Friday, January 7, 2011

Practice report, talking shit

Here's a little practice report from this morning's practice. This morning, I practiced with my friends Jim, Brenda and her husband Derek at their yoga/art studio in downtown Fargo. The ashtanga community here is still in its infancy: The four of us are probably the most "full-time", "hardcore" Ashtangis in the upper midwest :-) People here still think of yoga as the kind of thing that you go to a studio and be led by a teacher to do. In fact, I spoke to a couple of teachers at the studio near my place the other day, and they were astonished/impressed/intimidated that I actually do my own practice. One of them even admitted that she is struggling to start up a home practice herself. Uh oh, I am venturing into talking-shit-about-others territory again. Must remember ahimsa...

But I digress. I said I was going to share my practice report. Here are a couple of practice highlights:

(1) I did full primary, and then second up to Supta Vajrasana (I don't follow the Friday-primary-only rule. So I'm not hardcore in this regard.) The cool thing is, I finished the whole thing in about an hour and forty minutes. I know, some of you out there might be thinking, "Ho hum.... I go way faster than that." But it usually takes me slightly over 2 hours to do the same sequence at home, mainly because I like to hold certain postures (the standing postures, the Marichyasanas and kapotasana) for extra breaths. And I probably also futz around a bit without being conscious. But I think practicing with others makes me go faster. Is that a good thing? I don't know.

(2) Landed on my nose today while trying to lift up in handstand after the fifth navasana. The floor is hardwood, so the landing wasn't painless. But the funny thing is, my nose did not bleed! It does kind of feel flatter now, though: But the last time I looked in the mirror, it didn't look deformed or bent out of shape, so that's good. Anyway, I'm Asian, so having a flat nose is not a problem :-) You are probably tired of hearing about my misadventures in trying to get into handstand from navasana. Perhaps I should try to make a video of this one day and post it on this blog. That way, I can get some feedback and advice from the cybershala.

After practice, I hung out with Derek for a little bit, and talked some more shit. We were talking about the new authorization requirements at KPJAYI. As a result of that rule that says one has to return to Mysore every 18 months to maintain authorization, many senior teachers (David Swenson, Matthew Sweeney, Eddie Modesitine and Nicki Doane) are now officially not authorized. At least, their names are not on KPAYI's list of authorized and certified teachers.

Gee, I think I should sign off now. This is starting to sound a tad disrespectful... 



  1. I'm so glad I'm not the only one to land on their face, except I'm such a wuss it was in bhudjapindasana!

    Ummm, hadn't hear about that new rule. I guess my teacher's off the list too. It's a dicey topic though because generally I prefer teacher training to be rigorous. So no real opinion here.

    I didn't comment on your go-to-Mysore post but I'll say that I have little interest now that Guruji is no longer with us. I'd rather go to the senior teachers that are nearby like Tim Miller, David Swenson, Richard Freeman and perhaps Nancy Gilgoff for some Hawaiian fun.

  2. Yes, you are NOT the only person to fall on your face. I hope that, in a strange way, I can be an inspiration to all those who are afraid of falling on their faces :-)

    I really wish that I had studied with Guruji while he was still around, but I still want to go to Mysore now. Why? Probably because I believe in that fashion-design argument (see my go-to-Mysore post).

    I've been to Nancy Gilgoff's studio on Maui a couple of times. Unfortunately, both times she was away teaching a workshop. I did get some good adjustments from the teacher who was teaching there, though. You should go, since you are so much closer to Maui than I am.

  3. the kpjayi website states that the teachers list is not complete. just because a name is not on there does not mean that a person doesn't have the blessing or it has been revoked. and they do make exceptions to the 18 month rule. a friend of mine hasn't been in over two years and was granted his level 2 authorization none the less. that said, none of this means that those teachers mentioned still have authorization. it just isn't as cut and dry as all that.

  4. Fargo! And only 4 of you. That's hardcore. Very good storytelling Nobel, thanks. As much as I love the idea of India, I agree with Loo: We have Tim Miller, Richard Freeman, Kino, and Lino Miele in Europe, and all those awesome Aussies & Brits. We are blessed with opportunities and good fortune.

  5. Agree with Tova - it really is not as cut and dry and I know quite a few exceptions to the rule. I think Sharath normally refers to them as general guidelines.

  6. Hey sereneflavor, you are forgetting Hamish in the UK ;-)

  7. Tova and V, thanks for the heads-up about its not being as cut and dry as that. I'm learning new things all the time :-)

    sereneflavor, I'm happy you like my story. I will write more stories with a local flavor in the near future. Yes, we are indeed blessed to have so many wonderful and capable teachers in North America and Europe. But I have also always wanted to see India. That's another reason why I want to make at least one trip to Mysore in my lifetime (that's not a lot to ask, is it :-))