Saturday, April 2, 2011

Greetings from the land of Richmond, Virginia

It is now 8:10 on Saturday morning in Richmond, Virginia. I am sitting here in a little coffeeshop next to Ashtanga Yoga Richmond, sipping a mocha and writing this post. Mysore practice starts at 9:30 today, so my body has more than an hour to metabolize this mocha. Will it succeed? Well, we'll see...

I arrived here yesterday afternoon. Took an hour nap in my hotel, which probably did me more bad than good; a full sleep cycle is 2 hours. Anyway, I got up from my interrupted sleep-cycle nap, and made my way to the first session of Kino's workshop, which was led primary.

Kino's led primary is very unique. Certainly very different from Sharath's and my teacher's, which runs like a train. As you will know if you have done Sharath's led, he somehow manages to squeeze primary into something like 70 minutes, maybe less. My teacher in Milwaukee also does led primary at about the same pace.

Kino's led primary is the exact opposite of that. If the primary series is a journey through a varied landscape, you can think of Sharath's led as a high-speed rail train that zips through the landscape; which is very exciting,  but which also leaves one with not much time to explore and appreciate the intricacies of the landscape one is travelling through. You can think of Kino's led as a slow-moving train (or even a horse carriage) travelling through the same landscape. Kino's count is very slow and deliberate, and is peppered with many alignment details (unfortunately, most of the time, I was so focused on either my breath or the sensations in the posture, that I didn't pay that much attention to these details... bad man!).

Moreover, in most postures, she allows you a little time to get into the posture before she even starts counting. Which means that if you get into the posture before she starts counting (which happened a lot to me yesterday), you probably end up being in the posture for 7 or 8 breaths. Which is very cool in the standing postures and the first few seated postures of primary, as this gives me more time to open my hips and hamstrings. This is not so cool in postures like Navasana (need I say more?) and Bhujapidasana; I got into Bhuja P before she started counting, and she went around the room assisting a few people to get into the posture (which took at least a few breaths' worth of time) before she finally said, "one..." Which means that I probably ended up holding Bhuja P for something like 10 breaths. Same thing happened to me in Kurmasana too. Well, I guess there is a downside to being proficient in postures, isn't there?

The other cool thing about Kino's led is that, like Sharath, she does the long vinyasa count. Which means that, instead of "resetting" the vinyasa count at Supta (seven) on each side in each posture, she goes on all the way past Ashta-desa (eighteen) to Rimsa-dwihi (twenty) and beyond (my spelling is probably off here; if you know the correct spelling, please tell me). I don't know why, but there is something very cool about hearing so many numbers counted in Sanskrit. Or maybe this is just the Ashtanga dork in me talking :-)

Well, I should go now. There's still slightly under an hour before mysore. I'm going to try to see if there is any way to get my body to speed up its metabolization of that mocha I just imbibed.... (I'll spare you the details here).

Oh, and also, I should be able to do my interview with Kino this afternoon. It'll be a few days before I can post that one (has to go through some post-production first). But she's also giving a Yoga Sutra talk before that. I'll say a few things about that in my next post. Till then.      


  1. A led class (with a different teacher especially) certainly helps you break your established patterns, which is a good thing :) I on the other hand need to get my acts together and attempt to establish a home practice :)

  2. Yes, Yyogini, taking a led class with different teachers is good. Don't be too hard on yourself about establishing a home practice. Do your best, but don't beat yourself up if it doesn't happen immediately :-)

  3. It took me a while to figure this out, because it seems to come out of every teacher's mouth differently, but 20 in Sanskrit is vimsatih ("vim' shah tee hee"). It can be spelled differently, but that's the idea. And the coolest number ever is 19 (ekonavimsatih).

  4. Ah... so it's "vim shah tee hee". Good to know. Yeah, every teacher seems to say it a bit differently. Yes, I agree that ekonavimsatih is really cool :-)