Sidelined

By two things: First, teacher told me yesterday that we would start working on the next step in my path towards Sirsasana. How weird that I overslept and did not go to the shala today. Hmmmm. overslept because I got riled up about the video below before bed. Not the video but the blowback online from people who are outraged about her daring to feel uncomfortable and complain about the cat calls. Specially about the “coded” ones like God bless You which really means god bless your tits and that fine ass. Or Smile, which really means be grateful bitch that I am paying attention to your appearance.

This morning I post it on facebook and receive a comment from one of my young nieces who without an ounce of irony says that this happens to the woman on the video because she is not a savvy new yorker and stupidly walks without headphones and tunnel vision. She is seriously proud of having to use armor and attitude to earn the right to walk the streets with the same entitlement as if she owned her own penis.

Then I get a PM from a young nephew who feels wrongly accused and bunched up with the crowd of cat callers and compares them (the cat callers, that took me a minute to grasp) to the beggars who know that someone is going to drop a coin and these men just know some girl will eventually relent. WHAT. I had to disagree explaining that the manner displayed by these men is more like a demand, and yes some beggars are demanding and that is precisely why it is sort of scary. It was like don’t feed the pigeons which is a step away from you should really wear that burkha. This is a sweet 20 year old kid, and his cousin is a recent college grad excited about her city job, but this is what the culture has told them to internalize. My head is on fire.

I did mention to my nephew why I might be “oversensitve” to this issue. When I was 17 in Medellin, I liked to sometimes go downtown using public transportation to shop or to meet friends for a movie or teatime. Always during the day and during office hours in the part of of the city full of nice stores and office buildings. If you have traveled abroad you know that in certain countries what you hear hurled at you is pretty filthy and intended to embarrass and make you cower. I got it on two fronts; One, I was a girl of means who was driven places instead of walking to them and they had access  to me that they otherwise did not have and two, they could make me feel responsible for “arousing” them and making me feel I was the innapropiate one. I made the mistake of talking back one day to a boy much younger than I was. He in turn grabbed my breasts, slapped my face and called his friends who came and touched me everywhere. Two older men defended me but not without reprimanding me first for walking by myself. My parents reprimanded me as well for refusing to use the driver. So yeah, It could be that I am oversensitive. Or like my nephew said: That it’s terrible that this happened to me but this is different. Yeah.

Cayenne

IMG_3638This post is not about asana. No asana today because we celebrated Mag’s birthday last night and I still smell of all the Cabernet I drank. Yesterday I also planted all my tulip bulbs which is hard on the knees and on the lower back. I also decided sprinkle a thick coat of cayenne pepper over all the spots and the pots I planted bulbs in to discourage the squirrels. Now I am worried that I am going to blind a squirrel. Why would she have so much cayenne you ask? I live 10 minutes away from Pennzey’s spices, and It is cheaper to buy the big bags.

Dismorphiaaaaa!!!!

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.

The Pros and Cons of Consensus

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.

Tapas

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.

Of Course They Don’t

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.

Pathologizing Ashtanga

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.