4.22.2011

The Jig is Up


I've been found out.  No more flying under the radar, practicing differently with different teachers.  It came up on Wednesday with S.  As it happened, I was the only student to show up on Wednesday, so S and I had lots of one-on-one time.  Essentially, I was the unwitting recipient of a very inexpensive private lesson (one of the perks of dedicated practice).  She stood by throughout my entire practice, stopping me here and there to clarify the breath counts or show me some fun stuff from the good ol' days, like alternative jump backs for Upavishta Konasana and Supta Konasana that are not part of Ashtanga anymore.

I can't do these things in a Mysore room, but I can play with them on my own.  Admittedly, I do indulge a bit in my home practice, flourishing as much as I damn well please some days.  Since I'm not allowed to do this with a teacher, I might as well play when I'm on my own.  I realize I may catch some flack for this from you Ashtanga purists.  I'm fine with that.

I'm thinking of putting together a video of the different Ashtanga jump backs and vinyasas.  (Not that Grimmly hasn't covered those bases for us already -- and very well, I might add.  But it might be nice to have a female interpretation, no?)  There are a lot of fun and delightfully creative vinyasas in the history of Ashtanga, and so many "right" and "wrong" ways to do them.  I'm really getting into this idea of the evolution of Ashtanga.  Are these changes actually documented anywhere in a way that can be followed logically and chronologically?  How difficult of a project would that be?

Anyway... back to my private practice with S:  the multiple teachers situation came up at Marichyasana B when she asked me why I do the pose the way I do, tipping forward with neither hip on the ground.  I told her that the "first teacher I worked with" instructed me to do it that way, which is true.  S asked me who my first Ashtanga teacher was... and I told her it was "[T] from the Friday Mysore session" (awkward pause) "... who I still practice with each week." *optimistic grin*

At first, S seemed a bit taken aback.  She was quiet for a moment, then revealed that T is a student of hers.  Ha!  She wondered aloud why T was teaching it that way, and made sure I understood that T didn't learn it that way from her.  Hahaha!  S is so cute, it destroys me.  Later, when we got into the 2nd series poses, S asked me if I'd been practicing 2nd with T.  I told her I'd been letting T give me poses as she thinks I'm ready, and then told her that T had just given me Bhekasana on Friday. *optimistic grin #2*

S was quiet and paced around a bit behind me while I carried on with my practice, awaiting her response.  First, she said, "you should do what she tells you to do when you're with her."  Then she came around to the top of my mat and announced that she would take me "much faster than [T] will."  I remained silent, unsure of exactly what her impression was.  It was never my intention to hide my wandering practice from my teachers.  Although I had begun to suspect it lately, I wasn't even certain it was relevant information.  This not exactly a thriving Ashtanga community.  Students come and go, with relatively few regulars.  This fact is obvious to me already, and I've only been there a couple of months.  It seems like the kind of place where students share teachers, or teachers share students... whichever.

True to her word, S took me to Laghu Vajrasana.  Before she left, she mentioned that she'll only be teaching there for a few more weeks.  (?!?)  Some time in May or June, someone else is taking over the class.  I was sincerely sorry to hear this.  I really enjoy sessions with S.  She's so loving, and she's taught me so much.  I will make an effort to attend her class twice a week until she leaves.  She also mentioned, as she made her way to the door, that she will email the new teacher and T about me before she goes to let them know where she's taking me with 2nd.

So I've been outed.  No more anonymous practice with different teachers.  And just a few more weeks with S.  I can't help but wonder... will she give me Kapo?

4 comments:

  1. Interesting report. Thanks for sharing. For some reasons, all my teachers (Kino, PJ Heffernan) seem to be in agreement (without having communicated with each other, to the best of my knowledge) about where I am or should be in the practice. The dilemma for me seems to reside mainly in myself (see my latest post for more details).

    Congrats on getting Laghu! Don't quote me on this, but I have this hunch that kapo is around the corner for you :-) (uh, should I be smiling?)

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  2. Thanks, Nobel. S and T were on the same track for the most part, then S's sub swooped in and gave me a bunch of poses. I sort of gave myself Ustrasana, then S gave me Laghu after she vowed to move me through 2nd faster than T.

    I, too, suspect she intends to give me Kapo any day now, but I also have a feeling that I'll be stuck at Kapo for a while. Shoulder extension is always pretty limited for me. I've got some deep opening work to do there that I've managed to avoid for a long time. Kapo is going to push those limits pretty hard, so I'm excited, but also a little afraid of the struggle.

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  3. Kapo's not a bad one to get stuck at for a while i guess, last of that backbend section so there's a degree of closure.

    Jump back/through project, great idea, looking forward to it. Been working on the straight leg jump though recently, could get through but never really elegant. It's the only one i've been doing since the led Sharath project and it's finally coming on, a couple of relatively graceful one's a practice, the rest.... not so much.

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  4. Yes please jump back project! Was totally inspired by Grimmly's, leading to a mini breakthrough, but the female take would be even better! Am waiting ;D I was advised to stop at kapotasana for a year....which I did. Am never one to rush to the next pose, actually usually feels like I'm being dragged to the next! ha ha! But now am thinking of a full time return to primary until these jump backs and throughs progess....hmmmm Glad you got Kapo!

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