Half tortoise is a pose that has never gotten much love from me.
I've always had the suspicion that I'm doing something wrong in half tortoise, because I can almost never get my forehead to touch the floor before my hands (tight shoulders?), and then when I'm in the pose it doesn't seem like there's much happening. Most teachers don't even notice that I can't do the pose right, but when they do notice, they think it's pretty hilarious that someone with my practice can't do a good half tortoise pose, so I've been given all kinds of grief over this. (And I agree - it is funny.)
So I don't feel like I'm good at the pose, I don't even feel like I understand the pose particularly well, and then in January I wrote this popular post that concluded with the punchline, "FUCK TURTLES." (Spoiler alert.) I just haven't been a good friend to this pose.
Soooo... this morning I was down in LA for some yoga. (Today was the last Monday at the La Cienega studio, by the way!) I'd meant to take the 9am class to warm up for the noon advanced, but I got caught in traffic and didn't get to the studio until 9:20, so I got some iced tea and then decided to hang out in my car studying until the next class at 10:30. So I put my keys in the ignition, sat in the passenger seat with my snacks, and turned on the car (not the engine) so that I could use the CD player and review half tortoise. I spent a good 30 minutes reviewing the posture over and over and over, then decided it was time to go in for class. Got out of the car with all my stuff, locked the (manual) car locks... and oh, wait. Shit. Car keys. In the ignition. Still.
I have NEVER locked my keys in the car. Never! I always double-check before I lock the doors. But I forgot this time, because all I was thinking about was that fucking half tortoise! My brain was full of "come to the middle of the towel, sit down Japanese style, knees and feet together, feet flat on the floor," and I completely forgot what I was doing.
The tortoise has taken its revenge!! (Dun dun DUUUN...)
So after I finished my 3+ hours of yoga, I spent a while milling around awkwardly and recruiting people to try to car-jack my car. Actually, some people were very helpful, and a couple of Mexican (?) guys from the garage ended up getting supplies and putting in a good effort, but without success. (Good news... my car is very secure!) I do know exactly where the spare key is to the car - my sister has it - but I was 100 miles away from my house. The only way we could have unlocked the car ourselves was via BRICK, and I did fleetingly wonder, "what's cheaper, a locksmith or a new window?" But eventually, I remembered that although I don't have triple-A, I do have a long-forgotten warranty policy on my car that covers roadside assistance, and I did have the foresight to put the policy card in my wallet, so I gave them a call and they got my car unlocked within an hour. Happy ending, hooray!!
But seriously, don't fuck with the turtles. They'll fuck up your car.
I'm pretty sure that every time I look at that page of the dialogue from now on, I will remember this day...
EDITED 3/31 TO ADD:
Just to clear up all confusion (or possibly create a little more, depending on your point of view), the fabulous Beth from Australia (miss Best Dialogue Fall 2009, if she doesn't mind me saying so) has weighed in on the topic of half tortoise pose, and I think her information is great.
She says: "It's actually "arms and head together" - straining your neck to get your forehead down first does nothing but, er, strain your neck... We asked Bikram about this at training and he was like "WTF? Why would you try to get your forehead to the floor first?" He said you can't say everything all at once, sometimes one thing just comes before the other, but the main thing is to come down arms and head together. And in fact, on the cd, Bikram actually says fingers touch before forehead so there you go. "
And there you have it! See?? I do not know everything (yet). How great! I love learning new things. :) (Of course, I'm kicking myself slightly for not realizing the answer on my own, but sometimes that's what other people are for! Thanks Beth. And Hannah, who was also on the right track. You guys rock.)