It is a slippery slope having favorites of anything to perform any daily ritual. All of a sudden your favorites become talismans, and lucky this and thats, and then you realize that you gradually painted yourself into a corner of ideal conditions that are very far from the basic ones described in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. I already described my little joy when it is time to wear my only pair of those disgraced Lulus. I also have 2 tops that I swear make a difference in the way my practice goes that day. There are also lucky people. I have my favorites to do harmonic breathing with. And of course spots. All four corners of the room are auspicious, but the ones at the front best the ones near the door in the back, unless it is led primary and you already planned to bolt after Navasana, then the back is preferred and polite at the same time. There is also a correct way to pack and unpack your mat, your blankie, and your eye pillow; both activities if done carefully, as calming and centering as the opening and closing mantras. Oh, and I must wear my moonstone earrings. Forgetting them ruins everything. And a parking spot, there is a luck parking spot, but that’s a secret.
I read something really good this morning. I know it is not recommended to cyber surf in the early AM but it was too icy for lousy drivers like me to be on the roads today. Specially if their right leg feels abused every time you press on the gas pedal. Because I read an entry shared on FB of Kate O’Donnell’s blog this morning, I was able to have a very good home practice without inconveniencing what I have self diagnosed as mild sciatica. Do yourself a favor and partake if you have not read it before:
I have always been curious about all these implements people collect to massage their surprised muscles because of the way their particular practice is going. I am impressed with some collections. Boodiba’s in particular. Among her stash she has a blue neck thingie that I covet and a wooden ballet stretcher gizmo that I do not covet at all. Susananda also has a therapy stick I think it is called that looks interesting. We ashtangis do not go for props or aids during practice with some wise exceptions but we seem to enjoy gizmos for after practice. I have survived with a meager tennis ball, but it it is time to add a foam roller. Megan from Damngoodyoga gave an excellent demo on how to use the dang thing (maybe it’s use is self explanatory for most but not for the likes of me) and I think that it is going to be ideal for the traveling spasm that has arrived to my pelvis from its original point of arrival on the right side of my upper back. Time to get serious if turning around in bed needs a strategy. Please please spend time cultivating a respectable chaturanga when you begin a yoga practice. Failure to do so will come back and bite you in the ass. Literally.
Writing Ashtangi confessions in the title gets old. A protestant preacher that I heard when I was young and searching, once called popular radio the domain of “the prince of the power of the air” (aka Satan). I’m sure he was quoting a bible verse, and at the time I snickered discreetly. Now I think he had a point. I do not listen to radio and I may have like 20 tunes downloaded on my iphone, some of them are vedic chants and the sutras which I would not qualify as pop music. When I do catch a Jimmy Fallon clip or a friend sends me some spoof or another, it gets irrevocably stuck in my head. The tune, not the words thank goodness. So what plays in my head continuously when on the mat lately? in constant rotation: What Sound Does The Fox Make, followed my the child Miley’s Wercking Ball, sometimes interrupted by Daft Punk’s Get Lucky, and fortunately sometimes Lorde’s Royals. How do you shut that up? Louder breathing for a short fix then it gets incorporated. Mantras become attached to the tune, What you got that works?
Thanksgiving day practice is sort of a treat at my place of practice. Lots of out of town visitors mixing with the regulars and everyone knows it is both auspicious and wise to have shown up.I of course made up a false story in my head that practice that day is only one hour when in fact it is a 90 minute affair. I had scheduled/procrastinated so many tasks for that morning that I realized I had to leave at the one hour fifteen mark in order to make all my commitments. While I was there though I experienced my least favorite (I know bad yoga talk) kind of class which is an improv type of class. Interestingly enough through all the supposed discomfort I discovered hidden progress that does not highlight itself in regular practice. Example A: I can now hold Vasisthasana. I hate it as much as before, but I can now get into it and stay there. Not for as long as teacher’s count but before I could not even balance my body at that angle much less hold the pose. Then there were variations of Utthita Parsvakonasana that made me realize that I had increased stability during a balancing lunge and other variations of the dreaded Virabhadrasana confirmed that I had gained balance and edurance during balance. This in no way increased the level of Sthira Sukham. I was still panting trying not to. I venture to say I was not alone either. Maybe whatever the new moon does was happening ahead of schedule. And I was very sorry to have to rush my resting pose and miss the tiny love fest at the end of the thanksgiving practice where I love to give a blubbering whimpering thank you to my teacher. This morning only pranayama folks, because my sister in law Beth and I led a thorough wine tasting of white Vertliners, followed by some Dornfelders, and our beloved Cakebread Cellars Cabernet. We started at 3PM and dutifully finished by 8:30 PM.
#6 I wear perfume. Like a lot of my Latin, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern brethren, I will not leave the house without it. And guess what, nobody has died or gagged. As a matter of fact I get a lot of positive feedback. One lovely teacher at the shala who also happens to be a Yale educated professional violinist AND a shaman (aha, that’s right), once told me that she would think I am not feeling well if she happened to adjust me one day and not inhale something that smells good. I do not bathe in perfume and I do not wear synthetic godawful stuff. I also do not use it shall we say, “to conceal” anything. So there you have it. Tiny rebellions that have not caused havoc. Yet. My three favorites, in constant rotation:
But we do not listen. Most seasoned yogis come to the conclusion that talking, writing, blogging about their practice sucks some pretty essential energy from the endeavor. Most of us go nawh, reallly?Like how? You sure?Me, I don’t feel it? Until you do. Over here it is because the two steps back and how ever many it is forward (I always say it wrong) dance is intense but powerful right now and somehow beneficial and very tricky to describe. Tricky because telling it makes it sound hyperbolic and trivial when what is happening is just the opposite. writing about it feels like poking the dirt to see if the seeds you planted are making any progress, or to see if you did plant them right side up. You might not hurt anything but you know it’s not what we’d call helping the thing along.