Cabbage-Patch-Doll Asana

I always thought Uth Pluthi (uprooting) got its name from the fact that it's a huge moola (root)-bandha check. I also always thought it was cruel and unusual that in Ashtanga this heavy situation is the big send off from your 1-2 hour practice. I'm sure bandhas have something to do with it, but lately it's been clear that what's being uprooted is whatever thought-process you use in the face of struggle and it's corresponding biological response.

Cabbage Patch Doll or uprooting yogi?

Cabbage Patch Doll or uprooting yogi?

If your Mysore practice is anything like mine, you've just been put through the ringer of the deepest forward folds and backbends known to man, all kept at a pretty fast pace. Naturally this translates to 2 hours of sweat, lots of tears, doubts, fears, questioning your self-worth, mommy/daddy issues, the battle to calm the above emotions, and anything else that is hanging out in the deepest, darkest corners of your being. Did I mention this process begins before the sun even rises? And after surviving all that it is now expected I bundle my quivering legs into lotus and lift myself off the ground for 10 calm breaths? Knowing Savasana is on the other side is probably the only reason I don't conveniently "forget" Uth Pluthi more often.

 

But watching what goes on in your brain during this difficult moment is invaluable. Whatever thought I have of why I don't want to or can't do it is a huge flag marking what excuse I use to play it small when things get tough. We are masters at distracting ourselves from where we need to do work, and after practice our walls have been broken down through sheer exhaustion (I think as a yoga teacher I'm supposed to call it "surrender") so we can't turn our head away from the voice in our head that tells us something is lacking to make this moment right. You can experience the resistance just by watching your breath pick up and thoughts quicken.

 

So although I would definitely prefer to lie down after my 10 breath meditation, there is a lot to be learned from one last moment to pull out the weeds that have been buried deep beneath the surface of the thinking mind.