Sunday, 26 February 2012

When is it the right time to begin second series?

So my teacher James said I should start the intermediate series next week. I panicked a little as I can't even jump back properly (when I say properly, I guess i mean 'float' back) and still cannot jump through with straight legs (I can do crossed legs now).

I'd been held back for over a year with knee pain, knee clicking etc. but once it seemed to have got a lot better (they're not perfect and don't think they ever will be)  my practice has just taken off! Thinking about what I've achieved in such a short space of time seems amazing... padmasana, mari d, supta kurmasana, tittibhasana, bakasana with jump back and drop backs, all within 9 months. I can't come up to stand from back bend unassisted, (I managed it once but it has evaded me since :) but I'm dropping back at home most practices, the Lino Miele way (walking hands back down legs then letting go). So my question is am I ready for the second series?

I'm trying to think back to when I started the primary series... did I think I'd never be able to do them? Yeah, I guess I did, I certainly didn't think I'd ever jump through to sit, let alone get into supta kurmasana and dropping back into a back bend. I remember watching the teacher demonstrate jumping through and thinking, 'yeah right!!'. lol. It's funny how quickly things change. The time's gone by in a flash.

Kino MacGregor says that if you can hold UHP without any stumbling, bind in mari d, bind and get legs behind head (with help is fine) in supta k and drop back and come up in your backbends, then you may be ready for intermediate series.

So now I find myself here with the David Swenson practice manual open half way through and feel like a complete beginner. Again. But it's exciting. Very exciting. A new journey! New postures to work out, new pain and discomfort to experience!!! So today I finished purvottanasana then began the intermediate section. It all seemed to be going fine until laghu vajrasana.

OMG, it was hilarious, 3 options to choose from from David's book, and I still couldn't work out which one to do!! I think that'll be one to do with a teacher. It was like, 'if I bend here? No. If I do it like it this? No, that doesn't work. Maybe like this? No never going to happen!' LOL.

Kapotasana I managed to do option D I think, taking the hands back to the wall, but oh dear, I think my back has a LOT of work to do! I have a very flexible lower spine, but my upper/thoracic spine is so stiff it's unbelievable. The back bends left me thinking, will I EVER be able to do them?!

I guess I just have to look back and remember seeing tittibhasana or supta kurmasana for the first time!!

When I started ashtanga I really didn't know what I was letting myself in for. Before I'd even finished, sorry, even seen the whole primary series I was already booked up for David Swenson's retreat in Goa! It wasn't until I got there and was half way through the first morning's practice when I thought, wow this is long, I don't remember this posture...or this one for that matter! Complete shock. This time, I know exactly what I'm letting myself in for, I have books, DVDs and practice manuals and sheets to remind me! To remind me of how far I have to go, how long the journey's going to be and how much work I will have to put in every practice.

Luckily for me I can do the first 8 postures, I can even bind in Pasasana! And I'm looking forward to getting to grips with all the rest!


  1. Great job! I can relate a lot as I'm knocking at the front door of the 2nd series as well. Hey, what pose were you referring to when you said UHP?

  2. Hey Evan! Thanks! Utthita Hasta Pandangustasana was the pose I was referring to. Being able to do it without wobbling apparently. So when you going to take the plunge?! Do you have a yoga blog I could follow?