Imported Mysore Magic

It might be a combination of all these things below,  or my powers of auto suggestion which others may refer to as flaky, or just plain coincidence and random generosity from un embodied energies. I had a soulful satisfying practice that has provided dopamine and serotonin to share.

Who knows, maybe teacher brought some shakti and other good juju from Command Central inside her presence, and I am not the only one risking being considered “impressionable” in less polite terms.

I do know that it was 90 degrees outside when I showed up and you know the people who were finishing warmed it even more for us. Sweat was leaving my body in quantities never before noticed.  I don’t enjoy a rug but I kept wishing for a rug, because there was no need to be squirting and spraying water all over everything for seated poses.

Slippery arms help all sorts of binds.

Enjoyed a slow count. That sounds almost offensive to me ears if I say it aloud.

The first no drama headstand away from the wall. I don’t expect a repeat but I enjoyed it.

I’m glad teacher expects a repeat because one of her biggest take aways from her August at KPJAYI was that transformation keeps happening, no matter how long or how recent your time practicing has been.  The secret ingredient seems to be when the teacher and the student both believe in miracles when coming to the mat. Then you can begin to identify and recognize the miracles outside the mat.

I notice that whenever I sound corny it’s because I’m happy. Incredible, we have been conditioned to be embarrassed about sounding happy.

Innumerable Methods

Just finished reading Annie Lamott’s  Facebook post on her 29th recovery birthday and it made me realize that we all use something or another to blunt the panic and fill the holes. We spend so much time judging comparing an overanalyzing each other’s method or substance of choice, that it is hard to realize that we use that too as a way to calm the fuck down and feel better about how we go about administrating our fix. Today I experienced how we can be so successful in blunting the feeling or filling the hole, that we can loose the ability to communicate with parts of our bodies. I was convinced that I tilted my pelvis when I needed to perform certain asanas. It turns out that it is all in my head. My pelvis has not heard or understood a single request so far. I have several ideas on why I just only now realize this, but that is a longer post than the ones I prefer to write. Annie Lamott says that “why?’ is not a useful question. All I know is that yoga is a circumstance that fosters the communication and the exploration of those spaces and parts of yourself that you thought where holes and you sealed up or cut off a regular conversation with. There are other places and possibilities to do that. Not just through yoga. Just let’s not get all wound up and bent out of shape when someone slips and scrapes their knee or twists an ankle while trekking the valley or the summit.  I don’t know shit about baseball but Annie says that Grace bats last, and that’s how we will all recover from using.

Today

You guys, I know there is funeral in Charleston today, and my president made me so proud that he was there representing us. But  as I am solemn, I am also so darn HAPPY that we have  had positive news for 2 days in a row.  Racist symbols coming down, ACA is not repealed, and my gay family members, and my gay friends who truth be told I love more than my gay family members, have full rights. Happy rest day & Namaste.

Revisiting

So useful to read and re evaluate again what you think you already know. This started by wanting to refresh a little knowledge before traveling to India in October, but it has turned into listening to other smaller booklets, pamphlets, links and articles I have saved. I know I am not the only one who has found daily practice incredibly hard this winter. Repeating to myself you only have to do 3 As and 3 Bs has saved me from not practicing. Goodness knows what stories I would be telling you and myself for not practicing if I had to still get my ass to work outside the house in this weather. It is not just the cold and the bad driving conditions and the lack of sunlight that is throwing curve balls at me ( I don’t even know what that means. Trick balls? I never chased or caught balls well anyway). It is realizing that I am at the intersection where progress in asana is defined by the poses I get to keep instead of the poses I might be given in the future. You know how we all see ourselves as the same kid/teen/20 year old in our heads? I always thought if I loose weight, and never drink again, and take glucosamine, and amp up my pranayama and suck up my bandhas while I fold the laundry the impossible poses will be accessible to me. But no. I know there is a lady in Kentucky who started in her late 50s and received authorization in her 60’s. I am going to guess she was not talking about how Winstons and Kents tasted awful compared to Marlboro reds and Camel filters at age 12. I am not saying I cannot be like her because I did that. I cannot be like her because the samaskaras I have to work keep being those kinds to this day. I listed to Claudia interview Matthew Sweeney yesterday and he had an interesting take on access to Mula Bandha. He said resolving certain aspects related to appetite and other root chakra “issues” is a precondition to finding it. Makes sense to me. I also saw an FB post today on my feed where David Garrigues shuts down the fantasy that you surely one day drop back or lower yourself to chaturanga like what you see on youtube if you started at 45. I thanked him for making that realization available to me. I was glad when I asked myself if I wanted to continue practicing ashtanga if I was not going to make asana progress and I (mentally) shrugged and said sure. I now know for sure that standing on the mat makes what my cyber friend David Cain describes as “the sky has fallen a million times  already” an occurrence instead of a disaster. He follows with the following advice: Being overwhelmed comes from a breakdown of your thoughts NOT the breakdown of your PRACTICE( okay he said your life). He finishes by saying “Things change pretty quickly when you start DOING things instead of thinking so much”. I’m also pretty sure that in my case it still means asana because he also mentions that “it is most tempting to not do things when you most need to do things.” So between re reading a post he wrote on Raptitude back in 2013 and the house recommendations from AY Ann Arbor’s Angela Jamison, I get to hang in there until spring!

The Ashtanga Consulates

IMG_4114The first time I traveled by myself for an extended period of time, my dad gave 17 year old me an Amex card and the business card for the Colombian Cultural something or another at the embassy in Paris. He said that if I ever was in a bind to try the Amex office first. This was when a long distance call was so expensive that it had better be real authentic trouble if you called home. Now a days we all travel without needing to know anybody in particular when we venture far, even though my dad always says that my sister and I were chumps for not attending a school that had  a club in key cities. (he is a Cornell dude). Now though, I feel like I do have a club or a center that welcomes me wherever I go. Every time I enter a Mysore room I feel comfortable within the first 5 minutes tops. The teacher and I know someone in common almost every time, and sometimes you see someone from a previous part of your life who happens to have found the practice too. I just spent a short frigid weekend in Portland Maine which is on my way every time I travel Downeast but end up passing way too early to stop and practice (but not too early not to load up on bagels and pastries, hum..) I always wanted to visit Studio 72 on India street and finally got the chance. My yoga buddy KG used to practice there and says beautiful things about the place and the teacher. This is by far the tiniest shala I have ever visited. It is also the prettiest shala I have ever visited, and I visited the former Jois Yoga in Greenwich. Jennifer Morrison welcomes you with a smile and a very efficient sign up sheet that doubles as a release form and she then asks if there is anything she needs to know about your limitations or your practice. I mentioned a sore neck these days and later on, I do not know how, she fixed it/released the kink with two adjustments: One in Pada Hastasana, and another in Prasarita C. I could only stay for 30/40 minutes because we had some appointments, but I do plan to forgo the bagels for the practice next time I swing by because this is the other thing: the rest day is Sunday so they are open on Saturdays! I knew the bagels could not be the only reason, but I just figured it out as I wrote. The other two cool things that happened were that I found my college buddy Becky in the room practicing and I had with me a blanket/shawl she had brought for me from Bali 33 years ago! We have plans for chai next time. And it was valentines day, so Jennifer had homemade heart shaped cookies for her students. and a hug. I am an old damn hippie and I love a proper hug that doubles as hand shake, fist bump, and anything else that conveys that you were liked solely on a hunch and intuition.

 

Trail Maintenance

I could have used path maintenance or route or road, but I like a nice hike on a well marked trail. They don’t stay like that if someone does not cut back overgrown brush and repaints the signs, and removes fallen logs and rolling rocks. I feel like that is what Gregor Maehle has done for me in the interview he gave for Claudia Azula Altucher’s podcast. I know that this is probably the 4th time that I have mentioned it in social media, but we really do re-hatch and re- visit the same same over and over when we blog about what some call “our yoga journey”. So when new knowledge or perspective comes along it is at least for me, kind of very exciting. They way I write will not do justice to all the themes that are covered in the podcast. But suffice it to say that if you got stuck in the obsessive maintenance and smooth running of your vehicle ( which is a skill and work ethic I both admire and envy) but you forget where it is you heading with it, his is a very generous and valuable reminder of where the markers are in case you misplaced the map or are have been winging it (which is just another way of arriving really). I listened to the podcast without having read Gregor’s book on meditation. It is on order and this one is not going into the kindle.

Some Thank You Internet

Or rather thanks to the people who use the internet for good. More specifically, thanks to yogis who use the internet for good. Here are a few things that made a huge difference to my practice and therefore my days which is really the reason to have such a thing as a practice.

I know someone told me  the reason for having a lit candle in the room during practice, but I forget who and I forget why. None the less, Having one in front of you and focusing your attention on the flame, distracts you from the throbbing in your thumb which you almost sliced the top off cleaning the husband’s junk drawer where he kept an exacto knife. Who knew, throbbing thumb leads to a very meditative practice because you decided to focus your drishti on the flame of a candle. Tip: if you have long hair, please set such candle farther from your mat than you’d think. So thanks to the person who explained about fire in the room even if I forgot.

I forgot how long it has been since I get a regular good night’s sleep for many more than just one reason. One of those reasons though is noise. My beloved acquired the behavior of snoring loudly in the recent past, I live by route 106 which means every truck that comes into town has to pass by my bedroom window, and my house, which is 144 years old shakes every time the Dunkin Doughnuts truck or the Pain Quotidien truck chugs up the hill to replenish the treats. Well, I mentioned to the snoring exacto knife owner that Claudia Azula Altucher kept singing the praises of those horribly expensive Bose noise cancelling headphones, and I might succumb  out of desperation after reading that lack of sleep keeps you obese and obesity gives you cancer. I just got them delivered to my front door because I do not know anybody more generous that the exacto knife owner. You actually have to be careful around him when saying something is pretty, or nice. He just gets it for you. Thankfully he is not a good listener or we would be broke broke broke. SO thank you Claudia and Ray.

Finally, Thank you to  all the people that take the time to share what they are learning when they go on retreat or to a workshop/training. I know you are tired after a full day, so when for example Peg Mulqueen from Ashtanga Dispatch shares a clip of David Robson teaching Transitions (jumpback-jumpthroughs) on facebook, you suddenly realize how many weird ticks, complications, and obstacles you have tacked on to “your” method, and immediately try it his way and swhoosh! Off you go. Thanks Peg/Ashtanga Dispatch.