Friday, November 29, 2013

The non-being of coming-back-up-in-Karandavasana

"The world does not disclose its non-beings to one who has not first posited them as possibilities."

Jean-Paul Sartre

I haven't been posting very much lately, probably not because there is nothing to blog about. The truth is, I can probably find something blog-worthy every single day if I want to. But between teaching classes and reading and thinking and doing a whole bunch of other things, I just haven't been able to find the extra desire to set down on this space whatever fleeting observations about my inner and outer life that occur to me from time to time.

Or, to look at things from a different angle, we could say that, from the point of view of a regular visitor to this blog, somebody who "comes" here regularly in the expectation of finding a new blog post, the absence of a new blog post fixes this blog in its evanescence. This absence haunts this blog, so that the visitor, on scanning the blog and finding no new posts, finds at the same time that the rest of the blog (the older posts, for instance) disappears and decomposes successively into the background. And it is against this ground-- this "soil", if you will--of the decomposition of the rest of the blog that the absence of a new blog post raises itself as an absence, as a nothingness, as a non-being.

But I am definitely being very grandiose and self-important here. For one thing, I am presupposing the non-non-being of regular visitors/readers of this blog who actually come here regularly expecting to find new posts. And it is only in the worlds of these visitors--if any such exist--that the non-being of a new blog post is disclosed as something in the world. Or, as Sartre would put it, the world only discloses the non-being of a new blog post to those who have first posited such non-being as a possibility.


I suppose I should switch gears now, and try to move away from my existentialist musings, and talk about something else. Although, come to think of it, to talk about something else is to not talk about some other thing which could otherwise have been talked about. Thus, nothingness pervades and is the necessary condition for any kind of choice; in this case, the choice of choosing to talk about one particular thing rather than another.

Hmm. So we see that existentialism isn't a mood that one can just snap out of. Ah well. So be it. But let me just say a few things about the state of my Ashtanga practice the last couple of days. Yesterday being Thanksgiving, I decided to, in the spirit of the holidays, gift myself the gift of a new posture--Karandavasana. Well, actually, Karandavasana isn't exactly a new posture for me. But I haven't being practicing this posture for about a year now, ever since I moved here to Idaho and decided to rebuild/reset my practice in a new place. But yesterday morning, as I was getting into Pincha Mayurasana, this thought suddenly hit me, "Hey, you haven't tried Karandavasana for quite a while now. Why don't you give it a shot, and see if you are still impotent?"

I listened to that thought, and gave Karandavasana a shot for the first time in a long time. Well, it turns out that I am still impotent; still can't get it back up: I could get into Pincha and get my legs into lotus while in Pincha. And then when I tried to lower down, I kind of wobbled a little, and had to bring the crown of my head onto the mat to prevent myself from falling over, before slowly (or not-so-slowly) lowering my lotus to my forearms. I held the lotus there on my arms for five breaths, but coming back up was, well, not coming.

I tried the pose again this morning, with the same outcome. Coming back up, still not coming.

I haven't been thinking too much about this whole thing--well, then again, maybe I have, if this is the first thing I am actually blogging about after not having blogged for, like, forever. But I was reading Sartre last night (yes, I know, I spent Thanksgiving reading Being and Nothingness...) when it suddenly occurred to me that the world would not have disclosed the non-being of coming-back-up-in-Karandavasana to me if I had not first posited such a (non)being as a possibility. I mean, think about it: Millions of people in this world who cannot do Karandavasana (and to whom it would probably never occur to even attempt to put their bodies into such a funny position) wake up every morning, and do whatever it is that they do in the morning, and then get through the rest of their day, all without the possibility of the non-being of Karandavasana ever being disclosed in their worlds. Why is this so? Well, because it has never occurred to them to question, "Can my body do Karandavasana?"

All of which proves the truth of the age-old adage, "What answers you get depends on what questions you ask the universe." Gosh, am I sounding wise, or what? Well, good people, I think I'll sign off here for now. Happy Black Friday. May your Friday be as black as the espresso I just drank :-)                  


  1. Lower karandavasana only as far as you can successfully lift back up,even if that is only a few inches. With repetition that distance will slowly increase.

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