Monday, February 1, 2010

PS. I got Ustrasana & Laghuvajrasana Today

I think my Teacher's just cramming as many poses in as she can before I go.


Just when I was thinking today in that last Dhanurasana after the Parsva Dhanurasanas "OH! I have some strength to lift these legs higher!" and then gave it my all, she came round and said "Next pose".

Dammit. Should've saved some energy!

Ustrasana's OK. No problems here (er... I used to practice some Bikram, remember? You do it in every single class. Heh.)

Laghuvajrasana on the other hand... can go to hell. I have found my least favourite pose EVER. (I felt like screaming out today "LAGHU YOU PIECE OF SHIT ASANA! WHY WERE YOU EVER INVENTED?!??")

When I've practiced this pose before, you walked your hands to grab your knees (like how Swenson has it in his practice manual, if I can remember correctly.) (Sorry, all my yoga books are being shipped to Cape Town right now, I only have Maehle's on me).
Kinda like this:

(Picture credit here)

So you get more of a backbend.

But today, teacher insisted on having me keep my hands on calves and bring the head further back (kinda like where Arjuna's hands are in the pic above). So it's less of a backbend, more of a leg strengthener. HOLYMOTHEROF$#&(($%@#&(*%&. My legs were burning.

I was confused how/ where the hands should go and she got annoyed and kept saying "Keep your hands where they are!" I guess I kept fiddling with my hand position then she got even more fed up and also used Guruji's phrase "BAD LADY!" as a joke while she brought my hands back to where they should be again for the umpteenth time. It cracked me up WHILE I WAS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE POSE and then of course everything went downhill.

I can go down but I can't come up. The amount of quad & core strength this takes blows my mind.

To top it off, she made me do it AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN... I think I must've done it about 4 or 5 times. On top of this, she showed me some variations for how to practice on my own to build leg strength for the coming-up part. And then she said "Do it again".

Farkin ell.

One of her Assistants was practising next to me and she said "Giles, show her!" Poor Giles had to stop where he was to do me a private demo... Bloody hell, he made it look so easy! Grrr.

Then after class she asked when I was flying - I said tomorrow night. She said I should just practice Primary only tomorrow then. Only a "light practice" when you've got big travel ahead of you. HAHAHAHAHA. Only in the world of Ashtanga is full Primary considered a "light practice". But after today's ass-whipping, I'll be looking forward to it.

This will probably be my last post from Sydney. I've gotta be the chambermaid now and spruce up this apartment (so the landlord has no reason not to give us back our full deposit), and then I'll be tearing around town tomorrow before handing back the keys and heading off to the airport. Probably no time to write I think.

I'll be home in Singapore on Wednesday and spending a few days here before heading off to Cape Town. Will be practicing at The Yoga Shala, so more of an ass-whipping lies ahead with Teacher J!

B'bye Sydney... You've been good to me (and heckuva lot of good to my yoga practice).


  1. OMFG Hahahahahaha!!!!! This is a classic! You shoulda let fly in class, shake 'em all up a bit before you go.

    You're wrong, though. Kapotasana is the biggest piece of shit asana ever invented (and that Iyengar freak hangs out in it for 15 minutes?!?!?!?)

    Seriously, that's cruel. LOL. I think my teacher helped me up for the first week or so, even though I could come up on my own. Yeah, it takes some strength, but you can come up from UD, and you've got a strong core (you can jump back properly, if I recall), so you'll get it faster than you think. There's technique in there too. You have to keep the engaged all the time once you're down, and then kinda roll them together as you're coming up. Hard to explain, sorry!

  2. er, that's keep the legs (and core) engaged all the time. If you go floppy, yourhead will be araldited to the mat and you will never come up. Ever.

  3. Oh, and that second version of laghu is super hard on the quads for me (I can't go all the way down in that one). My teacher gave it to me to strengthen my legs and open my chest.

    Can you see I'm procrastinating today?

  4. Gotta run to the bank now so will keep this short - but A & B versions? HUH?! Whatchutalkinaboutwilis? I'm gonna study Maehle's intermediate book on the plane tomorrow. ;)

    Kapotasana - I'd do this in the occassional Bikram class too - y'know how you "rinse & repeat" each asana twice, right? I'd do Kapo in the 2nd one and yeah, you feel like you're gonna die (I do at least) but I like heart openers. I don't like it when my thighs feel like they're gonna explode though. Hmm. Watch me eat my words when I come to Kapo (I'm sure the ashtangis make it harder some how). HAHAHA. (what are you procrastinating from? This entire post was written when I was procrastinating from cleaning the apartment!) x

  5. "Laghuvajrasana on the other hand... can go to hell."

    HA HA HA!!!

    A year 1/2 ago I would have been saying the exact same thing. Of all the poses, Laghu made me the maddest. Like spittin' mad. I have uttered expletives in class doing this pose (and gotten in trouble). I hated it with a seathing rage. Now it's okay, don't love it, but I can do it and it feels good to be able to do it.

    Give it time. (duh)
    Know you are not alone in feeling this way about the pose!!

  6. ps- that top guy, can't remember his name, he's trying to cheat and do a back bend!! Straight arms!! Grab ankles and straight arms!

    The Ashtanga Police

  7. hi Skippetty
    congratulations on the poses. Laghu is my strength pose, but then i've got thunder thighs, partly a family trait, partly from a lot of hiking in my teens. but the pose following is difficult for me. it should follow that if the legs bring me back easily in Laghu, they should also do so in Kapo, but my bend is not enough in Kapo yet.

  8. Laghu's a funny pose in my body. In summer 2008 Matthew Sweeney was trying to figure out wtf to do with me in Laghu; my arms and torso are both VERY LONG, and so I CANNOT hold my ankles and keep my arms straight, I simply anatomically cannot do it. If I arch back and straighten my arms, I touch virtually the back of my knees. Matthew wound up telling me to take a slight bend in the arms and hands to calves. That's what I still do.

    LOOK AT YOUR NOSE. Down AND up. Gaze FIXED, that's very important.
    Not so "at the tip" that you cross eyes, but at your "yoga nose," you know, that point about 8 inches away.

    Quads engage as you lower, and STAY that way ALL FIVE BREATHS. I have heard that it's ok to press slightly with the hands as you come up, but if you lose the quads or the gaze, up you do not come.

    Finally, a word of, I don't know what. Laghu is NOT the biggest quad burner of Intermediate :-)

    Enjoy it!

  9. Congrats on getting another couple of poses, always seems cruel to me, to leave people hanging at Dhanurasana. At least now it'll feel like there's a point to the suffering of Salabhasana to Dhanurasana ie. the more intense suffering of Laghu, which of course will then make sense in preparing you for the suffering of Kapo.
    hey Lew, do you think he kept his core and Quads engaged for the whole fifteen minutes?

    Have a good flight!

  10. Hey Patrick! What am I forgetting? Laghu is not the most quad burning? ha ha!! I'm so curious! (and your long arm/torso description was so hilarious- the guy in Jaime's post is not suffering from that dilema, so he needs to straighten his arms!!)

  11. I'm posting this from the Nokia (go technology!) but it refuses to let me leave a long comment. Boo.
    Yeah Patrick - what Liz said: what other quad-hell do I have to look forward to?
    Grimmly-i wasn't ready to move beyond dhanurasana til now coz it really winded me. Got some stamina now.
    Arturo-saw a cool sign yesterday that reminded me of you & snapped a pic. Will post it when I'm in Singapore and properly online again. :)
    Jen-thanks for well wishes!
    Liz- you were at laghu only 1.5 years ago? There's hope yet for me (not that it's about the progression or anything). Thx for the encouragement. I only realized yesterday laghu's NOT a backbend. My thighs have exploded today

  12. see what i mean by it cuts me off? And why is my profile coming up as Jaime, not Skippetty? ...this is one of the infuriating things about technology, when it doesn't quite work as it should. *rant over*

  13. Congratulations Skippetty!, this is great news.

  14. Quad burner? Tittibhasana B. I'm not up to it officially, but when I've played with it it was murder. And I've got fairly strong legs (not quite thunder thighs though).

    If Patrick is referring to a later pose I don't about it 'cause pinca mayurasana is as far as I've played with the series.

    Grimmly - I'm guessing the bugger is able to completely relax in the pose, which I frankly find even more disturbing.

    Happy trails Jaime!

  15. oh yeah... Titti B. Well, I guess I was feeling more hamstring, but I guess some would feel quads. Mystery solved!

    I have a friend whose Laghu is so strong I've seen her laugh while in it, lose her muscle engagement and still be able to come up.
    I hate her.
    ha ha!!!

  16. Yeah, you won't have to worry about it until after:

    Supta Vajrasana
    Bakasana B
    and ALL of the foot behind head,


    Cha-ching!! The Tittibhasana quartet is the most quad-smoking thing I've ever experienced in a yoga room. EVER. Not even some sadistic vinyasa yoga "Warrior 3-hand-to-big-toe-then-do-a-squat" nonsense can beat it.

    Titti and I are friendly now, but whooo hoooooo, those early days. Man, you could have lit a pack of Cubans with my quads.


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