I’ve been trying to contain my excitement and be all nonchalant about this but I can’t (head)stand it anymore. Last week, on day 625 (that’s one year, 8 months and 14 days after my first day of Ashtanga Yoga), I got the last posture in the primary series. That elusive final posture: headstand.
Not that I’m counting or anything, but if I were to break it down, based on an average of 4-5 Mysore practices per week (over the 625 days since I started), I think I can estimate that it took approximately 400 practices to reach this upside down, sweaty, colossal moment in time. Don’t ask me about the tricky math. Let’s just say that Doc B tells me I’m a good guesser.
I now understand why the primary series is often referred to as the “yoga therapy” sequence of postures. Many days it feels more physically and emotionally draining than any 50 minute psychotherapy session I’ve ever paid good hard-earned money for. At least in the latter you get to sit your sock-covered feet on a comfortable couch while you pour your guts out. Although in the former, at least it’s just your own guts dripping steadily onto your very own Manduka versus whatever dripped out of the other rehab patients who sat on that comfy couch before you.
So this full primary series is now supposed to restore my health, purify and strengthen my body and return each and every flabby fold and overworked kidney to a state of balance. So why do I still feel like a tipsy yogi? Perhaps because I’m still eating and drinking like a couch potato? Okay, I know. It doesn’t happen all at once. And even though I’ve been given all of the postures, there are too many to count that I just can’t quite get myself into yet. I can do a version (aversion?) of them, but I’m not quite there. Such as:
- Consistently rolling over my toes and not letting my shoulders cave into up dog (so that my stomach doesn’t drag on the floor)
- Lifting my butt up in purvattanasana, setu bandhasana and utpluthih – blah, blah, bandhas, blah, blah
- Binding on the first side of marichiasana C
- Binding at all in marichiasana D
- Grabbing my toe to bind in any of the forward folds
- Crossing my feet and folding forward in bujapidasana
- Binding in supta kurmasana
- Getting my hands through my legs in garba pindasana and thus kukkutasana
- And a bunch of other things that I can’t think about right now.
But you know what? Making this list of stuff I can’t do, only makes me think of all the things I never thought I’d be able to do that I now can. Like:
- Showing up
- 5 A sun salutations and 5 B sun salutations without passing out
- Not crying from the weight of my teacher on my legs during baddha konasana.
- Maintaining my balance (more than half the time) in utthita hasta padangustasana
- Touching the floor with my hands in prasarita padottanasana C (with help!)
- Sitting in lotus
Makes me wonder what all is coming with my next 400 practices?