Forget ‘yummy’ yoga, bring on the popping and fizzing

Right now, an incomplete list of places that are paining me includes: my wrists, my quads, my shoulders, my hamstrings, my lower back and the top of my head.

If you’re familiar with Second Series, Nadi Shodhana, you might be able to guess I just went through that series. Under someone’s watchful eye.

Not Bobbie’s, this time. My occasional private with our friend/fellow Tim Miller student Maria Zavala on Sunday focused on Second Series. Yes, with plenty of modifications, but no other forgiveness.

It seems like everyone who is planning to be at Tim’s for his Third Series training, even those of us more intent on the beach and the waves, are having to up our game in preparation.

Those who know Tim and his approach to Second know it involves a fair amount of research poses, particularly before the serious backbends and again before all the legs behind your head craziness. One of the pre-legs behind your head poses, to help open up stubborn hips, is Eka Pada Rajakapotasana — pigeon pose.

It’s one I sneak into my regular practice, and of all my many stiff parts, my hips may be among my least stiff. So Maria seemed a little surprised at how near to the floor my hips were, how straight behind me my leg could be.

It was at this point that I went on a brief little rant about how this seems to be one of those poses people describe as “yummy.”

Just to be clear: This description annoys the heck out of me. (More so when hashtagged on an Instagram picture.) Nothing about asana ever feels “yummy” to me. The idea is so alien I only can surmise people are doing the pose wrong if that word can even enter their minds.

After putting up with me for many, many years, Maria gets me, so she was able to suggest that maybe someday that pose would be “yummy” for me — maybe even not too far off.

“No way,” I answered, even as the right description jumped firmly to mind, much more gracefully than my attempt at Bakasana B. (Just to prove Maria didn’t shower my poor, stiff self with forgiveness, I got to try it three times since I couldn’t “land” it.)

“It’s more like why you’d eat Pop Rocks,” I said (full of self-pleasure, of course, at figuring this one out).  It isn’t yummy like a piece of dark chocolate, but it does satisfy some strange craving, with maybe a little, teeny hint of sweetness in there somewhere.

But mostly it’s popping and fizzing and that lure of the possibility that your stomach will explode.

That’s asana to me.

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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