Friday, October 21, 2011

On the road, Supta Vajrasana rant

I'm on the road today, on the way to Davenport, Iowa to present a paper about procrastination at a philosophy conference tomorrow (Saturday). In order to make the whole trip less onerous (it's a 10-hour drive if I drive nonstop from Moorhead, MN to Davenport, IA), I stayed in Minneapolis last night; which means I still have a 6-hour drive ahead of me. Quite a drive, yes, but can't be as bad as driving 10 hours straight, can it? So here I am, sitting in a coffeeshop in St. Paul, typing out this post before I hit the road.

The nice thing about stopping over in the Twin Cities is that I get to go to mysore practice at a shala before hitting the road again. This morning, I went to the Yoga House in Minneapolis for mysore practice. I decided to do this, even though I only had four hours of sleep. Why? I don't know: Because I'm crazy?

In any case, it was a great mysore session. It was a very small group this morning; it was just me, one other student, and the teacher. I did full primary and second up to Ardha Matsyendrasana. I got a few good adjustments and assists (and no, I really don't think an assist is a prop...). I got an especially valuable assist in Supta Vajrasana.

To be quite honest, Supta V is my "lazy" pose, the one that I just kind of do in my daily practice: I typically do the posture to my best approximation, write a mental check mark next to a mental list of second series postures, and then move on to the next exciting posture. There are a few lame excuses I can give you for my less-than-fully-enthusiastic attitude towards Supta V:

(1) If you normally practice alone (as I do), it is very difficult to do the posture yourself, unless you prop your lotus knees under a low table or bench, and use it to support you as you go into the backbend. But I don't have a table that is low enough (or so I say), so I normally just go into bound lotus and try to bend as far back as I can without rolling backwards, and then move on to the next more exciting posture.

(2) At his Minneapolis workshop back in July, Matthew Sweeney told me that my body seems to have a puzzling disconnect when performing Supta V: It's like the lower part of my body is not transmitting energy to the upper body, so that when I bend back, the lower body (i.e. the bound lotus) gives. He wasn't quite sure why this is so, since I am neither inflexible nor not strong. Well, if even the great Matthew Sweeney is puzzled over my non-performance in this posture, can anybody reasonably expect more of me in this posture? :-)

(3) Since Supta V comes immediately after the formidable Kapotasana, I always end up subconsciously telling myself that I am entitled to a little break after all that work in Kapo :-)

But I digress. As I was saying, the teacher gave me an especially valuable assist in Supta V this morning. She also suggested that I could work on only going as far back as I can while still being able to come back up (i.e. don't rest the crown of the head on the ground). I thought this was a good suggestion, and thanked her for it.

Alright... I need to stop procrastinating about making the drive to Iowa and actually hit the road very soon if I want to get to Davenport at a reasonable hour. I had a mocha and some crostinis and cheese curds as I was typing this post... (Btw, if you live or are visiting in the Twin Cities, you really should check out this coffeeshop--Kopplins Coffee in St Paul. They do really good coffee.) Oh, I was saying, the crostinis and cheese curds... well, they are really good (at least, they were really good when I was eating them :-)), but I feel so totally saturated with oil and fat now; who was it who said that Ashtanga practice makes us make better food choices? (obviously not true for me today...) Hmm... maybe a six-hour drive will do me some good (or not)? We'll see. More later. 

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