The First Series - It's a Bitch

So, this morning I got my rear end up early - 5:45am - to go "practice" (some may call it torture) at the Ashtanga Yoga Center with Tim Miller (in case you are wondering who he is, he was the first American certified by Pattabhi Jois to teach Ashtanga - this is a big deal). Fed the dogs, kicked them out, and drove down to the Carlsbad-Encinitas border, which luckily, it only 10-15 minutes south of the office.

I was in for fun this morning - I say that good-naturedly because it was, overall, lots of fun. But. My "peers" were certainly not my peers in this class. Maybe a few of them. It was primary series, a series that I am 80% proficient (my estimate). So, I'm no schmuck at the first series. I haven't mastered it, but I do ok. Well, the group of students this morning also included teachers from the shala, as well as several apprentices. So, I inadvertently waded into a higher echelon. Since we moved to North County about nine months back, I have been to almost every first series on the shala schedule. Sunday morning is almost as "daunting," but it's a large class with all different levels of practice. So, you have a few people to sort of "commiserate" with from across the room. Wednesday evening is quieter - less folks doing drop-backs and kukkutasana. Friday at noon is also quieter, more laid back. I would place this Tuesday morning at the top as far as the scariness of it. He added Samakonasana (I think it's supposed to be a Chinese split - not happening over here) and Hanumanasana (regular split, close, but no cigar) after Prasarita Padottanasana. Lots of people in both splits like it was no problem.

We get to Garba Pindasana and nearly everyone has their arms through their lotus legs and then touching their face. I dream of sticking my hands in between my lotus legs. There was probably only 3 or 4 of us out of 20 that were not in it. Then after that, all those threaded hands people were up in kukkutasana. Right. Then, for fun, Urdhva Kukkutasana! And lots of people were up. I tell you, I was not expecting to be so far down on the totem pole this morning. Now I know. It's probably good because it will push me.

Other asana highlights were Navasana with many people doing handstands in the middle of the room. I didn't look around too much, but it seemed to me nearly everyone was doing handstand either with or without the wall, in between the boats. I got back to Samasthiti early enough to witness some of the wall-less handstands. Maybe one day. And we mustn't forget EIGHT Urdhva Dhanurasanas (back bend). Eight. I did them all (crazy!). I started dropping back at number 5. So, I did 3 drop backs which was cool, all without landing on my head. I was unable to lift myself up, though - I tried twice. The last time, Mr. Miller insisted I try again and he gave me a little lift and up I went. So technically, I did nine back bends.

At the end, since it is Tuesday, he and Rich McGowan whipped out the harmonium and drum, respectively, and there was 5-10 minutes of kirtan. Something about Tuesday morning Hanuman - I didn't catch everything he said, but it also sounded like it was the last time for a while, so I got to sit through and attempt to sing along with my sheet of paper with the verses. I failed miserably, but it was still nice to hear everyone else. Then I had to bolt because I had to get to the office, shower, and start working.

I never really stick around at that studio and chat with the teachers - I always feel kind of awkward, like it's not my place. So I smile and head on out. Perhaps if I drag my butt there and become more "regular" then I will feel more comfortable. For now, I am the new chick, who is eternally almost there with most of the poses, that drops in once in a while.


  1. It was as if the whole post was written in another language...

  2. Yeah. Which is why I stopped posting too much about my yoga practice because no one will know what the heck I am talking about. Too boring. All the pose names are in sanskrit and it's really only interesting if you are also crazy enough to practice the first series.


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