What's It All About, Alfie?
Anybody here not know why we do ashtanga? To get the next pose. Right? Anybody disagree? Raise your mouse. You lie. We may wish it were for all that other stuff, but in the nitty-gritty real world we all sweat in, it's about quantitative evaluation. You do better, you get more poses. You don't get poses, you're not good enough to get them. The simplicity is attractive. It's honest, understandable and it works. We get into it, get motivated, do more and maybe inadvertently gather other benefits as well. But, for most, and probably all of us, the true motivator is: what's next.
So, why blather about this? Well, I was trying to assess if it's possible for me to get a pose. Ever. Regardless of what i am able to do athletically. There are factors that could make progression, and therefore satisfaction, impossible. Namely, access.
Obviously, poses are given in Mysore classes. At our studio, Mysore classes with the teacher who gives out poses are on Monday thru Friday, only. so that eliminates one sixth of my chances right there (working with the theoretic six practice per week regimen). Another quirk of ashtanga is that classes aren't held on moon days. presume 2 moon days per month, which will fall on Mysore class days 71% of the time. Also, the norm is to not give poses on Tuesdays, an inauspicious day (Mars' day) in Hindu culture. Scratch another four days. So, where am i so far? 30 days minus 8-9 weekend days, minus four Tuesdays, minus 1.4 moon days, that's 13.4 days gone already. Ok, the big kahuna, being a senior teacher, usually is out of town on a weekend teaching junket twice a month. Typically, he used to be gone from Thursday thru Sunday. Lately, however, he has been out for Monday too (travel recovery day?). so that's another six days per month lost to me. Two thirds of the month is already history and i haven't even entered the studio yet.
I'm one of those 'normal' people, the pretenders, one who actually has a day job that limits my ability to make it to Mysore classes. At our studio, the Mysore classes are from 7-9am on M-W-F and are from 9-11am on T&Th. Since my typical day on call starts at either 7:30a or 8:00a, the only time i can get to a M-W-F class is if i am in clinic in the morning. On those days, I can schedule my clinic to start at 10:00 and work thru lunch to make up for the late start. The only time I can make it to Mysore on T & Th is if i work overnight the night before. I get off a bit after 8, drive up and usually can make it to the studio right at or shortly after the class starts, presuming no last minute crash c-sections, etc. So, if i am to make it to Mysore, i have to either be in clinic on a M-W-F, or I have to have been on call Wed night.
Looking over the last few months, I was on call on a Wednesday night only once each month, so that takes away another three days. I was in clinic in the morning no more than twice in a given month on M-W-F. So, that gives me 2-3 days in an average month in which i might see and be seen by my teacher in a Mysore setting.
I've got two chances a month, essentially, to practice and show enough worth to be advanced. and some months, it's not even that many. There are usually many other practice chances, usually led classes, Saturday classes, or the second Mysore class, led by another teacher. Not classes in which I could "progress" though.
So, what's it all about? Self delusion. I don't think teachers think you're a real student, a serious student, one who they might think about progressing, when you're only there twice a month.
Now, this shouldn't be misconstrued as a whiny, "i deserve to be given a pose but I'm being unfairly passed over" thing. I know that I'm not doing the poses near the end of my practice well. and may not ever be able to do so. This is more a diatribe about how we can fool ourselves into thinking that we're like every one else, all the daily practice people, when, we're not. we're the de facto strap hangers, the carpet baggers. we have a place and more power to us for whatever we can accomplish, but, no matter what our ability, we won't ever be able to do what comparable daily Mysore people do, because we won't get the chance.
it still beats going home and playing internet poker.