Thursday, August 22, 2013

Au Contraire

For the first time in a good long while practice feels good again. That's not to say that everything is perfect or that I'm not faced with challenges when I get on my mat but overall things feel good and not broken. This is good news because I've spent the better part of the year just feeling broken. 

A few months back, shortly after recovering from "the great back injury of 2013" I was encouraged to split my practice and to start going straight into intermediate series.  On the surface this seemed like a great idea because I had the longest practice ever but I was a little apprehensive because of my chronically tight hamstrings. My fear was that if I stopped doing all of the forward bends in primary, the ones that caused my hamstrings to be perpetually sore, I would lose all flexibility that I had gained over the past couple of years of practice. 

To my surprise that hasn't been the case at all. If anything I'm finding more length and flexibility than I ever imagined and after practice I'm not left with achy and sore hamstrings for days and days on end. Who would have thought? 

The other surprising turn of events is that I'm finding that I haven't lost any strength and in some respects feel even stronger. I think it all boils down to having a shorter, more manageable practice that isn't taxing my body to the point of utter exhaustion and then getting up and doing the same thing day after day after day. 

In other news, titibasana still makes me feel like I want to puke. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

An Update

After a brief hiatus I'm back. For how long I'm unsure but we'll take this one day at a time.

A lot has changed since my last post over a year ago and at the same time it feels as not much has changed at all. As for the changes I'm practicing with a new teacher at a new shala due to my teacher leaving town and taking on a new job that doesn't involve teaching an ashtanga mysore program. Trust me, if just moved out of state and continued to to teach odds are I would have tried to figure outa way to follow him somehow.  So that about sums up the changes.

As for things staying the same, I really haven't progressed much in terms of acquiring new asanas during this time. I'd chalk it up to a) being hazed by new teacher b) a plethora of injuries c) having the tightest hips on the planet.  In April of this year I was sidelined for about 6 weeks due to "the great back injury of 2013" which I attribute to overuse and being pushed just a little too hard one day. The good news is that the back has mostly healed and my practice continues to improved. Things have improved so much that new teacher has finally decided to give me a new pose. After seeing my feeble attempts at titibasana a, b and c over the past week I'm almost certain he's regretting his decision.

After being marooned, for what feels like an eternity, in this section of second series I'm really looking forward to working on the strength poses that come after such as pincha mayurasana and karandavasana because let's be honest I've always tended to be more strong than flexible. I won't be holding my breath though because I think it will take at least another year to develop the flexibility required to be able to do my current new pose.  

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sharath 2012 US Tour Dates

If you were waiting to find out the dates for the Sharath and Saraswathi 2012 US Tour, your wait is officially over.

GREENWICH, CT:  April 9 - 13 at 6:30 am - Led Primary Series
      Complimentary bus service provided from NYC to Greenwich, CT
      Please contact, (760) 889 - 4707 for details.


NYC - ONE DAY ONLY: April 14 at 8:30 am - Led Primary Series
      Please join us for this special led Primary class with Sharath &
      Saraswathi - conference and chai after class.

    April 17 - 19, 21 - 22 at 6:30 am - Led Primary Series

    April 25 - 29 at 6:30 am - Led Primary Series
    April 25 - 28 at 8:30 am - Led Intermediate Series

Seems like their schedule is greatly reduced from last year so best to get your tickets early.
For more details check out 

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

You Want Me To Put Both Legs Where?

Practice has been a real joy the past couple of weeks with JB back in the shala. The temperature in the room has been nearly perfect most days and there's been a constant nice sized crowd. Just enough people to keep JB busy and the energy in the room moving but not too many folks that one doesn't get needed attention and guidance from the teacher. I'm truly loving it despite my practice being long and grueling. I've been working hard on eka pada sirsasana and it really feels like it's coming along nicely on the left side. With a little help from JB I can keep my leg behind my head and get a nice extension as I bend forward, I can actually feel my chin touch my knee/shin and I can feel the extension through my spine. The right side on the other hand is a bit more challenging and despite my best efforts I can't quite get the head, chin, neck extension necessary to make the pose truly comfortable on that side. Two days ago I woke up with extremely sore abdominal muscles and I wonder if it has anything to do with the effort that I've been putting into this asana. In addition to the sore abs I've been dealing with a sore lower back for the past couple of weeks and I guess it goes with the territory. Just to be clear, it's a soreness and not a hurtness.

Even though my eka pada still rides the short bus JB surprised me today and gave me dwi pada sirsasana and yoganidrasana. I'm going to file dwi pada in the "impossible asana" category for a while and I'll revisit that categorization in a few weeks time as almost all asanas were put into that category at one point or another even some of my current favorites. Yoganidrasana wasn't so bad however and I was shocked that I was able to do a decent approximation of the pose on my own but there is definitely still some work to do.

Back bending felt terrible today after all the lbh poses and so I opted for three urdhva dhanurasanas and moved on to finishing as my body practically refused to really bend in that direction after the new poses.

In other news I'm looking forward to taking a workshop with Chuck Miller in April which should be interesting. That man can do dwi pada like no ones business straight out of the vinyasa no putzing around like us mere mortals.

Friday, January 20, 2012

An Update

It's been some time since my last post. I actually started several posts but never got around to finishing them and posting them for one reason or another but I'm back now.

JB returned on Tuesday and I've had stellar practices since he's been back. While he was gone I felt like a lost child with no direction and now that he's back things are good. It was almost like Christmas on Tuesday morning waking up early to get to the shala just to practice with him. There have also been some minor changes to his teaching schedule which means that I'll once again be able to practice with him on a more consistent basis.

In terms of asana he "gave" me eka pada sirsasana before leaving for three weeks and I protested a little out of fear of being adjusted by his less experienced subs. It's not that his subs are not capable because that's the furthest thing from the truth but I think it's important for one to develop some familiarity and comfort in a pose before being able to surrender to any adjuster. With that said I only played with putting my foot behind my head while he was gone, once after kurmasana and then again after ardha matsyendrasana. What I noticed and loved about practicing the LBH after kurmasana is that my second kurmasana attempt was that much deeper and more comfortable. With JB back this week he's helped me into the full expression of the pose and each day it's gotten a little better and more manageable. The first day sucked because I was so hunched over that my  congenital hernia started acting up which made it that much more uncomfortable. On subsequent attempts, between the efforts of myself and JB things felt a lot better. I can definitely see the potential in the pose in that once I gain the needed level of flexibility it can be, dare I say, a comfortable pose. I definitely think that it's one of the more "pretty" asanas of second series.

In other news I went to the Richard Freeman workshop at Urban Zen last night. I've heard some of my shalamates rave about him in the past and I didn't quite get it until last night. He's simply amazing! He has the most calm and unpretentious demeanor (I chatted with him before the workshop and asked him to sign my copy of his book). Needless to say if I can be anything like him and his wife when I get older I'll be a happy camper.

On the agenda for this weekend and next is an adjustment workshop which I'm also very much looking forward to. I think by Monday I'll be happy to have a rest day.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Co-Opting of Yoga

I came across two things yesterday that made me throw up a little bit in my mouth and also made me realize how thankful I was to have found Ashtanga yoga 14 months ago. It's pretty sickening all of the co-opting of yoga that's going on here in the west and all for the sake of making a quick buck.

The first was a link posted on Leaping Lanka's blog about a "Yoga Rave" brought to you by everyone's favorite athletic and lifestyle brand. I refuse to post the link here hence the link to the other blog.

The second is this article from Yoga Journal about Fred Segal and VIP yoga classes.

I'll be back to my regularly scheduled programming shortly but I'll leave you with this PMS + yoga = terrible combination and that pretty much sums up my practice this week. 

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Criminal Behavior

I'm partially ashamed to admit and partially unashamed to admit that I participated in some criminal behavior today for an ashtangi. My teacher is gone for the next three weeks and his senior assistants are covering for him while he's gone. I generally don't mind practicing with JB's assistants while he's gone for a day or two but something about him being gone for so long has me seeking out opportunities to practice with other teachers.

So today I sought out a different studio in my neighborhood and had a nice practice at Z's shala. There was a small group of practitioners in the shala and she was there to assist me when I needed her. She easily got my hands to the floor in prasarita padottanasana c, wrapped me up like a cute little package in supta kurmasana, helped me with a deep twist and bind in pashasana, got me into a deeper expression of bhekasana and finally helped me grab my heels in kapotasana. I'm not an adjustment whore but if I'm practicing in a shala in the presence of a teacher I have certain expectations to leave the shala feeling like I've at least be taught something.

Today was a one off experience but I'm debating of doing a little more shala hopping prior to JB's return. I'll see how the situation plays off over the next couple of days before I make any final decisions.