Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Year of No Workshops or Intensives, a lucid yoga dream, kungfu for hermits

Of late, the Ashtanga blogosphere seems to be abuzz in a festive, "workshop-ey" mood. Grimmly will be going to Richard Freeman's workshop/intensive in London in a couple of days. And a couple of days ago, Micqui mused on her blog about going on the perfect Ashtanga yoga world tour.

As for me, this year appears to be shaping out to be the Year of Home Practice. Which is really an euphemism for the Year of No Workshops or Intensives: None of the grand Ashtanga travel plans that I made earlier this year have taken shape. The Mysore trip fell through. So did my plan earlier this summer to go study with Angela Jamison in Ann Arbor, Michigan. And judging from the way things seem to be panning out, it is very unlikely that I will get to go to any workshops for the rest of the year: Money and time seem to be in rather short supply. But maybe I shouldn't condemn my prospects in this area in this way just yet: Things sometimes have a way of working out. We'll see.

But as far as things have gone this year, it seems that I have out-Grimmlied Grimmly.... I mean, even the famous Grimmly, he of Ashtanga Vinyasa Krama Yoga at Home fame, is going to a workshop in a couple of days. Whereas I--with the exception of a couple of trips down to the Twin Cities to practice at the Yoga House--have been practicing exclusively at home this entire year. Hmm... maybe I should rename this blog Yoga in the Dragon's Den at Home...


Hmm... this post is shaping up to be too much of a poor-me, pity-party kind of post. So let me see if I can change the topic a little. Well, let's see... How about this? I actually had a really strange yoga dream last night. Let me try to, ahem, regale you with the details of the dream. And maybe if you're into dream interpretation, you can also try your hand at giving me some suggestions as to what the dream might mean, given the present state of my yoga life. So here goes:

I am in Florida, in the home of this Kundalini teacher who used to teach at the same yoga studio that I taught at when I was going to grad school in Florida. A bit of background information here: This teacher isn't a typical Kundalini teacher. I mean, she doesn't wear a turban, nor does she have any Sikh name. She typically shows up for class in a dance leotard, and she has great asana prowess (at least as great as mine, hahaha...). Well, actually, I really don't know enough about Kundalini to know whether the typical Kundalini teacher wears a turban and/or has a Sikh name, so I may be unwittingly perpetuating a stereotype. My apologies to all of you Kundalini people out there. If you know something about this, please share.

Anyway, back to my dream. So as I was saying, I am in the home of this leotard-wearing-asanaly-powerful Kundalini teacher. For some reason, I decide to start doing my practice right there in her living room. So I set my Mysore rug down, and start working my way through the Suryas. And for some reason, there is a woman next to me whom I've never seen before who is doing Pilates on a Pilates mat. And for some reason, I suddenly decide to find out what time it is. I look at my cell phone, and discover that it is four in the morning. Upon discovering the time, I immediately realize that none of this can be real: I never wake up that early to practice, and even if I do, why would I go all the way to this teacher's living room to practice? And that was when I realized I was in a dream (I believe this is called lucid dreaming?). But I made no attempt to wake up, and decided to just go with the dream, and see what happens. As an aside: If you ever find yourself in a lucid dream, and decide you want to wake up (maybe you don't like the way the dream is going, or whatever...), just drop back into a backbend in the dream. Yes, drop back. Even if you actually can't do a dropback in your waking life. Trust me, it works every time (I've tried it before).

But back to the dream. As I was saying, I decided to go with the dream, and see how it unfolded... where was I? Oh okay, I look at my cell phone, and discover it is four in the morning. So I continue with my practice, right there in that teacher's living room. And I discover that my body is unbelievably stiff and tight: My hamstrings and hips were all tight and out of alignment in Trikonasana! Damn! Should have woken up! But I continue with my practice anyway. And then the teacher approaches me, and tells me that she is going to go practice at the studio with a friend. A few minutes later, her friend arrives. And this friend turns out to be this guy whom I used to hang out and watch kung fu movies with in Florida. Hmm... I didn't even know they knew each other... are they seeing each other or something? Kundalini Woman, Kungfu Movie Dude... Quite a couple, don't you think? They'll probably end up having a kid who goes on to create a hybrid style called Kundalini Kungfu, hahaha...

Well, okay, I think I'm probably straying into the realm of the politically incorrect, maybe even into the realm of the downright disrespectful. Again, apologies to all of you Kundalini folks out there. You wouldn't take the rantings of an Ashtanga Fundamentalist too seriously, would you? In any case, I can't remember what happened after this in the dream, but I'm pretty sure I woke up soon after.

End of dream.


I hope you find the dream entertaining. And if you have any interpretations, please feel free to share. I guess I'll also say one more thing about my lack of yoga travel this year. Even though I have been pretty much stuck in my little corner of the upper midwest yoga-wise, I have to say that I have made a few breakthroughs in my asana practice, especially in floating in the Suryas and in my ability to grab my heels in Chakrabandhasana by myself, although the latter still comes and goes. In addition, I have also successfully practiced with and am healing very well from a couple of injuries (the knee injury that I sustained last year, as well as my strained trapezius dating from a few weeks ago). So all in all, practice has been good, even if I haven't been to any workshops. Maybe this is as it should be. Maybe all Ashtangis need to go through a period of extended self-practice in order to consolidate what they have learned. Wasn't it Richard Freeman who said somewhere that Ashtanga yoga is kungfu for hermits? Well, greetings to you from a crazy upper-mid-western Chinese hermit :-)      


  1. Sorry Noble, know how that must hurt, that even I'M going to a workshop and In the post i was talking about booking others too, my apologies : ) Could be worse though, at least it's not Mysore.... although actually I am thinking about it ( sorry) BNS Iyengar though rather than Sharath, still looking into it. Unlikely, your sure to end up there before i ever get around to it.

    1. No need for apologies at all, Grimmly. I meant this post in a sort of semi-tongue-in-cheek manner...

      I hope you make it to study with BNS. I'll still study with Sharath, Clud Mysore or no :-)

  2. Had figured tongue was firmly lodged in cheek. Hey if your at AYRI at the same time I'm at BNS...are we allowed to speak or do we cross the street, eyes fixed straight ahead, or do we nod respectfully like a couple of ageing gunslingers. If BNS and AYRI ashtangi's meet, are they obliged to have an asana off, kapo's at dawn, that kind of thing.....better shift my own tongue back up to my palate in time for Richard tomorrow.

    1. Hahaha... I'm guessing it'll probably come down to a "Kapo Fast Draw" (as in who can get into Kapo faster and get into it deeper at the same time) in front of AYRI... come to think of it, I'll probably lose that one, as I still need a few extra breaths to get into Kapo :-)

      Yeah but seriously, it would be great if we could be in Mysore at the same time, even if not at the same shala. Have fun at Richard's tomorrow :-)