Its perfectly hot, you can hear the ocean, the crows caw seems so suited to your breath you don’t mind, the walls are stuffed with bhakti, the sweat is medicinal, you don’t have one damn thing to do the rest of the day but rest so why not practice for 3 hours? Your back seems to keep going backwards and backwards and best of all it feels like all 40 students are one giant organism working for the same cause…to burn tapas and learn.
AH! AYS KOVALAM HOW MUCH I LOVE YOU.
Six days later at 10am…
“Where am I? Oh yeah Los Angeles, in a cold room, running on a few hours of jet lagged sleep, practicing on a crappy mat, and I swear this isn’t my back or my hips or my forward bend. What happened? I can still count the number of hours its been since I left India…what body did I get transported back home in?
I think I’ll stop at Galavasana. You did a good job today. You can’t expect to finish your full practice only 6 days after you left India. No I’ll go on. Okay Viparita Dandasana. Just do it. It’ll help open your back for tomorrow when your practice will be better.”
I kick over into headstand and there I am in the worst feeling Viparita Dandasana since -11 degree Moscow. I try every tool in my tool box and nothing is opening this back.
“Ah this sucks.”
But then I remember…
8 days earlier at David’s Sunday Talk
A woman who had recently received a new pose in 3rd series asks, “How do we progress? Truly progress.”
I felt bad for her. I knew what she was thinking, “How the hell am I going to continue 3rd series without you David? In the bone chilling city where its still dead of winter? I’ll be practicing alone. Help me! I’m freaking out.”
‘How do I progress?’ has to be one of the top ten questions David receives at a workshop. And like so often David responds with, “That’s actually what my talk is about today.”
Good teacher. He’s on track with them. He knows he’s going to send them out to the real world. I think, “Last Sunday Talk David…lay it on the line.”
25 minutes later…
David has gone through his arsenal of bullet points that have been crafted over the past 20 years on progress…honestly, I could rattle them off like the back of my hand. I know these points, I use these points but then…”oh shit. What did he say? Did he just say- Oh my goodness. Did he say?”
13 years earlier…My first experience with Ashtanga…Freshman year
I looked it up on the internet…Ashtanga Yoga Space. Evening Class Led Primary Series with Authorized teacher Carola Schmidt
“Oh great its only 10 blocks from my house. That’s so close. Perfect. I can walk there.”
There were 3 people in the class including me. I didn’t know what I was doing. All I can remember now is that during the Prasaritas my legs were shaking. The teacher didn’t stop me. She led me through the full primary series. I left the class and had to take the bus home.
Waiting for the bus was intense. The experience was a bit mind blowing for me. I wanted to be a film director and I felt that Ashtanga was the missing link that I needed to help me succeed.
When I think back on my first experience with Ashtanga the same question has always alluded me, “How the hell did I finish the full primary series considering my legs were shaking at the standing postures? Sometimes I can’t even finish David’s Led class.”
Back to The Sunday Talk…AYS Kovalam
“Oh my God he did say that word! He said if none of this works then you can cultivate one thing—ENTHUSIASM.” This was the answer to the question that alluded me all those years. My first experience of Ashtanga, hell the first two years of my practice were driven solely on enthusiasm. I need some of that back into my practice.
Six Days Later at 10am…Back in Los Angeles
“Ah Viparita Dandasana. God I wish I had a back that could just bend. It must be glorious to be one of those women who in the middle of an ice storm can stand in a field of horses and grab her ankles. Oh what I wouldn’t give for some…………………………………………..E-N-T-H-U-S-I-A-S-M.”
It became my mantra for the next 40 minutes as I finished my way through to the end of the series and into drop backs. Enthusiasm.
“If none of this works then you can cultivate enthusiasm.”
Four hours later in the car with David
Me: “So I really liked your last Sunday Talk.”
David (a slight chuckle): “No. Yoga Sutra 1-20.”
Shraddha Virya Smrti Samadhi Prajna Purvaka Itareshma
Faith, ENTHUSIASM, memory, concentration, insight
About Joy Marzec:
This August marks Joy’s 11th year studying under Certified Ashtanga teacher David Garrigues. David has taught her the Primary Series, Second Series, Third Series and is currently teaching her the Fourth Series.
She is the producer of David Garrigues’s online Yoga teaching series, Asana Kitchen, and is currently editing her first feature film called Bhakti Boy. To learn more about Joy visit her website www.joymarzecfilms.wordpress.com.