Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sharath in Sydney: Week 1, Day 6

Stop the press! I got my first adjustment today. In fact, I got TWO!!

First was in Upavishta Konasana - second part where you're catching your legs up in the air. My drishti was up to the ceiling, but he walked past, put one finger on the top of my forehead and pushed down, tilting my head back more. I was like "huh? But I WAS looking up!" ...I guess not enough?

Being the yoga dork that I am, I came home and immediately referenced David Swensen's manual. I could've sworn my head was in the same position in the "E" picture (quick Ashtanga dorks, pull out your books now!) ...coz it sure FELT like he was really pushing my head back a lot more than in Swensen's photo. Hmm... will have to bring more awareness to that in the next practice!

And the second adjustment? (more like an assist)... Are you ready for this?


Sirsasana. Crikey.

(If this is the first post of my conference reports you've been reading, please read the days preceding this and you'll get why this is big news for me).

So after the shoulderstand vinyasa, as we were prepping for headstands, I glanced up and lo and behold... who should be looking my way? Oh, but of course, the eagle-eyed Rangaswamyji! Yes, it definitely was an eye-lock moment we had. Oh crap. I couldn't help but grin back at him though, coz I had this pervading sense of fear and dread that something "bad" was coming my way.

Someone asked in yesterday's comments how long his L-O-N-G counts are in headstands, and I'd estimate about an average of 8 seconds per count. Apparently it's supposed to be 4sec inhale and 4sec exhale per count.

OK... so are you ready for this juicy story?

I'm up, he starts counting, and I hear his voice coming closer my way with each count. All the while I'm trying to focus on the breath and count, but you must understand the voices in my head are starting to get louder by now... I'm thinking about what he said to me yesterday... and I keep trying to stop my thoughts but by the time he says "FOUR" and I know he's right behind me in front of my mat, the voices in my head are yelling now "DOES HE REALLY THINK I CAN HOLD TILL FIFTEEN?!? GO AWAAAY!!! YOU'RE DISTRACTING MEEEE!!!!"

I promise I'm really not a loonybin. Maybe just a little intense, but not crazy.

Then he catches my legs and pulls them back towards him. I had an AHA! moment... I wasn't completely straight. I have the same problem in handstands too with finding that balancing point where everything lines up straight.

It's all over in my head by now. Forget about silencing anything and finding dharana... I had a million and one things going through my head from... OH NO! He's really gonna make me hold till fifteen! What, am I really that un-straight? Shit, don't pull me back THAT far, I'm going to fall! But if I fall it's OK, he's right behind me! OMG, it's only the TENTH count? I've to hold another FIVE? My arms are giving out, I can't hold. Engage the CORE! You're not pulling the belly in enough!

And then I realized that with where he's guiding me to, I'm feeling completely off-balance and it feels like I'm working my left side much harder. I am of course, "straight" but feel the off-balance due to the rotation in my pelvis (I'm not bluffing! I've got a slight scoliosis in my tailbone the Osteopath picked up. You can see the X-Rays here) ...then of course this sets me off on a whole different chain of thoughts (Oh! No wonder I've got issues with this pose. Not that it should be an excuse or anything... etc.)

...that's just a tiny snippet only of what was flying through my head. A couple of times he tried to let go of my legs, but I couldn't find that point of balance to hold myself up on my own - yeah, with those thoughts racing through my brain I'm not surprised I couldn't actually find the pose!

It reminded me of the first time I ever did backbends or pigeon - y'know, when you open up areas that are tight, releasing all this "stuff" and random thoughts... or when you go through a Yin class and sit in one pose for 5 minutes, and it brings up all these "AARRGHHHHH!" thoughts in your head? That was my Sirsasana today.

Especially when he came up to "FIFTEEN". Mentally, I switched off and was like "RELIEF!!" ...but then he didn't let go and made me go into legs-at-90-degrees! Voices in my head said "HERE FOR ANOTHER 10 COUNTS?! IMPOSSIBLE!"

I'm embarassed to say this now, but he was holding firm ensuring I'd stay there the whole way... but I had a Little Britain "Computer says No" moment and literally had to kick him in order to get his hands off my legs so that I could come down.

What can I say, I had an internal meltdown (plus my arms really couldn't hold up anymore). But I felt much better after resting in Child's for a couple of counts... and felt I kind of redeemed myself by going back up again to legs at 90 degrees for all of his last 5 counts.


I went and thanked him after class today and he was all smiles. I was truly grateful.

I am excited I got an assist, but I'm also deflated that I couldn't hold throughout the 10 counts of 90 degrees. It is what it is, and tomorrow will be another practice... wait hang on! Tomorrow's MOON DAY! Hahaha.

Time for retail therapy. Today, I bought another Tshirt coz I love the different fonts. So here's my "99% practice, 1% theory" tee, and "Eat more Chapatis" tee. :)
(and yes, it's branded y'all... see the "Eight Limbs by KPJ" logo. Don't mess!)


  1. Ah, love this post! I can totally TOTALLY relate to the mental dialogue. Man, that made me laugh. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with Sharath.

  2. Hahaha! Glad you enjoyed it. Glad you don't think I'm crazy. :)

  3. Let me get this straight... you KICKED Sharath?
    HA HA HA!!!!!
    That made me laugh so hard. I bet he's been knocked around a lot. Sometimes it just takes someone else believing in us in order to break on through to the other side! I can't wait to hear your head standing reports next week, I bet you're already stronger (mentally) and will be drifting off to sleep during the 15 breath count.

    Really hilarious story, thanks!

  4. Oh that was so funny! Don't worry - I can't even do headstand let along stay up there for 15 of Sharath's counts, so I'm only laughing from the sidelines! And I just loved the Computer Says NOOOO! bit ... I wonder if Sharath has ever seem that - and would he find it funny? He probably found you kicking him funny I reckon!!

  5. ... and then followed thorugh on it? This is great! (But I totally 'get' your terror. Especially as a fellow kinky-spine, I know that "my" straight isn't REALLY straight, and I certainly can't hold a 90-degree angle for 10 breaths!) I'm sure he didn't mind you kicking him: he a) seems like he's not into 'breaking' people (adjusted me in prasarita, but didn't "push it" too far) and b) he's got a great sense of humour!

    So YAY for you, for holding all those loooooongs verti-breaths! And thanks for sharing :)

  6. Weeeeeell Liz & susieb, I couldn't handle it no more and kinda shook my legs a bit (y'know, a gentle "OK thanks very much but you can leave now"). But he wouldn't let go, then that got me even more panic'd. NO! NO! NO! And that's when I started shaking my legs harder for him to let go and I guess that became a (gentle) kick! (I think I might even have grunted). Haha. It's a moment I'm not proud of (but I still find it funny).

    Miss Om, I think I'm in denial now. I don't want to think too much about it or I'm gonna spiral down some kind of vortex. When I think about going up to headstand now, I'm afraid of where that "straight" point is now that I realize how much I've got to readjust what "straight" actually feels like. There I go again, over-thinking it. Gah!

  7. I only just found this - what a great read! I couldn't go to the workshop, so this is the next best thing, right? I know the dare to bare sign - gross, isn't it? My son and I walk by it whenever we go to his music lesson.

    Heh! You kicked Sharath. That's brilliant! What a hero..

  8. Noooooo! I don't wanna be the chick that kicked him... just maybe gently shook him off. :p Just saw your blog lew: you have a beautiful tittibhasana and I'm now following your updates. :)

  9. You gave him the shake off... that's almost funnier.

  10. Am loving your blog from these sessions and laughing out loud, kicking your guru, never heard of that!!! i guess you summed it up when you said "It is what it is, and tomorrow will be another practice" but what a great learning , if this is something you'll remember forever it doesnt get better than that.

  11. Thanks Seva, appreciate the encouragement. (But wait! There's still week 2 to go!) ;p

  12. Next time when you back home in SG, i'll bring u to a nice Chappati store... super local, and freshly made! Yum. x Swee


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