Tag Archives: astanga

On the joys of the unattainable

I’ve been doing yoga for just over a year now.  It really struck me as amusing this morning when I realized that the anniversary of ths profoundly life-altering decision had come and gone sans my attention to it.  (Anybody who regularly reads this blog will know I’m a sucker for anniversaries).

It’s not that it’s been a year since the first time I got into downward-facing dog pose – actually, a friend from long ago, J, introduced me to yoga nearly a decade back, and I knew then how special and extraordinary it was.  But I was clueless as to how it could fit into my life.

Not long before we left for the Philippines, Chris suggested we enroll in a yoga class in London.  Having someone with whom to enroll took all the fear out of it for me (I was shockingly unfit at the time), and I never hesitated for a second.  That lasted 6 weeks, though, and then we were off, visiting France (where we did a few asanas, but nothing that impressive), road-tripping around the U.S. (where we did exactly nothing for more than a month), and then making our way to the Philippines, where copious amounts of stress, heat and humidity for the first few months meant that – in spite of that being the picture-perfect scenario for getting my practice up and running – yoga was forgotten again for a while. The running excuse was that we didn’t have mats.

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On Balance

In the Primary Series used by Astanga yogis, there is a pose I’m nowhere near able to get into called ardha baddha padmottanasana (say that three times fast), or half-bound lotus intense stretch posture.  It looks like this:

credit: astanga.fi

 A modification of a modification of that one is another posture in its own right, called vrikshasana, or tree pose.  It looks like this:

credit: life-care.weebly.com

I struggle with this one, too: balance has never been my thing.  In fact, I recently found out that this is not just because I’m not trying hard enough:  by nature of the fact that my great-grandmother, my grandmother and my mother all had or have something called genetic or hereditary neuropathy, there’s a pretty good chance I’ve got it, too.  I’m not too terribly worried about it – while my grandma’s not at the height of her game, she was a sharp shooter up until 80+, as was my great grandma, and my mom comes to speak to me on Skype more often than not pulling off her gloves from working in the garden, returning from or on her way to a workout, or exhausted from a day filled with any number of physical tasks.  I’m just annoyed that, from the little I can understand from what I’ve read on the interweb, I’m predisposed to the clumsiness that’s ailed me all my life.  I am, quite literally, a natural-born klutz.

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