Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Great Leveler and Inspirer

I love how the KPJAYI shala is The Great Leveler and The Great Inspirer, all at the same time.

At this current point in time, there are a great number of Rockstar teachers practising in the shala. I'm gonna play it cool and not name names, but you have probably at one point or another seen these teachers' DVDs, read their blogs or attended their workshops. AND WE ARE ALL PRACTISING IN THE SAME SHALA TOGETHER.

I mean... How wild is THAT?! (I just wouldn't wanna be practicing next to them in a led Primary class. How much pressure would that be? Or... I'd probably be watching them out the corner of my eye the whole time. HAHAHA!)

I love how it's The Great Leveler in that there doesn't seem to be any preferential treatment for them - You arrived today? You get a later start time, so what if you're a Rockstar. Work your way to an earlier start time the longer you stay. Everyone has to wait their turn to practice too (I'm telling you, the only one who's got preferential treatment is the Police Commissioner, or perhaps he's the District Police Commissioner as the rumour goes. Remember, the dude who's got his reserved spot and doesn't have to wait in line?) Over here, it's Police before Rockstar Ashtangis!

And at the same time, it's also The Great Inspirer coz... Well... We're practising in the same room as so many other great Ashtangis (not just the Rockstars), all here for the same purpose. My favourite part of day is sitting and waiting for my turn in the foyer, coz I get to watch everyone else practicing. Just coz you got the next pose doesn't mean you know shit about all the other poses before it. Watching the level of refinement of other peoples' practices makes you realize how much more stillness, focus and grace can be achieved, and watching how far the human body can physically take itself (and how much of this is mental determination too) is just sheer inspiration.

I remember in Sharath's Sydney workshop, he said something along the lines of "Come to Mysore. 1 month there is like 5 months practice anywhere else." I think part of why practicing here is so different from practicing anywhere else is just coz of this inspiring energy... It's almost like you're absorbing this collective dedication and riding that wave in your own practice. I find myself wanting to push myself beyond that edge just a little bit more. Just knuckle down and DO IT. No nonsense.

Backbend Update: With backbends from the floor, I'm still hurling myself onto my knees. Yesterday, on my 3rd attempt, I came to semi-standing/ semi-squatting, kinda like an Utkatasana. Today, I was just propelling myself forward onto my knees. My friend practising next to me had some good advice. She said: You're moving forward too much. Think of moving UPWARDS. And use the inhale. AHA! Time to put this head knowledge into action. Tomorrow, I do.

Today, I finally did 3 dropbacks and stood up from all 3 without crashing or landing on my knees. Saraswati had come by to help me on my FIRST one, and immediately I felt the pressure and the walls closing in on me (and was thinking "Damn it. Now I'm gonna crash again"). Thankfully, she started assisting the lady next to me with her assisted dropbacks, so I could just get on with mine without that pressure of "ALL EYES ON YOU NOW!!". And I swear to God, that's what helped me get on with it. Every time there's someone there watching, I just freeze and my brain and body spazz out then I can't stand back up again.

Isn't it funny how much of being able to do something or not is just pure intention and having confidence in yourself too? "I CAN do this" or "I CAN'T do this" becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Oh well.

I know some people feel that talking about your yoga/ asana process is taboo. Or rather, it should be kept private. But... I guess part of how I process stuff is to talk-talk-talk about it. And visualize it. And dream about it. It's worked for me in the past, so I'm sticking to it. And boy am I glad that the whole world knows that backbends is the issue I'm currently working on, coz I'm grateful for all the advice I've been getting from all my yogi friends, solicited and unsolicited. Ask and ye shall receive. HAHA!

Today's food porn shot: Anu's Banana Chocolate Almond smoothie. Because of this bad boy, I am determined to finally get me a blender when I return to Amsterdam. This is the vegan version without curds or milk, but this is like a smoothie laced with crack. It is sooooooooooo deliciously creamy, all it is is FROZEN bananas blended with chocolate and almonds. I am soooooooooo gonna keep a tub of frozen bananas in my freezer too. Why didn't I think of that?! (This is probably not as appetizing-looking as it is. I promise.)


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12 comments:

  1. I had noticed the anti-asana talk on the twitter. I think it's fun - and why can't we have a little fun with asana? As long as we remember it's only a means to an end, part of what makes the Ashtanga community so rewarding is our shared asana experiences

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  2. Half frozen liquid crack. So freaking good.

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  3. GREAT post Jaime...and I was meaning to ask if you'd spotted any ashtanga celebrities yet!! SO freaking cool to all practice together...I am obsessed even with seeing my own teacher practice so no doubt I'd have some sort of epileptic fit of excitement to see a real-life rockstar ashtangi!! ;)

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  4. Hey Colleen: I haven't been keeping up with the twitter chat much coz I don't get wifi nor 3G push connection on my iPhone here. So hadn't realized that it's been a talking point. I can understand why some people would prefer to keep it private. A lot of people practising here too are teachers... I suppose it's a different story if you're teaching and you don't really want your students knowing about your internal process. Or the fact that you swear. HAHA! ...But we're only human.

    Sonya - Go on then, use the real F word, you know you want to. Heh.

    Mel - I was practising next to one Rockstar teacher today who was tick-tocking as I was starting my Suryas. I could feel my drishti moving sideways towards his mat. HAHAHAHA.

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  5. >dies with envy<

    It's only because it'd be inspring that I want to see it, not to gawp, HONEST!! ;) Noticed one said rockstar posted pics of led primary online this week and i thought ha! you tried to take a picture of the noticeboard and got busted! SO maybe some rules are a little different ;)

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  6. love this post.. what an amazing experience! hope you'll report back when you get home on who was there. I know of one.. so glad you are enjoying it!

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  7. HAHA Mel! The rules are the same when it comes to: PRACTICE! For everything else of course it's different! I doubt Sharath even knows my name, but he's besties with all the certified teachers!! Only trusted/ long time students are allowed to take photos/ videos in the shala. I think Govinda Kai's series of led intermediate was the first video in a loooooooooong time allowed, if I'm not mistaken.

    Nancy: Well... In a way not talking about who's here is like not taking photos in the shala. People go through their private stuff/issues here, so while I'm all open about my experience here, I'm mindful most others aren't. So... nuh-uh! Not gonna say who's here! ;p

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  8. As to why 1=5 in Mysore, I'm convinced it's the morphic field. Read Rupert Sheldrake. But when I was there, more advanced, known, and/or authorized folk got earlier start times right at registration. Guess that's changed.

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  9. I'm googling morphic resonance and not understanding a thing that's been written about it. Then again, at 9.07pm it's waaaaaay past my bedtime. I'm gonna try again tomorrow. sounds intriguing!

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  10. Reading blogs like yours and DDMel are already inspiring material for me to keep with the practice, so I can only imagine what it must be like to be at The Source of Ashtanga. Although I saw one Rockstar teacher's pics of the practice room on FB and thought "SO CRAMPED?!?!" I think I've been in the US for too long - gotten used to the luxury of space ;)

    Yay for a no-performance-anxiety backbend!

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  11. 1 month practice in Mysore = 5 months anywhere else? Somebody get me a ticket to Mysore!!! Tee hee :)

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  12. Danielle: it's a bit of a mindf*ck initially, the cramped mats in the room,but then you quickly get over it and just do your practice. It also makes you more precise with your practice - your space is just your mat area and nothing happens outside of it (unless you wanna be inconsiderate). So it becomes less fussing, just do your practice. :)

    Yyogini: a good taster would be to do Sharath's workshops. Are you in the US? He's headed to Encinitas and NYC in April/ May. I had ZERO desire to go to Mysore until I experienced the amazing group energy during his Sydney workshop in 2009. That's when I started thinking seriously about going to Mysore. Even if you can't make it here, try to make it to his workshops. They're great! And a good gauge of whether you enjoy practising with so many people or not.

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