Wednesday, August 18, 2010


In one of the interviews near the end of the Guruji book, an interviewee mentions that Pattabhi Jois often said, "Don't delay."

In other words, don't put off doing the pose.

I'm a big fan of this, in practice and in life. (In life, it's even more profound than on the mat).

During backbends - which is prime futzing time - I urge students not to procrastinate or start thinking about other things. (I often say, "There's no crying in baseball - and no thinking during backbends!").

For awhile I had No-Futz Fridays in Mysore class. On Fridays, students were encouraged to move in and out of poses with correct vinyasa and no extraneous movement.

It didn't go over very well.

People like to futz, fidget, fiddle and procrastinate.

(Nowadays I have Freaky Fridays, during which students are encouraged to cross the legs, arms, etc., opposite of the usual way - ie; left over right in Supta Kurmasana, left foot first in lotus, etc. This is a bit more popular than No-Futz Fridays - perhaps because it's a form of futzing).

Anyway, I love and respect the ashtanga vinyasa system, and try to move in and out of poses correctly whenever possible. I also try not to futz while practicing Dharma Yoga.

Recently, I've been doing some research before Kapotasana, in the form of Eka Pada Raja Kapotasana with-a-strap. (Research is a form of futzing). But it merely seems to have messed up the right shoulder/wrist/neck. So I'm going back to what Dharma told me to do - which is to perform the pose at least three times. Without too much futzing.

Dharma likes to say that the class should "move together like a school of fish - even if you have to pretend - so that we can create a collective mind." (The word "collective" seems to put off students who grew up during the Cold War - at least when I use it). He also says students should move in and out of the poses gracefully, as if you're performing for an audience.

The way I see it, this is similar to saying "Don't delay."*

I think that the delaying/futzing is often a form of ego indulgence - as is moving at one's own pace in a led class. (And doing whatever pose you like during a led class).

What do *you* think?

*There are times during Dharma's class (and my class!) when students are doing different poses at the same time - and it looks like anarchy. But, somehow it's not.


  1. Fantastic. Thank you for sharing this. I had to forward it on fb, of course with your blog source.
    Interesting is really how speedy this is. Not much thinking is possible....:)

    Join facebook Cara, you won't regret it. Give it a try.

    Have a great day.

  2. Thank you Ursula.

    I do not plan to join Facebook. But if I do, you will be (are) my first friend.

  3. Yep, absolutely agree, it is totally a form of self indulgence, that being said let me just get on the mat, right now! :-)

  4. Anonymous7:25 AM

    I always seem to pass folks in mysore class--and I worried that I was going too quickly, but finally, I saw that many people take a long long time between each pose. They hold the down dog in the vinyasa a long time, they stand a long time between the standing poses, etc. I don't know if it's the ego or just lack of endurance, but I do see a lot of folks lollygagging.

  5. well there's a difference between slower & mindful with correct vinyasa & hurrying up. personally i prefer deeper breaths & slower, still no thinking or futzing. xtra movements kind of get in the way.

  6. Sometimes it is lack of endurance. If that is the case, and it's a Mysore class, they can also just stop and go to closing. When I came back to full practice after the most recent ankle/back problem, I spent some time at the front of the mat between poses at Lino's workshop, catching my breath (I was doing 2nd series). I kept apologizing and he kept saying, "It is OK. It is just the first day." Now of course the breathing is fine.

    Speaking of breathing.... I think that the length of the breath depends on the individual; it should be longer if the practitioner is more advanced. When Lino first came to Chicago in 1999, his count of five breaths equaled seven to eight of mine. Now it's even; his five is my five. Ideally, the breath becomes slower over time.

    More important is that the breath is smooth, soft and even - and not constrained/forced/rough. As Guruji said, over and over "Free breathing!" If it means taking a break between poses in a Mysore class, so be it. But doing so for months and months is not correct.

  7. Tim Miller just joined Facebook and is rapidly friending everyone! :)

    Practice: I am futzing like I've never futzed before lately. I will futz if there is no policeman, and I've gone from C (vinyasa centric) to JC (pose centric).

    Actually I'm pretty good until I get up to Ganda Bherundasana, and then I switch from practicing yoga to working on poses.

    But whatever. It's all good. I'm not sure if I'd call it ego indulgence or pure laziness, this procrastination.

    word veri: fluid

  8. I wonder if that has anything to do with the big new shala opening in Encinitas tomorrow......

  9. VERY good topic. what is Ganda Bherundasana? agree, ck. my breath definitely changed through the years. lino is cool about going slow. he often talks about starting slower on sunday, building up & tapering down. i use it all the time.
    it's GREAT to see tim on facebook. so many people inspired by him sharing their photos is worth it.

  10. i heard carol has something to do with it. it's a positive thing. so many people love him. it warms the cockles of my heart. i did not know the shala was opening tomorrow. i checked all of them out & never heard of a single teacher who is running them. but i'm kinda out of the loop so to speak...

  11. Is it just opening tomorrow? I'm so bad about paying attention to the doings of Command Central, though part of my is hugely satisfied with the way things are going.

    But yes he's said his wife made him do it. She is, I've heard, the business person of the equation.

    I'd practice with Tim again for sure. I only have a couple times, but...

  12. Oh - Binda - Ganda B is a pose in 3rd that I could can't quite do on my own. I'm close, but I don't get assisted. So I repeat 4/5 times, with rests in between. Goodbye vinyasa!

    I'm really cool with it though now that I've adjusted my attitude.

  13. I think they should start with a new web designer. That menu bar looks so childish, I first thought this whole thing just MIGHT be a joke.

  14. I know. There's going to be a complete division between those who follow Guruji trained and then the newer generation. It'll be interesting to see where Astanga is in five years.

  15. The division has begun.

    Lino Miele withdrew his certification over the doings in Encinitas (which did not originally include Tim).

    Someone said that Paul Dallaghan has also withdrawn; I don't have any firsthand knowledge of that (and he is a newer teacher anyway).

  16. Ya... I know it's begun already. A lot of very experienced teachers have been upset with the way things were going for awhile, though it's all coming out into the open now.

    I wish Manju had been interested in taking the reins, but of course he opted out ages ago.

  17. Is there where I tell you this? There is no yoga in Paso Robles, the small rural community that has become my new home. I have tried the gym comment and driven dozens of miles for mediorce classes. I read your blog regularly, and am regularly inspired. A while back I asked the universe for some of that dharma yoga to come here to Paso. Last month a yoga studio opened in Paso. It is call "Dharma Yoga." I will take my first class there this weekend. Whatever you are doing....keep doing it.

  18. Dear Anne,
    I'm so glad to hear that! You will love it (it picks up where Suddha left off I think). I hope you and yours are well. xxoo.