Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Pasasana, "Noose Pose."

(snagged from a Google search)
I'll let you guess why it's called "noose pose."  It's also the first pose the Intermediate Series of Ashtanga.  And my teacher just gave it to me this morning!  She kind of caught me off guard.  I've seen people practicing Intermediate and I know it has a lot of back bends and lotus positions.  I get super light-headed during my drop backs (my teacher took those out a couple of weeks ago so that we can work on that not happening) have a tweaky low back and tweaky knees (my doctor actually thinks I have a "degenerative tear" in the meniscus of my left knee, not enough to cause instability, but enough to cause pain during certain *ahem, lotus* movements).  So, I thought that Intermediate was still a ways off.  Guess not!  I was laying on my back getting ready to do my second set of baby back-bends (just coming up on to the top of my head instead of full Urdhva Dhanurasana) when she walked over and asked if I had done Setu Bandhasana.  I told her I had and she said, "Jump through, Pasasana."  My reaction: "Huh?"  Who, me?  I'm such a geek sometimes, lol.  I knew what Pasasana was but I think I was kind of in disbelief, lol.

Here's a surprise, Pasasana is tricky!  It's not as easy as it looks!  Obviously it's a deep twist, but it's also a balance!  I didn't have any trouble getting my heels on the floor (yay for long Achille's tendons and open calf muscles) and I was able to catch most of the bind (yay for long monkey arms)...until I tipped over.  Kate had to hold me in place.  I think this pose is going to be very entertaining to work with...I forsee lots of me falling on my butt and rolling around, lol.  But I also think it's going to feel amazing.  I tend to get all grippy and tense in my shoulders and that's a pretty big opening that's going on here!  Not to mention, in my practice, I'll have back bends right after this.  And as I learned in teacher training, twists are a GREAT prep for back bending, because they loosen up the spine.  So I think it's really going to help in that area.

The other thing that was kind of cool and unexpected was how the pose felt energetically.  When I got Setu Bandhasana, it felt like a huge opening and I felt like I got this huge energy boost.  Largely because it was a new pose, the end of a series that I had been working on for nearly 2 years and it is indeed a huge opening of the front body, primarily the throat.  Taking savasana that day was actually a challenge!  The energy boost lasted all day long.  Pasasana, in comparison, was sort of anti-climatic.  Possibly because it's actually not the climax, it's a beginning ;-)  Either way, there was some excitement but I was left with a very grounded feeling afterwards.  Which also makes sense, because this is a squat and you're very compact.  So, it seems like not only does this pose prep my body for back bending, but it also feels like it does for my nerves as well because it's so grounding.  Intermediate is also called "Nadi Shodhana," translating as "clearing the energetic channels."  I have a feeling that my practice is about to get very interesting ;-)  I had been practicing the Primary Series for nearly 2 full years (October 26 marks the beginning of my Mysore practice).  Sometimes super consistently (4-6 days a week) sometimes barely 1-2 days a week while I practiced other styles.  Now it is pretty much the only style of yoga that I practice and it feels like home and it's quietly exciting to know that it's about to go to another level.  Thinking about moving into the next series of Ashtanga kind of feels like I did when I practiced Pasasana for the first time this morning; it wasn't a huge struggle of a pose just one that is tricky on very subtle levels.  Moving from Primary to Secondary feels like that, just kind of a quiet step forward.