Friday, November 26, 2010

Spontaneous emissions, Kapotasana discovery

I practiced this morning with my friends Brenda and Derek. They run a yoga and art studio in Fargo, North Dakota. I live on the Minnesota/North Dakota border, so Fargo, ND is only 2 blocks from where I live in Moorhead, Minnesota. And in case you are wondering, Fargo looks nothing like it does in that Coen brothers movie.

But I digress. As I was saying, I practiced with my friends Brenda and Derek this morning. They have what they call Open Practice on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. It is not mysore class, because nobody is assisting and adjusting anybody. You just go in and do your own practice, whatever it happens to be. Most days, I practice at home, because I need to get to campus. But it's always fun to be able to go and practice with them, if only because a change of practice environment is always interesting. Brenda and Derek are also ashtangis, so it's a really wonderful and supportive practice environment.  Check out their studio.

Practice this morning was very nice, except for some... gassiness. I ate a little too much at Thanksgiving dinner last night, and there were certain, uh, spontaneous emissions at certain points in the practice. Especially during those wide-legged forward bends. I think my practice this morning would have made for a good Adam Sandler comedy. Speaking of guy/body functions humor, another small digression here: If you like reading about a beginner's journey through the yoga practice, as told from a guy's perspective, check out Neal Pollack's latest book, Stretch: The Unlikely Making of a Yoga Dude. It's absolutely hilarious, yet thoughtful and very real at the same time. 

All of this was a little embarassing, but I know Brenda and Derek well enough to know that they weren't bothered by these emissions. Moreover, there's actually a Chinese saying: "Loud farts rarely stink." Chinese people have been around for so long, we have come up with handy sayings for just about anything that can possibly happen in the universe.

But other than the spontaneous emissions, practice was great. Flowed seamlessly through primary. I also made a very nice discovery in kapotasana. I discovered that if I allow myself to hang for a few breaths while moving my hips forward a little more at the same time, I can actually create enough opening to be able to land my hands directly on my feet. And then they only have to travel a very short distance to grab the heels. In the past, I always had to land my hands on the mat, and then walk them to the heels.

Maybe in time, I might be able to land my hands directly on the heels themselves. Then I won't have to walk at all. (Guruji: "Do your practice, and all is coming.")



  1. Since you and so many other Ashtanga bloggers keep mentioning this elusive kapotasana, I decided to attempt it for fun using the Yoga Journal step-by-step instructions. Wow, my quads are tight. I'm going to pretend that's the only thing preventing me from achieving this pose and just work on quad stretches for the next little while :)

  2. I don't know if tight quads are the only thing preventing you from getting kapotasana, but they certainly are a big reason why many people find backbends to be challenging and daunting. So working on lengthening/opening the quads is a good thing.

  3. Hi Nobel, I apologize that his comment is not at all related to your post, but I wanted to tell you about a blog my friend, Diana, has on this same blogger dashboard. It is entitled BuddhaBlog. She is a friend from San Francisco. I think you might enjoy her posts, mostly about practicing Nichiren's Buddhism. Cheers, Cathrine

  4. Dear Nobel
    Ha ha, thanks for the laughter. I also find the Chinese come up with the funniest poetic signs for everything.

  5. Thank you for sharing this - as someone who has been the unwitting emitter of digestive gases during a super-quiet Mysore session, each beep makes me cringe with embarrassment, even though I know that it's no big deal. The last one I emitted was so bad (audibly) that I've decided to restrict meat-eating to lunch so that my body has time to digest before practice!