After dropbacks, Teacher came round to assist me with... whatchamacallit - y'know, it's done after dropbacks, but your arms are crossed in front of your chest and you get "dropped back" 3 times (kinda like hangbacks), and on the last one you place your hands down on the floor, walk them in as close as you can and hold 5 counts. Almost looks like Chakrabandasana prep. What's this sequence called again?
Yeah so anyways, after those whatchamacallitasanas, Teacher said "No new poses on Tuesday. So, tomorrow you get Intermediate."
I almost said "But why?" ...not that I was being petulant or spoilt or anything like that, I was just curious - why not on a Tuesday? What's the significance or thinking behind that? I'd never come across it before.
Interestingly, Caroline mentioned earlier on Twitter that nothing new is done on a Tuesday in India. It's bad luck.
Is that really it? Superstition and nothing deeper than that? That's pretty cute. So are there any other days that poses aren't given? Calling all Ashtangadorks, this is your time to shine! (I would guess none are given on Friday, since that's Primary day, and probably none on Sunday either, since that's when everyone does the led class in Mysore. Right?)
[UPDATE! So I've had an email from a friend explaining the above in more detail. This friend would prefer to remain anonymous, so here goes:
"In regards to no new asanas on Tuesday - As you may or may not know, yoga, the vedas and astrology all sort of co-mingle. They are all part of the same underlying reality that guides the Indian understanding of the universe around us. This is in conjunction with spirituality, religious beliefs, etc. It's all connected. Saying that, there are auspicious times to either start new things in one's life and there are times when you wouldn't start a new undertaking.
Tuesday and Saturday are the 2 days where (if you're a believer) you wouldn't start something new. Tuesday is ruled by Mangal (Mars) and Saturday by Shani (Saturn). In Indian astrology, Mangal can impact you with added turmoil or accidents and Shani creates obstacles in one's path.
As you know, Krishnamacharya, Guruji and Sharath are all very accomplished Sanskrit and Vedic scholars and as such treat these with a high level of respect. Given that, no new asanas on Tuesdays and Saturdays are rest days. Not all teachers either understand or respect that, but Eileen is one who definitely does."
Gulp. Sorry, didn't mean to trivialize this then. Sounds a lot deeper than I gave it credit for!]
At the end of class, Teacher called out across the room to me as I was leaving and said "Intermediate. Don't miss tomorrow's class!" Haha. AS! IF!
I yelled back "I WON'T!" (What's that Barbra Streisand song again about wild horses couldn't pull me away? Yeah, that one. Susan Boyle sang it too. HAHAHA.)
Speaking of the intermediate series, Ashtanga & Mysore traditions... a friend of mine sent me this really great article - someone had written about a workshop and conference Nancy Gilgoff had given in Munich aaaaaaaages ago (2002, to be exact). But there's an interesting paragraph in there "On Second Series" I quote wholesale:
"Nancy believes students who know primary series should start intermediate quite early. Says just doing primary for years can be unhealthy: lower back is always geting stretched out by all the forward bending without enough strengthening to compensate; hips don't get opened enough to really keep the knees safe. Early part of second series – at least to ustrasana, or to leg-behind-head – is very important for knee and back safety. Opens the hips & quads, strengthens the lumbar. She and David Williams learned both primary and intermediate at the same time on their first visit to Mysore, and had completed both in four months (practicing twice a day)
Says she asked Guruji a couple of years ago if she should carry on teaching as she first learned – move students on to second series quickly; or as he is teaching now – students stay on primary series for a long time until they are very proficient at it and can stand up from urdhva dhanurasana. He said she should carry on as she originally learned. She recommends, once you can get through primary reasonably well (knee on the floor in marichy b & d is important), starting to learn some of intermediate. Either do all of primary, and intermediate to ustrasana; or if you don't have time for that, do half of primary to navasana, then first half of intermediate & second half of primary alternate days. (Don't stop doing second half of primary though, it's important)"
I think it's an interesting take on it. "It" being the whole never-ending argument of when to start the second series - do you follow the old school of thought, the current school of thought... dogma, dogma, dogma, etc.
I say: Whatever works for YOU, man.
For someone like me, who started out with Ashtanga, then turned into a yoga-whore, practising all kinds of different styles with different teachers and in different countries coz of all the moves we've made, and now finally settling back into the arms of Ashtanga all over again... I see the validity in her way of thinking.
Of course I haven't practised this way at all, since I'm following what my current Teacher believes (get all binds & gateway poses first)... but it's good food-for-thought anyway as I sit here on the cusp of Intermediate.
One more sleep... :)
(Photo credit here)