Saturday, July 16, 2011


In a recent, by-now-famous post on Elephant Journal, Carol Horton argues that the blogosphere has the potential to enable yogis living in an increasingly fragmented world to connect and discuss issues that are common to our experiences as yogis. In this way, the blogosphere has the potential to enable yogis living in this day and age to practice the other seven limbs of yoga in what has become a predominantly asana-centered western yoga culture.

I agree with all of this. But one cannot deny that the blogosphere is also a great place to talk about asana, and sometimes share asana pictures :-) This morning, my fiancee took some pictures of me in various asanas. Not being one to keep these things to myself, I've decided to post them on this blog and share them with all and sundry. I should remind you that I do not have perfect alignment. So if you are new to Ashtanga, please do not use these pictures as any kind of reference point. Just enjoy them (or not), and then go on with your practice and day :-)

Utthita Parsvakonasana

Marichyasana D
 Ekapada Sirsasana
Ekapada Sirsasana
Ekapada Sirsasana B
Jumping back from Ekapada Sirsasana

I wasn't in a backbendy state of mind/body today, so there are no backbend pictures (If you want to see a picture of me in Kapotasana, though, see this post). 

Well, that's all for right now. May the Force be with you. 


  1. I'm sure these pictures of Woody Allen on a girly mat are going to inspire lots of dudes to take up yoga!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Ummm, so, what you have labeled as Eka Pada Sirsasana B is just referred to as Eka Pada Sirsasana. I think maybe David Swenson's book might have it listed as B? But that's not the current nomenclature. His book also has Vrschikasana in 2nd Series, among other issues, so it really needs to be taken with a grain of salt....

  4. Hello Anonymous, in my less modest moments, I like to think that I am what Woody Allen would be if (1) he is Chinese, and (2) he does Ashtanga. And of course, there is a reason why I chose to use that girly mat (is this PC?) instead of my usual mysore rug :-)

    Interesting, Frank. I might be wrong about this, but I could have sworn that I saw a poster somewhere with Sharath or somebody in it that lists that posture as Ekapada Sirsasana B. How else would you differentiate the sitting-upright version of the posture with the bent-forward version?

  5. You don't; as far as I know, the sitting-upright version does not have a name in Ashtanga (it is Eka Pada Sirsasana to Iyengar & Dharma Mittra--and in the Yoga Makaranda!--while the folder-over version is Skandasana to Iyengar/Dharma, but in Ashtanga that names the 6th pose of 3rd Series, which Iyengar/Dharma would call Ruchikasana, which no pose is called in Ashtanga...). And since you don't stay there for 5 breaths, or at least it not the "official"/standard version (at least anymore--again, Swenson's book is no longer accurate), it doesn't really *need* a name; it's just vinyasas 7 and 14 of Eka Pada Sirsasana. For Eka Pada Sirsasana, the state of the asana (sthitih) is at vinyasas 8 and 15.

  6. Interesting, Frank. Hmm... so it looks like it comes down to Iyengar, Dharma Mitra and Jois not being able to agree on nomenclature for terms. Or maybe, since the Ashtanga nomenclature is different now from the time Swenson's book was published, it's probably a matter of a change within Ashtanga itself...

  7. Funny, I noticed silly little things in your pictures.

    First, you're wearing glasses. When I started with yoga classes, I kept my glasses on so I could see the teacher. Eventually a friendly yogini joked that she took her glasses off so she could "be in her own world." Before long I adopted this approach and found I was indeed less visually distracted. The other distraction averted was not having to keep pushing the glasses back up on my sweaty nose. AND as I just read last night, Matthew Sweeney suggests practicing without eyeglasses (or contact lenses) to improve eyesight!

    The other thing I noticed is that you're practicing on a carpet. I started my yoga journey in a studio with a hardwood floor. When I began practicing at home, on a carpet floor, with my yoga mat on top, I was amazed how challenging it was. All the standing postures became balance poses! After wobbling around for a few weeks I settled in OK, but it was quite the surprise.

    I'm not suggesting one should or shouldn't wear glasses, or practice on one floor or another. I just noticed these details and couldn't help but share my own experience with them.

  8. Hello Mike,
    Thanks for noticing all these silly little things :-)

    Yes, I have read that passage in Sweeney where he talks about wearing glasses too. Actually, when I'm practicing by myself at home, I do not wear glasses: I agree with you that practicing without glasses helps one to be less visually distracted. But when I practice in a shala or in a workshop, I wear my glasses, just so I can have a heads-up as to whether the teacher is looking at me or approaching me :-) Yes, I know that if one's drishti is truly engaged, one shouldn't even be aware of this, but well, this is just me :-) As for wearing glasses in these pictures, well, I had this funny idea that maybe if some nearsighted people out there see a yogi with glasses practicing, it might also inspire them to practice. When was the last thing we saw a picture of somebody with glasses practicing? :-)

    About the carpet... I actually prefer to practice on a hardwood floor, but my apartment is carpeted. Somebody told me that practicing on a hard floor is better for the wrists; thankfully (knock on wood) I have not suffered any wrist pain or discomfort all this time.