End Scene.

Distance seems to be a great solution for the desperation and delusion.  That, or there's something in the air up there in Wisconsin because as soon as I passed into Iowa, I felt better.  Entirely in possession of my faculties.  All systems go.  I drove the 1300 miles home in high spirits and held my mula bandha the whole way.

What I've learned from this most recent episode is that, while I'm a pro at letting go (fluent in the "fuck it"), I have a lot of trouble not grasping for it in the first place, whatever "it" may be.  And yes, I have many theories and I've drawn many connections between this experience and the Ashtanga but I hesitate to elaborate, lest I be known as the crazy, obsessive Ashtangi.

But it may be too late for that already, so here it goes:

The difference, energetically, from 1st to 2nd series is significant.  First series is scrappy.  Second series is sexy.  I feel the practice in my pelvis.  At the risk of sounding dirty, there's a lot of deep work at the root.  In all of the extremes that 2nd series takes us through -- extreme backbending, extreme hip rotation, and extreme forward bending -- awareness of the root is key.  Mula bandha anchors the extension of Kapotasana, traps the apana of Dwi Pada, and steadies the precarious walk of Tittibhasana.

I think I mentioned this a week or so ago, but Titti really turns me on.  More often than not after the exit, I feel hot and high, as though all my blood is sloshing around in my pelvis and all the rest is really secondary.  Pincha is a special challenge if I don't give myself a moment to level off.  I've noticed this heightened root awareness since the split to 2nd in October.  Though I had been practicing much of Intermediate in addition to Primary prior to this, there is definitely something distinctive about the effect of the backbends -- and, indeed, the practice as a whole -- independent of all the core warm-up that Primary provides.  The sensation is rich and the body is still fresh.  More mindpower is required to quell the reluctance.

Second series necessitates a heightened presence as we are asked to take the body to opposing ends without the slash-and-burn of 1st.  Without that heat, we are called upon to draw from a deep, intuitive understanding of the body and a clear, attentive mind.  Because we are not numbed by the rigors of Primary, Second series is more sensual.  Second is also the more playful practice, and I am feeling this effect full-on.  Spontaneous dancing.  Fits of laughter.  Bouts of mischief and good-natured antagonism.  It's all there.

But enough about me.  Let's talk about you.

How's your practice coming?  Surviving the holidays?  Ready for the new year?  On that note, considering my recent meanderings into the realm of the ultra-personal, I'd like to know what you want to see from Damn Good Yoga in the coming year.  Do you want more instructional/informational content?  Videos?  Features?  Product reviews?  Or are you quite content to read about my personal practice forevermore and see how my real-life neuroses manifest in text?


  1. Holidays? They're great. Tree's right there, waiting for me to get started with the lights.

    My practice? Stalled. I'm bored with it. There are so many damned options for yoga in this town (Austin), yet I can find neither a teacher nor a class nor a studio that is consistently in sync with my modest goals and needs. For instance, BSY these days is like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates--you show up and you don't know what instructor you're gonna git. Count yourself lucky that they're not your employer anymore.

    I enjoy reading your blog because you're even more of a Leo than I am.

    As for future entries, it's always good to bring up topics and questions that tend to breed lively discussions. Astute observations re yoga and humans/human behavior (i.e. "A Beautiful Death") also make for great reading. Hope they also make for good writing.

    Now on to the tree.

    "Don't let yoga ruin your life." David Swenson

    "Yoga will ruin your life." Richard Freeman

  2. Hi Amanda - Ha! Yes. Raging Leo.

    I think maybe this time of year it's especially hard to stay enamored with the practice. Shorter days. Colder mornings. It's a time of transition, even down here in Tejas. I don't know about you, but I feel like sitting around in slippers, eating sweet potatoes and drinking red wine all the time.

    Thanks for the input and that is an EXCELLENT pair of quotes! Love those two!

  3. Wow. My teacher just moved me into Intermediate Series--after almost 2 years of mostly dedicated practice...I wandered a bit from time to time ;-) I've seen people in the room doing Intermediate and I'm really excited to start working on it because it looks like it's both going to be a lot of fun and challenge me in all the right ways! But I hadn't really considered how it might FEEL though...this could get interesting, lol. Probably why my teacher is moving me through it slowly, lol.

    As for blog content, I love reading about your personal practice but I also enjoy your insights on yoga in general--philosophy, alignment, teaching etc.

    Holidays are good--big, much needed family reunion for Thanksgiving and Christmas will be "work"...a.k.a, dog-sitting.

  4. While the state of Wisconsin may not have invented angst, it has done a nice job of perfecting it. Borne and bred so I ought to know! I now live in easy-going, lovely, laid-back Iowa but I do go back to visit (under duress) now and again. I have the same experience you had each and every time I cross the Mississippi back to Iowa!
    So maybe it isn't you...maybe it's the Badger State?

  5. Tara - The irony of the split to 2nd is that it actually gets harder after you drop Primary. At least it did for me.

    Mo - That's funny. Just today, I was thinking about how much I like the state of Iowa. It seems like the most mellow place to be in the midwest. Not sure what it is about Wisco, but angst is the word.

  6. God girl - Keep doin' your thing! So darn real. So darn fresh. So darn Ashtanga. thank you.
    "Or are you quite content to read about my personal practice forevermore and see how my real-life neuroses manifest in text?"

  7. Hi Megan,

    I generally like all your posts

    but, if you ask, I have a preference for the posts on the physical/energetical/mental effects of the practice (this post is thus one of my favorites)

    after this, the asanas of the week are really good source of information (or complement with another viewpoint)

    anyway keep growing this blog: it's great!