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.

Our Yoga Stories

Folks, I am arriving to the part where my practice shows me that telling the story of my practice is becoming something sort of unrelated to my practice. I am at the point where I realize that I practice to interrupt the vrittis which later return here (and elsewhere) as the story of what happened, or what I think happened, or worse: What I think will happen next. Other times it is an exercise in standing out or self identifying as  being in the correct team (Ashtangi) or as separating myself by being against exhibitionism, through asana, or intellectual mental gymnastics, and against commercialism through those two methods as well. None of those identifications are necessary for completing a practice. My story only means that what I narrate concurs  and flows with the stories from others, and their stories resonate with me. It only means that the stories of others, mess up my narrative and create dissonance. My like or dislike of their stories or mine do not make them accurate or real. If I could describe what really happens during yoga practice (so tempted to put an acronym here) it would be an attempt to describe the finding of space that remains open and unfilled.

Consult/Forum

Mild anxiety attacks starting while transitioning from  the second side of Virabhadarasana A to B, and full on during the whole B? Anybody? teachers, students, fellow sufferers, please feel free to chip in. It has never been a favorite pose but I can usually handle it alternating the mantras of this too shall pass and nothing lasts forever.

Also, Prasarita C: I can touch the floor with my head in A and D with straight legs. B and C not so much so I bend my legs per the advise of a senior teacher over at AYC. Yesterday I received a gentle adjustment in C encouraging me to straighten my knee and I felt a tweak but not an ouch. today practice ruined bending my knee for no problem  ever Ardha Baddha P. From then on I could not find a comfortable place to put it. not bent not straight  only when I rolled my sweatshirt under the knee to support it did I feel relief (Savasana at that point) Any TLC recommendations to make it happy again? Oh and no more bent knee in the prasaritas who GAF if my head does not touch the floor.

Maturity

I’ll say this about winter, ice and snow: It will reinforce or destroy your practice. In my case, reinforce thank goodness, but I’ll tell you what, timing is everything because I know that two or three years ago? It would have totaled it. I then had an adolescent crush on the practice, the community, and the hype (Ashtanga is the true yoga, because parampara, the count, the Sanskrit, the invocation,the Nag Champa, bla bla bla). If I did not get reinforcement, I’d lose hope and would almost need to feel that my love and attention had to be reciprocated. This winter I am less anxious about being marked absent (as if!) at the shala, and more concerned with being present for whatever time period I am willing to be alone with what shows up during asana. I am also not surprised that 2105 being year 7 (you know it takes +- 7 years for the cells of your body to “regenerate”)is when I decided to blurt a yes to India, even though I am yet to say yes to Mysore. I have never been really comfortable sharing the thought of -why spend all that money if I’m going to be stopped at Mari D and I might never in this lifetime make it past Mari D? Which is still an embarrassing thought, but there you have it. I will always participate and pay my dues in order to benefit from my beautiful sangha/shala community but I am glad that I have progressed from crush to mature love affair which can be sustained without party tricks.

Limitation Shredder

I know a bunch of you who practice alone either because you prefer it so or you are a teacher who needs to get their practice in before you put the proverbial oxygen mask on others. I am today however going to go on and on about how group practice dissolves all excuses, and self limitations. I have been repeating to myself for a number of years that my excess weight prevents me from performing certain asanas without modifications. Last fall (more or less) a cute shalamate with similar build  and shape started practicing and she now rocks everything. From her chaturanga to her backbend. I also repeat the I started at fifty litany frequently when I get frustrated or chicken out of taking things to the next level. well there is someone who has a few more years on her than I do and now that she is retired she has made all arm balances into an art form. And then there is my teacher, for those who say that  beautiful advanced practices are for people who forgo any other profession and endeavor or for pampered suburban fraus. My teacher does her practice, runs her shala, manages her home and runs her own family restaurant/artisanal bakery. So there goes that. Gang support, as many levels of society can attest, is a potent  source of power. Next time I jot something down will probably be from San Diego, I’m looking forward to AYC, but to be honest I am at this point way more excited about lounging and dipping into the hotel pool.

Lights On

I started following a yogi named Ramiro Ventura on twitter. I believe he might be from Argentina but not sure. Anyway, he recently posted a sutra translated into Spanish instead of English and WHOA! The lights went on. Nutty as it sounds, I forget English is not my first language and maybe sometimes it is better to peruse or partake of knowledge in our mother tongue. It will be pricey to obtain a translation from the editorial publishing house he recommends but in the meantime I will avail myself of Los Yoga Sutras de Patanjali: Traduccion y comentarios por Swami Satchitananda $14.08 at amazon.

Vibrations and Frequencies

One thing about having a dedicated ashtanga yoga practice is that you know something is up when waking up or falling asleep is difficult. When I say something is up, I don’t mean that something is wrong. I mean that thanks to having to sort of follow an early bedtime and an early rising, you notice when temperatures, length of daylight, and who knows what else that I don’t know the names for, begin to shift. When I first thought about sharing this “newsflash” I smiled a little thinking it might sound like a whine about not being able to get up on time-or fall asleep in time for early Mysore. Or worse still, that it might sound like I found a way to communicate with the workings of nature and the planets through ashtanga. But you know what? Paying attention to what affects the quality of your practice makes you aware of so many things you never paid attention to in the past, both in your daily rituals/routine as well as in our natural environment. So it is not only what we shovel into our bodies that we ashtangis have to learn to be mindful of. We have to learn to pay mindful attention to all of it. Don’t tell me this is not a practice for waking up from sleepwalking through life.

Ashtanga Fringe Benefits

This might sound like a rehash of the many benefits of belonging to a community, but for an introvert like me, they are sort of a revelation. Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit another Mysore practice room, this time in Boston. Aside from worrying about directions (I didn’t because my friend Laura provided exact fail proof ones) you enter into a situation full of strangers without any anxiety because you know what is going to happen with very little variation. I practiced at Karma Yoga under the care of Kate O’Donnell which for a cybergeek like me was a big deal. I always marvel when a teacher can tell which is your difficult side, and how they can find space and range where you thought there wasn’t any more room to go. Another small room ( I laugh thinking that I considered the room a practice in small) but this one is styled all fancy with a rustic minimalist vibe, really very pretty. Afterwards Laura  (smallbluepearls Laura) took me to breakfast at a place called Flour nearby and if you happen to want/need baked goods and the best eggs in the South End, that’s where you go. A really satisfying talk while eat then walk later, she dropped my off at my B&B. Can’t wait to do it again