“One of my goals in life is to do the slowest Primary Series anywhere… rather than the quickest”. Richard Freeman

Monday, 2 November 2009

Update with Video notes for Arturo

So after two years of trying to work out how to do it, and the occasional week obsessing over it and doing little else, I finally nailed the Press to handstand. I'd felt it coming in the last couple of weeks and the last piece slotted into place this week. Thank you Susananda for the tip. Still a bit of faffing about setting up and it's not nice straight legs all the way up but I'll take this for now.

Now I'd love to share with you how I did it but it's been brought to my attention, that doing so might constitute teaching and that's something that I'm not qualified/certified to do.

Phew, that's a relief because I'm not sure I'd know where to start anyway. However, my friend Arturo is in China and can't seem to watch the videos so I'll try and describe what's going on just so he can visualise it you understand.

So Arturo,
The video is taken in my shala/frount room as usual. This time I don't have the mat running diagonally but coming out from the wall (a gap of about a foot between the wall and the mat). So there's a good side on shot. Black manduka, brown yogitoes and I'm in the blue Adidas pants with the white stripe and the white headband/tenugui.

I begin Sury Namaskara as per usual. Inhale arms up, Exhale bend forward hands down beside my feet. Quite a deep forward bend and you can see from the little shakes of my backside that I'm already trying to get my hips up high.
Inhale look up, I bring my hands forward slightly in the video, there's some hesitation, still haven't decided where best to have my hands, beside my feet or a little in frount? I decide on a little in frount, dragging my finger lightly along the towel.
Now I begin to place them and get myself in position. There's some shifting about as I ground the hands and try to get my hips up as high as possible and as far forward.
Then I come up onto tiptoe. This is I think what made all the difference and It's something I picked up from Susan last week. So bloody obvious and I think I used to do it, but stopped. It's why I needed that little hop and/or hoppette to get me started. On tiptoes you can get your hips just that little higher and further forward.
A Little bit more faffing about as iIget myself set up
Then I start to lean a little further forward and press down through the hands (very imnportant to press down through the hands, woops). My eyes are looking down, just in frount of my hands, my shoulders over my fingertips. I move forward even more as I being to lift, shoulders are now in frount of the fingertips as is my gaze. This is new too, and has been coming over the last few weeks, trusting myself a little more not to overbalance and fall forwards, perhaps I've become a little stronger from Full vinyasa and the extra twenty odd Sury's per practice.
My feet lift gracefully off the mat, not the lightest hint of a hop.
But that's the only bit of grace. I can't bring the legs up straight yet, my knees bend as I bring them towards my backside and then take them up into handstand.
And that's pretty much it of the important bit. I'm a little off balance and have to touch off the wall a couple of times.
I come down bending my arms dipping my head towards the mat and drop to my toes then carry on through Sury namaskara as usual. The float up is quite nice and also key. I've been trying to float up hold the legs parallel to the mat and then very very slowly lower them to the mat, lots of bandha control and abs strength going on there I guess, which has probably helped the coming up.
Then I do the whole thing again pretty much the same. The lift isn't as good as I forget to go all the way up on to tiptoes but it's a better handstand, no tapping off the wall.
And there you are, hope you can visualise it.

So tiptoes have helped, bringing my shoulders further over my fingertips, even in frount of them has helped.
Lots of float ups and holding them and no doubt all the extra sury's of Full vinyasa have helped too. Oh and no doubt all the extra bandha and pranayama work as well.

53 comments:

  1. hi Grimmly
    very funny. feel free to say whatever. you're my teacher.
    cheers,
    Arturo

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  2. Very interesting and very helpful.

    I started learning handstand, so this video was really enlightening for me.....

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  3. nice vid thanks shows more than its says

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  4. Very impressive...would be even more so if youtube didn't then link to a video of a 4 year old doing the same!! ;)

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  5. Cheap shot.

    Sorry, someone had to say it.

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  6. I know V, it was, but what can I say, I was bought up on Python and couldn't resist it. Had Cleese's "Sorry, sorry , can't be done..." voice running through my head while I was writing.
    Besides, despite the original comment being a little .... curt, there's an interesting discussion to be had on this perhaps and i thought it deserved it's own post.
    Personally I figure readers of this blog know the difference between someone sharing their own experiences and ideas in a blog and a serious teacher. I mean who you going to go with, some guy on a blog who says it's OK to drop back cold or a respected teacher who say's it's not. And If you do decide to go with the blogger your going to do it with cation, surely.

    A four year old? That's amazing what a very clever little girl .... I HATE HER !

    thanks... i think, light bearer

    and thanks too Ursula and Arturo.

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  7. With you and Susan and all this talk and video of pressing up, it's making me want to work on it! I know this isn't fair of me to write, but I'm less likely to be impressed with a man pressing up than a woman (sorry!!!)- but I'm still inspired by your video. Maybe the 4 year old has tips?

    My teacher is not fond of students learning things from the internet, but only because sometimes the information can be confusing (the combo of teacher info and internet info, not one specifically) and it makes him work harder to undo something a student learned on her/his own. But...

    Don't think that stops me from doing it! ha ha!!! I think, for me at least, it's fun to do extra curricular stuff that I have fun with but is not necessarily anything my teacher cares about. Pressing to handstand? He would rather I not spend my energy doing it and building up my shoulder strength even more, but he also knows I love a challenge and it makes my practice fun.

    Fine balance I guess? Whatever... looks like you're having fun and I kind of hate that you so easily get things. heh heh.

    There must be some blog war I'm missing...

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  8. Hey Liz, part of me thinks it's a stupid thing to spend so much time working on, it's showy and flash but also kind of beautiful when it's done really well (not mine yet but some you see), love that floaty stuff. But on the other hand all kinds of things going on with the press to handstand, breath, bandha, hip coordination, strength yes but probably not as much as we think. It's all physics, get it right and and everything should probably pretty much come up on your own.
    I understand what your saying about the difference when men and women do it but then us guys probably rely on strength too much. When I did Aikido there were two friends who went, one a really big heavy guy and another who was really small, strong but small. The big guy could throw the little guy easily but the little guy, his technique had to be perfect to throw his friend. He ended up becoming Sensei, a few years down the line.

    Ahh the war, more a skirmish I hope, not sure where it came from, sure it's nothing personal. hey V you did mean my Post was a cheap shot, not the comment that provoked it... just checking : )

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  9. Damn you people! I had absolutely no aspirations of moving beyond my bunny hop into handstand before now. And I'm not even practicing THAT these days!!!!

    Sigh.

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  10. Damn you people! I had absolutely no aspirations of moving beyond my bunny hop into handstand before now. And I'm not even practicing THAT these days!!!!

    Sigh.

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  11. Press to handstand is wonderful. I love it!! I've now been asked to do it by my teacher. Only problem is, sometimes you press into the hands and the legs float up (WOW!!)... other times (more often at the moment)... you press into the hands and go - 'whyTF is nothing happening!?' LOL. Today, definitely one of the latter. HOP!

    Re the blogwar. I want to stay out of it, but in order to feel honest I have to come into it. Grimm, you are an inspiration and a unique, very potent corner of the blogosphere. I also class you as a more serious or advanced yogi than myself. And I don't see any problem at all with you sharing how you learned things, on the contrary I think it is beneficial and inspirational.

    The problem for me comes when you say something like you did in a previous post... I didn't comment at the time, wanted to, but rushed... and afraid of being indelicate. As Zee pointed out I am a people-pleaser. And I've been getting into enough controversy lately with my personal life.

    But I think you said, with regard to getting dropback/standup before moving on to 2nd, 'even Sharath doesn't mind, he just thinks it's a good idea'. And I wanted to ask you where you got that from, because I have never heard such a thing about Sharath, to the best of my knowledge it's au contraire. You have to get the dropbacks first, and authorised teachers will help you there for as long as it takes before they move you on. Other teachers, who may also be excellent teachers but not sanctioned by the lineage, may take a different approach. And I think that where you may rile up or run afoul of some ashtangis, is when you step over the boundary between giving your own advice or conclusions, and making statements about 'what ashtanga is' that run contrary to the system and could influence naive readers.

    Hope I haven't got myself into trouble.

    PS the video won't play right now, I'll be back...

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  12. Than you Susan of course not in trouble. I think I said that he said it was preferable rather than a good idea. I got it from a a blog report of a sharath conference this year. You can I image how delighted I was to read it but you could argue that such reports can not be completely trusted, usually the post comes from notes.
    Here's another one though from skipity's conference report this week.

    'An interesting point he touched on when talking about the Niyama "Svadhyaya" (self inquiry) is it's important to think about "what is yoga"... get more knowledge from the practice, to sit, think, read about it. He talked about Guruji's famous quote of "Yoga is 99% practice, 1% theory"... this "practice" does not refer to just physical practice... it refers to your self-inquiry of svadhyaya.'
    kind of feel that's what I'm doing.
    But I take your point and will try to quote my sources, though I thought I usually do. Can you remind me which post that was I commented on and I should be able to find the source.
    And besides isn't that part of the point of our blogs to try and figure out what this practice is and means to us.

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  13. I don't see what's wrong about sharing information.

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  14. What qualifies people to be teachers?

    (a) Spending 200 hours with a bunch of people whose own qualifications to teach may be questionable?

    (b) Being good at asana and having good attendance at the shala in Mysore?

    (c) Being naturally good at asana?

    (d) Having had to struggle to get every single pose mastered?

    (e) Who the f-ck am I to say?

    Pick as many as apply.

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  15. But to be fair I can be a bit provocative sometimes, I was a bit strong with the return to yoga mala stint a little while back. However it wasn't so much saying this is how Ashtanga should be practiced but rather this is how it could be practiced and indeed was. Did I come across teacherly then as I argued it, I tried to present a strong case. I was trying to convince myself that yoga mala Ashtanga and Vinyasa Krama were compatible nifnot the same thing. I grounded my argument in primary sources, was I being irrisponsible? Confusing naive ashtangi's? I figure readers are smart enough to explore diferent viewpoints and figure out for themselves over time what this practice means to them and how they wish to approach their practice.

    Sharath himself ( according to Skipperty's conference notes) says you should think about yoga, YOU should think about yoga, not have someone else do the thinking for you.

    This is just a blog, in which I think about my yoga, a blog for heaven's sake.

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  16. I dunno... I mean if you told me to drill a hole through my skull where my 3rd eye should be I just might consider it.

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  17. I should point out that the capitalized YOU in the last comment was self referential. All of a sudden I had a Life of Brian moment. Yes master we are all individuals.

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  18. Haha... yes it's just a blog. I've been very verbose lately (not a good thing)...

    Just be careful with the 'Sharath says', and that kinda thing, be enough make me happy :)

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  19. Was up till 1am last night trying to find which blog i found that conference report in. i know i mentioned it here mid October. I'll find it eventually. there's a nice conference video of Sharath on youtube, might embed it.

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  20. Woohoo! for Grimmly. It's a fun thing to work towards.

    Thanks for the video! It is so much more instructive to watch someone who is JUST getting it than to see someone who is completely seamless. Thanks!

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  21. Thanks Durham
    'so much more instructive to watch someone who is JUST getting it than to see someone who is completely seamless.'
    Glad you think so too, it was kind of the idea behind the whole blog. Wonderful to see people who are really good at this but love seeing people on Youtube who are just about there.

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  22. hi Grimmly
    thanks, the descriptions are helpful. :)
    cheers,
    Arturo

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  23. Susan, this has been bugging the hell out of me and I've spent two days trying to find my source for the Sharath statement that irritated you so much. (your comment didn't bug me just my failure to find my source).

    This is what I came up with.

    It might get long, so to summarize I've probably misquoted, misinterpreted or over interpreted Sharath and you've probably misquoted me a little.

    So in your earlier comment with regard to getting dropback/standup before moving on to 2nd, you think I said this.

    'even Sharath doesn't mind, he just thinks it's a good idea'.

    What I actually said was, on a comment to a post of mine 16th november

    'Sharath just says it's preferable.' (I didn't say he doesn't mind)

    as far as I can see I must have got it from the Brighton blog report on conference.

    'Q. When should you start intermediate series?When you are perfect in primary series – if you can’t do dropbacks it will be difficult to do ustrasana'.

    You say pretty much the same thing in your conference report.

    I interpreted 'it will be difficult' as 'it would be preferable'.

    The pragmatics of it no doubt suggest that he was probably saying you have to be able to drop back first, but saying it in a softer way.

    But your right I should be more careful and I should make a note of my sources, I think I usually do.

    to put it in context I was actually writing it in response to a comment from an an older student who said this

    'It is completely true that aging, older ashtangis can't do things and must modify to continue to practice. I know, because I am one. Teachers must recognize this truth.'

    Ok clearly i have too much time on my hands today.

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  24. Oh God, the age thing again. Can't we put that to bed like the "too short arms" rationale? Okay, if someone is in their 70s, perhaps the dropback requirement might be waived. But healthy Westerners in their 40s and 50s? C'mon!

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  25. Hi karen, i remember now you were a bit peeved about the age thing last time. Personally I tend to agree with your that it shouldn't be an issue, I'm reminded of Gwendolyn Hunt who was doing 3rd in her 70's.
    But then that's easy for me to say, though I was unfit, unflexible and overweight a few years ago, over the last couple of years everything has become possible, for me.
    But the quote above was from somebody who obviously felt it was an issue for her. I have problems with my knees playing up occasionally perhaps she has other issues. Seemed a little disrespectful for me to just dismiss the age issue out of hand when somebody so clearly is concerned about it.
    I was reminded of it this month.
    I had to drop poses to work around my knee this month (old injury from 25 years ago), I could do half of Intermediate but very little of primary. Luckily I'd spent some time with Vinyasa Krama and was able to add other poses and adapt my practice. It begs the question how flexible Ashtanga is. Personally I think it can be flexible, but I wonder in reality how flexible it is in the shalas, that's for others to say, I dont have shala experience as occasionally gets pointed out.

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  26. Age CAN be a factor for some. Obviously not for others. Some people are genetically more gifted than others. When I was 40, arthritis kicked into my fingers. This is 100 percent age-related. Luckily, most of my binds are not fingertip binds, but if they were, this would cause issues for me.

    In the past year, arthritis has started to spread to my wrists. This makes UD impossible on some days, period, end of story, and the more I do it, the worse it will get, since the more you use an arthritic joint, the more the bones rub together. Again, age-related.

    Aging muscles and skin lack elasticity. This can effect the practice. Aging muscles tire more easily and recover more slowly. I'm sorry to say it, I'm sorry it's true. Maybe it isn't something that EVERYONE notices. But some people definitely do.

    I'm not saying anything about the way the traditional one-pose-at-a-time sequence should be relaxed for aging Ashtangis...I'm not saying anything about the way yoga should be practiced. I'm just saying that the symptoms of aging are quite apparent in some peoples' yoga practices, no matter how much they wish it weren't so.

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  27. I see. Sharath made this comment in the same way that I commented that your teaching is problematic because you're not certified.

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  28. Owl is on FIRE! I am appreciating this immensely :)

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  29. :-)

    You should see the comments he's deleted or refused to publish.

    Love you, every one of you, dearly, sincerely. But this is likely to be my last of the blogworld. If intellectual dishonesty and mean spiritedness are going to reign (to the end of generating anger/energy for others), I am out. Out like trout. Out like owl. I have other ways to use energy than feeding this kind of thing. And practice can be run on much higher quality fuel.

    Incidentally, another bene of shala practice:

    It's not just an opportunity to become informed and empathetic about the range of human frailties, but the chance to be surrounded by a range of mastery.

    And thus, from both angles, to realize that one's own mixture of weaknesses and achievements is nothing special.

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  30. Don't go Owl! Take a break if you need it but yours is a unique voice.

    (I wish I could've read those other comments :))

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  31. Ok just got in.

    Look can I just say Owl that I found your first comment on the previous post a bit offensive in it's abruptness, perhaps I was wrong to do so but it followed on a previous comment of yours that I found a bit patronizing, again perhaps unintentionally. I didn't respond with insults but seeing as I'd just pressed up the following morning I could help but be a bit sarcastic, it wasn't intended in a nasty way or hurtful way although obviously it was a bit pointed, perhaps i was insensitive, I apologize. The joke you keep referring too, 'splitting semantic hairs' surely wasn't that offensive and was just a response to you saying that I was just being semantic.

    I am more than happy to engage in a discussion about what I'm doing in this blog, whether it be sharing ideas and what's worked for me, as I feel, or attempting to teach as you seem to suggest. It's more than possible that I cross the line at times.

    Re comments, I have not attacked you personally and certainly not insulted you in any way in any of my comments. I rewrote the post because i found it no longer amusing and wanted to use this post for something else, to actually explain how I felt i got the press.

    I've deleted comments because I figured we were done and didn't think they were interesting for anyone coming to this post in the future, they aren't going to be interested in our petty squabbles. And to be honest i found the whole thing embarrasing and distasteful.

    I'm happy to argue or discuss anything respectfully but any comments that I personally consider to be too personal or insulting or overly aggressive I will delete or not post. A couple of comments like this got posted when I was posting other comments and I have deleted them. I come from a Philosophy background I am quite happy to engage in very strong argument, but let's at least keep some civility about it. Some respect for each other please.

    Your last comment came in while i was writing this Owl, I'm sorry that you feel you wish to quit the 'blogosphere' I've gained a lot from many of your comments in the past have learned some things and you've made me think and question what I'm doing, as has so many of the other commentators here.

    One last thing about visiting a shala. I did remember, but before I did go i'd been practicing for six months alone six days a week. I'd developed a habit, a routine. Visiting the shala disrupted that and i wasn't comfortable practicing at home five days and then visiting a shala on sunday. I was and am VERY protective of my practice and my routine. yes i could get a lot of benefits from visiting a Shala, of course i could, we have some excellent teachers in london, but I've also developed my practice quite well at home and am comfortable doing so.

    Again i'm happy to discuss the issue, very relevant on a home Ashtanga blog but comments like 'grow up and visit a shala' I find offensive.

    If there's anything that offends you in this response then feel free challenge me on it but if your going to be insulting i just wont bother to post it.

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  32. Let's see, what's the most clear and non-escalating way that I can put this?

    You lie.
    You are mean.
    You say LOL.
    You cover your tracks.
    I do not tolerate lies or abuse from "friends."
    I go.

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  33. Oh gee - it is a bit serious! I had no idea. Sorry!! :(

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  34. Another completely straightforward comment blocked.

    Moderated comments change everything.

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  35. OK seeing as your calling me a liar

    here's what I deleted (fitted in after the video)

    'perhaps i can just share..... No No , I've been informed that it would constitute the splitting of semantic hairs.

    and here our comments deleted or didn't I post from my inbox.

    0v0) has left a new comment on your post "First press to handstand ( Update with Video notes...":

    Covertly passive aggressive and intellectually dishonest. Not very ubermenschy.

    Why don't you merely face the fear of practicing with others?

    That would be inspiring indeed and mitigate the problem of being a yoga "sharer" (teacher) who has zero understanding of others' bodies.

    See ya. I am just in disbelief of the stuff I put up with in the blogosphere.

    Grimmly has left a new comment on your post "First press to handstand ( Update with Video notes...":

    LOL, Ok then, see ya, Happy Birthday for tomorrow.

    (0v0) has left a new comment on your post "First press to handstand ( Update with Video notes...":

    You edited the post to remove the especially mean and passive aggressive content.

    Grow up and go to class.

    Grimmly has left a new comment on your post "First press to handstand ( Update with Video notes...":

    If you remember I did go to class a couple of times but after practicing alone for so long i just didn't enjoy it. Each to their own no? Well, clearly not.

    Grimmly has left a new comment on your post "First press to handstand ( Update with Video notes...":

    Perhaps it's time to move on from this nonsense now, such a waste of energy. I for one don't want to have any of this intruding on my practice tomorrow morning. Feelings have been made clear enough I think.

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  36. And then My email to you

    (only your name changed)
    Owl
    I really don't understand what's happened here. First thing I know I get a very abrupt and I felt quite offensive comment, right out of the blue. I give I think, a calm measured response and then get another even shorter comment in return. I don't think I over reacted, I poke fun of it quite gently in a post, I don't resort to insults or attacks just some light teasing. That's how I saw it anyway, perhaps i was insensitive. Last night I took most of the message down( splitting semantic hairs, not insulting surely), didn't seem any point leaving it up there any longer and besides I wanted to move on.

    This morning I get more personal attacks and a 'see ya' which I took to be goodbye. When you seemed offended that I'd taken the joke down and seemed to want me to put it back I offered to do so but was at work so planned on doing it when I got home (you only had to look at your watch to figure the time difference and that i was probably at work). When I do get home I find a really insulting mail from you. Where did all this come from?

    I've never attacked or insulted you, in fact I've defended you in the past. I've always appreciated your comments until now and always been prepared to engage in discussion with you about this practice. What happened to the exchange of reasoned arguments, when were insults the order of the day?

    Where have I been unkind? In fact the kindest thing I think I've done is to take down the last couple of comment and not post the last one, it's embarrassing.

    Encouragement is always nice, but I've never sought it, my self esteem is fine thank you which is why I'm quite happy to post videos etc where it's all going wrong rather than only the ones where things go right. Was nice having your support but I never asked or needed anyone to be my champion, nor have I sought friendship or companionship though I appreciate the friends I've made, I thought you were one of them. I don't tend to get hurt by such things as this but you weren't to know that, it seems as if you've gone out of your way to try and be hurtful, and you talk of me being unkind.

    I don't expect you to respond to this unless I've missed something and have hurt you in some way that explains all this. if i have, and i can't think how i have, then I apologise, I certainly have never meant to.

    I'm quite happy to respond to intelligent argument and discussion but can't be bothered with insults and abuse, I'll just ignore it and move on .

    Hope we can put this behind us. It's your birthday tomorrow, horrid to have such a thing as this hanging over it no?

    I wish you every happiness

    grim

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  37. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  38. Fun! Works for me.

    I'm getting on a long flight in a minute.

    See ya.

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  39. For what it's worth and it doesn't seem to be worth much but I'm saddened by all this. Have a good flight.

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  40. For what it's worth and it doesn't seem to be worth much but I'm saddened by all this. Have a good flight.

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  41. Well, it took some time for me to come back to this thread, and I only am because I was asked a question, though I suppose now I'm here I'll say more than I should. I feel disgust over the whole thing, although it's hard to tell exactly what went on what with the editing and comment moderation (I loathe comment moderation).. and cut and pasting things in after the fact is too confusing for me to follow). I also don't think it's very 'on' to publish private correspondence on a public blog without the consent of the other person?

    Anyway, regarding what we were discussing about Sharath, what he said in our conference was very clear: when to move onto the next pose? When you have perfected the pose before (i.e. dropbacks before pasasana). How do you know when this is the case? Practice with an experienced teacher and they will tell you when to move on. To repeat, he was very clear on this point. And all teachers who want to keep their authorised/certified status teach this way. It's interesting how we could interpret the 'it would be difficult' comment.. I do see how you could get that.. but here I think you've misinterpreted (lacking context). Be careful - it's fine to be a maverick, we need such people, but mavericks shouldn't look for official sanction.

    Grimm.. I have to say it, I find your aversion to shalas and protectiveness of your practice truly bizarre. What are you defending? They're not going to follow you home after and monitor you, you know. If it were me, I'd like to learn the 'official' way and know that I could do it... know what it IS at least, even if I choose not to do it that way... have a bunch of rough edges polished off my practice, enjoy fellow practitioners (maybe a lunch after), have fun and learn something. I'd be thinking what's a day, or one day a week, when my practice is mine and no one can change it when I get home. I'd be wondering about my own defensiveness and throwing myself straight into the experience to find out what it's all about. I mean what IS it all about? Isn't facing this crap the core of the practice? Isn't avoiding it a big hole in my practice?

    I also think we have to be very careful about giving 'advice' on our blogs, I say this because of teaching experience.

    Sorry if this all sounds a bit heavy, the whole thing is very depressing.

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  42. Hey Susan,
    I agree very distasteful, I only republished everything reluctantly, after being pressured into doing so and after being called a liar and guilty of 'covering my tracks'. Anyway what's done is done. I wont comment on it again or publish any other comments regarding it.
    Yeah, comment moderation. A pain, but it keeps the Zee's out of here and people using the comment box to promote things. And after people started insulting each other here a couple of years ago. My feeling is abuse each other elsewhere, if you can't make your argument respectfully then don't bother because I wont publish it.

    Of course it could be argued that your asking me to moderate my comments regarding Sharath in your own comment.

    Re. that, remember I said "Sharath just says it's preferable' which does equate pretty well with 'it would be difficult to do utrassana without dropping back first' but I agree with you on reflection, I think his meaning probably is stronger and that he thinks it's very important if not exactly necessary in all cases.
    When you put yourself out there, speaking in public you open yourself up to interpretation, the ruling days of authorial intention are long gone. In you conference post you say this.

    'Q. When to begin second series?
    A. When you have perfected primary series. An experienced teacher will see this and move you on. Each asana prepares you for the next. For example, progress in ustrasana/laghu/kapo will be difficult before mastering dropbacks.'

    Slightly different from the Brighton blog, did they over paraphrase or did you extrapolate a little, adding how you interpreted it. Shame Toronto don't publish the whole of that conference clip.

    You picked up on Sharath talking about perfecting what goes before. But it seems he said perfecting Primary there's a question of course, is the dropback part of primary, remember it never used to be, for a long time I believe it was part of 2nd series. That comes from Gregor Maehle.

    Anyway going to do a post on this in the next couple of days so it can be discussed there perhaps rather than tacked on the end of all this. It will be part of a post dealing with the question of whether I'm teaching here or just sharing ideas and experience and if there's a line that gets crossed etc etc. Though i was uncomfortable with how that question was originally put to me I recognize it as a valid question and am happy to discuss it.

    First though I want to do a post on Why I don't go to a Shala and whether I should. Given that the title of this blog is Ashtanga at Home I consider it relevant. There's a hell of a lot of people out there practicing Ashtanga who don't go to a shala. Will try to get on that tonight and lead off from what you say here.

    Thanks for commenting

    ReplyDelete
  43. Here's what I don't get. Why do people feel they are somehow obligated to slug things out in public (on their blogs)? I don't get the impression that either you, Owl, or you, Grimmly, are the type of people to have knockdown drag out fights in public places. If you were in a restaurant and got into it with a sig other or spouse, you'd take it home for further discussion, no?

    Take it back channel. Does the culture of celebrity makes us think we're supposed to perform in front of the world (Lindsay Lohan, et al)? Private conversations are allowed. And probably a good idea. Putting it into a public space doesn't make a darned bit of sense.

    ReplyDelete
  44. That is why I reserved my very angry responses for email. Indeed, publishing my email is very off in my view, but I'll take the knocks since I indeed was furious and let him know it.

    I could have questioned the pedagogy in email as well, but many of us have been trying to stress this issue with Grim for a while now, and he won't hear it.

    I love that Susan and Karen see this as a community matter. I absolutely do as well, and that's why I feel my experience in the community has been so destroyed by this.

    I have completely ignored the efforts to re-interpret the orthodoxy... I don't care about it that much. I'm more just concerned about understanding others' bodies, and the hazards of poor advice.

    It took something more to get Grim to consider it. I apologize that I didn't reign in the energy better. I just didn't know how to get him to acknowledge it.

    P.S. There was comment moderation before Zee.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Some thoughts:

    1. It's your blog, you have the right to moderate it.

    2. You shouldn't post peoples' private emails, EVER.

    3. You have the right to practice yoga any way you want, and you never have to go to a shala if you don't want to, but it is true thatit would be a worthwhile yoga exercise (not asana exercise, YOGA exercise) to go outside of your comfort zone once in a while and allow yourself to be taught. I am sure that I could take that same advice.

    4. It is purely my opinion that some people are threatened by the fact that you have achieved so much in your asana practice without having learned your poses in the traditional way - pose by pose, logging the hours at the shala with the teacher.

    5. It is also purely my opinion that whereas someone suggested that your asana practice has "rough edges" that could be smoothed, I see in your yoga practice one of the smoothest and LEAST rough practices - your bhandas lift you smoothly, your back is flexible in both directions, you have incredible discipline.

    6. You CAN be a bit preachy/teachy in the way you speak about your experiences, and this I DO attribute to the fact that you do not have a wealth of experience of having been taught by a teacher. Any teacher worth their salt will NEVER tell people what they will be able to do based on what he himself can do. Good teachers know that all bodies are different and that what applies to them may not apply across the board to all of their students. ESPECIALLY teachers for whom the practice comes easily. THAT said, it's just a yoga blog from a guy who practices yoga at home - no one really thinks you are an "authority", and no one really thinks that you are holding yourself out as an authority of anything other than your own experience. So, I don't see the harm other than the mild annoyance teachers might feel when they read your blog. And THAT said, that is THEIR issue, not yours.

    In sum:

    Clearly, you and one particular reader really really really need a time out. So, just stay away from each other. She bugs you, you bug her. Moderate her snippy comments, but don't publish her emails.

    Namaste!

    ReplyDelete
  46. At work so just a quick note. Clearly I need to do a post on teaching/sharing, I thought I was doing the latter, but maybe I am being a bit, how did you put it YC teachy/preachy. Happy to consider/explore/discuss it.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Owl, I just published everything but if you prefer me to delete your email then just say the word and I'll be happy to when I get home.

    ReplyDelete
  48. That is your call, Grimmly.

    I made the mistake of giving you private information you could use to try to make yourself look good. And I also made the mistake of speaking in anger when I could have dealt with those intense emotions privately without sharing them. (In relationship it can help to share that stuff--I'm not saying I always suppress my anger--but that's another thing.)

    I apologize to everyone for my harsh email to Grim: I'm really sorry guys. This is a total drag and I understand how lame it must be to have to participate in my anger.

    I will accept whatever consequences that generates. Though what effect that has on the community is very much your responsibility. You're the one who took it there, and the motives for that also might bear examining.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Hello Grimmly,
    Thank you so much for your beautifull insights.
    Today I am very happy because I finally did a handstand in the center of my mat, without a wall. YEEEES!
    Thank you and continue to post.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Thank you Rafael and congratulations on losing the comfort blanket of the wall. I still tend to use mine mostly I think because I don't have enough room to fall and roll out of it. I should probably go and practice handstands on a beach.
    Check out this Press to handstand training video on Arkie's blog
    http://www.arkieyogini.com/2010/02/24/balancing-a-yoga-and-fitness-lifestyle/

    Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete

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A Reminder

from Kalama sutra, translation from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi This blog included.

"So, as I said, Kalamas: 'Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher." When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

"Now, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them. Buddha - Kalama Sutta
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