Blog Predictions

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So the hurricane did no happen and I can leave as planned. That word plan has no credibility with me after all this back and forth. I am packed for half a month in a carry-on from IKEA. hope it does not burst and fall apart. Yes I have a duffel bag for shopping damages somewhere in there. So here is what I think is going to happen blog wise.

  1. from what I see on instafacetwitter A LOT is happening on that yatra and there is no way to document it all or otherwise I will miss it, and end up like those people that miss the event trying to take a selfie.
  2. It will be a “bit” (lol) superficial since I am not a religious scholar or an asana expert. Even if it blows my mind, it’s like instagram- the blood moon was way better in real life, and my description/shot will not do the event justice.
  3. wi-fi questions about access in  Uttarkashi have been met with avoidance and generalities ( I say that with zero animosity and tons of good humor) so you know the answer to that one. I may have to share when I am back.
  4. I am such a dork, I am already calling the Himalayas the HimAlias

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:

Bin-yoga-mat

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.

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.

Dividends

I know we all hear about a variety of opinions regarding practice while injured. They range from the clip of that guy doing a modified full primary with his buddy while having a fractured extermity (femur? I forget) to the recommendation of just sit and breathe. Since I can only experiment on myself, I will tell you that a week of rest without angst ( I think that was the secret ingredient) pays tremendous dividends in the form of renewed stamina, endurance, and of  course saying farewell to the pain. A 24, 32, 44, or 49 year old might not have to wait a week to feel all that, but a 57 year old chubby ex smoker really feels the benefit. I acted like the one time during my entire teaching career when I got jury duty. Like I had won a trip to Bali in the winter. Lovely lovely practice on the last day of August. Here is a sample of my purchases for my first trip to India.

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I haven’t been given the first pose of 2nd so I think I need this. My sisters in law have been very worried about me because they know me as someone who won’t use the facilities unless it is where I’m going to be spending the night. my other paranoid purchases are boring: The most paranoid is a neck wallet with RFID blocking lining. Leaving in 36 days. I remember seeing photos of the 2014 Yatra where many Ladies were wearing their beautiful saris. My friend Kristen (Whom I already miss terribly) brought me a beautiful hand printed raw silk sari back from India a couple of years ago. I like to play with it and know how to wrap it in a couple of styles. Unfortunately I look like a chimichanga or a burrito in it. so it will be salwar kameeze for me from FabIndia.

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.

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.