The topic came up elsewhere in some blog comments and I'm bringing it up here because I want to mull it over some more.
So I have this idea of the practice. You learn Primary then add some of 2nd. Later you do half and half perhaps and then split the practice. You end up doing five days of Intermediate and one day of Primary. You start adding some 3rd series perhaps and the process is repeated until you end up doing four days of 3rd one of Primary, one of Intermediate. Perhaps this continues on with fourth.
Do you not get to the point where you say, enough is enough, I don't really want any more postures but prefer to stick with where I am. If so how does that work? Do you end up doing five days of Intermediate and one of Primary for the next twenty years, or four days of Third, one of Primary, one of Intermediate?
I'm assuming that somewhere along the line you settle into a more balanced practice but what does that look like? Is it two a week of the first three series or split the week. half Primary half Intermediate, or perhaps you alternate days. How does that work? And how do you you square that with your Shala?
Home Ashtangi's don't get much contact with the long term practitioners we might meet at a shala. We don't get to see or hear so much how that gets worked out.
I find it a relevant question in relation to my own practice. At home we have more freedom to organize our own practice, we have both the student role and the facilitator. I can understand some of the reasons why Shala's need to work in the way they do, in that they are having to deal with a large number of students at different stages of their practice. We (Home Ashtangis) have less constraints. The videos we learn from reflect different traditions in the practice as do the books we read and the workshops we might go to. Do we learn the first couple of series quickly as they did in the early days or take things more slowly as they do now. Do we take five breaths an asana or eight, do half of standing before 2nd or do the whole thing. Do we do all the Vinyasa or perhaps half ? Or do we just practice at home as if we were at a regular Shala?
I started working on 3rd series but didn't want to do four days of it at the expense of my beloved Primary.... or of Intermediate. I tried two of each and then tried alternating them. In the end up I came up with a sequence that included most of Primary and Intermediate with a lot of 3rd series shuffled in and with the option of adding more of 3rd on my days off . It's a nice sequence and I've been doing it for two or three weeks now. I like it but it's a little long in that it cuts into my Pranayama time in the morning.
There's a side of me that likes learning new asanas but another that realizes a forty minute balanced asana practice followed by half an hour of Pranayama and Meditation is probably what I'm really interested in. I find myself in the absurd situation of thinking, OK, another year exploring the higher series and then I'll settle down to the practice I really want.
And so I'm curious, how do those long term practitioners work it. How have they made it work for them. I'm not trying to be controversial here. Did they just gravitate into a practice that worked for them without thinking about it, or considering it, or thinking about where and what they wanted to practice, indeed what they would be able to practice given the changing demands of their lives outside the practice.
So there's this David Williams workshop in July on a sustainable practice for life, I think I'll try and make it.
Here's a link to David Williams' website where he outlines his workshop.
And here's one to his forum
This 'open letter' to students I find particularly interesting.