Saturday, November 3, 2012

Lightness and strength in Navasana; Rambling about rambling

This morning, I did full primary to Sharath's led primary CD. Gosh, doing full primary to Sharath's vinyasa count is the asana equivalent of "getting called bullshit" upon, to borrow a phrase that Patrick used in a comment on my previous post. Sharath's count is so precise, there's no room to faff or even to take a couple of extra breaths for the more difficult poses of primary (like Mari D, for example); you just try your best to get as deeply into whatever pose is being counted, hold the pose for the prescribed number of breaths, and then move on. Hmm... but how traditional is Sharath's vinyasa count? Well... can we not go there? :-)

Over the last few Saturdays of doing Sharath's led primary, I have made an interesting discovery: My Navasana now feels a lot lighter and stronger compared to a couple of years ago. I can extend my knees fully throughout all five navasanas, and it's only in the fifth navasana that I start to feel this burning sensation in the quads, which is probably an indication that I am no longer engaging the bandhas to hold the pose, but am holding the pose through sheer quad muscle power. Moral of the story: The secret to lightness and strength in navasana (as in pretty much any other pose, really) is bandha engagement. If I recall correctly, I think Kino also brought this up in passing when she was talking about engaging the bandhas during one of her workshops that I attended. She was talking about engaging the bandhas, and somehow the topic of navasana came up. She said something to this effect, "Just try holding navasana using only your quads", and then laughed. Translation: Holding navasana using only quad power... No good. Holding navasana using bandha engagement... very good.


I guess I'll try to keep this post short, because I really don't have that much more to say right now. Or more to the point: I can't say more without possibly lapsing into a state of rambling. Speaking of rambling, somebody left the following anonymous comment on my recent post about Tradition Guilt:

'Normally, I am a huge fan of your blogging, but this was alot of rambling. Perhaps you should just "do your practice". I will continue to follow your blog.'

I don't normally go out of my way to reproduce readers' comments in my posts, but it's being a while since I've received such a... pointed comment, so I think this is worth sharing. Honestly, I have no objective way of knowing if or when I ramble in my writing. But judging from the way this commenter prefaces his or her remarks ("Normally, I am a huge fan of your blogging..."), I like to think that rambling is the exception rather than the norm in my writing. Or maybe I ramble all the time, but it just happens that that post about tradition was a much worse case of rambling (i.e. "alot of rambling") than usual.

As I said, I've no objective way of knowing whether and how much I ramble (and if I'm actually rambling right now, even as I am writing this...). As they say, a doctor who tries to treat himself has a fool for a patient. Perhaps in the same way, a writer/blogger who tries to critique his own writing/blogging has a fool for a student. But this whole thing got me curious enough to look up the definition of rambling online. Here's the first definition I found:

"(of writing or speech) Lengthy and confused or inconsequential."

Yikes! So I might be writing in a lengthly and confused and inconsequential manner all this time without knowing it! All of you must be geniuses to be able to understand and parse my writing, and even comment on my posts... I take my hat off to you.

So what to do? If I'm really a rambler, I should seek help, right? I obviously don't want to be a lifelong rambler. Well, here are a few possible things you can do:

(1) The next time you catch me rambling, kindly point this out to me (either in a comment or in an email), and maybe also offer me some guidelines as to what would constitute "not rambling";

(2) You can also pay me every time I write something that meets these guidelines (positive reinforcement). Maybe I should set up a donation button on this blog for this purpose? Or is it not yogic to seek worldly rewards for one's blogging? But hey, good writing (as in the thoughtful, not-rambling kind of writing) takes a lot of work, you know. If good carpenters get compensated for building wonderful chairs in which people may repose their butts, why shouldn't good bloggers/writers be compensated accordingly for "building" good writing in which people may repose their minds and souls? I've always believed that writers are the carpenters of the soul. But okay, I think I'm rambling here, so I'll stop.

(3) You can simply vote with your electronic feet, and stop reading this blog altogether. This is, of course, a much simpler thing to do than either (1) or (2). But if you do this, we all lose: I lose readers, and you lose the opportunity to enjoy some good not-rambling writing, and no value is created in the world. 

Wow... that was a lot of rambling about... rambling. More (rambling?) later.   


  1. If it helps, I find your posts lengthy and confused, but not inconsequential. :D :D Not sure what that makes them though. Meandering? Wandering? Or perhaps simply, er..., philosophical.

    Carpenters of the soul, I like that. See, not inconsequential at all!

    1. Thanks for the feedback. I'll try to see if I can make them less lengthy and confused. No promises, though...

    2. I was kidding, you got that, right? You blog the way you blog! Don't change it on account of anyone.

  2. Nice work Socrates!

    Hey it's a personal blog, there's supposed to be rambling. Or shall we say "discursive thought." Please carry on.

    1. Thank you ;-) I will continue to ramble/think aloud in a discursive fashion. I really don't know how else to blog anyway...

  3. If people are reading your blog, and lots of people are, and there are lots of ashtanga yoga blogs out there that people don't read, then I wouldn't worry about it at all. Keep writing the way you write, obviously it is working.

    The online world lends itself to the ability to be anonyomous and critical (so no accountability) which obviously runs amok when you read any online newspaper - so one critical comment is not likely to reflect the views of the vast majority of readers of this blog.

    1. Thanks ;-) I think you are right that people seem to enjoy reading (or at least are okay with reading) my blog despite my rambling tendencies. So my writing must be working in spite of my rambling. So I'll continue to write this way; honestly, the only other way I know how to write is academic writing, which I'm sure will go across as very tedious. So well, to give a very long answer to a very short question, I'll continue to blog the way I do ;-)

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