But we do not listen. Most seasoned yogis come to the conclusion that talking, writing, blogging about their practice sucks some pretty essential energy from the endeavor. Most of us go nawh, reallly?Like how? You sure?Me, I don’t feel it? Until you do. Over here it is because the two steps back and how ever many it is forward (I always say it wrong) dance is intense but powerful right now and somehow beneficial and very tricky to describe. Tricky because telling it makes it sound hyperbolic and trivial when what is happening is just the opposite. writing about it feels like poking the dirt to see if the seeds you planted are making any progress, or to see if you did plant them right side up. You might not hurt anything but you know it’s not what we’d call helping the thing along.
I started following a yogi named Ramiro Ventura on twitter. I believe he might be from Argentina but not sure. Anyway, he recently posted a sutra translated into Spanish instead of English and WHOA! The lights went on. Nutty as it sounds, I forget English is not my first language and maybe sometimes it is better to peruse or partake of knowledge in our mother tongue. It will be pricey to obtain a translation from the editorial publishing house he recommends but in the meantime I will avail myself of Los Yoga Sutras de Patanjali: Traduccion y comentarios por Swami Satchitananda $14.08 at amazon.
I so hate writing about this one. As you all know I have a shall we call it devotional love affair with yummy food. When I started practice I diligently and almost successfully tried to rein in my favorite activity so I could progress in the practice. Unfortunately I realized that you can still bind and bend if you gain those 36 pounds back. I am not in this for the yoga butt or the gorgeous deltoids. I was fortunate enough to have been cute and realize it while I was in my teens, twenties and well into my late thirties (you do not know how unusual that is among us lady people). When I had to have an emergency hysterectomy at 41 and started gaining weight, I was bummed for a little while and then said fuck it. I created a good wardrobe that served me until the yoga came to visit me, and was faced with wanting to do things not related to going out to dinner at the new awesome place. I figured out what the weight limits are before you start loosing binds and Halasana starts choking you, and have gamed the system successfully by cycling a few weeks of good eating habits with a few of pretending I’m about to cater a wedding. In the past few weeks I have realized that A) my recent injuries may be related to excess weight and B) the point of binding and back bending is to get rid of the darn Kleshas, so I have to break up with greed. I hate getting divorced plus I have no idea how I’m going to do it.
I am usually beyond thrilled when a moon day arrives on a Friday or a Sunday, and don’t get me wrong, I have a nice white Bordeaux chilling in the refrigerator. It is however only the second day of my pranayama for energy experiment and Wednesday was a bust because my niece faked me out pretending she wanted to go to yoga. I then decided that it would be best to do a 10 AM led. When she was unable to wake up in time on her own, I left in a huff to a led HALF primary, so that does not count. Today I won’t lie, I was still exhausted when back bending came around but I focused on what I did right instead of what is still stuck. So I’m doing three rounds of kapalbhati and three of nadhi shodan first thing in the AM.Those are what teacher taught me and I am not in the business of assigning myself independent studies in breathing techniques. Any suggestions I might want to bring up for when I talk to her about this?
I had such a wonderful experience yesterday afternoon during my first ever restorative yoga class, that I woke up this morning with the sun AND refreshed. I only use the word refreshed and woke together maybe on vacation by a warm turquoise ocean. I am so glad I went, and I had to choose between that and a wine tasting benefit! I am totally growing in places. I could have gone to Mysore this morning but I knew teacher had been with her teacher Tim Miller at his workshop in the city. And when she goes to a workshop she always has something interesting and new to share. She cannot really talk about it during morning mysore but during the 10 AM led classes/workshops and Friday/Sunday led she does get a chance, so I decided to go to that this morning. She did have a lot to share… About INTERMEDIATE! Serves me right, I thought to myself, but by the end of practice that serves me right comment had a totally different meaning. She has talked about how to move your sacrum and your pubic bone in preparation for back bending a million times, but it was only today that I finally heard and understood what to do during Ushtrasana. I cannot believe I’m looking forward to trying what I learned tomorrow. Intermediate makes me spacey. Lot’s of driving mistakes on the way back to the ranch. next time I’ll check email and drink some coffee at Tusk & Cup for a little while.
Among the many lessons a daily Ashtanga yoga practice has given me is the appreciation for the routine of the morning inner dialog/negotiation that occurs after the “harp” sounds at six AM every morning. Regardless of how my stomach, and my joints feel, or the quality of my rest and of the last meal of the day before, I now feel the following:
-Gratitude instead of relief when no impediments present themselves, but specially when they do and I sit up and head towards the shower.
-Compassion instead of pity if the above does not happen.
-Equanimity (just a glimpse to be honest) instead of disengagement when I am nervous or feeling negative about the outcome of my practice that day. The intonation of the word “whatever” determines the meaning.
Love instead of infatuation when I think of the results, the lineage, my teacher, the Ashtanga community. It is no longer the excitement of I bumped into the cool crowd , but the astonishment that you found your path.
Two really good mornings in a row will turn anyone into corny sap.
I am off to Boston this afternoon for the rest of the week, with the clear intention of not getting lost while I find the shala space I want to practice at in the suburbs (is Brookline the suburbs??).
No problem! There’s a youtube channel for that now. The interwebs are like a big ask and you shall receive psychic fair. Thanks so much to The Confluence Countdown for alerting me to this:
Having been a union member, I was made aware early in my career that MLK’s speech during the March on Washington was about economic justice. Today, I know many fast food workers are striking for the chance of earning a living wage. I don’t personally know any yogis who eat fast food, but perhaps I know some like me who delight in finding something useful/nutritious/beautiful/well made, for $1.99. There is no such thing. Someone is being robbed. Someone, someplace, and their resources are being mistreated and plundered. Also sacked along with their well being, is our ability to feel compassion and empathy. One thing that Yoga brings to your attention right away is how to live with fewer, and better things if you want to make progress with the practice. To a certain extent, both the rich yogis and the poor ones need to live with: Less food, less party, less complicated outfits, less shopping if you want save to go learn at the source or even if you have to forgo certain non essentials to study with a qualified teacher. This is another topic but don’t skimp on finding that teacher and certainly do not screw that teacher out of a living wage. Some people are willing to let go of a well paying soul killing job to become a yogi (that is also a whole other story). As yogis we are fortunate to find out that volume and capacity to acquire are obstacles to wisdom and it’s application. So even if you are just in it for the yoga butt, the practice makes you follow a little bit of yama and niyama by creating less waste and maybe not supporting mindless heartless consumption.
Not in the global sense obviously, but in my tiny little life. For starters, dismissed from jury duty so I could attend Friday Primary. I pump myself up during the drive up once I realize it is 3rd Friday which is intro to 2nd. But I am wrong!! August has 5 Fridays and today is the 4th Friday of the month. I sit for a surprisingly free of agitation & disruption 45 minute meditation session. When I am done, I feel that the humidity of early morning is completely gone. As we stand up to recite the opening mantra I suddenly realize that today is my deceased brother’s birthday and I can only croak a whispered om and shit starts rising up, but by the time we finish I realize I am going to be able to hang on. All sorts of treats during the practice: Head drop in 3 of the Prasaritas, smooth Vinyasas, Bind on both Mari Bs, and enough energy to enjoy the asanas after Navasana. The day is even more gorgeous when I go get my Friday 16 oz Latte treat, and I realize that everything is simultaneously lovely and horrible constantly. I am happy on the day I remember I lost my youngest sibling, and the pacific ocean is dying( read small blue pearls today), and both sides in Syria are the bad guys.
I learned how to jump back from standing very early in the practice by watching a video by the sometimes annoying Lucas Rockwood. I learned how to jump through with ease to sitting by watching a rare demo of Sharath doing it on a clip that Grimly shared last year or earlier this year, can’t remember. I just remembered that I saw what Sharath did, went to the floor and copied it exactly. I cried a little . I just sent my teacher a video of Maty Ezraty putting a strap around a student’s elbows as an adjustment in Urdhva Danurasana, to see if she concurs and tries it on me. As I was sharing my recent insomnia woes with teacher before practice, it occurred to me that even if I learn to lift up completely it does not mean shit if I cannot maintain a quiet empty mind while I move my body. I finally figured out that it is entertaining and even interesting to watch Kino, or Matthew Sweeney or DG technique and tips, but progress only comes when you go inside for solutions to your asana challenges. The “ping” if we want to call it that comes when you stop crafting strategies and procedures and let the sound of your breath shut that racket down.