(this is a continuation of my Ashtanga yoga for dummies series. See
It’s a weekend. Ashtanga yoga for the evolved. There are new enrolees the past three weeks and they can execute most of the poses. For most people, for most of you, and for all of my classmates this is one of the easiest and simplest pose;
for me, on the right ankle, on the first few attempts, it felt like a thin sharp wire being inserted through the ankle then toes and heel. (The foot has to be inverted and perfectly perpendicular to the ground, 90 degrees, a right angle all the way up with the knee and thigh flat on the ground). When you couldn’t do something that everybody else could, you’d wonder whether there was something wrong.
The full pose is to bend your torso over the ankle, that puts more pressure; for me, at that time that felt like a razor running through my heel. (Now after five meetings, i can execute
the full pose for five breaths. In this photo of the preliminary pose, you see the plastic toy figurines, right? they’re balancing themselves; it’s steady. Progress.). I think it’s a bum right ankle, just my theory. This one, one of the simplest, and the right half-lotus(in lotus, you are flattening the right angle formed by your ankle): for me, then, felt like my foot is being split in the middle.
this right ankle has been shattered many times years ago, from running non-methodically on rocky surface and spraining (methodically for me means, paying attention to what you’re doing and not thinking of the plans you made for the next day, especially on uneven surface); and once years ago, when the internet infrastructure was being constructed i ran alongside the diggings, peeking at the fiber optics being laid underground while running; on a rainy afternoon; not very smart; dumbo; not recommended; the broken ankle was documented in two motions for continuance (postpone) of two hearings. Years ago, a friend of mine in the legal office sprained her ankle while on a bustop and she fell, on a sofa, there was someone selling a sofa; and she told me that she frequently sprained even while walking on flat shoes, i consoled her with the theory of evolution by saying: (& this is what you will tell Bea Alonzo on why she slipped and fell on the catwalk; it’s my gibberish day, bear with me) I read somewhere that our species sprained their ankle (our ankle) a lot more frequently compared to all the rest of the species, those that walked on all fours, because architecturally speaking, two legs ambulating and running is a lot less stable than four legs sprinting. The theory of evolution there (try to read the original; i’m simplifying), i think, is: (bear with me, this is how i console people): millions of years ago, the species that had some resemblance to us ran on all fours and then millions of years later (the theory of evolution is based on the premise that not all cells are 100% alike therefore, not all ligaments, fiber, body parts of the members of the same species are 100% alike in constitution) through millions of years (….be patient, this is how i consoled my friend) some of those who ran on all fours could also grasp objects and climb; their kind survived the predators better; and another million years of interbreeding, those who could grasp objects had thumbs farther from the other digits, so they could grasp better, climb better; they also survived better; and through millions of years of breeding, that body part became hands and then they could make tools and weapons, and they survived better; and later, they could build houses, bridges, learned to do math, then castles and churches. And after they could do that, they thought they were gods. Our ankle is the price we pay for being gods. (This is such a long story, 30million years B.C. and i’m just talking about ankles). And later some civilizations thought that God created us literally in His own image literally in one day, or the equivalent of our day. And not in millions of years.
(you think i’ll be excommunicated? Nah, i don’t think so.)
For me, a million years in the story of the universe is equivalent to the wink of an eye for God.
The math of this pose is: the foot should be perpendicular to the ground and pressed against the other thigh, toes pressed against the ground, and the knee and thigh of that foot should be touching the ground. There are preliminary poses for this (Warning: do not execute without the assistance of a certified Ashtanga yoga teacher); preliminary poses, you have to cradle your leg, put your hand under the loop of the cradled leg and grab your big toe then position it perpendicular to the ground. Do not just put your inverted foot there, it will not form a perfect 90-degree angle with the ground. Next week on a clear day i will show you.
These poses have made my hardened ankle flexible. I never knew.
The pose has a Sanskrit name, sowee again, i forgot. My name for this pose is easier to remember.
I call this pose: my-feet-made-of-clay. You know; from the figure of speech.
“Our leaders started out as honest, upright, and selfless, but once in power, they turned out to have feet made of clay.”
If someone like me who has an undiscovered bum right ankle can do these poses, so can you. (it’s now discovered, it’s been give a break, it’s going to be a contract star.)
Practising Ashtanga yoga makes you understand our species better, and our myths better.