Wednesday, September 06, 2006

After While, Crocodile

Shortly after my wife and I began taking yoga classes (nearly 20 years ago!), we heard about a yoga vacation in North Carolina.

One week of expert yoga instruction, two classes per day, in the Smokey Mountains sounded great to us.

Since we were new to yoga, we really didn't know what we were getting ourselves into, but off we went.

We weren't accustomed to two nearly three-hour long yoga classes per day. So when we finished our second session each day we retreated back to our side of the duplex cabin and we vegged out. Really vegged out.

Napping. Sitting on the porch. Reading. Napping. Did I mention napping?

But each afternoon, right after we settled into La-Z-Boy mode, a ruckus of floor-pounding, shouting and laughter would commence just on the other side of the paper-thin wall that separated us from our neighbors.

On day one, curiosity arose. On day two, we detected a pattern. (Maybe this will happen every day? Are they nuts?) On day three, we caved in to a mix of nosiness and mild irritation and paid a visit to our neighbors, three women from Pittsburgh.

They invited us in to observe that the furniture had been shoved up against one wall and one at a time, while the other two cheered, each would bound across the floor, progressing a few inches at a time, "hopping" from a low push-up position.

Nakrasana, they told us--the crocodile pose.

They were actively involved in some sort of on-going challenge with their yoga teacher back home. So while they were off on vacation they didn't want to lose any of the progress they had made. Even though they were tired too, they bounced across the floor, without fail, every day. It was a spectacle the likes of which I'd never seen before.

I owned a copy of Light on Yoga at the time, but I'd never seen this pose in there. Lo and behold, it is in there. There they were, on page 106, pictures of Mr. Iyengar, airborne, in the dreaded chaturanga dandasana position.

I tried it. It takes some getting used to. But it works. And it makes you strong fast.

What I found out was this: if you're facing a pose that's challenging and you find your self dreading it, work on a slightly more challenging version of the pose. It makes the thing you dread seem easier and less daunting.

Chaturanga dandasana is tough. But if I practice nakrasana, chaturanga dandasana seems like a walk in the park.

Sometimes I dread downward facing dog pose. So I practice one-legged downward facing dog pose. Then the original pose feels like a treat, a resting position!

Speaking of resting position. After I did nakrasana that day, I went back to my side of the cabin for a nap. (Don't skip the relaxation at the end of your yoga practice.)

Don't just read about it. Get up. Experience it. Experience yoga!

Kevin Perry

p.s., The Sanskrit Word of the Day from my previous Daily Yoga Tip was nakra. Nakra means crocodile, as in nakrasana, the crocodile pose.

p.p.p.s., Today's Sanskrit Word of the Day is makara. I'll tell you what it means next time.

p.p.p.p.s., Thank you, all of you who emailed me yesterday about Steve Irwin and yesterday's Daily Yoga Tip. You inspire me.

p.p.p.p.p.s., My knee surgery went well today. So far, I have no pain and I'm moving around cautiously. I trust my legs. But I don't trust the after-effects of general anesthesia. There's something seductive and powerful about narcotics. Maybe tomorrow I'll write about anandamide, a neurochemical that...well check back tomorrow to see what comes out in the wash.

p.p.p.p.p.p.s., If you missed our announcement yesterday about the Foundations of Yoga Teaching workshop coming up Saturday, September 23 in Fulton, Missouri, click here. It's by donation only. You can't beat the price.

Copyright 2006. All rights reserved, Mo Yoga LLC.
Kevin Perry
Mo Yoga LLC
1305 Elmerine Ave
Jefferson City, MO 65101

(573) 680-6737


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