If you have been around yoga for a bit, you have probably heard the term “energetic opening”. It loosely means that something that originally was sore/tight/tender/injured or all of those bundled up, ends up disappearing while leaving you with capacities you did not posses beforehand. This is a polarizing subject and I have not had too many of these energetic instances (just two really) to write about it with authority. All I have to report is that I had a shoulder/neck somewhere there painful tangle for an entire month (maybe more) where I could only do closing scooting my ass against a wall. Well today, after a seven hour drive the day before, closing and back bending felt like I had new body parts. Not just no pain, but actual progress. I am not claiming that injury recovery works like this every single time like in a lab experiment, but I can now count this episode to add to another one way way back when a hamstring injury healed itself into head on the floor in Prasarita A. I would like to emphasize that I am not known for reaching for my edge, I am rather known for avoidance of all edges, and that is why I probably only have to energetic openings to share. What I’m saying is please do not consider this a one paragraph manifesto for pain is gain. I am saying that pain can be one just one, indication of change in your range of motion.
There is some disagreement on spelling and pronunciation, but absolutely none on definition or meaning. I found this on Facebook (No,really??) http://ashtangapictureproject.com/body-dysmophia-yoga-community/
I can tell you why it still is a thing. Because we still look at body parts like if we could purchase/shop/barter/work/ for them. When I say we, I really mean women. And as consumers of this meat market, we can stop shopping anytime. Really. Keep analyzing Kathy’s tush, and at Kino’s abs, while dreaming of Peg’s bicep’s, and Laruga’s legs (ALL THESE ARBITRARY STREAM OF THOUGHT BTW) and be confident that your dysmorphia will be well nourished. I know you look at David Robson’s, practice, and you check David Garrigue’s videos. DO not get me started on Matthew Sweeney. You look at their practice don’t you? Hehehe. You look at what their bodies can do, not what their bodies look like while doing it, right? Try looking at KIno and at Laruga with the same respect. Rant over.
We are taking off tomorrow to see if there is any folliage left to ooh and aah at up in Maine, and to drain the pipes, shut the power, store the outdoor stuff, etc. for the season.
We bought a bottle of very fancy Champagne back in the summer of 2013 which we were to enjoy for our 25th wedding anniversary, but then we decided to travel from vineyard to vineyard instead. So before our 25th anniversary year ends we are going to pop that cork and enjoy it this weekend with some Harbison and some plum preserves that are currently fogging all of my windows. Harbison is a seasonal cheese. I haven’t had cheese in awhile. My childhood friend Nacho (K-12 same classroom every day) Milks these cows. I love this video.
I have no yoga theme for today. I did drive to the shala even though I only had 45 minutes to spare this morning because I wanted to hug my friend who lost her beautiful Samoyed family member suddenly yesterday. Yoga turns no dog/cat/no pets period cranky old ladies into animal lovers.
I did not do an official tally, it was more like eavesdropping. But I can tell you that I heard both in the lobby of the shala and at the adjacent coffee shop, several comments about how this morning’s practice was the best practice ever. Yours truly included. Lots of sweat and no signs of exhaustion. I turned around to look at the room before leaving because I love to check out the steam emanating from the bodies still inside, which to me is still one of the coolest most badass aspects of this practice. As I was leaving I asked someone if they happened to know if the afternoon session would start at 1:30 PM like the day before, and he answered that he was pretty sure it started at two because this was the only day he was registered for an he had memorized the times. He is shall we say a colleague of my teacher’s so I took him at his word. Shame on me for not checking (because I was so excited about the length of the break!) but it turns out that was incorrect and I, who shows up at least 15 minutes early even for a root canal, ended being barely on time. That is the con about consensus. I am sure there was absolutely no intent to mislead. So afternoon pranayama. Lots of good pointers. Such as what to focus on, how the Gayatri mantra is ideal for measuring alternate nostril breathing, lots of imagery to encourage the practice of pranayama, the ideal times to establish and stabilize your practice, and of course lots of anecdotes and humor which are two key markers which identify a master teacher. I will say, and I hope that this does not bite me in the ass, that he went easy on us. My first pranayama lesson was with Srivasta Ramaswami and that is how I roll. Nothing different from what Timji shared, but lets say Ramaswami”s retentions were a tad more traumatic.
A lovely lady person brought prasad for the end of the session and I wanted to take a photo of the beautiful heart shaped yummy chocolate heart, but once again, we generated so much tapas that it started to melt almost immediately. News flash: Tim revealed that he has several additional chapters of Dust completed but yet to be released to “the Internets”.
Parampara: gotta love it. Thanks VZS.
I’m figuring there were about 40 of us doing led primary today with Tim Miller. It was raining and below sixty this morning but it got so hot and steamy inside the practice space that we set off the fire alarm. Several times. I would be curious to see what the alarm’s heat detector marked as the temperature in the room to set off the alarm. Anyway, I think we were all very proud of the generated heat, even though I got I little sick from the combination of maybe heat and the potent sound of the fire alarm. Afterwards I was thinking that it might not be just a coincidence that I always get a little sick during or after a led practice with a teacher that has strong shakti (Kino, Louise, now Timji in that list) So I guess it really is the yoga chikitsa and I as usual have plenty of impurities to burn through. Very engaging afternoon talk about the kleshas finished with some very tender and touching anecdotes from his life as a teacher and a student. We were told to eat light for pranayama practice tomorrow afternoon.
It turns out as Tim Miller told us, that fear and Mula Bandha do not like to dwell in the same body spot. You kind of have to choose who you want to sponsor/host. I somehow did not chosoe to take the class called Roots and Wings each time that I went to AYC in San Diego because I had to meet Deena or Nancy, or David was finally going to solve my Sirsasana problem. I am very glad that I got the opportunity to be in that class last night. very eager to try those bandhas this morning. DO not skip roots and wings if there is another one at AYC.
Go ahead and google that to see what shows up. Yeah. What does not show up is the blog of this lovely Canadian kid (I’m going to be 57 and I don’t think she is 30 yet) http://exuberantbodhisattva.blogspot.com/
You all know that I have not met a Canadian I do not like. Anyway this Bodhisattva called Erica is quite open and frank about her health challenges, about her relationship with her partner, and will pretty much tell you anything you ask to know or did not ask :). She is now studying in Mysore and if you enjoy Mysore Dispatches, hers are generous and quirky. What she is not, is a poster child for Ashtangi disfunction. She is probably what I will call “on the spectrum” I propose that all those concerned that traditional Ashtanga yoga worsens or affects body image, distortion, narcissism, eating disorders, OCD, self mutilation, eceteraecetera, try and remember that yes maybe a person with those challenges is practicing in a room surrounded by others that are still trying to touch their toes without bending their knees even though they come every day. There are others who decided to ditch the vinyasa between sides, and that is between them and no one else. There are others who are dancers and athletes, and there are the old ones and the fat ones who do not skip vinyasas (don’t look at me, I am old and fat and skip most of the time). Please do not out a blogger or a person trying to become a magazine contributor as evidence of someone who has been mangled by Ashtanga, just because you are fascinated with the subject of yoga and make your livelyhood (or part of it) writing about it. And I like reading about it you know? Until it becomes lets cover all the surfaces of the planet in bouncy surfaces so nobody gets hurt.