Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Do all "days from hell" start out with an "I feel fat"?

No one, other than an anorexagenic modeling agent could look at me and call me "fat". Yet today, the Chatterer did just that. And by "Chatterer", I mean my "mind", the part of me that is not my "essence" but, rather, a home-grown, life-experience-enhanced pretender to the "Self" resting calmly within me and patiently observing this poser, this pretender, this Citta-Vritti-manufacturing "Chatterer".

So, the Chatterer took one look at my body today, and condemned me for eating six Mallomars last night. The Self looked on with equanimity, knowing that this too shall pass. The Chatterer set about trying on clothing at 7:15 a.m., checking to see if anything had grown tighter (subtly, but definitely, yes). The Chatterer began concocting plans to turn this problem around fast, ways of eating, ways of exercising. The Self calmly watched, knowning full well what she needed.

The Chatterer took my Self and my Body on a stressful trip downtown to Shala X today, that began with the good intention of not driving when there is a national call for gas conservation. Good intentions aside, it doesn't help when you are so scattered that you can't remember what you did with your Metro Card. And it doesn't get any easier when the Second Avenue Limited busdriver grinds the bus to a halt while you scrounge around in your wallet for loose change, causing all of the other bus riders to begin grumbling loudly, preparing for mutiny. Not wanting to be the cause or the object of any violence, I skulked off that bus and began searching for a newstand that sold Metro Cards.

Ticktock, ticktock, time goes so quickly when you can't get your act together, and the Chatterer was plenty angry at herself for allowing this to happen. Finally, she found a store that sold Metro Cards, and she got herself onto the Second Avenue Bus.

The Chatterer fell into a brief delusion at that point, one in which she believed that all would be well, and nothing would now stand in the way of her getting to Shala X by 9:30 a.m. Delusion quickly gave way to suffering, as the reality of heavy traffic made itself apparent. Still not ready to surrender to having done all that she could do and simply letting the rest happen, the Chatterer, sat on the bus, annoyance boiling over as a woman in the front of the bus began harassing a woman who was standing in front of her. What did this have to do with the Chatterer? Why nothing! Of course! But suffering can manifest itself in many forms, and in this case, it was irritability. When 9:30 a.m. had come and gone, with the bus was still crawling down Second Avenue, and the bus stopped to pick-up a wheelchair rider, the Chatterer threw up her hands in aggravation and stormed off the bus. She figured, it's time to cab it.

Ah, more delusions. There were no cabs, and as the Chatterer kept shooting her cuffs to look at her watch, and as the time kept crawling toward 9:45 a.m., and as the Chatterer approached the next Limited stop, the Chatterer began to fret about how she was going to practice yoga with all of her stress, with all of the aggravations of the morning piled up into her consciousness. How was the Chatterer going to practice if she only had 45 minutes in which to get adjustments, and she had wanted to have a nice, slow, MELLOW practice (which would take closer to an hour before Finishing)....?

The Self finally spoke kindly to the Chatterer: Come as you are, the Self said. Come as you are. You don't wait to be in the right mood for yoga. You don't need for the "ride" to be smooth. You lay down your mat when and where you find it, and you practice yoga in the moment. If you do that, what is happening here and now won't matter in THAT here and now.

The three of us (Self, Chatterer and my Body) got to the shala at 9:45 and had a nice, slow, calm, 8-breaths per pose practice. There was no adjustment in Mari C as a result (Sir left the room at 10:30, and class was officiall over, although the students are allowed to finish on their own), and yet the Body found its own way to feel the twist, to open the shoulders, to touch the fingers together behind the back. The Self was more present than the Chatterer could ever remember in an Ashtanga shala, although it is hard for the Chatterer to say, since the Chatterer was fairly quiet during the entire practice, making space for the Self to emerge.

Sir did walk back into the room at one point to reprimand us for continuing beyond Mari C (as research FOR Mari C). The Chatterer was a bit miffed by that because as far as the Chatterer was concerned, Sir had left the room before the Body had even gotten to Mari C, so what business was it of Sir to stop the Body once class was over? Nevertheless, the the Chatterer got hold of the Body (the Self was nowhere to be found) and made the Body be obedient. We went right to Finishing Series, which was nice and relaxed (so, apparently the Self quietly padded back in), and then we left.

There were several messages on my phone when I (we!) emerged from the Shala. One was from a photographer who wants me to come to a casting call for asana modeling. I laughed and told him, "Do you realize I am only five foot one inch tall?!" He said he thought so, from the photo he had seen of me (the one that New York Yoga is still carrying on their web site). They pay $75 an hour, and the photos are used as stock footage for wellness programs at banks and other large companies. If The Husband doesn't need the car tomorrow, I guess I could go down to Brooklyn to my very first (and probably ONLY casting call ever).

The other was David Kelman at Yoga Sutra, who asked me to take over the Thursday morning 10:00 a.m. Vinyasa class! Hooray! A daytime class!! A quality studio!!

But as Ralph Waldo Emerson would say (and I am paraphrasing as I am simply too lazy to go get the actual quote), "Your fortunes turn, you get a job, some other good thing happens, and suddenly, you think your life is made! Well, think again. Only YOU can bring yourself peace."

Ah, shucks, having said that, I felt compelled to go and get the actual quote. Here it is:

"A political victory, a rise in rents, the recovery of your sick, or return of your absent friend, or some other quite external event, raises your spirits, and you think good days are preparing for you. Do not believe it. Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles."

from "Self-Reliance"



Vanessa said...

"Sir did walk back into the room at one point to reprimand us for continuing beyond Mari C (as research FOR Mari C)."

Even if he had left the room...if you are practicing traditional Ashtanga, it would be good to stick to the "rules of the game", no? You can play with research poses outside your Ashtanga practice, IMO.

Ashtangini said...

Not only your opinion, Vanessa. Its the way it is. Chickie, I think this is one of the things you still don't get about Ashtanga and about having ONE teacher. You've "decided" to "allow" Sir to be your teacher and to practice at his shala. There are traditions and rules - you follow them, period. You are supposed to stop at Marichyasana C - always - whether you practice at Shala X or not - until Sir gives you the next pose. If you feel compelled to go further on your own elsewhere, no one will know but you. But to go further at his own Shala - "in front of him" - is quite rude and evidence of a lack of understanding of the ashtanga practice and of the student/teacher relationship - at least as it is taught by "Sir." Research can be done - but leave it for your nightime bath stretches...

Jill said...

Eating a few cookies isn't going to change your body - it especially won't show up the next morning. Next time you feel fat - try to see if there is something else that is really bothering you.

Jill (your sister in law)

yoga chickie said...

I don't know why it makes people so angry that I did something "wrong" and then got called on the carpet for it. It is what it is. I don't judge Sir for doing what he did or saying what he said. So why judge me for doing what I did or reporting it as I did? Based on what Vanessa and Ashtangini are saying, I have quite a lot to learn. The best way to learn is by making mistakes. A cat only jumps on a hot stove once. I expect to keep making mistakes, and in so doing, do lots of learning.


Anonymous said...

oh dear... you're turning schizo too.


damn whoever stole K.

Susan said...

I just wanted to ask you, do you really like "sir" and his shala X?
Are you still just doing research on that?

yoga chickie said...

I do like Shala X, but there is more to it than absolute prostration to Sir. It is about the quality of the yoga school that Shala X is. I think it is VERY high quality, very intellectual, and also quite in touch with the world as it is today (they break with tradition by having a Saturday Mysore practice. How many people knew that? Any comments there? They also break with tradition by offering pranayama to anyone who wants to take it, more or less, and by offering introductory and workshoppy-type classes to dissect poses). I love the fact that there are class ALL the time there. That matters to me.

Susan said...

So, did you just not realize that he'd be upset if you got caught?
Did you think he wouldn't see, were you sneaking?
Were you just unaware?
Did you want to get caught? I am playing party psychologist.....LOL!!
I am not a good one.
Yes and what about that PRANAYAMA BEFORE YOU FINISH 2ND! That is not a Guruji rule!
But you know, it's just yoga.

Teachers AND students earn each others respect.

Ashtangini said...

The "no mysore on saturday" thing is really just to give the teacher a break from a 7 day/week schedule. Its not a "rule" like not practicing on a moonday. This is moot at Shala X anyway as Sir does not teach the Saturday class. And rumour has it that Sharath teaches on Saturday...Oh, and pls do not mis-interpret my comment above as anger - just abrupt brevity I suppose.

yoga chickie said...

I guess I was responding to being called "rude" for doing my R&D poses "in front of Sir". I should mention, or at least I feel compelled to mention, that he was long gone by the time I was starting to explore the forbidden poses (that I used to have in my practice, by the way, not that that matters). He popped in either on his way out of the Shala or on his way back in - he was wearing street clothes.

One other thing I feel compelled to tell you, just to paint a more accurate picture, is that Sir has given me the go ahead to do R&D after my practice while still in the Shala. He told me to lay on a brick. I have noticed many other students working with bricks and straps lately (and I have sort of wondered why all the apparatus, and also wondered if this had something to do with Chuck and Maty being guests of the Shala in September). Anyway, I am smart enough to know the difference between an R&D pose that Sir gave me to do and an R&D pose that my ego told me to do. DUH, right? So, I get it. I am just not the perfect Ashtangi...yet...(or maybe ever, but I'm workin' on it...)


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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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