Monday, July 18, 2005

El Mariachi...Si!!!!

Today was weird. Ever since I have been practicing Ashtanga six days a week, I have been feeling totally psyched and energized upon waking up in the morning. But not today. I could barely get my eyes open, and I didn't have time to shower or bathe before getting the kids to the camp bus stop across the street. Even the route I took to the shala was different - I stopped on First Ave at Anneliese's Bake Shoppe for a cuppa caffeine and a (yuck) Poland Spring before heading down the FDR Drive.

I got to the Shala and did NOT feel like practicing. It was kind of quiet there, and I didn't see Guy right away - only Katie, who I met on Friday at the Bye-Bye-Mark lunch, who was there to assist. But I placed my mat down in the spot nearest to the door where you first walk into the studio, next to that tall good-looking actor/waiter, the one who now seems to be replacing his Marichi D's with Ardha Matsyandrasanas, and I got to it without much stretching. I told myself that if I can just get through the Standing Series, then that is something, then I will still have practiced.

Oh, also, I have a VICIOUS looking broken blister on the top of my left foot - from walking around in sandals. Who would think that it would amount to a practice-altering injury? But you try doing Upward-Facing Dog when you have a mess of mascerated skin oozing on top of your instep! I told Katie I didn't know what was going to happen with my practice because of the blister, and I did my best, but I couldn't roll over my toes at all.

Nevertheless things went fairly smoothly right up through Prasarita Paddotanasana C, which is where Guy came over to me, and I knew he was going to press down on my arms, and I felt my heartbeat quickening. "I am really terrified of this pose," I told him as he walked over to me, as I was reaching my arms behind my back and trying to clasp my slippery hands together, "I feel like I am going to pass out. I feel like my arms are going to break." "I can usually tell that," he said, and we smiled, and over my hip creases I went. And guess what? It was like the POWER OF CONFESSION...having told him I was scared, I lost much of my fear. I emphasized my exhales (for surrender and to avoid gripping), an over my head my arms went...

See? I knew there was something to that Group Hugs Website (see sidebar). I am going to have to confess more often.

As I came up from PPC, I felt this feeling of, "Ah...I can probably stop for the day and feel really good about this practice." But I went on. Again, things were pretty smooth, even Ardha Baddha Padmotanasana.

But I started to really lose steam once I hit the floor. My Paschimotannasanas were great, but then after C, I realize, "I have to get up now?!" That is when things started to go downhill....I guess when you go in without the INTENTION of doing the Primary Series, you aren't going to get very far.

Even so, I managed to pick up some enthusiasm at Marichi A (all by myself) and Marichi B (with Jose's awesome assist). Guy helped me get into it C on the right side, and it was really awkward and tight. My fingers were slipping, and I wasn't feeling it. Then....miracle of miracles....I almost got the left side all by myself. I mean REALLY REALLY almost all by myself. He just had to click my fingers together and I did the rest.

When I got home, I did it like 10 more times just to remember what it feels like. No, this is not totally crazy and obsessive and diminishing returns. There really is this sweet-spot that you find...and when you do find it, you know you are going to get the pose. On the left side (binding around my left bent leg, that is), the sweet spot is when I can get my right breast implant to clear my left thigh. See, my right implant is rock hard because of radiation, and there is utterly no give at all, so if I cant clear my thigh, the implant is going to push me at least an inch or two out of the pose. So, when I clear the thigh, my right arm is able to tuck neatly around my left leg, and BINGO!!! El Mariachi Si!!!!!

I stopped at C today. There was no way I wanted to do D, and I was the last one practicing as it was. So, Guy told me to finish there. And I felt deflated but relieved. My finishing series was delicious, I have to say. Smooth and even and bendy.

I just love how you never know WHAT is going to happen in an Ashtanga class, and yet you know EXACTLY what is going to happen, pose-wise. It is this very simplistic universe, and yet so much is projected onto it, so many lessons, so much to learn. Do I need to do this in my life? Of course not. I could go to the gym, and then meet friends for lunch. I could stay home and watch Dawson's Creek. I could go biking or running. I could take up cooking. But imposing this Ashtanga practice on my life is this amazing opportunity to study myself, my reactions, my fears. I don't have to put myself out there into poses that scare me. I don't have to subject myself to poses that annoy me and upset me and make me feel frustrated. But I do. And I will learn from this. And I will take that learning and use it in the world outside the shala....


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Copyright 2005-2007 Lauren Cahn, all rights reserved. Photos appearing on this blog may be subject to third party copyright ownership. You are free to link to this blog and portions hereof, but the use of any direct content requires the prior written consent of the author.

About Me

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.


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