Two weeks doth not a shala Ashtangi make.... but it's well on the way
Two weeks down on a two month stay at Kristina's Shala in Rethymno, Crete (http://www.yogapractice.gr/). The first week I practised Primary, this week I dusted off my 2nd and practised the full series Sunday to Thursday for the firsttime in a year or more. And it's tough practising 2nd in a shala, no coasting, take it easy on a posture and you just know that will be the asana that Kristina will happen to be standing behind you for, to take you in deeper or remind you to ground your palm.
I'm developing this theory, good teachers don't just happen to notice if you coast through a post they're three asana ahead of you, know exactly when your about to flag, where you think you might be able to slip into cruise control, "Oh and Anthony, what's happened to your nakrasana, I don't think I've seen it (all week)?" Bugger.
I dropped nakrasana a long long time ago, when I moved to the upstairs shala, too noisy on the floorboards..... besides it's a foolish asana, "No asana are foolish" says Kristina as she adjusts somebody on the next mat in tittibhasana B (yeah right, Actually M. finds Titthi B scary rather than foolish, look away now).
Couldn't really post somebody's video of this when I had called it silly and this is the only one I have of mine Tittibhasana B Rishi approach 50 breaths. ( see here for explanation of the Rishi series ) fun starts about 2:28 in.
So the teacher knows three postures ahead which one I'm going to try and cheat on......I'm developing shala paranoia.
I think I mentioned in an earlier post this week on endurance how I'm loving the rhythm of the shala how it begins with us composed, wrapped up in our own practice until at some point we tend to hit the new postures or those we are struggling with and then a atmosphere of industry slips into the shala, of work, the energy changes completely, there's an unspoken camaraderie, we're all working on something, it's work, serious stuff but there's also a lightness in mood in the shala, there is courage here, bravery, not only in the willingness to try but in being prepared to fail ,here in this public space. We've all struggled with something, are still struggling (and if not today one of those rare days, then tomorrow, probabaly a wednesday) and there will always be something else to wrestle with.
|Sir Jacob Epstein: Jacob and the Angel 1940–1. The Tate gallery|
I'm Jacob, which asana is my angel this morning.
Perhaps it's not that we try to become steady and comfortable and motionless in an asana, Sthira sukham asanam but rather that this sutra describes the asana as we struggle with it, Epstein's angel, steady, comfortable, motionless, holding us up as we wrestle with it, supporting us.
'All angels are terrible, we love them so because they serenely disdain to destroy us' Rilke
I don't know, getting back up in karandavasana feels like it's destroying me again.... a little bit, back on the threshing floor
Yoga for me is concerned with enquiry, radical enquiry, we question.... everything and if we have firm conviction about what yoga is we might want to begin right there. Does your practice cause questioning to arise in you, a confrontation, then it may well be a yoga practice. This practice, Ashtanga vinyasa, it asks questions of us, there is certainly confronting here and there's nowhere to hide in the shala. Of course it can also be a distraction. Ashtangi's, we love to come up with answers, justifications and with the firmest of conviction too but perhaps these too will sooner or later come Sous rature.
I'm falling into the rhythms of the shala, never really took rest days let alone moon days but practicing in the shala I find myself looking forward to Saturday, to Friday even and a beer, just one OK, perhaps two, little ones. And the moon, I've started to look up at the moon, when is the next moon day, please god don't let it fall on a Saturday....again.
But here's the thing, I feel at home here.