I had a friend over for lunch today. She and I have not just been friends for some time, but we’ve practiced yoga together for just as long.
So, while I held her hostage with sweet potato and zucchini savories – I made her watch my newest YouTube creation: The Backbends of Ashtanga’s Intermediate Series. I’d put it together to promote an upcoming workshop though we all know, I hardly need an excuse for what’s typically my folly.
Anyway … that part of the series is great subject matter for me since I spent so much time there. In fact, it was a time of great unrest for me. After pretty much a free ride through primary, Pasasana was like the noose that hung me.
And the backbends that came after were like quicksand.
My friend and I were trying to remember just how many times I quit. I think we agreed it was at least three times but could’ve been as many as five. I’m serious. Though I would never really say I was quitting, I preferred the euphemism of “taking a break” – the longest one was 3 months.
And sure, it’s easy for me to look back now and realize how good it was for me to stick around there for a while. (pun intended) I think we can all agree, I absolutely changed and progressed – but not at the rate I was addicted to.
My experience is not all that uncommon. In fact, if someone doesn’t experience something like this in Primary (usually around the marichyasanas and kurmasanas) or Intermediate (there’s a shlew of places here) – one’s coming. I promise. And another one too.
But most interesting is how we react to these challenges. All my life, I’ve been a bit of a quitter. I’ve dabbled a lot – piano lessons, singing, ballet, gymnastics, painting. Jack of all trades and a master of none. Because as soon as it gets too hard/boring/whatever, I’m out.
For some reason, though, I kept coming back to those postures. The last one was Supta Vajrasana. So ridiculous when you think about it. With your arms and legs completely bound and immobile, a teacher comes and drops you back on your head. I kept thinking, who thought this shit up?
One day, I just decided I didn’t care if I ever kept the bind. I didn’t care if I ever bound myself in pasasana or caught my heels in kapo. I made the decision to come back – anyway.
To practice just to practice.
It’s a decision I’ve never regretted. And this new, rather revolutionary way (for me) of reacting crept off my mat. This blog is a great example and one I began for no other reason than I wanted to write and share these experiences EVEN if the only ones who read it were friends I held hostage and my husband, when forced.
Besides, quicksand isn’t ever more than a few feet deep. Breathe and move slowly – and you will get through it. As it turns out, Kapo ain’t that much different.
“Practice alone is the means to success. This is true, there is no doubt.” (The Hatha Yoga Pradipika)