Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12.12.12., a headstandless Karandavasanally-impotent practice, and a Ravi-Shankar-less universe

Practice this morning was very interesting. I made three Karandavasana attempts:

1st attempt: Total crash and burn. Got up into Pincha. As I was trying to maneuver my legs into lotus, I lost my balance and fell over.

2nd attempt: Got into Pincha, then got into lotus in Pincha. Descended too quickly, missed the duck landing, and landed in a seated padmasana.

3rd attempt: Got into Pincha, got into lotus in Pincha, landed the duck, and held the posture for 5 breaths. Still no sign of coming back up though. Will keep working on it.

Oh well. But this is not all. In the finishing sequence, I forgot to do Sirsasana, and didn't even realize it until I was in the shower after practice. While showering, I was mentally going over my practice and the sensations that the practice had imprinted on my mind/body. And that was when I realized that my body does not remember having been set on its head this particular morning. But it was too late to rectify that; I had a meeting on campus to attend, and couldn't very well redo the practice.


Today is December 12th, 2012. Or 12.12.12. Which is supposed to be a very significant day, according to Jyotish astrology. I have no idea what the significance is, as I know nothing about Jyotish astrology. I could probably google something and reproduce it here and look like I know what I'm talking about, but why? In any case, it may very well be that with stuff like this, it is best to go through without knowing the significance.     

But here's something I know something about. The great Indian sitarist and composer Ravi Shankar passed away yesterday in a hospital near his home in Southern California at the age of 92. Here's the NYT obituary, if you'd like to take a look at it.

Mr Shankar's music has a special place in my life and yoga practice. Back when I first started practicing yoga, I would do my own Iyengar-inspired practice everyday to his Chants of India. I don't have any particular reason for choosing to practice to this album. I just came across it in a records store one day, listened to a few tracks, found them very absorbing, and suddenly thought, "Hey, this sounds like good music to do yoga to!" This was, of course, in the days before I discovered Ashtanga and the joy of silent Mysore-style practice. To this day, I still vividly remember holding headstand to the sound of Sahanah Vavatu. Actually, it's worth a listen here:

What do you think? Perhaps I wouldn't have forgotten to do headstand this morning if I still do yoga to this music :-) 

In any case, the world lost a great musical spirit yesterday. But perhaps not; something tells me--or maybe this is just my own personal selfish desire talking--that a soul of Mr. Shankar's talents will quickly be reborn into a part of the universe where he (or maybe he will be a she in the next incarnation?) can continue to carry out his/her musical dharma. At any rate, rest well, Mr. Shankar. Thank you so much for your wonderful contribution to this world (and to my yoga practice).


So, to sum up: On 12.12.12, the world woke up to a Ravi-Shankar-less universe, and an Ashtangi in some corner of the same world did a headstandless Karandavasanally-impotent practice. What do all this portent?   


  1. This is my first time visiting your website, but I found a lot of interesting information.From the volume of comments on your posts, I guess I am not the only one! Keep the good work up.
    Ashtanga Yoga

  2. i love that recording. i'm glad i got to see ravi with anoushka & ala raka (wow) you must be a natural yogi. it took me much longer than 3 years to get to karandavasana

    1. I regret the fact that I never got to see Ravi Shankar; he came to perform where I was living in Florida a few years ago, but I procrastinated about getting tickets, and ended up missing him.

      About being a natural yogi... one of my teachers told me that I probably practiced in a past life. Not bragging or anything; I'm just reporting what he said.

  3. I just discovered this album (courtesy of the swami on Chamundi Hill) and have it on my to-get list. It's probably one of the better albums to practice yoga to, if one is so inclined ;)

    1. So who is this swami on Chamundi Hill? Is he some mystical shaman/medicine man?

      Sorry, I hope that didn't come across in a disrespectful way. It's just that I hear about him now and then, but have no clue who he is.