Mysore Room Bonanza

There are now four places (that I know of) in CT where you can attend Mysore practice using the Ashtanga yoga method as taught by Sri K Pattabhi Jois. I write this as I did an abbreviated practice in my own room since the evidence of my kapha dosha is running like a faucet thanks to April and I’d rather it be my floor than V’s or a mate’s mat during a movement. So anyway, for many years it was just my teacher’s Mysore room, first in her own home and then in a rented studio space, in all of CT. Then came Jois Yoga in Greenwich. Then they left, and Authorized Level 2 Megan Riley founded Ashtanga Yoga CT in Greenwich. Now recently Authorized Level 2 teacher and Co-owner of Kaia Yoga, Stan Woodman is opening Mysore rooms in two of his three studio locations. A morning program in Greenwich and an afternoon program in Darien. So now CT gets to choose where and who to practice with. As you all know I am a person who enjoys yoga travel and yoga tourism. However, I follow good advice and have settled on a teacher who patiently has learned my body’s capabilities and my mind’s anxieties. Will other teachers have the same gifts or even better ones? No doubt, and I suggest you visit, evaluate and then decide. My suggestion is not only for the health of your practice but also for the health of  the studios that are investing and starting Mysore programs. These programs thrive and become stable when they become a community of regulars. Am I saying that you cannot visit? I absolutely plan to visit. My dear pal N teaches at Ashtanga yoga CT and my other dear pal P teaches at Kaia Darien,  and I want to stop by and support them. But I do see Eddie Stern’s point when he discourages jumping around shalas all over NYC and accepts guests and visitors from farther distances than across town or uptown. It is a grace note as well as a good business practice. SO here is to wishing that Mysore practice in CT thrives, and that everybody’s room is full of students who will honor their teachers who rise to do their own practice while we are still negotiating with our pillows.

Mind Blown

I found this on the annoying side bar of Facebook, then went ahead and watched it and when I went back to Facebook to see who shared/referenced or posted, I could not find it. So out of memory I will say Angela Jamison said something about it and when she says something I always click and  listen. This is epic. Way above my yoga education level, but obviously youtube is fixing that. “Not even your imagination can override you” . Time to read the Gita again.

It Happens

Just don’t quit when it does. Last Monday was a very revealing day for me and I do not say that with any type of gladness. Ignorance is indeed bliss. Harmful bliss if there is such a thing, but reality does sting a hard, particularly when it arrives. During a series of “research”poses with guidance, I came to realize that most of my preliminaries are unbalanced and unstable in one way or another. I was so overwhelmed by figuring out that I had been reinforcing incorrect placement or rotation or whatever it is that allows me to grab my toe, keep balance or twist, for all these years, that I took yesterday off to mope. I am still mopey, so instead of practicing in community I practiced alone outside in the sun. I coaxed myself by agreeing to do one side my way and the other side the impossible (for now) way. Less benefit probably, but less harmful than quitting. This is how I know Ashtanga is not a workout. I have no need for an exercise high, or to look in shape or thin or radiant, or healthy, or whatever code word is being used for hot. I’m rebelliously quite fine with the way I am as long as the clothes I love still fit. What Ashtanga has done for me, is that it dramatically improved my ability to accept and allow and receive. I am so much more than the body that is fretting because her leg is no longer as high up in UHP. There is so much going on that has absolutely nothing to do with the meat draped on my bones and covered in skin, that I am flabbergasted when I realize I went through half my life without noticing the non physical.

Observations

Over the last two months I have gotten food poisoning 3 times.  At 3 different restaurants, in three different states. All involving meat. I think the term unsustainable is finally sinking in.

Even as interested and gung-ho as I am about all things Ashtanga, I can no longer keep up with all the podcasts, interviews, teacher letters, facebook posts, and groups. Reminds me of the time that I realized I would never be able to be all caught up with my email and began deleting in large swaths.

A dip in the ocean is the most healing and beneficial thing you can do for your skin, nails, and brain.

The smell of sun tan oil combined with the smell of fried foods, and souvenir candles and soaps is evidence that we cannot handle prosperity. Key West I have to say is, a terrifying main drag surrounded by the most beautiful ocean you can ever imagine.

Seagulls, pelicans and other birds I cannot identify are very interested in watching primary from an uncomfortably close distance until they realize you did not bring any food.

Nice to be home and find amazing gifts in the accumulated mail form amazing friends.

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.

Revisiting

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!

Driven

…Is not something you can call me.  Even though after thousands of years of evolution, my nervous system still cannot tell the difference between being torn apart by a saber toothed tiger instead of just visiting my parents for 72 hours, I  continue to choose freeze instead of flee. I am making peace with this choice instead of being constantly disappointed by it. They say our identities are a result of a finely crafted cocktail of biology and culture. My bartenders raised me in a culture where the recipe was a  loose variation of impress others but don’t make it look hard, and never change. It was so confusing that a promptly (before I turned 10 even) lost any desire or imperative to be anything in particular. I did not know the term fuck it then, but I was saying exactly that. These days I believe it is called surrender, and all of a sudden it is a good thing. I marvel at all these type A pals of mine, with which I get along with stupendously I might add, trying to ease up and coast, and I wish we could barter. I could use some type A and they could use some FTS and walk away. Calmly. Because that is the trick. You cannot be all hyper and guilty and over explainy about walking away. It is shudder for a sec, and then sit an listen to the judgements with blocking aids at first but later it really becomes equanimity, I promise. So how is this about yoga you might ask. Well in the case of yours truly here, the only way to practice and be friends with people who are mostly yoga teachers or should be, is being comfortable with not having or not being. Yesterday I had many maintenance related tasks to do in order to have an up to date and organized existence. I ditched it all to read, and later on make this:IMG_4176

It was only fun because I sincerely said FTS to chores, to following the convoluted geometric directions I found on line, and used markers so I would not have to clean up. Maybe not even remotely related,  but  some of you might want to read that Patty Smith interview on Medium.  and this too, because it  was what sort of got me going on about calmly performing FTS with sincerity and devotion.