Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Hello from London!

An interesting thing happened at practice this morning. I was back at AYL with teacher H. He seems to be "my" teacher in the past month or so... only coz I've been the most "consistently" practicing with him since uprooting my life from my last teacher in Sydney in February. I've gone to him now a few days out of every week in the past month, dependent on my work schedule while in London.

First, he corrects my Dhanurasana to Parsva Dhanurasanas. To be honest, I've always just gone direct from Dhanurasana after 5 breaths straight into Parsva Dhanurasana. Apparently you're supposed to vinyasa in between. OOPS. Guess I've gotten sloppy, or just forgotten, after having a very sporadic second series practice.

And then... Guess What? The International Laghuvajrasana Conspiracy continues.

Yup, that's right folks. He made me do it again and again and again too. Just like my teacher in Sydney, and teacher James in Singapore did too. BUT! He was much kinder in "allowing" to stay down for one breath every time I got down.

Have I ever mentioned how OVER IT I am with Laghu? I must have.

*I will not curse and swear again at Laghuvajrasana*

Actually, today I wasn't angry with the pose. I was more defeated by the pose. If my practice had a gaming sound effect, it would be the GAME OVER *Kwa Kwa Kwa* sound effect.

H explained that while Ustrasana is the backbend that prepares you for Kapotasana, Laghuvajrasana is the leg-strengthener that prepares you for Kapotasana (in essence: STOP TRYING TO BACKBEND INTO IT!) He tried something a little different from the other teachers today. He told me to try it kneeling with my knees closer together, and feet slightly further apart. And he also said it's OK to have my elbows a little bit bent as I'm going down as long as both arms are completely firm and strong. Kinda like this I suppose?

(Photo credit here)

My brain to body is not quite connecting this information yet, I think. I think I'm still trying to get my head around THIS IS NOT A BACKBEND! Coz I tend to puff my chest out a bit as I'm going down. But look! Even the dude in the picture above kinda sorta has a backbend.

BLERGGHHHHHHHHHHH. I fucking hate this pose. It confuses the bejeezus out of me. Can you tell? You guys have given so many great comments too in the past. But now it feels like I'm having a "computer says No" moment.

Teacher H could tell. By the time he came over to help me with assisted dropbacks, he said "You're trying too hard in Laghuvajrasana". "Just grab the heels firmly and press feet into the floor."


I'm definitely hitting the brick wall now and ready to thrown in the towel. I've said it a million times over and I'll say it again: FUCK YOU, LAGHU!! I also know I just have to give in to this frustration and just practice, practice, practice and at some point I will stop caring. By this I mean that I will stop trying too hard. And ironically, it will be the day I stop caring, hence stop trying too hard, that I come to a breakthrough with this pose. I know it coz it has happened before in many other poses before this. But still... even though it's all still head knowledge I can't help feeling what I feel with this GODDAMNBLOODYFUCKINGANNOYING asana.

Sorry. *I will not curse and swear again at Laghuvajrasana*

At the end of class today, I thanked him for his feedback and also told him I haven't had a regular teacher I've been going to since I've been in Amsterdam. H said "Yes, I can tell." Wow. The force is with him. Also - it made me think... Has my practice become THAT sloppy since leaving Sydney?

Farkin ell.

*Kwa Kwa Kwa* Today's practice is a very defeated one indeed. But I just gotta keep reminding myself: it's just today. Tomorrow is another day and another practice.


  1. I just read something that sprang to mind while I was reading about your laghu woes...(this is the short version)
    A few months after the Buddha's death Ananda had to become enlightened so that he could go to a meeting where they would recite and codify all of the Buddha's spoken teachings. He hadn't got enlightened up to now because he was soooo busy being with the buddha all the time, learning from him and helping others in the sangha that he had no time for solitary meditation. So he was cramming in a meditation marathon for days desparate to get enlightened so he could attend the meeting, but still nada...until 15min before his 4am alarm on the day of the meeting he gave up, tipped over into a sleeping position and as his head hit the pillow *bam!* enlightenment. As soon as he gave up struggling there it was.
    p.s. also lol'd at my desk about H's comment about your lack of teacher!!

  2. Great story! And yes, it's all head knowledge that I just have to give in to it. I guess I need to hit rock bottom with struggling with this pose before I let it all go (Crap, you mean I haven't hit rock bottom with Laghu yet?!)

    When he said "Yes, I can tell"... It stabbed right through me... the feeling of "I'm not good enough"... but I also wanted to ask "HOW CAN YOU TELL?! What is it I'm doing that you can tell I haven't had a teacher?" Pffft. Probably my scattered energy from not having had a regular, consistent practice? ...Curious.

  3. Hey Skippety, such a funny post. Happy for you that you made it to the largu, I know your just getting back to it. Brings back memories of burning quads. Just be grateful your not a cycle commuter ouch!

  4. It's from this amazing book I keep raving about (Awakening the Buddha Within), it seems to have something relevant to everything I have read on blogs this week!
    Love your post anyway J, even if it's not fun for you hearing you say F you Laghu is just tooo funny! And maybe you could ask H if you get a chance? Actually scratch that...might seem like we are too hooked on what practice looks like? Just remember what Susan said about your lovely practice. maybe it's just the newer 2nd series stuff you haven't been practicing so much that he can see the difference with :)

  5. Jaime, I had the SAME EXACT experience in the pose- the crazy rage bubbling up and yes, quite a few "FUCK YOU LAGHU!" moments (many actually out loud which got stern looks from the teacher).

    I've heard my teacher say, "press into the floor with the shins and feet" so many times, but really- when the brain is smoking and you're trying to think of so many body parts, it doesn't always make sense right away.

    I laughed about trying to back bend into it. It does feel sort of wrong to go back like a board (wrong as in, "this feels really just way too hard"), but it'll come. Trust me. I'm a recovering Laghu hater.

  6. No practice is a 'defeated one' if you've make it to the mat and done your practice! Nicely done.

    Someday, I hope to have the opportunity to hate Laghu! ;-)

  7. On "Yes I can tell"--apparently certified teachers can read your mind (I had an experience of this kind with Tim Miller last weekend). It's not probably any statement of your quality, but of H's supernatural powers (I'm not being snarky about that).

    I've gotten quite a bit of contradictory advice in Laghu: sometimes it's "arms straight" and other times it's "grab ankles" (and I can either do one or the other, but not both).

    On backbending into it: what I was most recently told to do was to arch back as if to do Ustrasana, and then just drop back into Laghu with that much arch, not more. You don't arch your head to the floor, you just arch back til it stops, then lower from the knees until head touches floor.

    K is also right on this: there's no defeat if you get to the mat. Inhaling up for Surya A? Great--victoire!!


  8. Feeling "not good enough" because he said he could tell you don't have a regular teacher - don't infer that!!! There isn't necessarily any judgement there. Doing Primary and part of Second without a regular teacher is pretty good going if you ask me. I don't think he meant anything about the quality of your practice; he was probably saying exactly that, that he could tell that you don't have a regular teacher, the same way that he can spot a certain teacher's students (Tim Miller, Richard Freeman, etc).

  9. Yeah... your practice looks good! Really! I didn't have time to keep an eagle eye on you though, it was too busy and I'm not so experienced (Cary or Hamish can 'keep an eye on' a lot more people than me!). But if I didn't konw you and saw you skip vinyasa between dhanurasana and parsva, for instance, THAT is the kind of thing that would make me think you didn't have a regular teacher. Because they would have caught that. So, it doesn't mean your practice is shit, it means he saw you show some forgetfulness or something that wouldn't happen with an eye on you all the time. So what? He probably also thinks you rock for keeping up your practice without a teacher, for the discipline involved in that, and then making the time to get there eventually to check in. Think about THAT. For sure he didn't mean it as a slam.

    Anyway, really sorry that it didn't work out last night... weird evening with several mishaps, at the same time really really nice, but I hit the wall around 9:30 and left the others there to have tea.. got home and didn't feel so well due to something dodgy I had at lunch.. definitely NOT the food at Rootmaster, which is excellent, and I hope very much to dine with you there another evening :) Mel says you will be back later in the summer, even though we all hope for you to finish up this current job at last!

    Re laghu... yeah, don't backbend into it. I find it's like matsyasana with regard to the backbend, all chest. Just try to go back with your hands as close as possible to your ankles. The yogi in the photo is doing more of a backbend than I think is normal in this pose, and notice how the hands have slid up the calves. Edging towards the 'old-style' laghu in David Swenson's book, which IS a backbend. Speaking of the photo though, I thought it was a woman not a dude??

    Sorry for the long comment :)

  10. First of all, can I just say how WONDERFUL you guys in the cyber shala are? So wonderfully positive and encouraging. Now, onto my super long replies to everybody...

    Helen: Burning quads. Yup. I was walking funny all day yesterday. Especially after a second day of Laghu whipping from H. Ouch!

    Mel: You're right. I actually asked H the next day how he could tell I don't have a regular teacher. He replied "Because you seem to struggle with parts of the second series." Er... YAH! So much for my insecurities... he didn't tell me what I didn't already know! :p

    Liz: the day I stop hating Laghu seems very far away. I am exceptionally surprised by HOW MUCH negativity this pose brings up in me. I have never ever dreaded/ hated/ resented a pose as much as this. I mean... along the way I have struggled with the likes of Mari D, Supta Kurmasana, but they never brought as much mental torment as Laghu does. It's ridiculous. I'm tempted to say "Laghuvajrasana, it's not me, it's YOU." ...but of course I know the reverse is true. Still FuckingHateIt.

    Kai: Thanks! It was one of those days where it was a battle raging on the mat. That too, shall pass. Still FuckingHateLaghu. ;p

    Patrick: SUPER SUPER interesting observation about certified teachers. I was so impressed and intrigued that I had to ask H the next day what it was about my practice that he "could tell" by. See my reply to Mel. So simple. I have the utmost respect for him and the experience he's got. :)

    V - Yes, thanks! And the moment I felt those "I'm not good enough" feelings, I knew I was beating myself up unnecessarily. But I guess we all have those days. And I know it's not H at all to pass judgment coz that's not his vibe. Great to meet you finally and have a nice quick coffee-chat! I am impressed he can tell who's been taught by Tim Miller and Richard Freeman! Going to a good teacher is important as it shows how much a teacher rubs off onto you. Duh.

    Susan: Wow. Thanks! And yes, your observation was exactly right. :) I'm glad I asked H what it was that he noticed about me, coz yesterday, he hovered around during the dhanurasanas and kept an eye out for that, along with the dreaded laghu. So yeah, having a teacher watch out for all your little tics really does help. I literally felt like stopping after Ustrasana and running away from doing my last pose. Nope, today is not yet the day I make peace with Laghu. Not YET being the operative word. :p

    Ended work at 9pm that evening, so I'm sorry I couldn't join you guys. We're still on the edge today, not really knowing what time we're leaving, based on more feedback. And we may even be back AGAIN next week. Clients - eish.

    Blogger has a sense of humour. Word verification: suffera
    Damn right, Laghuvajrasana, she makes me a suffera.

  11. dear Skippetty

    (i think that's a dudesss in the pic, but no matter. i turned it upside down to check. those are boobs. haha)

    how about if you bycicle more? that will make your thighs stronger and make them bring you back. i have a strong laghu and it's possible it's because of my thunder thighs. i may be skinny, but i used to be fat, so those thighs carried a lot around. cycling might strengthen the thighs.

    then there's the "whoopa! roll thighs inwards" motion that David Swenson recommends. it makes the spine coil up. i use this motion also in UD, although i'm not the person to ask advice from for that pose. when you're coming up, roll the thighs towards each other ("whoopa" motion - i made that term up). then your back will "sproing" up. i think Swenson made up the term "sproing." it really hit home when i heard him say that.

    anyhoo, at the moment i don't have to have these worries since i'm stopped at the one before it.


  12. Hey Arturo & Susan - you guys are right. Those ARE boobs! HAHAHA!

    Whoopa and sproing - HAHAHA, yes I kinda sorta see what you mean. And I reckon bicycling is a very good idea. In fact - that's what my latest post is about! Maybe riding around Amsterdam will help kill 2 birds with 1 stone... sight-see and build those thunder thighs required for my nemesis. :)


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