Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sharath in Sydney: Week 1, Day 3

If I had one word to describe how I felt today, I wouldn't know which one of these 2 to choose between: SORE. TIRED.

I have a pretty regular practice, I'm at the shala at least 4 times a week, though I try to make it 5 - 6 times. Sometimes life "gets in the way" of my yoga practice (LOL!) so the requisite, traditional 6 times a week of mysore style practice isn't possible (does doing a few sun salutes or meditating count as "practice" when I can't make it to the shala?) I've done my fair share of 3 days' practice in a row before... so why did my quads feel like steel deadweights as of last night? And my triceps too.

He makes you work hard, this Sharath! No cheating!

A hot shower before I left and a little warming up before we started this morning seemed to help. The thighs weren't burning as much today as they were last night. Most of my energy was focussed on ME today, so a little less to report on Sharath.

1. Dinner
Yup, By the second count (DWE: EXHALE!) into the first forward bend, I could feel last night's dinner in my belly. And was thinking "great, today will be interesting". In case you were wondering, I'd cooked me some miso soba noodles with leftover tofu + veggie scramble thrown into it. I got the sense I was still digesting that choy sum. Yuck.

Which made me think of the discussion most yogis eventually have at some point: what & how much to eat the night before you practice? that you get enough sustenance through the first few hours (since you don't eat before practice), but also so you don't start groaning like me in the forward bends and twists.

2. Stronger or trying harder?
Even though my body's a little winded, today I thought I'd try a little harder and hold every chaturanga instead of cheating by placing the chin on the floor or the upper body on the floor. Earlier in the week I thought "pace yourself", which in my book meant not flooring the chaturangas.

He makes sure everyone holds in every chaturanga. You hear "Don't Hurry" a lot when we get to this pose. If anyone has moved ahead to Up-Dog, he makes them go back down again (which means the rest of us are STILL holding in chaturanga). Now you understand why I've been cheating? :p

Anyway, today with the little pact I made with myself, I surprised myself by holding about 95% of all the chaturangas and realized my arms and core strength are probably a little stronger than I give them credit for. Yay for me. I wonder if I've already grown stronger, or am I just trying a little harder?

3. Uthpluthi
By his 6th count, I had to come down, rested on the 7th count, then went back up again. Sharath walked by my mat around the 8th count, stood right in front of my mat, facing me - all I could see were his feet. IN FRONT OF MY MAT! Then he counts "NINE"... I'm still holding (I don't think he saw that I'd come down earlier. Hehe.) and then he gives a little cheeky, conspiratorial "ohhhh..." (as in "ohhh... so you think you can hold so long, do you?") I don't know if he was referring to me coz I was staring down at a piece of fluff on my mat towel, concentrating on "HOLD! STAY UP TIL 10! HE'S IN FRONT OF YOU!"... and then he goes and calls out "Nine... and a half..."

Dammit! He made me (and everyone else) laugh and I had to come down. I was too shy to look up to see if he was making fun of me. What? Me, Star-struck?! Noooooo.

4. Sirsasana
Dunno if this is better or worse than yesterday. Had to come down by his 4th L-O-N-G count, but then went back up again and held for another of his 4 counts. All the while thinking of the advice/ comments I've been given by the cybershala. There's a lot of ego and fear involved in this pose for me. And that's all I'll comment on for now. (Still processing, not ready to talk about it!)

5. Closing Chant
Too winded to even complete the first "Om". had to stop halfway and catch my breath!
But... being the yoga-dork I am, I looked up the closing chant on the KPJAYI site yesterday and was reciting it. Yes, extremely dorky. But it worked coz today I wasn't straining to figure out what the heck he was saying and was able to focus a little more inward as the words were a little more familiar and rolling off my tongue a little easier (how many times can I use the word "little" in a sentence?)

Oh, this goes for the Sanskrit numbers too. Looked it up yesterday, and the practice went a little smoother (in my head) coz I knew the counts and wasn't distracted by silly thoughts like "Huh? Is that a number or is that something else he's saying?"

That's all for today!
PS. There'll be a conference with him at 6pm this Friday at the new Yoga Moves shala, 40 Hall Road in Bondi Beach. Yay!

By the way, a friend of mine had asked if she could take pictures on the first day, but Sharath didn't give permission. So I haven't dared to bring my camera in. These are shots from outside the building waaaaaay before most people have showed up.

This is directly outside the hall, at around 5.30am.

And this is the same place after practice, about 7.45am. Gorgeous innit (yup, that's the Harbour Bridge in the distance).

We're right next to a park by the yacht club. :)


  1. well done, lady. yeah the photo thing is a bit of a problem especially in intermediate. he won't even let people watch the intermediate series if you're not practicing it unless he knows you. he will be OK with you having your picture taken with him at the end, that i know. KEEP PUSHING! i signed up for week 1 not thinking i would get through two weeks but then signed up for the rest and made it. I AM SO SO ENVIOUS. Would do it again in a second. soon enough.

  2. Your photos peering into the room are hilarious! I love the undercover effect. Thanks for taking them, it's always fun to see spaces!

    ooooh, that holding Chaturanga while the person who sped ahead has to come back down is something that can make me super mad. I want to scream, "PAY ATTENTION!" but then, the anger comes from my issues with people being wrong. Cuz, you know, I never am.

    Sounds like you had a very successful practice- congrats on finding your strength!

  3. I wonder why he won't let people watch the intermediate series or take pix. There are special cases though - like the recent intermediate videos in Mysore on youtube (I think by Govindakai?) ...I wonder if it's coz it leads to envy? (heh) Nick, we'll get to Mysore SOON! Next year, if not the year after. Definitely.

    And Liz - everytime we're in ubaya padangustasana or upavishta konasana looking up at the ceiling, I always imagine what it would look like if I were up in those beams looking down at the room. Especially in upavishta, coz everyone's at weird angles, trying not to get their legs in the next person's face. So you get people at a diagonal or completely sideways on their mat. I peeked around today at this point and it almost looked like a shed of caged chicken with no space, legs and heads everywhere! And thanks, yes I guess it was a successful practice, thank you for pointing it out (can you believe I hadn't thought of it from that angle?!) x

  4. Loving these reports, thanks!

    It would be horrible go through the agony :) of led 2nd, knowing that people were watching and taking pictures. Getting sent back and then watching is different, you were in the trenches.. I really agree with not allowing observers in yoga classes, it's not fair to practitioners who would feel self-conscious, and makes it into a performance for others.

  5. Ohhhhh. That COMPLETELY makes sense now, thanks for this new perspective. I'd just always seen it from a "they're so awesomely inspiring to watch" point of view. :p


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