The Rest Day

So, as many solo practitioners already know, the rest day can apparently be whatever day as long as you show up on six of those seven days. I don’t know how many people saw a post form Ashatnga Yoga Copenhagen on Facebook where there was a shot of the new schedule over at what our friend Boodiba calls Command Central that states that from now on it does not open on Sundays or moon days. I went to visit the shala today before leaving for Maine and found out that 3 of my shala mates are leaving for Mysore tomorrow. The only thing I wanted to blurt out was Hey! do you know that the rest day is now on Sunday??? Fortunately I had a prudence attack and did not go back inside to tell N, or blab it online to my other friend who’s going. Why does even the most trivial of changes in  Mysore seem like a thing for me, and some of us? It is at time like this that I see why some of my friends and family roll their eyes when I go on and on about this yoga.

UPDATE!!!!!!

I will learn how to read better soon. Thanks to Mel Perkins who translated for me I really avoided a bigger mess up. Prudence attack? pffft. Here is the photo I just stole from Ashtanga Yoga Copenhagen

10563160_832882940062690_2952307875529937521_nIT SAYS REGISTRATION!!! sorry people.

Mira

Ugh. This post isn’t even about yoga. Steve over at the Confluence Countdown wrote a post about an answer he found on Quora with a response to the question of what it was like to go to Mysore. The guy gave a perfectly good answer but then the post continued on to describe an article in some Midwestern paper about Christian alternatives to yoga. Whatever. Same old same old, until the very last paragraph  where the instructor being interviewed mentions that she also teaches “Mira”, a Christian form of Zumba. Never done Zumba. My sister in law Lynn tore her Achilles tendon doing Zumba. So yeah, dancing like yoga can eff you up but that is not what has me ranting on this possible end to the Kali Yuga beautiful Saturday. What has my lululemons in a bunch is realizing how deeply unaware of their racist and prejudiced judgements these yoga pose and dance practitioners are. A fellow native Colombian apparently “invented” Zumba. Most Latin Americans are so steeped in Catholic  and Christian teachings that they could probably teach it to this provincial judgement loving lady (I am as you see riled up) and yes we dance moving our hips and those who are Christian remain so while moving them. Just like people in Senegal who are Christian remain so while dancing Mbalakh. I find it infuriating that a paper can interview a fool for more than three paragraphs and not realize they are printing  the racist meanderings of a person with no  perspective on global culture or religion while having  access to the internet, hundreds of cable channels and heaven forbid, books.

Anomaly

Needless to say that I certainly do not recommend this. After a cocktail with one friend, three glasses of white plus one of rose, appetizers, a cheese plate, along with dessert with another friend, followed by a hamburger and a shake to go from Shake Shack at 10 PM (because there was no line! There never is no line!!) I just finished a smooth free of discomfort practice. Go figure. Not that I have to come up with reasons, but I am finding out that an Ashtanga practice is most sustainable when there is nothing to demonstrate, prove, accomplish. In other words when you subtract the feeling of obligation and instead curiously wonder if it can happen while a burger and a salted caramel shake sit undigested in your stomach. Sometimes the answer is yes. Maybe only  this one time the answer is yes. All I know is that you have to get up and find out. I read two posts earlier this week. One discussed how it was advisable to find your edge again in the part of the practice that is now smooth and committed to muscle memory so you can refine and sort of wake up the beginners mind I suppose. That pushed everyone of my buttons. I was like, are you kidding me?? those few minutes of the standing and seated poses I can do easily is what I count on to sustain me through the other 90 minutes of I wonder what’s going to happen!! The other post talked about the rough patches that you encounter along the trajectory of your practice and how not to get discouraged or end up walking away. It basically said that you had to  freely give and offer your efforts day in and day out until you no longer care if there is a reward or a secret power to discover. You practice generosity with your efforts, the way you practice generosity with your time, with your money or with your patience in many other areas of your life. You give and do not stand around waiting for the lollipop.

So It’s True

After writing, talking, thinking, and wondering about yoga, One reaches a point where there is really nothing left to say or discuss or read. They only thing left is: Do. Which in some circles is considered a platitude, as in “do your practice and all is coming.” Apparently after something full of common sense and proven true through actually doing it is said too many times, it becomes a free to diss quote? Or after several thousand times of hearing “….Lazy people can’t do yoga” the statement now becomes hyper analyzed and deconstructed in ways that a person who has never opened a Derrida book like me finds incomprehensible and almost redundant. I say this I repeat as someone who is not an academic, has zero credentials in the area of philosophy, sociology, or whatever else you need to understand deconstruction or the minute analysis of the concept of lazy or the concept of do. I mention this impatience with this dialogue here in my blog because why else have one? You don’t have to agree with me and also you don’t have to convince me if you think that do your practice and all is coming or only lazy people can’t do yoga are either trite or overly dogmatic (those seem to be tho two most popular objections). I just happen to think that Guruji very obviously pointed out that if you practice,  degrees of improvement and progress are certainly a logical outcome, and that if you are lazy and decide not to practice, then you didn’t. That is called you can’t do yoga that day. If you keep on making that decision daily or frequently then you can’t do yoga. Yes, nobody wants to be called lazy, and does anybody really want to be lazy? If you do not want to do something and it is optional don’t do it and find something else that does not provoke that reaction. I was very correctly reminded that people with depression are unable to do yoga or even get out of bed. I don’t think That Guruji meant to say that people with crippling mental illness could do yoga if they just changed their mood or attitude. I think he would also have made exceptions for those experiencing the grief of losing a loved one, people with concussions, and for those with a really bad case of diarrhea (but only if it was really bad, I bet). So after going through more than 150 comments about this Lazy quote on a Facebook thread, I finally believe what many bloggers already discovered: there is nothing left to say. Let’s just do what we think is beneficial, as best and as often as we possible can.

How to Spend it

Serious question. It involves prioritizing time and money. And I know the answer. I am fortunate to have the chance to partake from the following: Sharath in NYC during mid September. A week of led primary at $250 no day passes and more than one hundred people at the Chinatown YMCA. Louise Ellis Workshop at my dear friend Kristen Albertson’s Shala in Fayetteville, Arkansas also in mid September, and Tim Miller at my shala in Georgetown, CT in October. I am not one of those who has cash for all three, and as you can see you need special siddhis to simultaneously partake of the Sharath and Louise workshop. I have experienced the strong and lovely energy of practicing in the presence of Sharath and Saraswati. What you are attending is not a workshop or an opportunity to refine your asana practice. It is another thing that is definitely not about the $250 price and you either know what I mean or you disregard as you please. Ever since I found out about Louise, I have had this strong desire to study with her, in the same way that I wanted to study with Nancy and Dena. Having been in both their workshops at AYC, I hope to study with them again in a smaller venue which is what Ashtanga Yoga Fayetteville offers with Louise. Then there is Timji, my teacher’s teacher, the teacher of so many other teachers I respect. To me his visit is a vivid, vibrant expression of parampara. So, for now my available pennies are on Louise. My resolution is to save some  more for Tim’s October visit, and pay my respects to Sharath and Saraswati when there are no scheduling conflicts.

The Ashtangi Spectrum

Read on if you are not fed up with how I use this blog as my confessional. Ashtangis are travelers. They travel far and often. We travel to learn more yoga, we travel to gain perspective, we travel because we enjoy it, and many of my fellow Ashtangis travel for business as part of how they earn their livelihood. My friend Laura Shaw Feit who is a graphic designer was able to document the Ashtangi travel bug in her runways poster entitled Just Practice. These people roll their mats and step on them in tiny hotel rooms, laundry rooms, and narrow hallways. Me? I roll it out when I travel to see family & friends, and while doing yoga tourism. I do pretty well when I go to Maine in the summer, but send me for almost three weeks vacation through Spain and France, while watching the World Cup on European time, and all bets are off. Day one, no problem. Rolled the rug I bought and ditched it for the carpet but I did my practice. That was three Sundays ago. I ditched my routine for Campari and sodas while watching the 6 and 10 PM matches when possible. That meant that my bedtime was way past midnight every day. The next morning nothing was more delightful than having a cortado or two and roscones with my daughter while in Spain and cafe au lait with hot croissants slathered in apricot preserves and bloomy Saint Felicien cheese while in France. Apricots are in season this time of year and my host Nadine made those preserves as a welcome gift. Our hosts own a vineyard in Estagel, and they host wine tasting tours that include an afternoon fete after touring the vineyard. Since we were staying in a part of the house where the feast takes place, we were always invited. The tours are organized by restaurant owners, butchers, and food purveyors from Toulouse, so you can imagine how we scored in the foodie department. I also bummed a cigarette the night Brasil stole the game from Colombia and decided to keep on going every evening after that. So yeah, about 16 days of no practice. This morning I did not reach a single bind. Not even Mari A, but I finished my practice. I also will mention that not a single body part ached or hurt during the entire time I ditched practice, I slept late and I slept well (no sulfites in EU wine), but you know what? if you practice Ashtanga for long enough you realize that you don’t do it to feel terrific or pain free. Something always hurts. You don’t do it for the man arms or the perky butt, at some point nothing perks up without additional help. You don’t do it because it settles your mind, just notice how our mind rambles on and on about when to do asana, how to eat, sleep and prep for it. You do it because you are in love. You are in love for the long run even if you falter. Corinthians 13:4-8 comes to mind. “Love is patient, love is kind. it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud….”

No Touching

Because I was very slow to diagnose what has been a progressing case of poison ivy. Thank goodness because the first few blotches looked like bug bites and the paranoia in my head was saying that I brought them in from my last stay in the city. I  sort of figured it out when my skin started to burn like hell when I started to sweat during practice and I had to close soon after starting seated. On the way out I showed some friends who helpfully told me it was poison ivy and to go get something called Tecnu. Tecnu smells vile, poison ivy is contagious, and I look like I’ve been bitten by bed bugs, so this is no way to show yourself in public.  Thankfully I received no adjustments so nobody touched this mess. So home practice it is. I’m hoping that I I will be able to stop by on Friday before I leave for Europe that evening.Iit will be my last practice at the shala until September!