AYS Philadelphia Part 2

Jeweler’s Row in Holiday Finery, a stone’s throw from AYS Philadelphia


I am quivering.  That is to say, a good deal of the muscles in my body are still quivering from an exceedingly vigorous rendition of the first half of the Ashtanga 2nd series.  More importantly, right away David got down to some of the fundamental information that I was looking for from this workshop.

He began with a discussion of how working with the 2nd series requires you to deepen your relationship to the surya namaskar, to appreciate the fundamental standing postures that form the first part of the ashtanga sandwich, so to speak.  He spoke of how you have to move beyond the stage that a friend of his called the “hungry asana eater.”  This is what Kino was talking about when she said you have to make a shift from an athletic focus to a devotional one.

Anyway, this is where things get interesting in the Ashtanga experiment.  For things do seem to get a pretty intense when you start working with 2nd series.  David had us sit in virasana with a block between our thighs to engage inner thigh adduction, an inward rotation of the thighs that has to happen for many of the 2nd series poses, and proceeded to talk about Risk.  How the intermediate series is risky.  Physically risky with poses like kapotasana and karandavasana, and emotionally risky.  Which I have noticed.  I want to ask him how to ground and stay stable while learning this but he talked instead of developing an ok ness with the imbalance, that you have to let it in.  Stability is where it is safe, but not necessarily a place of growth.  He spoke of enjoying the imbalance, putting yourself out there with more precision, more awareness, more you… fully in it.  “So that you’re ready for what happens when you lay it on the line.”

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4 thoughts on “AYS Philadelphia Part 2

  1. thanks for sharing your workshop experiences! I think I needed to be reminded that second series is about learning to steadily and mindfully take risks…to put yourself out there with eyes wide open! Your post inspired me write a New year’s eve post of my own. Looking forward to hearing more about your experiences at the workshop. 🙂

    1. Thanks Christine! I read your post too and I just wanted to say he did qualify the risk elements by saying that you take intelligent risks, not just throwing yourself off the bridge and so forth. It was a totally inspiring workshop in a beautiful city. I’m looking forward to going back.

  2. Thanks for sharing. I totally agree that second series is both physically and emotionally risky. I had intense back pain for the first two weeks after I first grabbed my heels by myself in Kapotasana, and it really scared the s%$t out of me. I was really thinking about never doing kapo again…

    Enjoy Philly too! I’ve only been there once, and it was for a conference, so I never got to see much of the city. Maybe I should sign up for one of David’s workshops soon.

    Happy New Year!

    1. Thanks Nobel! Funny, the way he had us do kapo had me scared silly, and I’m not usually scared of backbends. But he had us lift our arms straight up and go back s.l.o.w.l.y…. it was torture. I’d much rather just go for it. Actually had to make myself do it. But another woman had the opposite experience. She was scared to go quickly but enjoyed going slowly. Go figure. But then on Sunday I noticed I could drop back with a little more control, so I think it’s something to keep working with.

      Philly was a nice city, sort of feels like being in Europe even though I know it’s far younger, but it has an old world feel to it. I loved the museum- they have a much better contemporary collection than Boston. It was like visiting old friends I studied in Modern Art 101.

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