So it was just the three of us — teacher, another teacher, and me — Mysore-ing along quietly.

Just before navasana, I ducked out to pee. As I was returning to the room, I saw a woman standing by the closed door, looking confused.

“Is this the Mysore class?” she asked. “It seems like I’m late.”

“There’s a three hour window,” I told her. “You can come any time and do your practice.”

“I don’t *have* a practice,” she said nervously.

“You’re in luck,” I told her. “There’s a teacher right here,” and I opened the door and pointed to the sub.

I always love when a new person shows up. They suck up a lot of attention, which gives the room a sort of “snow day” feel. The teacher is otherwise occupied, so the kids get a break. πŸ˜‰

I was happy to go about my business, figuring I’d just ask for a kapo adjustment when I got to it. My original suspiciousness about the sub had faded after a few early adjustments, and I felt okay about getting a kapo assist from her.

Suzie Columbus came in just after the new woman. After a quick greeting, we both settled down to practice. I don’t know if it’s my New England work ethic, but I love that in a Mysore room you can be really happy to see someone you haven’t seen in a year, and then everyone goes back to their work.

Kapo rolled around and I waited for the sub to finish walking the new woman through prasarita padottanasana D. It always amazes me to watch new people go through the standing sequence — I tend to forget how challenging it is.

I was pleased to notice that I didn’t get nervous while waiting for the sub. Used to be that if I had any break between laghu vajrasana and kapotasana, I’d get very anxious. I still don’t like to stop at any point between bhujapidasana/kurmasana/supta kurmasana — it’s like a weird physical superstition.

Anyhow, the sub eventually came over and I went back for kapotasana. And I realized, as I was hanging back, that not all teachers adjust it the same way. VBG and Muscle Man grab my hands and put them on my feet (left hand first, then right) before my head goes on the mat. All I do is “chicken wing” my elbows (that thing where you point your elbows out to try to grasp your feet). My chicken wing is entirely for show — I am not coordinated enough (yet) to actually control where my hands go when my elbows are splayed like that. So my chicken wings are mostly to indicate to the teacher that it’s time to help me… time for them to put my hands on my feet.

The sub waited for me to put my head down, then brought my left hand to my toes, then grabbed my right hand — at which point the left hand popped off, etc.

I asked if we could try again, because I saw The Poetess had packed up to leave and was standing there, watching.

“Will you push my elbows toward my feet?” I asked her. She agreed.

So I went back again, and this time, while my head was off the ground, asked The Poetess to push on my elbows to send my hands to my feet. Which she did, tentatively.

“You can go ahead and push hard,” I told her, even as I was thinking, “Hey, look at me — all breathing and kapo-ing and giving orders!”

The sub grabbed my hands and gave a good tug, which brought my hands to the middle of my feet. I’m hoping that once I am more in the middle of the foot, I can grasp around the arches. I have no idea how I could possibly hang on to the toes — my fingers just pop off. (If anyone has insight into holding on to the feet, please let me know.)

I am thrilled that kapotasana is feeling so darned good. No mental anguish, no panic, no blank mind. It feels like time is going slowly and everything is really clear, and I can talk and understand where I am — which is quite remarkable.

Now all I need to do is learn how to drive my chicken wings.


18 Responses

  1. What fun to read about Kapo! We’re obsessed with it… I know, and it annoys some, but so what. That pose is the most torturous and most rewarding of all that I do.
    Anyway, I was told once that getting my heels would feel better than my feet. I did NOT believe. Come on, that sounds horrible. But once I got my heels, they gave me a really good anchor- you don’t slip like when you’re grabbing your feet. It allows your body to start to adjust around the panic. Wonderful. So- sounds like you’re well on your way to the heels, can’t wait to read about more Kapo-ing!

  2. I totally believe holding the heels will feel better. And I guess I might as well admit to trying to tie handles of some sort onto my feet one morning. It involved rope, rubber vacuum cleaner belts and some handles off of a stretching band. An unsuccessful experiment…

    Now on to my second obsession — trimming Tyler’s nails. I tried a nail file and now I have a black eye. He punched me in the eye with his paw while trying to bite the file.

  3. ouch!! Those paws look like they could give one a very big black eye!

    Maybe you could invent Kapotasana booties- with handles on the heels! yes, yes!

  4. You know, between Carl, who is good at thinking about tools, and you, who can sew, and me, who can’t stop thinking about props — we should start a business: Illicit Props, Ltd.

    It’ll be a niche market, for sure.

    I’m going to think about the bootie idea — the thing for me right now is getting some kind of understanding of where my feet are in relation to my (spasmodically waving) hands. Maybe some kind of homing instrument, where the bootie makes a noise as the hand gets closer to the foot…

  5. hi Karen
    I’m skimming because I’m packing to return home to SF, but I take it you’re saying that if someone pulls your ams to your feet, and someone pushes your elbows so you grab the fee, you’re fine in Kapo. that’s great.Happy New Year.

  6. HA!!
    Illicit Props, Ltd.
    Love it. We’d have to sell the unitards too. “I hurt ‘here'”- with a sharpie.

    Homing instrument!
    This is really making me laugh!

  7. Dang: Karen , I just wrote a lengthy post on my Dad’s computer but it disappeared into cyberspace. Suffice it to say that it was great seeing you today; I liked The Poetess; she gave me a nice adjustment in UHP which I never get at home; your kapo adjustment was awesome but I wanted to say your kapo machine is better; I also loved seeing the new student in the class; and my Midwestern work ethic is similar to your NE one and prevents me from lengthy greetings in class. Look forward to the next one! suzie

  8. Oh, and I also said that I would totally invest in Illicit Props, Ltd. Or if that name is taken, they can be called Criminal Yoga Props, Inc.

  9. OMG… you guys are cracking me up with the kapo booties…. and I laughed out loud at you trying to tie handles on your feet, Karen! For some reason that image really tickles me…. lol. It IS a lot easier grabbing heels for sure…. they are your built-in handles. Otherwise it feels like the circuit is not complete.

    ‘Hey look at me, all kapo-ing and giving orders’ etc – that made me smile too. I love how there’s all the drama around this pose and then you get there and it’s not such a big deal! Love it. I guess we can conclude that your crazy props work.

  10. There’s just something about kapo… πŸ™‚

    Jason S talked about how the deep backbends are dramatic because they run contrary to our deepest hard-wired survival instincts (protect the belly and internal organs). That’s always resonated with me. Refining something like eka pada sirsasana seems like work, but kapotasana seems like a significant leap of faith.

    Liz, I had this vision of the unitards last night — thick, shiny white material, with an accessory kit of velcro-backed fabric muscles and ligaments (a dark blue piriformis, a bright red lateral collateral ligament, etc.) People can stick ’em on — we’ll all look like NASCAR drivers…

    Maybe big “Do not disturb” stickers for front and back, when you don’t want adjustments…

    And a boasting accessory kit, with velcro stickers like “Ask me about my chakra bandhasana.”

    And flair, of course. Round OM signs and lotuses and pictures of favorite teachers…

  11. I can’t give asana advice but I can give doggie advice….do you walk Tyler on concrete ever? I’ve actually never had to cut my dogs nails because they get walked on streets/sidewalks 2-3 time/day. Of course, they are small so maybe their nails file more quickly but it’s a thought.

    I like the uniform idea.

  12. Interesting idea, about the concrete. We usually walk a mile on going-to-the-office weekdays, and ~3 miles on telework days or weekend days. I don’t think his nails touch the ground, though — I’ll have to look today! He has pretty fat foot pads. Maybe a puppy thing?

  13. Sonya, we just got back from a walk, and his claws DO scrape on the concrete. Is that all I need to do? Gosh, I may have been making this more complicated than necessary!

  14. Pieces of flair… OMG.

    You really ARE a mad scientist with the kapo handles too!!!

    Hilarious, all of you.

  15. OMG!! I know who the Poetess is now! Lovely lady! Say hey from me! And congrats on the feeling good in Kapo…it’s all about that, I think…

  16. It’s fun, isn’t it, meeting people from blogs? πŸ™‚

    I’ll pass along your greeting!

  17. ??? Who is The Poetess? She adjusted and assisted me in everything, since there were just 4 in the class yesterday. Would love to know Who She Is.


  18. I’ve never clipped either dogs’ nails, honest! And you walk Tyler a LOT more than I walk my two lazies. They get brief 15-minute walks two or three times a day. It’s also nice because you don’t get that razor sharp dog toenail thing….they are just filed down all the time by walking on a little concrete or blacktop or whatever.

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