The first time I saw a porno mag I was probably in fourth grade. Sex was pretty invisible to me; I was still grossed out by seeing my parents kiss, I hadn’t yet hit puberty, and my crushes on older boys at my church involved fantasies of holding hands and listening to New Edition and Tevin Campbell. I had no interest in anything sweaty or naked, and wouldn’t have known what to do even if I had been interested.
Week Three Highlights
Then I remembered what Angela Jamison said about the practice: it’s always there. It’s there when you’re sick or sad or lonely, just like it’s there when you’re triumphant or jubilant. In that way, it’s kind of like a friend, like someone or something you commune with daily. I don’t know if it’s a comfort to you, but I suppose it’s a kind of touchstone, one thing in our lives that isn’t variable.
It’s hard to determine the level of change in my body from one day to the next. Change happens when you’re not looking, right? The way the moon rises, or the way a snail moves across a leaf. So things feel different from the inside—feet that are super-tight and in need of the little orange ball to stand on; hips that feel like something deep inside is moving, but I can’t be sure what it is—but what’s different? I can’t tell by looking, and I can’t see any difference.
Technique is Everything
Now’s a good time to explore the big three: three elements of Ashtanga yoga that are most important, more potent than the opening invocation or any of the poses—easily attainable or bat-shit impossible—in the Primary Series. In Ashtanga Yoga: Practice and Philosophy, Gregor Maehle describes them as “the string that holds the beads [of poses] together to great a garland of yoga postures… For the beginner it is essential to learn these three fundamental techniques at the outset. Once they are mastered, the practice will happen almost effortlessly.”
So what are they, these three keys to the kingdom? The big three are the breath, the drishti, and the bandhas.