Monthly Archives: March 2006

Down With Democracy: World Tour 2006, Day 3 in New York

The past three days are melding into one sleep deprived blur. My body is starting to adjust but I certainly won’t complain about the moon day tomorrow.

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Guruji just walking in
World Tour 2006 New York

Balance is one of the first things to go when I’m tired. Luckily Guruji was kind enough to whip out a double assist in Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana for me and my practice neighbor this morning. Otherwise I might have taken the room down like dominoes. If ashtanga were a democracy, I’d vote we move that pose into at least Advanced A Series. Good for us all that its not.

A yoga democracy would assume we all know what’s best for us in our practice. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past few years, it’s that I have much to learn. A good teacher is a must. I think left to our own devices, we human beings tend to gravitate towards the things we are good at and run and hide from the things we’re not. The rigidity of Ashtanga encourages us to face our flaws. To deal with our pride and to take a step beyond our misconceptions of our own limits. It also stops us from charging ahead before we are ready. There are good lessons in every layer of this practice.

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Still dark outside before practice
World Tour 2006 New York

Some wonder what there is to learn at a week of led Primary once you know the series. I say lots. One thing is to pay attention. I’m known to bust out bad lady moves now and then. I think I know what’s coming and so when I hear Guruji speak, I move ahead. Maybe it’s a “pancha. inhale.” I’m expecting to hear that has me moving into upward dog too quickly only to be made aware of my inattentiveness by the bellow of “ehhhh… chatwari!”.

This morning my wrongdoing was during finishing postures. I jumped through and Guruji said “straight legs”. I started folding my right leg into Padmasana. So he said “straight legs” to the room again and then looked down at me and cocked his head. He gave me this face… this “hey, you pay attention” face. And it was then that I realized I wasn’t paying attention even though I thought I had been. I’d say that’s a pretty huge lesson. There is still plenty to learn.

All Garbhaed Up: World Tour 2006, Day 2 in New York

Day two of the New York portion of the World Tour, I made every effort to hold each Chaturanga and Uth Pluthi for the full count yesterday.

And today I pay. Soreness has invaded my shoulders and work will feel like sweet relaxation for the remainder of the day (though a nice nap would be preferable).

Led primary doesn’t vary much from day to day. The overwhelming message I’m hearing from Guruji this year is “don’t hurry”. He says it slowly and with patience. Like he means it. A lesson I’m working on in life.

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Sharath, Saraswati and Katherine
Guruji World Tour 2006 New York

His wisdom pervades in the simple statements he makes time and again. And his effervescence reminds us not to take our asana too seriously. “Don’t dance” is the reprimand he dishes out to the people hopping about to catch their balance in Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana.

Bliss Rolls

“Bliss Rolls” -Govinda Kai
Garbha Pindasana in SF

The greatest comedy of errors came in Garbha Pindasana. Anyone not perfectly synched with their neighbors’ rolling ended up getting stuck. I think half the room must have metamorphosed into beetles flailing on their backs, sandwiched against one another with no easy way of righting themselves. We were all garbhaed up. It should have been funny, but I think we were all too tired to find it that amusing this morning.

If the growth in number of yoga practitioners in the west is going to continue, then I think it’s time to start buying coffee futures.