Sunday, January 15, 2006

Conditions: stiff and crunchy

I wasn't even supposed to be at practice today. But my plans to go skiing upstate today and tomorrow were trashed by the weather's insane mood swings. First it's practically tropical (for New York City in January, at least). Then it freezes up overnight. Not a recipe for good ski conditions in the East.

So perhaps, my practice today was simply not meant to be. Nevertheless, it was...and it mimicked the conditions of the Catskill Mountains that I was supposed to be making my way down.

It's not that I couldn't get myself into the postures today. It's just that getting into them took so long and involved so much effort. I wasn't expecting to be so uncomfortable today - I got enough sleep last night, and I have not been eating at night. It's not that anything was particularly on my mind. Yet practice felt really bad just the same. I am just happy to have gotten through it, since the entire time, I was debating whether to stop early. Perhaps after standing? Perhaps before Mari A? Perhaps through Mari D and just skip Navasana? Skip backbends? As it turns out, I skipped nothing, but it took me 90 minutes to do my entire Half Primary practice, and I spent a lot of time between the seated postures laying on my back and staring at the ceiling feeling sorry for myself.

Nonetheless, some stuff was good:

  • I pressed up into Lolasana and held it. I have no idea how. And I could only do it one time, very early on during seated.
  • My jump-throughs are getting better - I find that the stiffer my lower back is, the better they are (I guess when my lower back feels stiff, I unconsciously protect it with uddiyana bandha)
  • My Mari A and B binds were deep without assistance
  • I bound Mari D without assistance.
  • Backbends felt fine.
After class, Philosophy and Pranayama class, which I could have savored all day long (other than the icy temperatures in the room). LOVE it.

Highlight of the day was a conversation I had with Sir after P&P. It went something like this:

Me: Sir, why is it that some days practice is just so difficult? I mean, some days it feels great, and then some days it is so hard...why is that?

Sir: Are you really asking me a question?

Me: Well, I guess not. I mean, yes. I mean, no. I don't know. Practice just felt so awful today. I could DO everything. But it just FELT bad. And I hate when that happens.

This led to a discussion of the factors that could lead to an uncomfortable practice. Sir's first guess was that my mind was unfocused. Perhaps it looked that way, since I probably spent my 90 minutes in the room grimacing and even breathing out of my mouth. But really, I had little on my mind. The room was so crowded, and I don't remember registering much about any one individual, although now that I am thinking about it, the gorgeous Mom and Daughter Team was practicing in unison, and it did catch my eye a few times...and also there was a new girl in front of me whose mat felt too close to mine, which is of course, all about me, not about where her mat was...but other than that, I don't remember a lot of thinking.

Sir went on to state that more than half of what goes on in our practice is a reflection of what we eat. That led to a discussion about the ayurvedic properties of foods. And man, do I ever NOT know anything about that. But here's what I know now:

Must eat saatvic. Fish is not saatvic. Coffee is not saatvic (I think I knew that already). Eggs are not saatvic. Red meat is not saatvic (duh). Organic vegetables are saatvic, but NOT when they are frozen or stored or leftover. Dairy products (other than eggs) are generally saatvic, but again, only when they are organic and fresh and....my head is spinning....what am I going to eat?

I do like spelt pancakes and steel-cut oatmeal. I also love cottage cheese, but only the non-organic brand with pineapple in it. Peanut butter is another saatvic food that I like, but only the kind that is organic and not overly processed. Oh well. I do like Almond Butter. So, I guess I can eat spelt pancakes, oatmeal and almond butter along with some freshly cooked organic produce.

Sir did note that one has to live in the real world, and if you're taking your kids around, walking your dog, working (whether I actually am doing that is somewhat debatable, but whatever), you have to sustain yourself.

I hope that is a tacit license to eat sushi. But I'm kinda thinking...no.

YC

4 comments:

samasthiti said...

Meats, alcohol, coffee, tea, mushrooms, garlic and onions, burnt or charred foods, rotten food, refined junky foods, none are on the list of sattvic foods. But if you eat a mostly sattvic diet you can have a few non sattvic items as long as it's ok for your dosha. So you may want to find out what you mainly are( I am guessing vata/pitta), and see what the dietary guidelines are for your dosha.
There are a lot of websites where you can take a brief test and it will give you a general idea, but an ayurvedic practitioner would need to give you a longer test and a pulse reading to give you a really thorough answer.

Don't think about what you can't eat...just think about how your body will love you if you eat the right foods.

samasthiti said...

Meats, alcohol, coffee, tea, mushrooms, garlic and onions, burnt or charred foods, rotten food, refined junky foods, none are on the list of sattvic foods. But if you eat a mostly sattvic diet you can have a few non sattvic items as long as it's ok for your dosha. So you may want to find out what you mainly are( I am guessing vata/pitta), and see what the dietary guidelines are for your dosha.
There are a lot of websites where you can take a brief test and it will give you a general idea, but an ayurvedic practitioner would need to give you a longer test and a pulse reading to give you a really thorough answer.

Don't think about what you can't eat...just think about how your body will love you if you eat the right foods.

yoga chickie said...

Definitely pitta.

Can a pitta person enjoy spicy foods or coffee without imbalance? I love them both.

YC

samasthiti said...

GO to this website and go to the dosha quiz and then check out the diet suggestions for what your predominant dosha is...

http://www.ayurvedaonline.com/info/threedoshas.html

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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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