Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Intermediate Rocks And Sucks At Once

I'm realizing now that the Ashtanga Intermediate Series makes me ANGRY.

Like... balls-out PISSED OFF.

Not at anything in particular, but I think more at the series itself. "GODDAMNSTOOPIDBACKBENDS! WHY DO THERE HAVE TO BE SOOOOOOOOO MANY BLOODY BACKBENDS? And then finished off with EVEN MORE closing backbends, MORE dropbacks and MORE assisted dropbacks?!? Why the heck did anyone think up all of this?!"

As they say in Mandarin: TA MA DE! (translation: Your Mother!) Goodness gracious, I'm not even well into the series yet, can you imagine when I get even further?

It was pretty apparent coz it's been A WHILE since I've practiced the second series. I've just been concentrating on the Primary series since I've been travelling and have had an irregular practice.

So on Sunday, Susan said to go up to wherever I felt like I could, since I was hesitant if I should even be going past Primary yet. I figured since I was at a shala with teacher assistance, I might as well take the opportunity and go for it.

I got up to Parsva Dhanurasana and everything in me just yelled STOOOOOOOOOP!

So I stopped. (Not stooped. Ha.)

On Sunday, I was OBLITERATED up to there. I knew I had 2 more poses to go, but thought: Fuck it.

This morning at AYL, I tried again all the way up to Laghuvajrasana. By the time I was at Ustrasana, I thought I was ready to yell out loud. At what, I have no idea. I probably wanted to shout: THIS IS TOO DIFFICULT!!

By the time I was done with all of it, I lay down on my mat before the closing backbends for a while to catch my breath. And that's when I got totally and completely BALLS OUT ANGRY. It's pretty funny now, thinking about it. I probably would've thrashed around in a temper tantrum, kicking and screaming in a rage if no one else was around. I think the thought of doing MORE closing backbends, dropbacks and assisted dropbacks also didn't help my irritation.

OK, so maybe backbends brings up all this stuff... Maybe I'm full of latent anger. HAHA. You know what? I vaguely recall going through this when I was first given intermediate. And I even found the post from then to prove it. This is very interesting. It's like I hit the rewind button coz I'm going through THE SAME EMOTIONS all over again.

This sucks.


  1. Aloha from Hawaii Jamie! Glad to hear you're able to practice in a shala again, makes a difference doesn't it? I'm practicing in my hotel room these few days, and well, with all the food and liquor I'm drinking, practice isn't going so well ;) --I don't do 2nd, but, I'm wondering if your feelings are due to 2nd being nerve cleansing?

  2. What time were you there? Say hi!

  3. Yes, nerve cleansing!

    You looked all sweet and happy when I asked if you wanted to do assisted on Sunday.. LOL :)

  4. Aloha Lilli! How are the pina coladas? Nerve cleansing... Good point. Except I'm now sniffly with a sore throat between my ears so there's some detoxing going on somewhere.

    V - do you have a "spot" or do you move around the room? Wait a second, kev says you have a well-used jade mat,maybe I'll look out for that (sounds like a blind date version of "put a flower in your pocket")

    Susan - I was excited at first coz its been a LONG TIME since I'd done assisted dropbacks so was genuinely excited. Until I was readying myself for the 1st one. Like... Oh crap, this takes a bit of work, doesn't it? That was a lovely assist, THANKS!
    (I forgot to tell u I really enjoyed the mini back massage after sirsasana too. THAT was gorgeous!)

  5. Oh and V - was there about 5.45am coz I had an earlier work start today. Was in the corner that can only fit 1 mat at a time. I like it there coz there are zero distractions in front of and behind you. :)
    PS. If my sore throat & sniffles let up, I'll be there around 7am tomorrow, but suspect I may be stuck in bed tomorrow.x

  6. Hi Jaime!

    So glad you're having a great time, even if 2nd is kicking your butt. Don't fear more. You'll build the strength and stamina before more is asked of you. Sounds impossible now, but remember how hard some of primary felt?

    I think 2nd saved me from a life of being hunched over and tight in the chest. The process was uncomfortable and seemed endless and hopeless, but I came out on the other side and now I worship the back bending! (for the front opening!)

    I used to get seriously pissed too... Mike said to me the other day, "you're not angry in your practice like you used to be"- so, it does go away. heh.

    (ps- pinche tu madre is one of my favorite things to mutter when I'm mad because it makes me laugh)

  7. ps- Lilli needs a long straw so she can slurp down a pina colada while in Savasana.

    and another ps: hope you feel better, Jaime!

  8. Ha! I've missed you and Intermediate getting along :)

    By the time you get to Intermediate's forward bends (and they are BOY HOWDY forward bends) you'll be glad for all that backbending.

    Also, one comes, eventually, to look forward to the backbend-followed-by-backbends-followed-by-more-backbends. That's my favorite part of my classical practice nowadays.

    My backbend emotions on meeting Intermediate's group of them were fear, dread, defeat, depression, all riding on a wave of smouldering "I'm gonna git you sucka." Pretty much.

  9. Hey Liz, thanks for the encouragement. Your line about "The process was uncomfortable and seemed endless and hopeless" is exactly how I feel. Especially now that I'm thinking "I don't even have a long-term teacher anymore, how am I ever gonna progress". But that's just the wrong frame of mind to be in, in the first place! I have to remember: JUST DO YOUR (my) PRACTICE.

    I looked up "pinche tu madre" on my phone's translation app and it said "clinch your mother". Eh? (Oh crap. Now that I'm online I looked it up on Google Translate and I'm blushing. HAHAHAHA!)

    Hey Patrick. You said it: "My backbend emotions on meeting Intermediate's group of them were fear, dread, defeat, depression, all riding on a wave of smouldering "I'm gonna git you sucka."

    Hello, that's me now. In fact, that's probably why I've been avoiding practising Intermediate. I've had very good excuses that "I've been travelling"... but I suspect I've been using that as just that - an excuse to get out of practising Intermediate altogether. Crap, I've busted myself! HAHA.

  10. Busted! I recommend that the jury sentence you to regular Intermediate practice. That'll teach ya!

  11. Hi Jaime, Intermediate certainly can bring up all sorts of emotions. I had no idea I had so much to deal with! It's less intense at the moment than it has been for me but on monday I felt a real sense of frustration which didn't relate to anything really.

    You can progress without a regular teacher, I know progress isn't what it's about but it can help get you, well me anyway on my mat and working hard, so the real work can begin. I have come to love my self practice and learn a lot from my explorations, love being able to have some time with a teacher too :-) Hope your cold is better.


  12. Hmm... Jaime... now I feel bad for giving you a cold... I hope you feel better!!!

    All I can say is that it seems to be highly contagious (half of London has come down with it simultaneously), but it only lasts a couple of days. I am all better now, is yours gone Helen??

  13. Hi Susan,

    Yes, mine is mostly better, thanks. Managed to keep my full practice up, so not been feeling so bad. Think backbends keep a cough at bay if I can practice.

  14. Yup, I'm the one with the telltale foot scratch marks on the green mat - can't be missed! I'm also the one that giggles out loud. It's a stupid habit but I can't help it.

  15. Patrick - busted indeed. But the past few days i've had a legitimate excuse: I'm sick! nyah nyah! ;p

    Helen - you have my utmost respect for doing what you do, with your deep dedication to your practice. I will most certainly use you as inspiration! ...also, i'm now developing a cough so OK - will look at the multitude of backbends as something that will keep the cough at bay.

    Susan - half of London is sick! I just bumped into AC in the West End and she sounds as nasally as me too... so don't feel bad!

    V - I might see you either Sunday or Monday. :) xxx

  16. Jaime I love it - you don't even live here and today you "bump into AC in the west end" and on sunday you saw someone you knew from cape town while we were at lunch. Something tells me you're just that kind of girl :)
    Anyway I hope this bug shifts soon...by the way I once heard a TV doctor describe the difference between cold and flu. They said if you have proper flu there could be a bucket of £20 notes outside your window and you wouldn't be able to go out and get it, whereas if you could, you have a cold...

  17. Actually Mel, I think Londontown is the centre of the universe. The other day I was sat outside Pret on St Martin's and Long Acre, typing away furiously on my Blackberry when someone called my name. I looked up, saw a chick that looked REEEEAAAALLY familiar and she said "aren't you S' cousin?" I recognized her face from school (that's secondary school when we were like... 14 years old or something)... and she also doesn't even live here! She was on holiday with her 2 kids and husband from Lille in France. FREAKING FAR OUT!

    Yesterday afternoon I felt like I couldn't leave my bed. Today, I'm walking about. So maybe it's a cold afterall. Thank you, TV Doctor!


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