When to Practice Second Series?

When would you say one is ready to start practicing second series? 

I once thought I had a good idea as to when. You know, maybe spend a few years in primary, have a level of consistency, and also interest.

Then along came the hardest student I ever taught — my dad. A total beginner who had life-long back pain from extreme scoliosis and could only just barely get down onto the floor. So, out the window went everything I thought I knew, along with any so-called rule book, and I got creative.

On his very second day, we incorporated some therapeutic and strengthening backbends from second series. And over the next few weeks, with a bit of patience and practice, he felt less pain and more capable in his body than he had in years!

This was not the way intermediate was introduced to me. I stuck with primary series for seven years, and mostly by choice. Sure, teachers would try and move me along by teaching me pasasana. But I was in college, traveling, and I needed the grounding energy of primary – so I always gave it back. But when life had settled, I hopped into that squat and began.

So back to my question … when is the right time?

I wish I could give an easy answer but the best I have is that it depends! And though it might be helpful to have a few guidelines, it’s also good to remember that though we’re learning postures in a series, we are individuals and should be taught as such.