Tuesday, May 09, 2006

A million little reasons

Nothing like a few calories to prop up those bandhas. When I woke up this morning, I was incredibly famished, to the point of having a stomachache. I have no idea why that happens sometimes. But anyway, on the way back from dropping off the kids at school, I picked up a PowerBar and enjoyed it with a cup of black coffee. I then proceeded to think of a million reasons why I could skip practice today. And believe me, a million reasons takes up a lot of time, so I was still listing them in my head as I turned my car onto 79th Street from my parking garage's driveway and saw that the line of cars waiting to get onto the FDR Drive South was two avenues long. I was still listing them as I turned my car the other way and drove toward Second Avenue. I was still listing them as the traffic jam proved to be city-wide. And I was still listing them as I found myself on East 9th Street at 9:25 a.m., pulling into a parking spot on the non-street-cleaning side of the street.

When I walked into the shala, I finally took control of those vrittis, kindly asking them to please shut the hell up. I needed to find a spot amid the throngs of ashtangis, and I needed to do so fast. And so I began to practice. My mind was fairly quiet, my feet were light, my joints open. I told myself not to rush, that I wasn't going to squeeze in a Supta Kurmasana before Sir left the room anyway. That said, I also told myself to cut out the extraneous stuff and just do my practice.

That meant, only five breaths in each pose, but REAL breaths, rather than merely the sound of my voice in my head, counting (okay, one exception: 10 breaths in parivritta parsvakonasana - I need five breaths with my hands in prayer, and five breaths in the full version of the posture). That meant not holding Prasarita Padotannasana C as long as it took to get someone to press my hands to the floor. That meant one breath in each down dog of the Primary Series through the Marichyasanas. That meant no dawdling between Marichyasanas. And lo and behold, I was on Supta Kurmasana within 45 minutes (without having cut out any Surya Namasakars!), and I got a GREAT assist from Sir.

Then I took Julie's excellent advice and held the downdog after Supta K extra long, until my back felt neutralized. And I was ready for backbends.

The problem with maintaining a healthy lifestyle is that it is hard to know WHICH healthy habit is making the difference when things go well in Ashtanga practice. Is it the fact that I have been limiting the animal protein in my diet? Is it the fact that I have been eating primarily plant foods? Is it the fact that I have been getting more sleep? Is it the fact that I ate breakfast today? Is it the fact that I faced up to my fears and ego here on this blog yesterday?

I wish I knew. I wish I knew how to stay on the top of the wave...


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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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