Aug 9, 2012

Why a Blog? Why This Blog? Why?

Starting a blog is a weird thing. Blogs are weird things. Infinitely public and at the same time (at least with personal blogs) eerily private. You post to the worldwide web, and who reads your thoughts? Impossible to say. In the beginning, maybe just a few strangers who stumble across your site through some random Google search, maybe some friends, a few indulgent family members... maybe.

My kids are home this week—it's summertime, and they have no camp, no time at the beach, no family visits lined up for a few days. When they're home, it's chaotic. I can't do my own work (which is to say, I can't write my "real" stuff). So instead I've been messing around with this blog idea, playing with the design, thinking about the title. "A Yoga Blog" was one minimalist thought, but that was way too vague. Titles force you to make decisions. Stake a claim. Communicate. Thinking about the title of this blog eventually made me realize that I don't want to blog about yoga, generally (though yoga, generally, is an enormous part of my life), but much more specifically about my ongoing attempt to work through the First Series of Ashtanga. Ashtanga is famous for being intense. It's difficult, demanding, sweaty, and sometimes scary. The physicality is so great that it marries with every other "part" of you—parts we tend to think of as separate elements of our personalities: emotion, spirit, instinct, and intellect. For example, these days, I'm working on bhujapidansana (which is as far as I've gotten in the series) and it's a serious goat. A hairy, wild goat on every level—so much so that that entity I call "me," that physical-emotional-instinctual-spiritual matrix that walks around in this body of mine—has a big old event every morning I work on this pose.

In the ideal bhujapidasana, you're balanced on your hands with your legs wrapped around your upper arms, your feet crossed, tucked behind you, and lifted off the floor, your back is rounded and lifting, your chin or forehead lightly touching the ground. Suffice it to say, when I do bhujapidasana, I do not look like this:

Petri Raisenen, from his book on Ashtanga Yoga

I look more like this:

(attribution unknown)

The difficulty of the practice is significant, but in many ways inspiring. Because every day I work a pose like bhujapidasana, not to mention every time I try (in my awkward, fumbling, newbie way) to "lift up," "jump back," or "float through," I am reminded that what seems impossible isn't necessarily. The proof, in a Mysore-style practice room, is all around. People left, right, and center are doing these things and many others, often with grace and apparent ease. Although we rarely talk, my fellow practitioners are an integral part of my practice. I've never understood the importance of community in my yoga practice as much as I have since starting this Mysore-style Ashtanga some four or five months ago. I suppose what I hope to do here, with this blog, is expand and extend that community. Let's see if it works!



JCarr said...

that made me laugh. xox