Primary Friday: Strange Behavior

Ready...  set... rest day!  I am loving this 'Primary on Fridays and Saturdays off' stuff.  Ashtanga is fun and (don't hate me for this) delightfully quirky.  Today, I found myself remembering and planning for the moon day next Wednesday.  So that's it, then.  I'm in the cult.  It's official.

I had a fantastic Primary practice yesterday in T's room and I found out that the free Mysore on Fridays will continue through September, which is good news.  Even if I decide not to purchase more classes, at least I'll have an extra eye on my practice once a week.  Although T hasn't been giving me much attention for the past several sessions.  She helps me with the Intermediate hang backs and final backbend, but that's it.  I waited for her a little while on Friday before taking on Supta Kurmasana, hoping she would come over and help me get my legs crossed, but no such luck.  She's usually pretty busy with beginners.  The class size has grown considerably.

With this growth also comes a strange variety of behavior.  The lady who began her practice just to my left did a few Surya and then proclaimed aloud to no one in particular that it was "too hot," rolled up her mat and left.  For the record, it wasn't especially hot.  Certainly much cooler than last week!  A pair of ladies in the corner chatted intermittently throughout the practice, one of whom wasn't even practicing Ashtanga.  At one point, she asked T loudly "when we practice handstands at the wall."  I guess she was confused.  Anusara.  Ashtanga.  Same thing.  At the other extreme, there was an older guy there who was completely new to yoga.  First time ever.  T led him through the Suryas, a few standing postures, and some of finishing.  After he was done, T asked him how he felt and he said, "Amazing!"  That was nice.

In spite of the minimal adjustments and the obvious fact that I was distracted by all of the activity, I had a very clean practice.  I felt strong.  Jump backs were much lighter than they have been in recent weeks.  My knees are still feeling pretty good and lotus postures are accessible.  In fact, while walking the dog and getting my vitamin D today, I had a revelation regarding the rotation of the thigh in Padmasana, about how it's a three-step process:  1) close the knee, 2) abduct and externally rotate the thigh, and 3) internally rotate while in abduction and fold the leg into place as one piece.  It seems so obvious now, but I'm excited to try it out in my practice tomorrow.  I've read both Maehle's and Swenson's detailed instructions on how to enter Padmasana without injuring the knee multiple times.  To be perfectly honest, I've understood them in theory, but not in practice.  I think I finally get it.  I'll find out tomorrow.


  1. My favourite how to lotus video, using japanese action figures
    My left knee is dodgy, old ops, I can get into most things but Mari D on the left side is harder, have to do more work in other parts of my body to get into it and Purna M just wont happen on the left side. I can sit in lotus for an but even after ten minutes coming out hurts like hell and there's always a moment when I think I wont be able to unfold the left leg and be stuck there.
    So why do I still do it if it hurts? It doesn't seem to get any worse and IS more flexible i kind of feel that doing lotus everyday keeps the knee flexible. I've had less trouble with it just walking along since I started Yoga.

    but of course everyone is different, especially where knees are concerned, All this seems to be good for me but of course lotus might be the worst thing possible for someone else.

  2. Hey Grimm - Great video! Love the action figure, but I'm a little confused by the suggestion to practice a wide angle forward bend as the primary preparation. Upavishta Konasana is a very accessible pose for me. My chest and chin easily release to the floor. I spend a fair amount of time in this pose and have for years, but it hasn't really helped me with my lotus. Baddha Konasana, on the other hand, is where I get stuck. Whatever is impeding my bound angle is probably the same muscle group obstructing my lotus.

    Nonetheless, on days when I can safely enter the pose, it does feel great on the hips and seems to improve the range of motion of my knees. I think my little revelation regarding the process of coming into lotus may have been correct because today I was able to take the full expression of Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana on the right side for the very first time.

  3. Many people who have desk jobs (ie. aren't used to squatting and sitting on the floor) and who do not play sports that move the legs in all angles (soccer, kickboxing, dance etc.) have tight hips, yet they think their knees are the problems to lotus pose, so this guy suggested wide angle forward bend.

    Baddha Konasana requires external rotation of the femur and thigh that's not required for Upavishta Konasana. Mandukasana http://www.venusrisingmagazine.com/index.php/VR/yoga_for_living/frogs_stay_cool/ might also be a good pose for you to do for lotus prep?

  4. Hi Yyogini - I know that the root of most knee troubles is in the hips. That's certainly the case for me. It's just so interesting that one can be so open in the hips in one direction but so closed off in another. I've spent years opening my hips, but I still haven't exactly pinpointed the resistance that is limiting my lotus but it feels as though it's more in the front of the hip. Maybe the tensor fascia latae and/or the sartorius?

    Mandukasana is a good one, but again, I don't think it targets the right muscles for me here. I should do some in-depth exploration on my own body and figure this out once and for all.

  5. Or scar tissues? I know next to nothing about scar tissue build up, or why muscles lock up. Do you know any good massage therapists or physiotherapists? I am so fascinated every time my friends tell me their physiotherapist figured out their leg tendon has been pulling at the kneecap at a weird angle all these years, causing pain in a specific pose, or a massage therapist worked away the scar tissues on the abdomen, when they thought this pain they've been feeling for years was a hernia. I should consider studying bodywork myself, except I know that one bodyworker can't solve everything. People usually have to see quite a few different specialists before finding one that can figure out their problems.