Wednesday, January 05, 2005


SCENE: Mysore class. Six students. One small room.

One student has confessed that they know ashtanga but this is their first Mysore-style self-practice class. The student, very flexible, is in Triangle pose, right hand grazing the foot.

Satya: Try to grab your big toe

Student: No.

Satya: Why?

Student: Because I've always done it this way

Satya: Well in ashtanga the full pose means grabbing the big toe. Try it.

The student doesn't budge.


The same student is in Parsvakonasana (side flank pose), hand on the inside of the foot.

Satya: Try putting your hand outside of the foot.

Student: No.

Satya: Why?

Student: I don't feel like it

Satya: But that's not the pose.

Student: Well I've been taking yoga for 20 years and this is how I do it.


The same student has just been shown the Prasaraita Padottanasa (wide leg standing forward bend) sequence and is making up new versions of it, including one with palms in prayer on the back. Then the student puts their head on the floor and goes into headstand #2.

Satya (from across the room, slightly irritated): That's a second series pose.

The student actually comes down and waits to be shown what to do next.


Satya tries to help the student in Uttitha Hasta Padangustasana (a standing balance pose in which the grip is on the big toe).

Student: You won't like this but I always do this pose holding the side of my foot.

Satya: Is there something wrong with your big toe?

Student (holding the foot): No.

Satya: Then why? (facetously) Is that some kind of Iyengar thing?

Student: I think it's some kind of dancer-thing.

An hour later the student is gone and Satya -- who's made it through the entire class without farting -- has forgotten all about it.

For a minute anyway.

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