Today, it feels like my body is starting to feel a little more like it belongs to me. All that holiday feasting has made me quite physically disconnected from er... myself, and practices have been a bit off. So it's nice to start feeling a bit more "normal" now.
I have been watching Sharath's Primary Series DVD. Yes, that's right. Just watching him. Not practising along with it. I think only a Yogadork would go pop on the Sharath DVD and study it. Study him.
Out of all the yoga DVDs I've got, if I could only save ONE from my collection (ie., out of all the David Swenson, Shiva Rae DVDs etc...), I would save this one. (Ask me again in a year's time, it might change).
(Photo credit here)
It's so no-frills and basic and he doesn't even explain anything at all while he's practising. It's even got the cheezy transitions like page-turns and cube-turns (which you're explicitly taught in film school NEVER to use! But it's cute in this basic-no-frills context so you forgive it)... All he does is count and call out the next posture ("Ekam, inhale. Dwe, exhale..." etc). And that's it. Nothing else. It's all shot in the same room too, at different angles. I like how at some points in profile shots, you can see the wall sockets. No attempt to hide it/ beautify it. It just is what it is.
(Photo credit here)
But for me, this works.
Maybe I'm going through a "cut out the bullshit" phase, maybe it's part of the new year "purge and destroy" phase, but it's nice to keep things brief and as they should be (haha, from my Bali posts, you'd never have guessed this, no?)
I like how Sharath isn't the most graceful practitioner. I think this is something Grimmly pointed out a while back too. He is extremely accomplished of course, but there's none of that flow and grace that for example, someone like Kino McGregor has... or even David Swenson has (even though he's tall and lanky and almost awkward, there's a grace about the way Swenson flows through the sequence).
With Sharath, it feels like he just gets on with it and that is all. It's to the point. And it's still so beautiful to watch. I think part of the draw is realizing that "Hey! I don't HAVE to be all flow and grace and it's still OK!"
DUH. Just... Do your practice.
Here's an excerpt from Youtube:
So the past couple days, I've been trying to "apply" some of the seated transitions he does. I like how he jumps through with bent knees (Like me! Yay! I don't need to fixate on straight-legs jumpthroughs!) (For now at least) And for most jumpbacks, he literally just does "take it up" and swings back (Like me! ...but I still cheat and push off with a foot though).
I've been trying to "take it up" in the half-lotus seated postures and swing back while still in half-lotus. Yesterday was dismal, my body had no idea what I was trying to make it do. My legs were splayed everywhere.
Today, however, it seemed to click a little bit more. I'm in no way close to it yet, but at least I'm "taking it up" in half lotus, and then slowly walking and hopping through the jumpback from there. Hey, you gotta start somewhere right. (I've been watching Grimmly's videos too. Some nice examples on his blog, but here's a link to one of his videos!)
I have also been trying (dismally) to jumpback from full lotus. The "take it up" is OK since this is pretty much the Uthpluthi asana. It's the swing back that's HARD!! In Maehle's Primary series book, there's a good series of profile photos after Kukkutasana of how you're supposed to get the tailbone swinging high in the sky in order to get the swingback from full lotus.
Found another good Youtube video of this. He makes it look so easy!
(Hey! I think this is Malaysian blogger, Crazy Cacat in the City!)
I end up having to balance on my knees, bring my arms forward, then clumsily disengage from lotus, one leg at a time before jumping back to Chaturanga. I keep telling myself "BANDHA! BANDHA! BANDHA!" in an attempt to lift myself higher to swing back. But it still feels like there are too many things going on in the transition that my body hasn't "got it" yet with the multi-tasking.
Funnily enough, for once this time, I have patience with it. I know it will happen, it's just a matter of time.
Practice and all is coming.