You May Never Come Back To Read Here

This is the most un yogic, unkind, un pretty, but still pretty fearless thought I have had since practicing made me less of a problem child in a body of a grown woman. I’m hoping that blurting it out will get it out of my system:

To all those mostly men who voted to shut down Planned Parenthood: This is what I wish for you- One day science will make it possible to  surgically implant some sort of uterus device into a man where a fertilized egg can be placed to thrive. Against their will of course,so they get a feel for what is being asked for when rape results in pregnancy. After nine months of nurturing the sanctity of life, a C section can be performed ( not fun as a remember, but survivable ). Watch them scream take “it”out! when the contractions barely begin,( or whatever alert their body ends up giving for ready to roll). I bet they would all claim it is a cancerous growth that needs to be removed because it is life threatening.

Some days chitta vritti nirodha does not happen, but that is no reason to not try again tomorrow. My bad not the yoga method.

If and When

My good FB buddy Lisa Hill is an ashtanga teacher(who is awol from her excellent blog) maintains the feed of Ashtanga Yoga Chicago over at Facebook with consistent and up to date Ashtanga news, teachings, and opinions. She recently posted this on the group feed and asked to start a dialogue/conversation. Here is my very personal opinion. Opinion, not ruling,or law, or edict. If you are a teacher, who no longer will practice or offer Mysore style & guided classes, please do provide a PSA to your students letting them know you quit Ashtanga. If you have are famous on youtube, snapchat, Instagram, and twitter for your asana demonstrations, instructional videos, or beautiful photos and have a ton of followers, do announce as well, because someone is going to ask where did you go? The rest of us? No matter how how heartfelt our blogging or our practice was and for how many years, and how bad the injuries, or how many awful Ashtangis you know, we should follow this sage advice offered by Peg Mulqueen on her feed not long ago:


Oh, but you say, what about an abusive teacher or a studio that runs away with your money, or, or uh, I dunno. I’ll listen and thank you for the tip. but don’t blame it on Ashtanga, Ashtanga is not a person, or a disease, or an act of nature. it is a portion of your day where you sweat, breathe and try not to screw yourself.

Ave Maria

Is what we say in Medellin when we are exasperated, fed up, or at our wits end. I panic a little when sleep does not come. I do not mean when I wake up in the middle of 3:11 AM (that is now, sadly normal) and  I toss and turn for awhile. I am talking about getting into bed at 10 PM setting the alarm for 6 AM and meeting 4 AM still wide awake. I fortunately can reschedule my day accordingly because I shudder when I think about what a full day of  teaching would be with two hours of sleep, but the disruption still remains in the form of missed connection. You all know that I dislike practicing alone, but more than that I dislike the energy drain that not moving your body early creates. I don’t even mean like 7 AM done before 9 AM either. I love a 10 AM starting time just as much. The problem is that for two nights in a row I fall asleep around 5AM and open my eyes around ten and needing 2 cups of coffee at least in order to start anything, not to mention practice. I started taking melatonin in preparation for the time changes for my trip next month. Maybe that is screwing with me? Also, if anyone has advice on unlocking (although I’m told they come already unlocked) an iphone 5 for use in India, I’d appreciate it. I’m calling this a moon day.

P.S. I Enjoyed Natalie Goldberg’s  The Goddess Pose. Indra Devi sure got around. You have front row to key moments in 20th century world history by just following her around.

Body Parts

During the first 3 years of my Ashtanga practice I suffered from constant daily wrist pain. opening doors or squeezing toothpaste was difficult. Then one day it went away for good. Until yesterday. Left hand, pinkie side, pain radiates on the outside part of the hand from the bony round part of the wrist all the up the pinkie finger. It was either a lift during a back bend, or too much fun with the new and improved Mr. Clean Magic sponge for soap scum. Today I could not tolerate any weight on it, and I am typing with one hand. Any advice on treatments in addition to rest and patience are welcome.

I’m Letting Go

This young girl’s deposition in this NYT article broke my heart. I can count on one hand the women I know who DO NOT have a similar memory that has been shared in confidence. I’m not writing to rage against prep school culture. The finest human being I know graduated from Saint Paul’s, so it is not the institution, it is all of us. Most of us females who think we live our lives to earn respect mistake appeasement/approval for respect. Listening to this girl describe how she was trying to be polite, agreeable, and accommodating towards this boy, the school “spirit”, and trying to be a good host to her visiting parents, broke my heart, made my head explode, and reminded me of every woman I know. Even when we practice the yoga, we are trying to show, prove, and believe that we are doing our best. The thing is that we have a hard time believing it is our best if others don’t concur. Why else all those selfies, practice descriptions, and fretting whether we will be stopped  at an asana in public before we usually stop? In my case, I always have to frame aspects of my practice to be dedicated to something other than myself. Not just something greater than myself, that is not what I am addressing here, otherwise I would not feel suffering. I mean always thinking about not letting my teacher down, showing this new student that “anyone can do ashtanga” so they come back, remembering that I use $170 of our monthly budget to pant and huff so I’d better mean it, etc, etc. My friend who graduated from St Paul’s is like a brother to me. He moved away and his wife and I are friends but not close. I always initiate reunions and always remember the birthdays. I think he feels like crap every time I wish him a HBD because he remembers that he forgot mine. So this year, I am letting go. I do not love him any less, I just don’t want to feel that I have to keep on doing it to call myself a good friend or a good person.

Blogging Privileges

One of the benefits from having a blog is being able to use it to discharge uncomfortable reactions to things you are reading online, both in social media and in the news. Here are some of my gripes:

I am an immigrant. I did not arrive fleeing gunfire, rape, extortion, or starvation, while seeing people who sat next to me drown or die of thirst. I cannot compare my deepest fears or insecurities to that reality. That trivializes their terror and their desperation.

I am a woman. A hispanic woman with a hard to pin accent with white skin and an uppity mouth. I would have never ended up in a jail cell in Texas for not putting out a cigarette solely because of the protection that my skin color affords me. I cannot compare the danger and anxiety of being a black human being in this culture to  the worst calamity, to any obstacle that could befall me while being white. I could pass as hygiene challenged weird lady sitting on a bench if homeless while the black equivalent would at the very least be questioned or evicted from the bench.

Everybody is talking about white collar stress at amazon. I do not remember a comparable hoopla when warehouse workers were dropping on the floor from dehydration. There was a piece in the NYT about how cities and towns pay their bills by incarcerating the black and the poor and using their bail to pay their expenses. One guy spent a year in jail as he was walking out of a bodega with a soda and a straw and a cop arrested him because the straw qualified as drug paraphrenelia. I’d like to hear someone tell me that they worry about themselves or their kid being stopped and hauled away while walking out of a bodega. That article is not getting a lot of play outside of black twitter. SO when I read anything about someone passing as black to qualify for this or that, I become quite constipated and aggravated.  I saw a photo today of Trayvon Martin from when he attended space camp at NASA. Trying to figure out why the newspapers did not use that photo when he was gunned down.

All this rant triggered by that photo of Trayvon and another of a desperate Syrian father trying to reach shore with his tiny son who was wearing a pretty usless life jacket.

Advice Nobody Asked For

If you have trouble getting motivated to do your morning (or midday or afternoon or evening ) practice.  just remember that there will (or already have been) times when you need and miss it so bad but there is not a free moment to hide and do even a half assed Surya A. Then when you finally think you are free to go and do it, you get slammed with a 24 hour whatever pox it was, due to the stress and tension you were holding for 168 hours. All I know is that for the next few days I will remind myself how fortunate I am to be able to stand on my mat every day. I really get it when people think a consistent, 90 minute practice is an upper middle class person’s luxury. If you have to care for someone else’s basic needs, keep yourself clothed, fed, sheltered, and CLEAN, it is very tempting to say FTS I’ll just do some jumping jacks, some crunches, and some push ups for 20 minutes before work or go for a  quick run after work, and call it a day. Those who carve the time for a practice before their care giving duties begin have my respect and admiration, and I am not just talking about those with a 9 to 5 gig (do those still exist?) I am talking about those people who are in a situation who think of a trip to the bathroom as an actual break.

The Beholder

I belong to a FB group called Ashtanga Home Practitioners and I have no idea why since I need a minder-space holder-babysitter-cheerleader-foster parent  to just  stand there while I  give it my best shot (because accountability) most mornings. Yesterday I read a comment where the person shares the boredom they feel when the reach the Janu Sirsasanas. And I am like YAY! I made it to the Janus, where I can fold, touch with my head, clasp my hands on one side and my wrist on the other and look like everyone else for once! Before the Mari struggles, hahahahaha. Moving right along, I have discovered (maybe re-discovered what is obvious to many) that stress can trigger a hot flash that can masquerade as a heart attack. It is hot and humid around here already and teacher saw me really overheating  last week and suggested I do some sitali pranayama and then resume where I left off. This worked until today when I thought my heart was going to jump out of my throat. What a coincidence that yesterday I decided that I will go to Miami to spend the week and see how to find consensus with the rest of my family on how to take care of my mom who fractured a vertebrae while sitting (yes) on firm couch.

Mortifyingly Gross

It’s in the 90’s and everyone is sweating a lot. So please, please, please, do not do what I did yesterday and prepare a huge pile of roasted scallions to put on top of your thai rice and your guests’ halibut. This morning I started frowning and  self righteously thinking, “what”, WHO? smells so overwhelmingly bad?? It took a couple of more down dogs to figure out it was me. If it was revolting for me to be near myself, I can only imagine what I put my neighbors to the right and left of me through.  I ate before 5PM yesterday evening and went to a 10 AM practice, so FYI those fumes stay around awhile. Best leave the alliums for the night before your rest day, phew!

To Look Up Today

Or google “so to say” as this lovely Russian lady tells me when she is not sure if her choice of words apply:

Are feelings of grief stored in the Quadricepts? All the asanas the require engagement in that area while stretching the front of the body, make me cry like my boyfriend left me, and my pet (if I had one) died on the same day. What are those feelings I stored in there? Surely they don’t all fit in there?

What focus group, or how was it decided, that the color of smoked salmon looks good on a vehicle?

Is it powerful intuition or is it being judgmental, to strongly believe that someone hurt Sandra Bland so horribly badly in that jail that she could not handle it, or that someone felt they had to kill her so she would not tell?

Why white people think that by them not being racist, black people can stop feeling thousands of days of stored anger and humiliation and distrust like a turning off a light switch.

How can David Brooks sound so smart one day and sound like a fucking idiot the next?

Will I ever stop planning what bottle I want to open or order Friday nights? Will Pratyahara EVER kick in??