Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sharath in Sydney: Week 2, Day 3

Before we started today, I engaged in some gossip on how the Intermediate workshop's been going. No, no, "gossip" is not a good word. Well, I'm just "curious" to see what's been going on in there since we're not allowed to watch!

We heard that in previous led Intermediate classes on his World Tour, Sharath had actually stopped people at... PASASANA! Seriously?! The first pose of the series?!?? Wow, I guess that takes balls to step into his Intermediate class even if you can't do the first pose properly. Actually, maybe I should get in there and get stopped at Pasasana, so that can be my ticket to sitting in and watching the rest of the class. Hahaha.

On a side note, I've actually been given Intermediate before, and was practising up until the first few backbends, but then when I went back home and practiced with an authorized teacher, he told me to go back to full Primary and get all my binds and dropbacks right first before moving on. It was good eating humble pie, coz it's definitely made me a lot stronger in the Primary series. Now that my body's opening up in a few places, I understand what he was sayinng and can see the wisdom in the progression of this system. Ashtanga, oh how I love thee. (but of course... I'm still asking: when oh when will I get to Intermediate again?!)

Anyways, back to this Intermediate workshop. Apparently they haven't completed the whole series. I think they've only gotten up to Karandavasana so far. They stopped earlier in the series from Day 1, but everyday he's added a few more poses up to Karanda so far. There were some people who are practising Intermediate back in the Primary workshop today... so... hmm. Sounds like it's a toughie.
(Any Sydneysiders in the Intermediate session want to comment on how it's been going?)

In today's practice, my obsession has been Supta Kurmasana. Lew had a great link to this chick in yesterday's comments. Can I just say... Waaaaaaaahhhh! Strong.

Confession: when we came to Mari A, I was already thinking of how I would jump as effortlessly as her straight into Bhujapidasana, with nary a bit of support from just... a flick of the foot. (Liz, I suppose this is why your teacher disapproves of watching youtube videos? HAHAHA.)

My reality of course, was a different story. I hop and land pretty softly with feet in front of hands but I can't work out how to grab around your arms with your thighs and just hang there like her almost immediately? (Feel like I'll hyper-extend or injure the elbows if I jump straight into it with my full weight!)

And Supta K... thanks for all of your comments yesterday, they were really helpful. From Kurmasana, I came up slightly but still on the floor, tried to put left leg behind head but can't do this on its own. I had to physically come up and guide it there with my right hand. Then I went back down with face on the floor and couldn't seem to get my right leg behind head. I eventually shuffled it close and hooked it over my left foot, but that's kind of cheating coz I know it wasn't fully over my shoulder (right hamstring is also tighter than the left side).

Oh... the other thing was - I had NO TIME to get into this! By the time it came to getting the right leg over, he was already counting "ONE"... YIKES! So this panic to get into the pose also limits how much you can work yourself PROPERLY into the pose (Forget about binding the hands!) Even more respect to the chick in that youtube video.

Sirsasana today was so-so. Held til "SEVEN" today, then went back up and held from TEN till FOURTEEN (mind gave up before the body and couldn't get to FIFTEEN). Too many people falling down today! So distracting! Not an excuse, but it definitely affected me.

That's all for today. Oh, he's giving another conference this Friday. I'm gonna try to make it again even if his talk might be similar to last week's. The Question & Answer session alone is great food for thought.


  1. The intermediate workshop sounds intimidating! Though I suppose not if it's part of your regular practice (like Ashtanga seems intimidating to brand-new Ashtangis-to-be, I suppose).

    My secret tip for Supta K: bind arms behind first, and hold tight. The squeezing of arms on thighs automatically brings the feet closer together, and then you might be able to *wriggle* the ankles across each other, and then *wriggle* them over your head. On a good day :)

  2. Thanks Miss Om! That's how I've been trying to do it - since when teacher adjusts, that's what happens: bind hands first, then bind legs. So I never thought to do it the other way around till reading others' comments from yesterday, and watching this video. Will try legs first for a few more days since this is still fresh for me.

    By the way everyone, I got an email from THE OTHER LADY IN FRONT OF ME! (Thanks Renata!) She couldn't post a comment for some reason, but I agree with her and like her comment about who you're cheating.

    So I'll copy & paste what she said here:
    HI Skippetty - sorry tied to post this on your blog but it wouldn't allow me to do so for some reason. Anway, really great post today re Intermediate and your own experiences of going back to clean up Primary first. Have been in the same situation - given Intermediate too early when I still have work to be done in my Primary practice. You have inspired me to again go back to Primary - tried to do this once before and my teacher questioned it - but I think Sharath is right to send people back to Primary at Pasasana. It is a system of progression as you say and cheating doesn't work - you only cheat yourself
    The other lady in front!

  3. Just for grins today, I did finishing along with Sharath's CD, and found it fast (especially shoulderstand, which I've been spending a lot of time in). I gather he slooooowwws everything down in person, for the fun of watching the suffering?

    Add me to the list of fraudulent second series practitioners. I don't think I should be doing any of it.

  4. Whoa! if Jared ever saw that video, he'd say, it's "super-duper" awesome!

    I received an advise from a previous teacher about watching similar videos, "just watch if you get inspiration out of it and not intimidation." I guess for every yogadork out there, we certainly get inspired.

    I can't recall which pose we were in yesterday but I remember Sharath's comment, "don't hurry! are you going somewhere?" - makes me wonder about the rush going into intermediate. Even for me, when I started practicing full primary to get ready for this workshop, somehow has made me feel guilty in a way. But I am excited to get back to my regular Mysore Practice and start refining those asanas.

  5. Dunno how fast or slow he goes on his CD or DVD... it's all relative, innit? (your fast could be my super-slow!) His one count is about 8 seconds in the closing sequence... what's it like on the CD? Er, Lew... have you seen YOUR tittbhasana? Of course you're in the Intermediate super posse!

    Kelly - yeah, you're right. No rush to get there... but it's like the guys (and girls) who do intermediate are part of the 'cool kids' in school though. HAHAHA. This is of course, all stuff made up in my head. :p And yes, I can't wait to see how this experience changes my regular Mysore practice (or not).

  6. Oh, my teacher has a general dislike of the internet unless it's to listen to baseball live, or to watch The Daily Show. Just like anything, it has the potential to make the mind a little busy! Like I need a busier mind. (I will be going to YouTube immediately after leaving this comment)

    The "YouTube chick" is good! I don't know if this advice will help, but for jumping into Bhuja, keep hands planted- no squirming or chickening out, and when the legs come around, it's a big squeeze and wrap. Think of gripping the arms with your thighs and it helps to stabilize your body and make it a unit. What I found remarkably different about hopping forward- feet on ground- and wiggling into it and actually jumping into it, is that you end up your legs farther back on your arms than you think they may need to go when you jump into it. It helps counter balance the body when you go forward so that you don't just do a face plant. It's definitely a hard and sophisticated pose, but once you work out the timing and get rid of the fear, it becomes really fun and powerful. (I hate to direct you to my blog, but I did a video on the arm/thigh squeeze for this! look in the column of labels and click on "practice vids"- it's the first one).

    Sorry for the long comment and my illegal yoga advice! My teacher wouldn't like this! ha ha ha!!!!

  7. Wow, I can't believe someone has a teacher who doesn't stop at giving 2nd series when primary hasn't been mastered, but actually questions the desire to go back and master primary first! Mind-boggling!

    Liz gives good tips for bhuja. Keep up the good work Skippetty :)

  8. I had that CD, used it whenever I couldn't get to the studio back in Hong Kong. And Skippetty, it was only for 75 mins (from memory).

  9. By the way all, the "youtube chick" practices at Kino's Miami life centre & was awarded their Mysore scholarship to go to India at thir expense. Yes I am that much of a yogadork I looked her up after watching this & her other videos on youtube last night!!
    From what Susan said about intermediate in London sounds like even teachers were being stopped in intermediate whereas in primary everyone was allowed to do the whole series (even if, as in my case they normally only do half). I love your quote Kelly "don't hurry! are you going somewhere?" can just hear him saying it!!
    Anyway thanks for this youtube chick, watching that he made me determined I will step up my practice so that I can finally master bujapindasana because I really really want to get given kurmasana and supta K - does this make me crazy?!

  10. I love that you (daydreamingmel) looked her up! So cool that she won a scholarship!

    Now I have to look her up. Yogadorks unite.

  11. Yogadorks indeed!

    Had a look and listen to the CD again - it's about 5 seconds between counts, so definitely faster than the workshop. The whole series, from opening chant to closing prayers and chants (teaching shantipat and invocation to ganesha, I think) takes 68 minutes. For me, that's lightning fast. On my own, I do a 1h45m primary. It still takes me a while to get into things like mariD and supta K, so if I use the CD (rarely now), I have to get up and pause it a few times.

    I do find the youtube things inspirational; I love watching beautiful strong practices. Intimidation just doesn't come into it. I was watching Kino (one of the backbending clips) once when my son ambled up, watched for a minute, then said "Wow. Is that you mum?" I've never laughed harder! "Only in my dreams." I replied.

    (Just for the record, I've never practised in a bikini)

  12. Ohhhhhhh! I have actually seen her on the Miami Life website... didn't realize the chick who won the scholarship is also youtube chick! The ashtanga world is small indeed. :)

    Mel - no, you're not crazy. I suspect all Ashtangis are just a little bit intense, but maybe that's just me. ;p

    And yeah, I find the youtube videos highly inspirational, but also agree with Liz's Mike that it's just too much information sometimes. (heck, I was thinking of the bhuja entry all the way from mari A!) Hahaha! I wouldn't practise in a bikini either, but it's great watching her practice in hers! PHWOARRRR!

  13. Your blog is awesome!!! Great sense of humor and writing!!!

    Love to see you having so much fun. Cheers.

  14. Hey Owl! Thanks for the compliment! I've been following your blog for a while now and enjoy it but I must admit that most of the time what you write about is waaaaaaay over my head. So whenever there are moments I "get" from your writing, it makes me feel clever. Hehe!

  15. Oh gosh. I mainly started blogging because grad school had sort of destroyed my writing (made it too abstract and dense). Trust me... the blog used to be even worse than it is now! :-) Slowly...

    Warm wises.


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