I wish I had more inspirational Instagram-y quotes or stories with these video clips, you know: "There once was a Zen master ... "
However they just remind me too strongly of where we were living and what we were doing, so that's what I end up talking about.
I'm not sure when this was taken --- maybe 2005 or 2006? Before I busted the meniscus in my knee, so maybe 2005. Tara, Rowan and I all lived in a great granny flat above the garage of our friend David's house in Encinitas. I don't know why we practiced at home this day, maybe Tara and I decided to sleep in, or maybe it was a moon day?
We were also listening to Krishna Das quite loudly; after 10 years teaching at vinyasa studios, I could go a couple years before I hear Krishna Das again. If that guy got royalties off yoga studio plays he'd be a millionaire.
Tara is not ideally suited for putting her leg behind her head on a morphological level (ratio of leg length to torso length to torso width), although she can do one leg at a time. She still confesses to not liking it too much and I don't believe she feels the deep stretch in the hip that I do when the leg is back there.
For years she would go in and out of an achey hip pain, and dwi pada sirsasana could really aggravate it. I don't think all the time, but one time every couple months that pose would really cause a flare up.
About four or five years ago she said (I am paraphrasing) "Fuck it," and stopped doing dwi pada sirsasana entirely. Subsequently her hip pain went away.
She will do eka pada sirsasana and then go right to yogi(ni) nidrasana; sometimes she will do supta kurmasana.
There is a point with advanced practitioners like Tara when they do not follow the letter of the series, but are still in keeping with the spirit.
Another video from my "when we were young" file. Tara filmed this during a weeklong trip to Auroville in 2005. The Jois shala had closed for a week, so we had traveled to just north of Puducherry (Pondicherry) on the bay of Bengal.
I watched this video again and thought, "Boy, we've practiced Ashtanga in some great and crazy places." Chad Herst was teaching with his then-partner Monica Marinoni on the rooftop of her house. One side had a cement ledge that faced raw green jungle.
It looks sunny during this video, which is weird because a cyclone tore through and dumped rain for what seemed like an entire week. I woke one night with our bedsheets soaked through, and thought, "Did I pee the bed?" Turns out our bed was touching the wall, and the walls sweated had enough water to soak our sheets.
We had a family motorcycle (a Ninja), and would finish journies covered up to the knee in mud.
It was, to say the least, a very trying trip.
I had just learned to press back up from the bottom position of this pose and was still enamored with the feeling.
The other detail that really pops out to me is that, during this period of my life more than 10 years ago, I weighed about 145 pounds.
I have since "filled in," as my wife charitably puts it, to about 175. It is quite remarkable the different sensations in the postures, especially the twists, given the 30 additional pounds.
Jason owns and directs Portland Ashtanga Yoga.