Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The relief of getting to closing is the new relief of getting to seated

So much for refusing more new poses this month.

Got 2 new poses today. I know I am supposed to be excited to receive new poses. That is the typical response, but, for me now, they feel like more of a burden than a gift. I am a little jealous at times of people who are stuck at mari C or mari D, (though I do remember feeling so impatient to get past mari C). My regular teacher hasn't given me more than one pose in a day since learned the shoulderstand sequence. My typical response to new poses since navasana: oh no! Yeah, even on a good day, I don't much like a lot of change, even to something as insignificant as the poses I practice. I mean, what does it really matter in the long run if my practice has 24 asanas or 25. It is sort of like deciding what color socks to wear that day, which, in order to get ready quickly, has to be decided the night before anyway (and the whole idea of an interesting comfortable and warm outfit to wear as a uniform becomes more and more desirable to me every day).

Net result: my pokey practice gets just that much longer, plus, it means I am getting just that much closer to the dreaded idea of assisted backbending (hopefully that is still a long way off..just thinking about it makes me wonder..can I ask my teacher to never teach me that?). Before adding ubhaya padangusthasana and urdhva mukha paschimottanasana, my whole practice took 2 hours on a typical day. This makes 4 new poses in the past month, and with all the other changes that this teacher has made, I am just wiped out after practicing (not directly after, but an hour or two later). Amazingly, I managed to roll up to balance on my own when I had to repeat each of these poses- though it took a couple attempts. On urdhva mukha paschi, I have to hold onto my feet near/at the toes, to give my back a little wiggle room to roll up.

I am also, by necessity, working on waking up earlier (I so wish could also manage to go to sleep earlier). I have been feeling anxious at night about being able to get there early enough to complete my practice in a sane way and not feel trashed for the day. Today I caught the 615 train, but man, even arriving at 650am, that still wasn't quite enough time, with the new poses (which my teacher had me repeat right after she gave them to me, so more like doing 4 extra asanas..plus all those extra lift-up-scoot-backs, LUSB for short..). Ultimately, I need to learn how to speed up, and I am scared of making myself even more tired by doing that. By speeding up, I mean going back to 5 breaths from 8 in at least some of seated, my guess being eka pada padagasthasana through janu C or possibly even mari A, and some of the asanas after baddha konasana. 8 breaths on each side for all of seated except the major strength poses just feels better for me, energetically in the postures and for me to enjoy my practice. I really miss having some asanas that just didn't feel quite so hard.

The relief of getting to closing is the new relief of getting to seated. At least those (closing) postures have not been adjusted. yet.

I am grateful for all the attention from my teacher, and all the assists in the asanas, but my focus and energy level has definitely suffered a bit for it. Having this teacher for a few weeks feels like going to workshop where you get a lot of new and great feedback on your practice, but more than you can possibly integrate into your practice in such a short time, especially when you still have to work, etc.let alone wanting to have any sort of social life.

Hoping that when I have almost 2 weeks off starting later this week, that I can start to tame this mess of a practice into a more manageable thing.


  1. I went through a phase when I wondered if my teacher had given me way too many poses than I could handle. I looked forward to the end before I even started practice, and even today I sometimes envy those who are stopped at Navasana in led classes, particularly when I'm super sleepy. The truth is, you're at the stage of absorbing a lot of new information and still figuring things out, so go easy on yourself. Maybe skip vinyasas between sides in order to finish on time and conserve energy on some days? Or just do half-primary (to Navasana) on those days when the prospect of a full practice seems daunting? This practice is not static, you have the liberty to adapt it to your needs, even while following the sequence. Eventually you will find your flow and doing full Primary will be a breeze, but before that, you have to work through the "integration" stage. Don't fear :)

    1. Thanks for the encouragement! I keep making mental plans to take it easier during practice..but somehow at the shala..i (almost) never follow those plans. skipping vinyasas between sides has to happen some days..and maybe skipping some of closing. sometimes when i am tired, i feel like a little kid jumping around to stay awake and alert (the unfortunate thing is..that it often works, at least during practice). I am just shocked how quickly i went from a feeling of really enjoying my practice to one of overwhelm and panic, even though, to an outsider, i think my practice doesn't look any different. i look forward to the day when primary is a breeze! or at least not a cause of worry.