Primary Friday: Ashtanga Daze

Whew!  TGI rest day, am I right?  I have officially made it through another week in one piece.  This practice is exhausting!  Lately, I'm sweating so much on the mat that my electrolytes are depleting too quickly, leaving me weak, woozy and light headed.  I've always been prone to electrolyte imbalance.  As a runner, I would crash suddenly and HARD during races.  First, my strength would leave me and then an oppressive, nauseating migraine would descend.  I've experienced similar breakdowns during yoga classes in heated rooms.  I just can't sweat that much and survive.

Fortunately, practice rooms are not heated in Ashtanga.  What with ujjayi pranyama and the bandhas and vinyasas, the practice itself is heated enough.  But now the weather is warming up.  This had not occurred to me before, but I may need to modify my practice as we transition into the reign of the Texas summer sun.  Fewer Surya Namaskar and softer breath should help me make it through, at least until I grow accustomed to the practice and the season.  I'll just have to try and remember this before I'm half dead at Setu Bandhasana with Intermediate staring me in the face.

Speaking of Intermediate, J has encouraged me to do Primary only without my 2nd series poses at least once in a while.  I'd like to do this once a week, but it didn't happen this week.  I don't do it on Fridays, per the tradition, because I go to T's class and she helps me with the Intermediate stuff.  I'd prefer to do the Primary practice at home, so I might start doing that on Sundays.  It could be a nice way to ease into the week, although I've read that the reason for the tradition of practicing Primary only on Fridays is to seal the energy in for the day off on Saturday.  Should I not be walking around my front body all open and exposed on the weekends?

Come to think of it, these Primary Friday posts don't really make sense anymore.  When I initiated the Primary Friday custom, I wasn't practicing Ashtanga every day.  That was the whole point -- Fridays were special because they were Ashtanga days.  Now every day is Ashtanga Day.  Maybe I should replace the Primary Friday posts with something like the "Rest Day Rehash," or keep it simple and call every post from this point on "Ashtanga Delirium."  Thoughts?  ;)


  1. I don't know if you've tried it but coconut water is really good for electrolyte imbalance.

  2. I was going to suggest coconut water too, but Rachel@Suburban Yogini beat me to it :-)

    Saturday is my primary only day, and Sunday is my rest day. Yes, I also think it is good to do primary only at least once a week; it has a sort of "reset button/returning to the baseline" kind of effect on the mind/body.

  3. Thanks, Rachel and Nobel, for the coconut water suggestion. Maybe I'll try hydrating with that before practice.

    Nobel - Do think you think it's important where in the week you do Primary only? E.g., before or after rest day?

  4. I'm thinking before rest day is better, because as Maehle claims, it seals in the energy.

  5. Always had a soft spot for straight Primary on Friday, for all my modifying, tweaking and exploration of vinyasa krama, I think I've only missed Friday about three times in the four years I've been practicing and even then I made it up on Saturday. I like the Idea that Ashtangi's all over the world are getting up in the morning to do the same practice, whichever series they're on and for however long they've been practicing, whether at home or in a Shala or in Mysore itself.

  6. Grimmly - That's the same reason I'm drawn to do Primary only on Fridays -- the worldwide communal practice -- but that would mean either not going to T's room or explaining to her that I don't do 2nd series on Fridays. For some reason, I don't want to do that. Since my foray into studio practice is temporary, I might switch to the traditional Friday Primary custom once I resume home practice only.

  7. I like the Idea... Thanks for Sharing the Post..

    retreat yoga