About mariavlong

I'll tell you about what today is like for me. It will include Yoga, chasing after some pretty or yummy thing, trying to be nicer & less of a big baby.

Spring Arrived Today

How do I know? I spent the entire morning curled up in a dark closet floor trying to think straight during the strongest sinus pressure induced migrane I have ever experienced. I kept hoping I would stop returning the bites of apple I was trying to keep in my stomach so I could pop the 3 Advil pills I so desperately needed. I know I am not the toughest mother, but this one scared me. So grateful for the absence of pain and nausea right now, I could kiss anyone’s feet. Aftera tough   winter for asana, I was excited about practice this morning. It seems that I am in one of those golden periods where there are breakthroughs and progress very much thanks to teacher’s insights and tool sharing. Maybe I can still do something later this afternoon. In other news, Robert Moses from Namarupa has begun his Yatra correspondence with updates and info for travelers. At one point there will be 155 of us together.


I will always believe that play, storytelling and pretend are the best early childhood learning tools. I am not ashamed to still be using those tools as a learner since I no longer teach. Imagery in asana, starts with the naming of each pose. For those of us who grew up just visiting nature occasionally and sporadically it is sometimes a challenge to relate. Some yogis might even consider imagery as training wheels to be set aside like toys as your practice matures. Well this disobedient bad lady never learned to ride a bike, but she remembers how to handle a horse. When teacher asked us on Monday to think about the front and back muscles that hold our shoulders as a saddle, My mind grasped it. I finally understood how to prevent my upper back from sinking in Chaturanga. If you have ever put a saddle on a horse, used your knees to stabilize your stride, or pressed down on the stirrups to initiate a trot, you will understand  the movement, how to proceed, and where to apply strength and pressure.  Today before Utpluthi she asked us to think of our shoulders and arms extending and penetrating the ground and forming an endless loop of energy that sustains our form in the center, and dork here right away thought of that contraption in Jodie Foster’s Contact. It worked for me.

Anger Management

I am impressed if this is my first time practicing while still in the middle of a furious anger attack. It probably is just only the first time I am aware of it or remember it. Whatever. I found out that if surrender and angry do battle, angry plays dirty and wins. The reason is long and boring. Suffice it to say that my biggest anger trigger is being bullied or cheated. Throw in both plus shame for not rising above it and I will prove to you that all emotions live in your stomach. Even a 20 minute drive did not throw cold water on the blaze. I meant to dedicate my practice to a friend who is leaving on an authentic old fashioned real hero journey, but ended up offering a short pranayama instead because I knew that if I did not stop I would end up doing violence to myself the way I was pounding the vinyasa. Drinking coffee slowly while delaying the drive back.

Neither Here Nor There

These are things occupying my mind today:

Daylight savings is an abomination and I will wait  to wake up until the sunlight and my body decide to agree that it is the correct time. I managed a Sunday 10:00 Am practice at the shala, but today and yesterday have been at home.

The United States Senate has 47 petulant racist assholes. (Maybe more but for other reasons other than constitutional ignorance and treason).

I have to make peace with knowing that  my side of the family will not leave Miami. Climate change will visit everyone eventually anyway. I will visit Key West for the first time next month, so I can have the memory.

Learning how to knit is a money sucker. Purl Soho has my entire March allowance.

If you don’t play  happy music when it’s sunny and warm, the snow might come back. I think birds know this.

Is it me or that KPJAYI list of certified and authorized is missing a bunch of people? What? We are all conditioned to look up rank.

The Apple watch is for Dicks.

Thanks to reading on screens, I retain very little of what is not written in story form. Retraining my eyes and brain to absorb text on paper.

Oh, and Frat Houses? That’s where nasty people go to meet each other, ugh.

Polluted yoga TTs

I really feel bad for anyone who dropped serious cash on something like Anusara or Bikram and now has to erase that brand tattoo from their CV (and hopefully not from their body parts). I was confronted today with a post from my friend Claudia Azula Altucher where she calls out Kashtub Desikachar’s “discreet” effort to re-enter yoga academics. Interesting that I started a once a week chanting lesson with a teacher who is a student of Sonia Nelson who is a student of what the flyer says “The Desikachar Family”. I read now in the flyer that she recently returned from a  two week intensive course at the Sannidihi Krishnamacharya Yoga Center. So here is the thing: It was an excellent class that I took on Monday. The person teaching me is a knowledgeable, experienced, and respected member of my local yoga community because she has earned it. However, I am very riled up by the Indian government’s choice to ban the Documentary India’s Daughter, and the thought of anybody being still okay with heading over to train at a center that is harboring a predator bugs me to no end. Do I have the right to call someone on where they choose to receive training? No. Absolutely not. I see a lot of online trolling in the yoga community disguised as activism and it is tone deaf and counterproductive. But taking a stand as women in this case is absolutely necessary. Claudia told Kashtub to stop using his grandfather’s good name to hide that he has lost his credentials/credibility to teach. And I am going to have to forgo this convenient well taught class because I realize that the recent training that the person teaching me received, is a type of condoning or ignoring an ethics breach that betrays us women.  Sermon over. Okay no. Vedic Chanting, which is chanting knowledge of the highest order should have someone other than the predator who is going to give the 2015 training, promoting it and teaching it. Sermon Over.

March Challenges

Journey to handstand: Pfft. Those of you journeying online, pay attention don’t get hurt.

March Cleanse: Been trying not to muck it up since December. I don’t own a bikini and if I did I would just put it on. Those of you that treat your body as the temple that it is, I respect your cleanse as the  spring temple ritual that it is.

Meditation Challenge: I don’t think meditation is a tool to be used to challenge what is, but I am just soaking in all that is inside Gregor Maehle’s Yoga Meditation.

In other news, I cleaned out Eileen Fisher Green yesterday. 4 dresses(tunics I don’t really wear dresses) 2 pants, 2 sweaters, 1 top. $205, everything linen, silk or merino. Loved gently used clothing. 30% goes to GoGirl.

Bought a blooming jasmine plant and inhaling every time I pass it.


So useful to read and re evaluate again what you think you already know. This started by wanting to refresh a little knowledge before traveling to India in October, but it has turned into listening to other smaller booklets, pamphlets, links and articles I have saved. I know I am not the only one who has found daily practice incredibly hard this winter. Repeating to myself you only have to do 3 As and 3 Bs has saved me from not practicing. Goodness knows what stories I would be telling you and myself for not practicing if I had to still get my ass to work outside the house in this weather. It is not just the cold and the bad driving conditions and the lack of sunlight that is throwing curve balls at me ( I don’t even know what that means. Trick balls? I never chased or caught balls well anyway). It is realizing that I am at the intersection where progress in asana is defined by the poses I get to keep instead of the poses I might be given in the future. You know how we all see ourselves as the same kid/teen/20 year old in our heads? I always thought if I loose weight, and never drink again, and take glucosamine, and amp up my pranayama and suck up my bandhas while I fold the laundry the impossible poses will be accessible to me. But no. I know there is a lady in Kentucky who started in her late 50s and received authorization in her 60’s. I am going to guess she was not talking about how Winstons and Kents tasted awful compared to Marlboro reds and Camel filters at age 12. I am not saying I cannot be like her because I did that. I cannot be like her because the samaskaras I have to work keep being those kinds to this day. I listed to Claudia interview Matthew Sweeney yesterday and he had an interesting take on access to Mula Bandha. He said resolving certain aspects related to appetite and other root chakra “issues” is a precondition to finding it. Makes sense to me. I also saw an FB post today on my feed where David Garrigues shuts down the fantasy that you surely one day drop back or lower yourself to chaturanga like what you see on youtube if you started at 45. I thanked him for making that realization available to me. I was glad when I asked myself if I wanted to continue practicing ashtanga if I was not going to make asana progress and I (mentally) shrugged and said sure. I now know for sure that standing on the mat makes what my cyber friend David Cain describes as “the sky has fallen a million times  already” an occurrence instead of a disaster. He follows with the following advice: Being overwhelmed comes from a breakdown of your thoughts NOT the breakdown of your PRACTICE( okay he said your life). He finishes by saying “Things change pretty quickly when you start DOING things instead of thinking so much”. I’m also pretty sure that in my case it still means asana because he also mentions that “it is most tempting to not do things when you most need to do things.” So between re reading a post he wrote on Raptitude back in 2013 and the house recommendations from AY Ann Arbor’s Angela Jamison, I get to hang in there until spring!