Bobbie and I pretty often get told some version of the following: “It’s great you both practice together.”
You probably can list off the reasons this is true (meaning why it’s “great” not why we hear this a lot): similar sleep schedules; appreciation for the rigors of what the other person is doing; the ability to include Ashtanga into vacations; we’re able to go to workshops together and both can travel down to see Tim Miller.
Well now we’ve hit a snag. And while it may not be as big an issue as a household where one person is an austere Ashtangi and the other is knocking back pizza and hamburgers every week (or one in which one Ashtangi has to also help prepare food for a family of non-yogis, especially kids), it’s a new twist to our co-yoga journey.
As Bobbie just wrote: “First Series is about purifying and cleansing. Second is about strength.”
I’m perhaps eternally going to be on First. Bobbie’s now doing all of Second. Her diet’s suddenly all about strengthening foods while mine’s still cleansing.
Dinner isn’t as easy anymore.
So what to do?
Well, we could start preparing separate meals, with perhaps some overlap (the bulk of purifying raw vegetables and unprocessed foods). Or maybe we make it simpler by just adding something strengthening into Bobbie’ meals.
I’ll admit to throwing a bit of a protest at that idea. Why does she get the extra, satisfying dish? Just because she’s busting out Karandavasana?
It’s when I start to protest that the far more simple solution pops to mind: Start Second, stupid.
Of course, there are at least two major problems with this:
- I still struggle with Primary poses.
- I haven’t been given any of Second. (Sort of plays off the first, right?)
The issue then becomes one of tradition. Do I fudge things to accommodate other factors? Circumstances have relegated me to practicing at home (now for the foreseeable future). Do I pull together all the threads into a design of my liking that says, “The universe is telling you its time to at least dabble.”
After all, there is not uniform agreement on when someone should advance. Yes, we all know the major and typical sign posts: Marichy D, Supta Kurmasana, etc. But there are teachers who talk about more internal signs — the quality of the breath, the focus of the mind — and their guidelines might …
Well, just because I like the sounds of their teaching, doesn’t mean I should flit to it like a butterfly.
Perhaps the answer is to modify First, ever so slightly, to enhance the strengthening poses that exist there. Longer Utkatasanas, Virabhadrasanas, crow poses. Concentrate on the pull backs and jump throughs. Work on that 100-breath headstand.
And then sneak bites of Bobbie’s strengthening foods when she isn’t looking.
Posted by Steve