Couples’ Ashtanga

September 25, 2013 § 12 Comments

Double Runway

My mother and sister came to visit two weeks ago, our first guests, which meant accelerating our unpacking schedule to turn our third bedroom into an actual guest room and not a storage facility. We sold our queen-sized guest bed in favor of thick, Japanese-style futons that can be trotted out or packed away when not in use, freeing up the space to be used as a yoga/meditation room the rest of the time. We’re still figuring out our morning routines, and because we only have one car at the moment, it’s been a little stressful to get to the studio every morning for the husband to fit his practice in with sufficient time leftover to get his coffee and hop on the shuttle to work. At the same time, I’ve found myself drawn towards the quiet nature of a home practice the past few weeks. The Mysore program at our studio has practically exploded in recent months with an average of 30-35 students every morning, which is just awesome, but it’s also left me craving for a quieter space to practice in. I don’t know if this is just a phase or a sign of things to come, but home practice is proving mighty interesting right now.

This morning was the first time we practiced together at home and it was just lovely. Much more enjoyable than practicing all on my own, that’s for sure. I handed him a towel to bind in Supta Kurmasana while he hung out nearby to assist me in dropping back and standing up. At our studio we have a stack of 6 styrofoam blocks, each about 2 inches thick, that are velcroed together and can be (noisily) removed to reduce its height and bring you closer to the floor. I’ve graduated from 6 to 4 blocks, but at home, short of constructing this, I’m using a rattan basket that’s about 10 inches tall instead. The tricky part is graduating from that to the floor, as it’s a pretty big difference. Maybe I need to swap out the baskets for a stack of blankets? Or pile of books? Or just go back to the studio and their styrofoam blocks! If you’ve had any experience with working through dropping back and standing up with props I’d love to hear it.


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§ 12 Responses to Couples’ Ashtanga

  • globie says:

    I started with dropping and standing up from my very low bed, then a yoga Bolster, then I got a guy at a packaging company I dealt with to make me 6 normal size yoga blocks shapes out of polystyrene. I used 2 stacks 3 blocks high against the wall and gradually took them away until I could do it off the floor, the last block was the hardest, more mentally than physically. Dropping back is (relatively) easy, gravity is always gonna win, it’s more about teaching the body the movement of coming back up, the legs engaging and it not being about the arms ability to force your body forward and up, but to inhale, head last etc. I would never have got it if I had just kept being assisted, you don’t take responsibility until you do it on your own and know a hand isn’t going to rescue you, the blocks are a great way of learning it.

    • D says:

      Totally agree with you on the bit about taking responsibility and the temptation not to ‘own it’ in the face of ready assistance. That’s partly why I opted for home practice in May, to wean myself off a teacher’s assistance when dropping back on my own. While I’m generally not a fan of props in the practice I’ve found the blocks to be immensely helpful building confidence to stand up, not to mention how fun it actually is! I may have to get a couple more yoga blocks for home to work through this….the other bit about using styrofoam blocks is that they drop their “crumbs” everywhere!

      • globie says:

        The polystyrene blocks I had made, are made of industrial packaging grade , so apart from chipping a corner off , I’ve not dented them, no crumbs all over the floor, though they are a bit shiny, especially if the hands are sweaty, so I usually put a little towel on the top.

  • Ken and I are finding a home practice together is quiet and delightful. It brings us closer, even in our practice. We are now going to the studio only on Fridays, when Ken takes the led class (I do sometimes, too), and we bring chai. That gives us the benefit of the community, which we would miss if we were to stop completely.

    • D says:

      Yes, it is quite pleasant when you can do your practice with your partner isn’t it? Sounds like you’ve found the right balance between home and community for you both, something that we are figuring out at the moment…

  • evahowe says:

    I have extra yoga blocks that you are welcome to borrow if that helps at all.

  • anne says:

    Miss you at the studio. 😦 But happy that you’re enjoying your home practice. 🙂

  • Laura says:

    It is a lovely photo and a Runway too… would you be OK sharing at as part of the Runways Project? You can check it out at Would love to include it, there are very few multiple runways in the collection.

    As for practice, I just went back to a shala after almost two years of home practice… benefits to both for sure and the silence is one of the plusses. So lovely you can practice with your husband too!

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