Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Practicing at home : Viranchyasana A, Christmas dinner and too much pasta

Late post, probably going to be rambling all over the place.

So I'm here making Christmas Dinner, a couple of days early, while listening to Mingus. Wild mushroom Wellington, figured it can sit in the freezer 'till Saturday. Sweating the mushrooms at the moment, smells good. Just eaten twice as much pasta (multi tasking) as I'd intended, kind of chilli pesto and mascarpone penne thing. I thought I'd save half for M's lunch, oops, sorry. So much for my iron yogic discipline.

Busy day today, another mouse in the house so disinfected and wiped down the whole kitchen , the little sod had got into the cupboards so had to wash up all the pans and dishes as well. This is the 3rd mouse, sonic deterrent doesn't seem to be working and loving kindness is wearing thin.

Practicing without a teacher.

Ended up doing Advanced A this afternoon. LBH is back on the menu now the back is fine again, couldn't resist it. Had been thinking about doing Intermediate and then adding on 3rd to Purna M but practice got delayed due to mouse. Relieved actually, still in awe of those who do that every day, keep meaning to try it but not exactly looking forward to it.

Was just thinking how much I love practicing at home without a teacher. I know, I know, I miss out on a lot and have several times thought about moving to London and thus being able to visit a shala every day but truth be told, I wouldn't change this for the world. I like working it out myself, don't want to be told by someone else to try it this way or that, really don't want to be assisted or have a pose tweaked for me. It comes on it's own, the whole practice and all is coming thing. I'm tweaking all the time anyway, working things out all the time, trying it this way trying it that. I like being solely responsible for my asana. Some have come on really well, some still very much work in progress and some of those are the most basic postures too, so be it.

Obviously I have picked up a lot from different teachers, not just the DVD's and books but also here, in comments and in the posts of others who do have regular teachers. I get to pick and choose and try the different options and of course I'm not going to offend anyone if I reject a suggestion out of hand or try something else instead. I think a workshop or two would suit me.

I just uploaded Viranchyasana A on Youtube, it's coming along, more comfortable every time I do it but I know there are a hundred things 'wrong' with it. I forgot the arm bind today, forgot which exit too ( need to check that later) and I'm looking at the video and thinking I need to get the leg higher next time and lengthen the back. The video is from after practice, I held each pose for five breaths earlier but short ones so that's another thing to work on, long slow breathing in all these arm balances.

There used to be the whole asana madness thing, that seems to have gone, still doing new and challenging asana but it's different somehow. It's not because I want an asana a new party trick but rather I want that focus you get on a new, tricky posture. Once you get a pose down your focusing on different things on the breath, bandhas perhaps, fine tuning, A new posture forces you to focus on the mechanics first, I enjoy that, perhaps it's the repairer in me.

Oh, was thinking about Mingus and yoga too but that can wait for another post


  1. I agree with you on the enjoying the first part, the mechanics of it, at the same time that is the part that leaves me vulnerable, makes me feel out of control, but that is good, feels like a cycle.

    great control on the jump through! I like this asana, i can only imagine the amount of work it migt take...

    As per me I guess I like the combo of both teacher and no teacher... I had never experienced the no teacher thing and have to say there is something to be said for the experimentation part, it is lovely

  2. Oooh wild mushroom wellington, sounds good, I was thinking of a nut loaf, but mushroom wellington is a bit more special...where did you get the recipe? m(--)m ganbare with the A series!

  3. Crazy pose! Love it! I don't think you absolutely must have a teacher to help you further your practice. You seem to be doing fine on your own! I think the fact that there are teachers out there eager to help should we require assistance is really nice. Personally I'm really dependent on teachers but I've been like that for everything else in life too. The repairer in you is probably extremely good at figuring out on your own how to put things together. Keep at it!

  4. Dear Grimmly
    The food sounds delicious. Have you found one of those traps that have doors lined with crackers? So then you take the rodent outside when trapped and it eats his way out.

    It's so nice to be able to actually watch the youtube videos in realtime. Where I'm visiting in Florida my friend has regular access, but it comes in quickly. Over there in C. I have a slow connection at home, which is made worse by having to cloak through VPN. I could watch it at work, where there is a T1 line, but we're not encouraged to use the net at work for non work related videos. Anyway, your body looks really strong from the practice.

    I hear you on the self practice. I mentioned to Kino that it's what I need to do for my body at the moment- self practice. I explained my bookends approach to practice, with a changing series of poses in between. She thought that was OK for me, so did Greg, another teacher here.

    I'm concerned now that I cannot heat my room sufficiently in Shanghai. So I may try to create some sort of tent with blankets, then practice inside. I'll give this more thought next week and maybe do it when I return. It's impossible to practice deeply when the room is freezing.


  5. Yes, you have the best of both worlds Claudia, re a good teacher and experimentation at home, good that your able to balance it (make an interesting post perhaps).

    Hi エスタ The inspiration for the Wellington came from here
    I added a load of wild mushrooms as well plus some other nuts, didn't really measure mine out. Wont glaze it till it comes out of the freezer, nice to get it made already, I'll be able to sit down and watch the Queen without feeling rushed. Thank you re A

    hi Yyogini, it's a curious pose, three parts to it but for some reason they don't get called A B and C ( I forgot the B section ). Agreed re the availability of helpful teachers, the rise in workshops over the last couple of years is good for the home Ashtangai, such a choice now, I really should go to a couple this year.

  6. Nice blog Yyogini, added it to my blog list, hope that's Ok, looking forward to catching up on your posts.

    I was using a humane trape Arturo but I'm not sure how kind it is kicking the little thing out into the cold this time of year, perhaps it's better to make it quick rather than turn it into Owl meat or a popsicle ( lots of snow here and the coldest temps since records began).

    Great that you got to practice with Kino and crashed their party too by the sounds of it, good timing.

    This cold, it's hard, can't get my room warm downstairs, just about OK with my space heater on along with the radiator. How about picking up some full length sports wear while you in the US. remember seeing someone practice in full length thermals and a wooly hat somewhere in Canada. Look forward to seeing pictures of the tent, hope it works out.

  7. Dear Grimmly
    I almost worded it in my blog like I crashed the party, haha. They had posted it on their website, and when I called about that day's schedule, they mentioned the party. I had mentioned to Greg that if I was in town I'd say hi before he left, so the party was the perfect thing. So it technically was not a party crash. haha.
    Today I plan to practice in their room, where the teacher is one of their advanced students. I'll spill the beans later. haha. There is not much to write, because my practice is so simple when I travel.

  8. Awesome, awesome, awesome!!!

  9. thank you ursula, will let you know how it tastes.

  10. Yum. I mostly practice at home without a teacher as well. I do have a teacher who moved abroad and so I see her a sum total of about 8 weeks a year and otherwise work on my own. I used to be frustrated by it and wished I had more help or assists, but I see after doing it this way for a while now that you are right...the practice and all it's benefits do come along, maybe more slowly than with daily help, but that has become fine with me; it makes me feel like these poses are all mine, even if they take a while to get there.

  11. I learned two different exits from Rolf. You can either unbind the leg behind head & extend, then jump back from there, both legs moving at the same time, not stepping back. OR you can swing the front leg back into bakasana, then jump. You shouldn't roll right through though. Def pause in a bakasana.

    I picked the first option... seems more direct to me.

    Rolf is cool because if a vinyasa has changed any number of times since he learned it, he'll say, "This, this or this."

  12. Hi Kristen. I think we probably win and lose, some things we'd probably get quicker with a teacher but i think at other times having the freedom to try different approaches and having the time and space to work something out makes things happen quicker, but it's all good.

    Yeah first option sounds the one for me too. I really should go to Goa someday, after watching the Guru movie a couple of years back Rolf became a bit of a hero to me....Marcie would kick my butt though by the sounds of it.



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from Kalama sutra, translation from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi

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