So yes, I did full primary plus one third of second series in a sizzling one hour and twenty-six minutes! Which means I had broken the "sound barrier", as far as my own practice is concerned: I've never been able to get through a practice of this length in so short a time before. Which is curious, because the pace of the practice didn't feel particularly sizzling when I was doing it. I didn't feel like I was rushing through anything. I suppose it is always possible that I was rushing through chaturanga, thus shaving off a few minutes... but really, how many minutes can one shave off by skimping on the chaturangas? Or maybe it's the weather; it's finally starting to get really warm here in Idaho. Could warm weather make one move faster? Or maybe I had shaved another few minutes off by breathing shorter breaths in Navasana; for many people (including probably myself), unless you are following somebody else's count (e.g. Sharath: "Ashtau up, exhale down, Supta aagain Nawasana!..."), there is always a tendency to speed up one's breath and count in this pose (for rather obvious reasons).
Well, speaking of Navasana, let's take a look at what is arguably the most famous Navasana video ever made. Here's Lino, floating from Navasana into handstand and then back into Navasana, and looking like he's taking a walk in the park the whole time:
I hear that floating into handstand from Navasana is no longer "kosher" in Mysore; I hear that people have been yelled at by Sharath for doing it. Doesn't bother me; I've never really been a handstand fanatic in any case. But whatever the case may be, you can't deny that watching somebody like Lino float effortlessly between Navasana and handstand is a great pleasure for the eyes (Ashtanga eye-candy?...).
In a recent post, Grimmly announced that our friend Susan will be teaching "Ashtanga Yoga Level 1" at this place called the Light Center Moorgate in London on Monday and Thursday evenings at 18:45. How wonderful! Well, if you happen to be in London (as in London, United Kingdom, not London, Ontario) on Mondays and Thursdays at 18:45, and feel that you could use some Ashtanga instruction, do think about dropping by (wait, do they allow drop-ins?...).
Anyway, there are two things that can be said about the above announcement: (1) Ashtanga blogging must really have jumped the shark if the blogosphere has now become a place where bloggers announce classes that are going on halfway across the world (I mean, isn't this what yoga studio websites' schedules are supposed to be for?). None of this, of course, is meant in any way to detract from the great news of Susan's teaching at a brand new studio; this is indeed an auspicious beginning. But still, one can't help observing...
(2) As I looked at Moorgate's website, I couldn't help noticing the following picture and caption:
[Image taken from here]
The picture is used as part of an advertisement for a free introductory class voucher. Which is, in a way, understandable: For people who can't touch their toes, the prospect of one day being able to do Samakonasana (a.k.a. the Russian Split, the Chinese Split) while wearing a suit might be appealing... or would it? One would think that a picture of somebody actually touching her toes might get the message across more effectively... but then again, what do I know? I don't run yoga studios for a living...
But the question "Can you do this?" does sound like the sort of thing that certain well-meaning yoga enthusiasts out there might say to their unconverted friends in an attempt to get them to go to yoga class. Actually, here's a story that might prove instructive. A few months ago, a friend who had known my practice for a few years was observing me doing primary series. After watching me do a few postures to Sharath's count, she remarked that my practice has moved from a place of "Can you do this?/Look what I can do!" to a place where I am simply, well, doing my practice, without seeming to care that much about what I or anybody else can or cannot do. Personally, I consider that to be an external validation of the fact that my practice has become more and more an inwardly-focused thing than an outwardly focused thing (although, strictly speaking, one is not supposed to need external validation of inward focus: There is something vaguely oxymoronic about this idea. But still...).
Anyway, I think this is enough rambling for one day. More later.