Kino’s lesson on Bujapidasana: You stop when you are done

Bobbie earlier made fun of me for making a list, given you can’t swing an LOLcat around the Internet without hitting a bunch of yoga blog lists.

So, I’m going to do another. In fact, two more.

Three months ago, if you had asked me which five yoga teachers I most wanted to practice with, but never had, I would have answered:

5. Bryan Kest

4. Shiva Rea

3. Seane Corn

2. Bikram (Gotta get some use out of my bikinis, right?)

1. Richard Freeman

Today, the list looks more like this:

5. Bryan Kest

4. Seane Corn

3. Eddie Stern

2. Kino MacGregor

1. Richard Freeman

Subtle difference, I know, but an important one. This blog has me paying much more attention to the various Western Ashtangi teachers, and two really have entered my consciousness. Probably pretty clear from the second list: Eddie and Kino (I’m going to default to their first names).

Eddie we’ve talked about, and had others talk about him. And I highlighted Kino twice, once in relation to Freeman.

But reading her writing (not to mention seeing her practice via video), it’s clear that Kino deserves some more attention. She’s not only got game, she’s got the coaching staff with which to back the game up.

I’d certainly heard of Kino before a few months ago, but as I dove deeper into tracking (for you!) Ashtanga happenings, one of my first re-introductions to her was some stupid debate online that boiled down to: She’s pretty and she wears little shorts and tops. (I mentioned it before.) Fact of the matter is, she knows her yoga, in the widest sense of that word.

Which brings us to today’s humbling lesson from our Miami pal: Bujapidasana.

I wish I could find a succinct quotation to impart, but her whole piece is full of wisdom of the bodily, spiritual and inspirational kind. (And remember, I’m not much for… well, any of those!) What I react to is how her writing seems to press just up against a “new agey” sensibility that wouldn’t speak to me so well, but doesn’t go past it. To whit:

There are excruciating moments where the only thought in your mind is how tired you are. There are emotional moments when you doubt your strength and resolve. By touching these difficult places you also touch your limitations. When you brush again the limits of your known consciousness you also get very close to your spirit. As you push your boundaries a little bit of spirit seeps in and give you strength where you would not otherwise have.

Now, maybe it’s because I’m all too familiar with the “excruciating moments” of yoga, but those five sentences don’t push me away with an over-emphasis on something I can’t touch or feel. (I find Tim Miller to inhabit this same space, thus the connection I have with him, I suspect.) Instead, I stop for a second and think: “Is that what I experience in that pose? Hmmm.. maybe.”

And, if you’re reading an Ashtanga blog you know, once “it” has you saying, “Maybe,” it has you saying, “Yes, please sit on me in Supta Kurmasana!”

As I said, there’s an absolute tone more great stuff at the link above. Here’s one of my favorites:

The lesson of Bujapidasana is that you cannot stop when you are tired, when you doubt, when you feel like quitting or when you want it to be over. You stop when you are done. Practically speaking what that means is that you are not “done” with the posture until you jump back to Chaturanga Dandasana.

There are many more. I will have a whole new attitude toward the pose when I next practice it, which probably would be Sunday — I think I have to do a short home practice tomorrow, but I might sneak it in thanks to the inspiration.

Oh, and for those too lazy to click on the above link, here’s Kino’s demonstration of Bujapidasana. Watch it, and weep:

I’d say, by comparison, I’m a little steadier — more Sthira — than that. But she’ll get it, eventually.

Posted by Steve