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.

Posture

I’ve been sitting like this since the second grade at least.

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I have tried to modify since I started practice, but this is pretty much why I cannot disengage my shoulders away from my ears, and why pointing my chin towards the ceiling hurts my neck. It could also be why any kind of chest opening freaks me the hell out. Currently trying to stand way more than sitting, while convincing my shoulderblades to slide down. Patterns, Samaskaras, all ready for Timji tomorrow.

Worry vs Fear

I have always been a worrier. I have avoided many things out of over thinking the outcome, but I don’t think I have felt fear that often. Maybe the first half hour of 9/11 and the rest have been times that I have watched or read fiction that made me want not to have ever been born. So for perspective today, here is an example of upper middle class over educated mostly white worry:

Wondering if your breathing might cause you harm while you are trying to float back like the ex super model mother of 4 married to the billionaire while you have the body you have. Just try to remember to listen to your teacher when she reminds you that equal, full deep breathing is the best way to practice equanimity.

Here is an example of an impolite not very well thought out expression of fear:

Fear is reading the news and finding out that there is a town in CA that no longer has running water. Looking at a photo of thousands of walruses that have nowhere else to go and are beached in the coast of Alaska. Reading Quinn Norton’s latest on Medium https://medium.com/message/whiteness-3ead03700322 and realizing how really effed up our social constructs are. It is suddenly understanding that an angry enough and dejected human being does not even have to be insane, just a product of enough humiliated and pissed off generations in order to cause a cataclysm in the geographical place they blame the most for their despair. I hope the NSA/FBI/CIA  do not come after me for saying this, but what is to prevent an unhinged person to get intentionally sick, travel to lets say here. sneeze on his hanky and then smear it all over the poles of the IRT on the way downtown and then on the poles of the BMT on the way back uptown and then while at it cough all over the downstairs food court of grand central for payback? You might not want to come and read here again, and even though I feel a lot better than I did this morning before practice, this fall does not feel like any other fall.