Thursday, August 31, 2006


i am desperate to get back to the shala.

i am happy to be desperate to get back to the shala!

hey - i figured out how to use an exclamation point!!!

c`est bon or something like that.


still here in canada...still no laptop to call my own...

i am at an internet cafe in mont tremblant and the keyboard is woeful. i can`t figure out how to use punctuation or capitol letters. quick rundown of the past couple of days....let`s see, if today is thursday, then that means that we took a boat out on lac temblant for a couple of hours this afternoon and just returned. earlier in the day, we spent a couple of hours in le source aqua club where they have a whole bunch of swimming pools and spas, and after a half hour soak in the outdoor spa, i did my whole yoga practice. yay!!!!!!!!! and it was good. and no one bothered me for the most part, even the husband let me practice pretty much undisturbed as he watched the kids use the tarzan rope and jump from pretend cliffs.

which brings me to wednesday, yesterday, when we went white water rafting, which was kind of scary at first, but then i started to relax and enjoy it, although not enough to participate in the cliff diving that took place at the end. earlier wednesday, yesterday, we hiked up a trail called les caps, which took us all the way from the bottom of the mountain to the top. it was five kilometers and very very very steep. adam bitched and moaned a lot, but i held his hand, sort of dragging him up. that helped. it took us a little over 90 minutes and then we took the gondola down.

no practice yesterday. when would i have...

there was supposed to be a question mark there, but i have no idea how to type one.

day before was tuesday, and that was tennis and water sports...adam went water skiing for the first time. i probably already blogged about that. so i will not go on about it now, since my 10 minutes at the internet cafe are almost up.

everyone has a french accent here. am i the only one who is surprised...question mark....most of the folks i know from quebec province speak english with an almost new york, this was a bit of a surprise for me. it is totally french here. i know i am stating the obvious. but still, it had to be said.

later tonight will be mini golf. tomorrow morning, bright and early, we will go rock climbing. scary. and then i think i will again have time to practice. and eat a crepe.

i hope i get a chance to go horseback riding. which also reminds, me, sharon, we are definitely going to get a beaver tail. i have no idea why we haven`t done so already! silly us.

no beavers will be hurt in the process, for anyone who is not sharon or who has not been to tremblant.

ciao ciao


Monday, August 28, 2006

The Type A New Yorker's Guide to Doing a Resort Town

  1. Wake up, fuel up on black coffee and delicious whole grain toast with apricot-cherry jam.
  2. Hustle on over to the Bungee-Trampoline to be first on line, and then go jumping.
  3. Skeedaddle over to the Luge and take a couple of trips up and down in a little cart with a steering wheel.
  4. Then walk up a long hiking trail to the "Acrobranche" station, train to use caribiners and bungee cords to secure yourself to a ropes course and a zip line and then proceed to plow through the ropes course and zip down the zip line - twice.
  5. Realize it's nearly four o'clock in the afternoon, and that you're absolutely starving, and race off to a pizzeria in the pedestrian village.
  6. Order vegetarian pizza, send it back when you realize that you have received pizza with vegetables on top of pepperoni, receive the proper pizza, eat it quickly.
  7. Race back up to the Gondola to take a trip to the mountain summit (the Gondola closes at 5 p.m., after all).
  8. Stay on the Gondola for the trip down the mountain to get back in time to try your hand at scaling a wall on the outdoor climbing tower. When your arms are trembling from overuse (should have put more leg muscle into it), realize that it is time to go back to the hotel to...
  9. Do your yoga practice at the pool (full primary, with drop backs) while your kids splash and play and the Husband lifts weights in the fitness center.
  10. Somehow manage to do said practice while talking to nice folks from Toronto and Teaneck, New Jersey.
  11. Head upstairs to change for supper. Make sure to include a nice glass of Cabernet with that supper.
  12. Walk home.
  13. Blog.
  14. Pray for sun tomorrow so that we can get up and hit the Escalade (actual rock climbing, which is a three hour excursion), hike up the mountain to a Double Black Diamond Trail and then back down (Brian's request), make it back in time to take a fishing boat out onto the lake and still...practice...?
There is so much to do here. And only five more days in which to do it. The kids and Husband would like to go on a rafting trip. But I sooooo soooo don't wanna. I believe that will be my horseback riding day. Or at least I hope so.

My practice outside by the pool was really good. And despite that it "feels" like I am making progress in Supta K, the Husband told me my hands are still 10 inches away from each other. I am now itching to get back to Shala X, to the only teacher who has ever been able to put my hands together in that egregious posture. I hope, I hope, I hope that after my upcoming re-reconstructive surgery in October, all of these binding postures get easier....October 11...I cannot WAIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I wish I could put some photos up of our adventures today. Unfortunately, my laptop's battery is about to die, and the AC cord is all screwed up - exposed wires and all - so I can't recharge. Uploading photos takes a lot of time...thus... unfortunately, it will have to wait until I can get home, unless by some miracle, my AC cord decides to stop misbehaving.


Sunday, August 27, 2006

Bienvenue au Tremblant

It was a long day of traveling today, first through Burlington, Vermont and then up through the southeast Canadian countryside, where I highly doubt that a word of English is ever spoken unless some hapless American tourist wanders into a farmstand and attempts to purchase some "maze sucre" in their own native tongue. It was difficult enough at a highway rest stop just north of the cosmopolitan city of Montreal to purchase a Diet Coke with American dollars.

"Blah blah blah les enfants blah blah the bar" the woman at the counter said to me.

"Parlay Voo Inglays?" I asked.

"Blah blah blah les enfants blah blah the bar" she repeated, a bit exasperated.

"Oh! The kids! The bar! Right! Merci!" I blathered, humiliated, as I quickly shepherded my kids out of the bar section of the cafe.

I really ought to have brought a French/English dictionary with me. But I did get my Diet Coke.

It's pouring rain here in Mont Tremblant . I guess my luck with the weather ran out on the Fire Island Ferry. But it doesn't matter. It is amazingly gorgeous here. But, well, duh. It's a ski resort nestled in the Laurentian Mountains, and it's summertime, so everything is green and lush. What I had always heard is that Tremblant looks exactly like a European city. But I really don't understand the comparison. What it looks like to me is exactly what it is: a quaint ski village. In fact, it kind of looks exactly like the base of The Canyons in Utah. Must have been designed by the same architect. Or owned by the same owner at some point.

Tomorrow we begin our outdoor adventures - bungee trampoline (whatever that is), luge, rock climbing (both climbing tower and escalade, also known as rapelling), horseback riding, lake fishing, mountain biking, bird watching, perhaps some hiking, perhaps some canoeing.

I only had 45 minutes to practice today: 5 of A, 5 of B, all of Standing, Ardha Badha Padma Paschimotanasana, all of the Marichyasanas through Supta Kurmasana (minus Navasana, which is the one pose in the Primary Series that has always been easy for me, so I figured, why bother) with no vinyasas in between and then one long Badha Padmasana, sans the Badha part. I think it is going to be tough to get my full practices in here, and the thought of that stresses me out a bit. But I will keep trying. It's not like I'm going to be inactive. But I really need to bend. My body doesn't feel right without the proper mix of stretching and bending. It is clearly an addiction - a physical need at this point. Mental too. But more physical.

Must practice yoga. Must. Practice. Yoga. Must. Practice. Must. Practice. Must.


Saturday, August 26, 2006

Hellowe from Stowe

Here we are in Stowe, Vermont, fresh from a six-hour drive from New York City.

The plan had been to head up here on the way to Mont Tremblant, spend some time lazing by the pool, have a little dinner and get a good night's sleep in anticipation of tomorrow's four-hour drive up through the rest of New England and up to Canada.

But somehow, by the time we got here, we found ourselves blessed with a renewed burst of energy....and so....without even bothering to check into the hotel first, we drove straight up to the Stowe Mountain Resort (where folks ski in the winter) and found ourselves on a three-hour hike up to "The Chin" (the highest point on Mansfield Mountain, which is the mountain that most people are referring to when they refer to skiing at Stowe).

Whew. We got a lot more than we bargained for. The park ranger guy at the foot of the trail told us it as an easy hike, maybe a mile or so. In reality, it's two miles each way up to the top, mainly on jagged rocks that often require the use of one's hands. And it was COLD up there. The air was thin, and my heart was pounding. But the view was insane:

And the kids were champs.

Truthfully, we were happy that it was a challenging trail, rather than a walk in the park, so to speak. I guess after six hours of sitting in a car, we needed to burn off some energy. And here I as thinking that it was going to be a rest day. At least from yoga, it was.

Tomorrow, I am hoping to practice, probably late afternoon, once we arrive at Mont Tremblant.

In the meantime, I need some shut-eye. Badly.

On other topics, I'd like to thank everyone who commented on the slightly insane body-image post from a couple of days ago. Your equanimity and your patience with regard to such a loaded topic is admirable and greatly appreciated...:)


The Pluto formerly known as "Planet"

Does anyone else find it to be entirely unremarkable in this day and age of corporate downsizing and subtle (and not so subtle) acts of overt discrimination, that poor old Pluto would get demoted on the sole basis of being a dwarf?

My surprise was in finding out that Pluto even IS a dwarf (or even a planet for that matter). Here I was thinking that Pluto was a big, yellow, kind of stupid-looking dog. Mickey Mouse's big, yellow, kind of stupid-looking dog, to be exact.

Speaking of Mickey Mouse, I wonder how the Seven Dwarfs feel about this. It seems to me that this whole demotion-on-the-basis-of-being-a-dwarf could be viewed as an implicit attack on their status as productive members of society. I mean, here we have a Disney dog that can't even talk, and first he's accused of impersonating a planet, then told that, in fact, he is actually a dwarf, and then, insult to injury, he's getting unceremoniously demoted.

Seems unfortunate (although as I said, unsurprising) that the universe is no longer a hospitable place for dwarfs (although "dwarves" may get better treatment simply by virtue of their Tolkien-esque moniker). Whoever said "size doesn't matter" clearly was not a dwarf passing as a dog passing as a planet.


Well, smack my head!, If I'd only known about Linseed Oil!

I wouldn't have had to lose my hair, projectile vomit or spend a week in the hospital in neutropenic isolation. Or so says Kevin Trudeau, to whom I hesitate to link here because the man doesn't need any more publicity than he already has generated with his insane and unsubstantited claims of snake oil panacaeas. Essentially, Trudeau makes millions of dollars selling books that employ the phrase "Natural Cures"within their titles that are filled with claims that most human disease can be cured with non-drug remedies.

For example, he writes of how consuming linseed oil has been shown by researchers to kill more breast cancer cells than chemotherapy. Really? Tell me more, Mr. Trudeau. Tell me about the many thousands of women (it's called an "adequate sample") who joined that study and didn't know whether or not they were receiving linseed oil or Adriamycin and whose doctors did not know either (it's called a double blind study, Mr. Trudeau).

Yeah, its Five something A.M., and I am up watching infomercials. I much preferred watching the last "show" in which Donald Trump hawked his Trump Institute seminars where people like you (!) and me (!) can get RICH, RICH, RICH using other peoples' money to finance real estate acquisitions. At least I know that Trump is famous for successefully building and selling buildings that people actually live in. Whereas if you Google Kevin Trudeau, you can see from all the lawsuits, fines and imprisonments listed and linked that Trudeau's fame is built on a shaky foundation of claims (and flat-out lies, like, for example, that he has a medical degree, which he does not...which claim was good for a two year stint in prison) that are constantly being shot down by the Federal Trade Commission and various members of the media.

Of course, anyone who attempts to peek under the Trudeau rug will be accused of being owned by the drug companies, who Trudeau claims violate your Constitutional Right to choose Linseed Oil instead of chemo to cure your not letting the news of such miraculous natural cures make their way to you....

'Cause everyone knows that you can't make money from developing medicines out of natural ingredients like tree bark and such. It's never been done, not once, ever.


Friday, August 25, 2006

Like pulling teeth

Why is it that when I spend my entire day looking forward to my yoga practice with about the same level of enthusiasm that I might have for a visit to the dentist to have my wisdom teeth extracted, I end up having one of those practices that elevates my love for the practice to new heights of joy and appreciation?

Today, I floated through the entire Primary Series, including drop-backs and the finishing series, in 80 minutes. And guess what? I stood up from backbends. Not gracefuly. Not easily. But no more falling onto my knees. No wonder my thighs are aching. I didn't think I would have the strength to do any backbends, let alone come to standing. And yet.

Sometimes I know it's going to be tough. Sometimes I know it's going to be a delight. I think it, and I'm right. But most of the time, I have no clue what is waiting for me on the mat.

I guess that's one of the things that keeps me coming back to the mat day after day. It's always the same, and yet it's never the same.

Meanwhile, the Husband is in the middle of a rant. I think he finds vacations stressful. The anticipation of leaving seems to be driving him absolutely mad. Marriage and family is generally such a good thing - exactly what I always wanted. But then times like this, it just sucks. Living with another person. It's a practice. And right now, it's not one of our more stellar sessions.


Self? Check. Mind? Check. Body?, not so much.

I'm awfully hard on myself. I know that. Intellectually, I realize that for the past week, I have walked EVERYWHERE all day long, on concrete and on beaches. I have played tennis and thrown hardballs with my boys, who happen to be really outstanding athletes. I have practiced yoga every day this entire summer, except for Saturdays and the occasional moonday (and this past Monday, when I practiced, but only non-vinyasa). I don't let myself eat all that much - no matter how much I've been smelling the (sorry to say this, if it offends) delicious aroma of hamburger charring on the grill, I've been denying myself the summer pleasure. I begged off of ice cream the entire time I was in Fire Island, mainly because I wasn't in the mood. But still, something here smacks of self-deprivation.

With that as a backdrop, I woke up today and tried on my brand new pair of Levi's 503's, Juniors Size 1 (before you get all "what a bitch" on me, just listen...okay?). I don't think they get much smaller (okay, they do come in Juniors Size 0, but let's not get so nitpicky...clearly I am small, but I am no Nicole Richie). Of course, most human beings don't come any smaller in height than me, so it stands to reason that I would fit easily into "skinny" jeans. And they do fit beautifully. I am in love. LOVE! I used to only wear Levi's 501' know, the old button fly boy-cut Levi's. But now Levi's come made for chicks, and it is good.

What was my point? Oh yeah. Being hard on myself. So, the Levi's 503's, size 1 Juniors, which I ordered over the internet (kind of ballsy of me, I'd say), fit me perfectly, giving me the courage to step on the scale for the first time in months.

And what did I get for my gutsy move? Depressed. I am somewhere between 109 and 111 pounds, depending on how I stand on the small white harbinger of doom. I know that is small. Intellectually, I know it is. I do. But I really thought that after an entire summer of really healthy eating and really hard-core practicing, plus lots of dog walking, I was going to be down at 105 by now...certainly no less than 1o7. Not to mention that my clothes all fit me looser now than they did in the winter.

How can it be that the fitter I get, and even the SMALLER my body gets, the higher the number on the scale?

I know, I know, muscle supposedly weighs more than fat. But does it? Does it REALLY? I should never have stepped on the scale. I should never have even thought about talking about it here. But I'm nothing if not compulsive. And neurotic. Even if in my mind, I know that the scale means little to someone who is as muscularly built as I am, my propensity to dis myself sees an opportunity opportunity to undermine my confidence, to make me feel fat for my height, even when all evidence points to the contrary (except for one malevolent bit of metal, springs and numbers).

I haven't practiced today. Yet. It is up in the air whether or not I will. I really don't feel like it. I am feeling quite burnt out physically, not from practice, but from everything else. And I just don't feel like concentrating for an hour and a half.

Even as I write that, it sounds absurd. I don't need to practice for an hour and a half. I could do 10 A's and B's, padmasana and savasana. Maybe I will practice after all. Maybe I'll go to Bikram and stare my ego down in the mirror until one of us cries "UNCLE!" Whatever I do, I really ought to do something because tomorrow, I am going to be driving for like a million hours (or it is just going to seem that way) as we wend our way up through New England to Stowe, Vermont, where we're bunking for the night before our trip to Mont-Tremblant.

Hence, my conclusion that I am way too hard on myself. Couldn't I just cozy up on my sofa and read a book? Must I move my body every chance I get?

Sigh. Apparently, yes.


Thursday, August 24, 2006

Five hours and 13 minutes later...

The ferry ride was delightful, and even more delightful was the fact that as soon as we hit dry land, it began to rain! Such timing! Nearly a week on the beach without a drop of rain, and as soon as we leave the beach, the rain begins!

Unfortunately, the rain took on nearly biblical proportions as I drove West from Bay Shore towards Manhattan, which slowed our progress significantly. Luckily, the Husband agreed to meet us in front of the building where class is held and take the car (with the kids, the dog and the luggage) home so that I could high-tail it up the stairs to teach my class, a mere 10 minutes late.

And here I sit. My back is aching from too much yoga. That's right. Not only did I do my regular practice today, but as I sat on the beach watching Brian build a gigantic city out of sand and Adam "stomach surfing" (as he calls it) the "tasty waves" (as he calls them), I decided to be a complete moron (and show-off, I suppose) and revisit all of the Marichyasanas, and a couple of Second Series (gasp) poses that I quite enjoy (having learned them in Jivamukti classes over the years): Ardha Matsyandrasana (with and without a bind), Bhekasana (which has always been quite easy for me, since my knees have always been fairly healthy, thank goodness, knock wood, kinahura, puh puh puh), Ustrasana (part of Bikram's Beginning Yoga Class!), Laghu Vajrasana (my freakishly strong quads make rising up from the bottom easy...hey, something should be easy for me, no?) and Baradvajrasana. Sorry, I am a criminal. Yes, indeed. And I am being punished for it. Oh....the aches and pains....that'll teach me.

Hey...on another topic: Anyone see this Primary Series Chart? It lists all of the poses ALONG with all of their corresponding drishtes! Way cool.

OK, time to finish my cheesy but incredibly compelling novel.


Kicking and screaming

that I have to leave this place now.

Have I mentioned how much I love Fire Island.?

It's been so much fun here - just like summer camp, only I'm the counselor, and my kids are my campers.

  • Revele at 6 a.m.
  • Breakfast at 7
  • Off to the playing fields by 9: tennis, soccer and baseball.
  • Then two hours of rest time, which means that I get to practice (full primary, going smoothly)
  • 3 p.m, is swim time, only instead of a pool or a lake, it's the beach. When the lifeguards go off duty, it's...
  • 5 p., and it's time for an outdoor shower to remove all the sand clinging to our bodies, after which we dress for late afternoon sports: lacrosse and basketball. This time, instead of participating, I hang with some of the other "counselors".
  • Once this is done, it's about 7 p.m., and we take a"hike" before dinner, you know, to work up the appetite...a a two mile "out and back" to Ocean Bay Park.
  • 8:30, we arrive back in time for a reservation at the mess hall, or rather, the Island Mermaid, whereupon I imbibe a Vodka Collins and some grilled and steamed vegetables and entertain my charges further by turning pipe cleaners into yogis and yoginis.
  • Lights out is around 10:30, I settle in with my cheesy novel which is somehow strangely compelling.
  • Eyes close around midnight, and the next thing you know, I'm being shaken awake by two anxious campers who are ready to begin the day anew.
And now it is time to go back to the real world, if only for a day and a half before leaving again for the Laurentian Mountains in Canada. Mont Tremblant, to be exact. I am sitting here waiting for the ferry, and praying that it comes ontime, that the traffic from Eastern Long Island back to New York City works in my favor such that I arrive in midtown in time for my Yoga For Breast Cancer Survivors Class.

A few discoveries I have made along the way:
  • Mung bean sprouts taste much better the first day than they do after a few days of sprouting and an inch or so of root growth. MUCH sweeter when they are new sprouts.
  • Vanilla fudge with a chocolate swirl is really, really, really good even if I don't know where on earth or under what circumstances the vanilla or cocoa beans were grown (hanging head in shame).
  • Crickets are edible. Just ask Adam, who ate one at the Island Sweet Shoppe in exchange for the honor of having his Poloroid taken and placed on the wall for posterity (or at least until Labor Day) and donning a big-assed pin that reads, "Eating Bugs is Cool". Of course, the cricket was covered in chocolate. And again, I do not know from where that chocolate came or whether it was created in cruelty (turning my eyes away, pretending I can't see things that I don't want to see).
  • Stories, even clever ones, about the Buddha that you hear at Shala Summer Camp do not translate to moms you meet on the bleachers outside a soccer field in Long Island. Remind me to tell you those stories. They are really sweet. And smart. And I know you will appreciate them.
  • People who object to your dog barking in your house may very well break into your house, feed the dog and then lock you out. When you knock on their door to ask you if they saw anyone breaking into your home, they may very well admit to you that indeed it was they who trespassed upon your property and vandalized your cupboards and refrigerator. And then if you are lucky, they will send their grown son over to help you break into your own house because you never thought that anyone needed a key in Fire Island. Ooops. Then quite possibly, they will not recognize their son, asking, "Oh, is this your husband?" Ummmm. When the police came, I told them not to bother the poor woman. She had enough troubles of her own.
And on that odd note, here comes the ferry....


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

It's 10 PM. Do you know where your Chickie is?

Well, I'll tell you. I am sitting on a tennis court at the Ocean Beach, Fire ferry dock. My boys are playing a pretty decent game of tennis, considering the time of day (by which I mean, "night"). I promised them that they could play some ball as soon as wel got off the ferry, so long as the lights in the courts were on. As it turned out, the lights on the tennis courts were blazing, as were th0se on the basketball courts. This town is hopping. Amazing, given that it is the middle of the week on a non-holiday week. Even more amazing are the vast numbers of children under the age of 12 who are wandering around here at this hour, eating ice cream, looking tanned (that's not surprising) and wide awake (that, on the other hand, is).

Did anyone here on the East coast know that we are in the middle of a meteor shower? I am not sure for how many more days this will be going on, but for tonight and for at least the next few nights, when you look up in the East-West sky, you just may see some shooting stars and even some "floating" stars (pieces of space rock that are just kind of floating in orbit and within view of Earth). I think that with the New Moon and all, it is going to be even easier to look up and see these natural wonders, except if you're in the city, in which case the city lights will make it difficult to see anything at all.

Oh, yeah, and I have wireless here on the tennis courts. Obviously. What a thrill for me! It was either crack open the laptop or struggle to read my trashy novel in this odd and unnatural light (trashy novel is Dean Koontz's The Key To Midnight. Yes, I am a closet Koontz and King fan. How lowbrow of me.)

Excuse me now...I have to go tell Adam that there's no crying in tennis.


I'll take mine to go...

Today I ended my Tuesday lunchtime Vinyasa summer teaching gig on a high note - 18 students came (and such an auspicious number too)! I played my favorite mix (Sahara Chill from Putumayo's collection, plus Honey Root, plus Zero 7 plus Dum Dum Project plus Elvis Costello) and wove in a theme that I could really wrap my arms around and embrace (well, it was my idea after all): self-practice.

After witnessing a friend's emotional breakdown over the weekend due to her inability to go to a spin class, it occurred to me for about the eleventy-billionth time, how lucky I am to have discovered and developed a yoga self-practice. My practice goes with me wherever I go. I don't even really need a mat, although it sure is nicer to have one. I can put my hands and my feet to the floor anywhere, anytime, like a Dr. Seuss rhyme:

I can practice on a plane
I can practice in the rain
I can practice at the beach
I can practice when I teach

I can practice where I ski
I can practice where I tee
I can practice on a track
I can practice right out back

I do not even need a mat
All I need is someplace flat
It does not m
atter where ya go
Yoga is yoga is yoga, yo.

One of the nice aspects of teaching a class that is intended to inspire my students to take their practices home with them is that I could teach a vastly uncomplicated sequence. Sometimes I feel (internal) pressure to wow my classes with creative sequences. But today, my goal was to make it simple enough to remember if they were so inclined.

Afterwards, I taught my private group of personal trainers (also at Yoga Sutra though), which is always a blast because they are incredibly athletic and are always looking to have fun in class. This means that we inevitably end up working on inversions and arm balances. They love that stuff, as do I. Muscly peeps. As my friend S puts it: the Muhammed Ali's, as opposed to the Gumbi's. The comparison took me aback at first. I never would have compared myself to the man who floated like a butterfly and stung like a bee in his day. But compared to the folks who can bend backwards and see their own asses (you know who you are....TIFF), I guess I'm much more of an agile boxer. And if you ask the Husband, he will tell you that I have the memory lapses to match.

Well, it's back to Fire Island for me for some more beach, bamboo, barbecue, bikes and boys (my boys). And of course, some nice yoga go.


Monday, August 21, 2006

Coming up for ether


This is the first time I've been online since Friday evening, which is when we left for Fire Island ("we" being me, the Husband and the boys). I brought my laptop with me, but when I arrived at the house (which we borrowed from one of the Husband's business partners), I discovered that there was no internet connection and no wireless access. Fire Island, for those of you who missed last summer's musings about this (approximately) 22 mile strip of land off the south shore of Long Island, is as close to rural as many New Yorkers will ever get. It's all about the beach, the bamboo, the little red wagons that people cart their stuff around in, the old Schwinn bicycles that people use to get from one place to another and the total absense of cars. The "streets" range from sidewalks to boardwalks to nothing but stretches of sand that homeowners carve between their houses and their neigbors' houses. Families of deer wander around the neighborhoods, as do children of all ages, no parents in sight. I've never let my children run around by themselves there, but people who spend more time there than I do tell me that it's the way of life out there, and if I spent more time there, I would get used to the notion.

Anyway, long story short, I had some enforced unplugged time this weekend. And I felt disconnected. I felt out of it. What was I missing in the online world? My friend Stacey did manage to call me from Kripalu today, where she is at a retreat with David Swenson, David Williams and Danny Paradise. Stacey's a non-blogger, and she doesn't do Mysore style. Yet. But she has been practicing Ashtanga for longer than I have been practicing any kind of yoga. From what I hear, the retreat is all about how these guys were almost literally torn apart by their practices, and how they have come to a new understanding of how Ashtanga should be presented to students: as something to be enjoyed, rather than something to be achieved; as something to be experienced, rather than something to have done to you. I say this with no agenda. I am just repeating what little I heard today. I will try to get more details as they come in from Stacey.

But it does remind me of something I read on Carl Horowitz's blog, which I thought was incredibly brilliant: "When you are being adjusted while performing a yoga pose, the adjustment itself is not the yoga pose, and what your body is brought into, since it is brought into a position by external means, is not necessarily a yoga pose either. It might be, but it might not be. And if someone else is bringing you into a posture then it is not exactly YOU doing yoga."

It gets even better:

"[Regarding the difference between active and passive range of motion,] I like using movements of the thumb to explain this. The thumb has a variety of movements available to it. It is the only finger that has as free a range of motion in what is anatomically referred to as circumduction. You can get your thumb to create a circular movement that combines abduction, adduction, flexion and extension with very small amounts of rotation occurring. These movements could be called part of your thumb’s active range of motion.

"Now if you took your thumb and it was straight and you took your other hand and rotated the thumb, twisting it gently, you could get your thumb to rotate on its axis. This is a movement that your thumb will never be able to do of its own volition. It needs external aid to create this movement. This would be an example of a passive range of movement. The movement is possible. There is nothing wrong with your body being brought through a certain amount of this passive range of movement but it is not something that the muscles of the hand and thumb could create without help from an outside fource to generate the movement.

"You can take this information and apply it to almost any joint in the body."
All weekend long as I practiced, even before I spoke with Stacey, I found myself considering the difference between active and passive range of motion and trying to push to the edge of my active range of motion with minimal use of the passive range. For example, in Marichyasana C and D, I usually use my "other" arm to guide my "wrapping" arm into the proper place for grabbing of the other hand (or wrist, if I am feeling really agile). But this weekend, I attempted to let go of that crutch and let the wrapping arm do the work - thus using only the active range of motion of the wrapping arm. It was quite instructive. Obviously, Mari C was far less deep using only my active range. And Mari D could not even happen. At which point I found myself reaching the edge of my ability to accept the limits of my active range....and I went back to "doing" the postures using both active and passive ranges of motion. But since I am self-practicing these days, at least it is only my OWN body adjusting myself, rather than an external body. Not that there would be anything wrong with that. It's just that right now, I'm really into doing it myself.

And Supta K, ah, Supta K. (Apparently, I must always mention Supta K, or else it just wouldn't be a Yoga Chickie post.) I am totally loving Supta K sans adjustment. It may be just a temporary thang between me and the K. But right now, I feel the weight of my legs pressing down on the edges of my shoulders, where they meet my back muscles, and I feel as if there are possibilities. For such a long time, I felt nothing in Supta K. And now, there are possibilities. If nothing else, I am learning to be self-sufficient in it. Not for nothing, I always looked at the people sprawled out on their mats, their legs pressing down on their arms, waiting to be pretzeled into Supta K with a sense of bemused bewilderment. Like, why suddenly are these incredibly bendy and strong people just lying there like road kill, waiting to be put back together into one piece? And then I became one of those people, and it never felt quite right. I try to imagine myself coming back to Shala X soon with this newfound ability to put myself into some semblance of the posture on my own (albeit with towel in hand), and I wonder: will it fly? Am I ALLOWED to put myself into Supta K? What are the rules with regard to going from Kurmasana to Supta K, exactly?

Wow...I must have been nearly asphyxiated from the lack of ether on Fire Island. My writing feels choppy and disjointed now. I can't come up with a single sentence without backspacing and rewriting. It all feels so self-conscious. And it's only going to get worse, for tomorrow afternoon, I go back to Fire Island. I go back to being ether-less. Internet-free. A pseudo-luddite.

I did see some people tapping away on laptops in front of the Verizon station in Ocean Beach. Perhaps there is some wireless access there? Perhaps I will become desperate for connection and find myself drawn there as well?

If not, I am back in the city again on Thursday.

Don't get any new poses while I am gone.


Friday, August 18, 2006

Ode to Tiff (i.e., girl with no spine)

Once upon a time in a magical place
that has come to be known as Southern C.A.,
a child was born with a special gift:
she had no spine; her name was Tiff.

Tiff taught spin, which tightened her hips.
She wore high heels and at times took a nip.
She ate gummy bears without so much as blinking,
and often she spent far too much time thinking.

Yet in spite of these factors which might have impeded
her progession through Primary, it seems that indeed, it
did not stop Tiff, not a jot, not a bit;
Ashtanga and Tiff: what a wonderful fit!

But here is the thing that I don't understand:
Without a spine, one cannot stand!
So if Tiff has no spine, not a vertebrae in sight,
Then how is that our Tiff stands upright?!
(i.e., With no spine at all,
how does Tiff stand so tall?)

I guess it's enough
that her muscles are buff.

Tiff can you teach me to bend like you do?
Where might I go to become spine-free too?
Oh how I wish that my back weren't tight.
If it's wrong to be bendy, I don't wanna be right.



The Day I Realized I Have No Backbend

Is it okay if I hate Tiffany just a little bit?

Come on...just a little?


Thursday, August 17, 2006


"Hey guys! I'll be down here all day! Give me a call when you can, but try to catch me sooner rather than later..."

These were the words that I heard as I was taking a nice Epsom Salts bath just a little while ago. It sounded like our friend JB, a college buddy of The Husband. JB and his wife E are close friends of our. At one time, before any of our children were born, we lived two floors away from each other in the same building. After their first daughter was born in 1995, JB bought a car dealership in Fairfield County, Connecticut, where they now live, but we remain close. Two winters ago, our two families went skiing together in Park City, Utah, and this coming winter, we are all off to Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

JB and The Husband are well-matched as ski partners, although The Husband is significantly better than JB. But that isn't saying anything negative about JB, who is an excellent and expert skiier. It's just that The Husband is one of the best skiiers I have ever known personally. E and I are also well-matched as ski partners. She's even a bit better than me, which keeps me on my toes, keeps me challenging myself. But she's not so much better than me that we can't enjoy the same runs at pretty much the same pace. I'd say the difference in our skills is mainly in our form on the bumps - she has had more lessons than me on bump skiing, whereas, no surprise here, I quickly tired of lessons and chose to just practicine, practice, practice (see? once again, history doesn't lie).

At any rate, we decided to rent a townhouse, big enough for all of us, including our five collective kids, ages six through 11, and we are in the process now of firming up the details. Thus, I figured that JB was calling to discuss the reservations.

I grabbed a towel, slipped and slid my way toward the phone in the living room, dripping salt water all over the wood floors of the hallway, foyer and entry to the living room in the process, and lunged for the phone.

"Hey!" I said.

But the voice in my ear ignored me.

"If you can get back to me in the next hour," the voice continued, "I can get you free satellite hookup..."

I tried to interrupt him. "HELLO?!"

But he persisted: "and you know what, guys, this is so cool, this is such great news, when I hear from you, I can work it out so that you end up getting the first three months of service without charge...."

It was a recording.

So evil.

In my Email Inbox, along with the emails from wealthy but victimized Nigerians who want me to help them get their millions of dollars out of non-existent bank accounts, I have emails from senders whose names seem like they could actually be people I know ("Kim Winsor" and "Andrea Timmons" and "Heidi Wexler" - even using ethnic names! now, that is playing VERY dirty) but who are actually automated message-bots writing to tell me that I've qualified for that mortgage that I didn't apply for, or that I've won thousands of dollars worth of free gas and can claim it by clicking HERE. I click "Delete" or "Move to Norton Antispam Folder" and find myself annoyed at the myriad ways that sleazy promotors have found to harass me and others who have no interest in refinancing my home or partnering with the devil in order to obtain fuel for my car.

But heretofore, I could always rely upon phone solicitations to permit me to voice my displeasure at being systematically targeted for the advertisement of products and services in which I have no interest at all. There was always the basic and fairly polite, "Thanks, but I'm not interested". And there was always the broader-scoped, "I don't accept phone solicitations, so please don't call here again" for when I felt particularly righteously indignant. And when I was feeling like I needed to release my inner comedienne, there was, "Can I have your home phone number so I can call you back at home later?"....."Really? Why not? I mean, after all, you're calling ME at home..." If words escaped me, I could always just hang up, knowing that the sound of the phone clicking in the ear of the poor schlub deputized with the task of calling people who don't want to be called would convey my sentiments.

But now they've gone and taken away my previously unalienable right to harsh on phone solicitors. The unwelcome telephone solicitation is now nothing but a disembodied recording* of what is probably not even a human voice. Apparently, the final frontier for the quiet release of consumer agression is officially closed for business.

I guess I'll have to go start kicking the dog.


* Note: this practice is a misdemeanor in Arizona and may be illegal under the U.S. Code, although I really don't feel like doing anymore legal research in this lifetime.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Love letter to Bujapidasana

Ah, I take thee for granted. I am chastened to admit this, but when time is short, thou art the posture that gets short shrift: I'm in, I'm out, and in so doing, I fail to savor the near-hydraulic lifting and lowering of bottom and chin, like a seesaw in zero-gravity space.

And then comes a practice where out of nowhere, you remind me of how I longed for thee for so long before you were finally mine. And of how I have always loved thee, my graceful, legs-pressing-against-the arms posture. When nothing else in my practice feels quite right, you are there to remind me that there is always something about the practice to love.

And when, like today, I find myself utterly lacking in focus, you quite artfully bring my head back to the mat. Literally.


My life in costume

I think I need a stylist.

Someone who looks and talks exactly like Mario Cantone in his Sex and the City days, who can come to my house, peer into my closet and say things like, "Why do you still have THAT three button blazer?" or "What's with all of the stiletto heels, you know that you can no longer walk even half a block in them; it takes practice, honey, and you aint been practicing that" or even "Hey, wait, look at that pair of boots gathering dust. Have you ever thought of pairing them with those Citizens of Humanity capris, rather than searching for that supposedly perfectly boot-tucking-friendly but ridiculously expensive pair of Seven for All Mankind Cigarette Leg jeans that don't even have the pockets that you like?"

I'd be all, "That blazer still fits me! And it's a size 0! You can't throw away something that still fits me despite being the smallest humanly possible adult size! That is fashion sacrilege!"

He'd be all, "Honey, where have you been? They're making Double Zero's now. That's OH OH to you," he would say, making quotation marks with his well-manicured fingers and looking down his nose at my chewed up fingernails and cuticles, "so it's time for you to give up that Ghost, or Calvin Klein or whatever it is." His nose would wrinkle in a way that reminds me of the Husband when he smells curry.

I'd look sheepish but kind of like his honesty, asking conspiratorially, "But don't you think that those boots that you want me to pair with the capri jeans kind of make me look like a hooker?"

He'd be all, "Who's the stylist here? You want to be a stylist?! Fine. You be a stylist. I'll teach yoga. How do you think that will work out?! Now put on the Citizens and the hooker boots, walk down your hallway like the supermodel you are and give a little twirl."

And I would obey. For a little while, at least. Until it was time for me to do my usual rebellion/I'll do it my way thing.

But in the meantime, he could go out in search of the perfect looks for a stay-at-home-mom slash yoga-student slash yoga-teacher slash recoverin fashionista. He could scout out all of the Scoop stores on Third Avenue, and Intermix on Madison, without my having to endure the salespeople there. He could find me one really amazing and comfortable pair of black platform wedge boots that zip up the sides and leave room for tucked pants so that I wouldn't have to keep buying boots that approximate the look I want but never quite hit the mark (as I did with my sandals this year...over and over and over I kept buying similar pairs of sandals, knowing that I was not really finding what I was looking for until one day last week, I stumbled into Stephane Kelian and found THE SANDALS...high black platform wedges, their signature style sole...with soft, thick leather straps crisscrossed over the instep and a flattering ankle strap. Basically, they were Kelian's answer to the Kork-Ease craze, and they were half price!!!).

He could find me the perfect white blouse that won't pull or sag between the buttons, one inspired by, but less costly than an Anne Fontaine, one, which fits perfectly into my fantasy of me as Laura Petrie from the Dick Van Dyke show, waiting for the Husband to arrive home from work, my perfectly starched white blouse, draped "just so" over the waistband and hips of my little capris, Vodka Collins straight-up in hand, wry smile on my face, children well-behaved in their rooms.

There was a time when I used to dream of being an actress, and I was pretty good for someone of my age - 13 or 14. But in truth, what I was really good at was dressing up as a character. Once in costume, I could be the person to whom that costume evoked. Thus, when I played Anne in The Diary of Anne Frank, it wasn't until dress rehearsals that I finally felt myself inhabiting my role. I could see my director sighing her relief as well. When I played a "terpsechorian" with a "nom de plume" and an aggressively Brooklyn accent in Noel Coward's The Night of January 16th, it wasn't until I finally got to don my purple satin catsuit with some pointy toed heels and a feathery boa that I became that trashy dancer/witness for the prosecution.

I remember watching an episode of Sex and the City, where Carrie cries to Miranda about how in her relationship with Big, she can't just be herself. Instead, she dresses up in costumes and becomes different personas that she thinks will appeal to him. Thus, one day she might be (I'm paraphrasing here) Sporty Carrie in a silky track suit, Hogan sneakers and aviator sunglasses, and another day she might be Swiss Mountains Carrie in a pinafore dress, her hair in braids and even eyebrow-pencil freckles dotting her nose. I totally got that. I saw myself.

For my years in high school, I was Tiny Barbie Doll Lauren, wearing clothing, including my cheerleading uniform that I accompanied with hair in, yes, pigtails, that accentuated my cuteness and my untouchable perfectness (clearly, an illusion I was attempting to perpetuate). It hindered my friendships to a certain extent. It made me less "let's hang out" ready. It distanced me from those who I might have been closer with. But I was a teenager. What did I know?

In college, it was the Big Sweaters/Stretch Pants/Big Hair 80's college girl look. In law school, I acclimated to being in New York City's Greenwich Village by adopting the leggings under skirts thing that is coming back this season and by shifting my entire wardrobe to black on black. But the easiest costume change was after I graduated from NYU Law and became a lawyer at Rogers & Wells, which has since been absorbed by the UK's Clifford Chance. Since Rogers & Wells was a rather stuffy, W.A.S.P-y kind of place, I collected a wardrobe of stuffy, W.A.S.P.-y suits and dresses, which I accessorized simply with the highest heels I could find. At night, to go on dates or out with friends, I simply paired the suit jackets with leggings or jeans. I carried a Coach soft leather briefcase with me as my handbag in those days. What better way to define myself as "Busy, Career Girl, High Level Corporate Lawyer with No Time To Shop for a Real Handbag." In reality, my costume was just a solution to my essential fashion laziness. At the time, I was workin 80 hour weeks. Who had time to think about fashion? Hence, the costume worked well for nearly every occasion.

Later on, lawyers were bestowed the ultimate favor slash inconvenience: Casual Attire. A whole new costume needed to be assembled. One day, early on in the Casual Attire days, I settled in at a Boutique on Lexington Avenue in the high 80's, called Nellie M., and I purchased a new costume. It consisted of black, grey and navy flat-front, ankle-length, cuffed pants and cute litte blouses that almost looked like jackets. I paired the look with dark stockings and high-heeled pumps or slim-ankled boots. Friends of mine who dressed similarly referred to it as "The Uniform." In time, the Casual Attire costume began to feel a bit androgynous. It no longer seemed to capture a persona with whom I wanted to identify. And so, the morphing into Amanda Woodward from Melrose Place began. Casual shift dresses were added to the mix. An array of suede skirts in ice cream colors to be worn with dark tights in the winter and bare-legged in the summer. TeenFlo suits with exaggerated waists. The shoes got higher. The toes got pointier. The jackets became more militaristic, a la early 1990's Prada, and I became "Look at That Hot Mom Who Also Has a High Power Career".

That was probably the fashion highpoint for me, the time when I became well-acquainted with shoes by Kelian and Clergerie, hats by Miu Miu, when I first became aware of the Hermes Birkin bag. And then one day four years ago, breast cancer surgery made it to the top of my agenda, followed by six months of chemo, and I stopped going to the office. The then-current costume no longer made any sense at all. And yet I continued to shop as if it did. To make matters worse, I couldn't even fit into the clothing I was then-buying, since inactivity, steroids and a constant nausea that made me want to nibble on crackers and cookies all day long had begun to pad my body in such a way that I did not even recognize myself. In my mind, I was still "Look at That Hot Mom Who Also Has a High Power Career." But to anyone who saw me, I was a short, oddly pudgy (puffy face, sausage-arms and legs, but almost no breasts) girl in track pants, sweatshirt and wig. Even when I looked in the mirror, there was so much dissonance that I couldn't even see myself. I just saw what I wanted to see. Had I not had that coping mechanism, perhaps I would have been a lot worse off than even I understand myself to have been.

Stretchy clothing began to sneak its way into my repertoire: the stretchy velvet ankle-length skirt, the stretchy faux suede button down shirt, the stretchy Seven for All Mankind jeans that were stretched to the point where I couldn't pull them all the way up over the ass that I refused to look at in the mirror. I wore them anyway. Still trying to sell the Look at That Hot Mom" persona, even if it didn't include "a High Power Career", I would go to events at my kids' schools, wearing my long TeenFlo jackets with long stretchy skirts, the jackets open because I could no longer button them. When I came down with a terrible case of orbital cellulitis (a really, really bad eye infection), I donned a pair of Jackie O sunglasses and went to the Mock Seder at the Hebrew School anyway and then checked myself into the hospital the next day, where I was placed into isolation due to post-chemotherapy immune deficiency (in medical jargon: neutropenia).

And so began the next costume change: Yoga Lauren. This one is easy to describe. Yoga pants and a camisole. Every day. With high platform shoes. It lasted quite a long time. It still is there, but another look is trying to emerge, one which involves really good jeans and really flattering tops, and mostly one which does not always involve the yoga, one which allows me to move about freely in my city without strangers coming up to me and asking me if I am a yoga teacher (Flattering? yes. Creepy? Absolutely). And this is where I am stuck.

Hence, I need a stylist.



Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A cockeyed optimist

Four years ago, faced with one diseased breast and a fairly pessimistic view of what the future held in store for the other one, I made a hasty decision.

"Off with their heads," I joked.

And so it came to pass that I had surgery to remove every last ounce of breast tissue, from the center of my ribcage all the way up through my armpits, as well as quite a lot of the skin that had covered said breast tissue and a strip of fatty tissue containing 18 lymph nodes from under my right arm, leaving only the chest wall (the underlying muscles) and a thin layer of skin covering it.

I have written here before about the pitfalls of mastectomy and reconstruction, but I have never, not once, not for one eensy weensy nano second, ever regretted my decision. Nevertheless, as time has passed, I have grown increasingly dissatisfied with the results of my reconstruction.

See the nice photo above? Yeah, well, welcome to the Magic Kingdom.

It's not my plastic surgeon's fault. I think he did what he could with what was left after the surgical oncologist did her thing. I was too small (here's a disadvantage of being young and thin) for "flap" reconstruction, which forms breasts out of fat and muscle tissue from the tummy or the upper back. And for whatever reason, either I or my plastic surgeon was not eligible for silicone implants. As such, immediately after my surgical oncologist put away her scalpel, my plastic surgeon placed empty saline implants under the muscles of my chest and then injected a small amount of saline to begin the process of expanding my skin to accomodate what I thought at the time would be a couple of C cups.

How wrong I was.

As it turned out saline implants under nothing but muscle and skin have the look and feel of baseballs wrapped in cellphane. The more saline my doctor injected, the worse they looked and felt. So, after sizing all the way up to my originally intended size, I ended up downsizing all the way to what would be a small B, if I were to fit into a bra at all. Try putting a bra around two baseballs, and you'll understand why I never really wear a bra (other than these lacy, stretchy things made by Hanky Panky, which they like to refer to as "softbras", but which we used to call "training bras" back in the days of yore).

And then I went on with my life. Happy to be obsessing over my curls instead of sporting a wig, then a buzzcut, then some really bad bangs, and happy, really, to be bitching about Supta Kurmasana and making the excuse that really, it's all because of the bad boobs.

Enter the lovely and brave Ms. Facing Inward. She has her own story to tell, so I will not tell it here, but suffice it to say that within five minutes of meeting her face-to-face, we were pulling up our tops and comparing notes. Yada yada yada, I made an appointment with her doctor, whom she refers to as The Best Doctor In the World, or something like that.

Last Friday evening, after a really bad traffic pattern involving closures of all of the Central Park transverses and a cab driver who would not under any circumstances follow my instructions, after a rather creepy discussion with a paranoid doorman in a building on the Upper West Side, after a desperate call to MFI, followed by MFI's diligent calling and blackberrying from California to a doctor traveling south from Westchester on the Henry Hudson Parkway, I finally met with Dr. S.

Dr. S explained to me that I did not have to live with baseballs under my skin, that instead, he could remove the saline implants, loosen the scar tissue that had formed and replace the saline implants with silicone implants and place a layer of "Alloderm" between the implant and my skin. Alloderm is cadaver tissue. But what it has is what I need: a nice supply of collagen that my own skin will absorb and integrate to cushion and insulate the implant, creating a more natural look and feel. Dr. S. co-authored an incredibly reader-friendly article that explains it all, if anyone is interested: Breast Reconstruction Using Alloderm.

Eight weeks from tomorrow, I am going for it, once again. I'm nothing if not hopelessly optimistic. Maybe this time....

Oh, and there will be another bit of gratuitous, vanity-gratifying surgical tweaking happening at the same time because these days, I try never to get my breasts reconstructed without doing a little bonus round on some other part of my body. I will leave the details of that to your imagination, should you choose to go there.

Or maybe one day I will reveal it here. We shall see.


It's not a joke, people

When I saw that eSutra had linked to a YouTube video on Yogic Flying, I was sure that it was a joke. You know, a typical YouTube spoof. Since eSutra tends to be pretty serious, I thought to myself that perhaps someone had simply missed the sarcasm, it being hard to tell the difference at times in this mainly visual media.

But no. Some minor web sleuthing on my part revealed that at the Maharishi University of Management way out there in the middle of America (Fairfield, Missouri, to be exact), these crazy kids in business suits are practicing Transcendental Meditation, and if they are really really spiritually inclined (and with hips that tell no gruesome tales of a life lacking in floor-sitting), then they may also be folding their legs into lotus and jumping up and down and all around using their butt cheeks (and their spirituality) as springs.

I repeat, this is not a joke.


Monday, August 14, 2006

Hips don't lie

It's true what they say - hips don't lie. If you spend your day at a desk, if you walk everywhere because you live in a pedestrian-oriented city (as Julie pointed out to me), if you spend a lot of quality time with your bike or running or skating, your hips are going to rat you out. You'll feel it whether or not you practice yoga. But you'll especially feel it if you do practice yoga. And, of course, over time, yoga can help to free your hips.

You know what else doesn't lie? History.

As I was happily practicing today in my sunroom/terrace/whatever the hell I am supposed to call it, it occurred to me that in my week's worth of home practices, I have made far more progress than I have been making in quite a long time in a week's worth of shala practices. This is perhaps most obvious in my physical practice. But it is also obvious in my breathing, my discipline, and the balance between tapas (passion for the practice) and non-attachment (not getting bogged down in the harder postures or weighed down by my difficulties with Supta K). I am far more meditative practicing at home, even with all of the distractions of home, even with the four corners of York Avenue and East 79th Street in full view outside my windows.

The thought felt like deja vu. Where and when had I felt this way before? And then I realized. I had felt this way in college, and to an even greater extent, in law school.

This is something I usually admit in a joking tone, but what I am about to tell you is the God's honest truth: I graduated from Tufts University with a 3.62 (out of 4) average, Magna Cum Laude (high honors), and inducted into Phi Beta Kappa (the most highly regarded national honor society of American undergraduate institutions) by the professors in my department (English...what a surprise)...and after my first, rather unremarkable year at Tufts, I only seldom attended class.

After my freshman year, I decided to honor my own instincts, which told me to learn as much as I could on my own, reading and studying the books on the syllabus, writing my own study guides and attending class only when it was necessary (for example, in a small seminar setting) or when I was actually interested in and motivated by what the teacher had to say. For the most part, especially when my professors were the authors of the texts that they had assigned to us, being in class not only was not stimulating for me, but was counterproductive: it left me with less time and energy to study on my own. Beginning my sophomore year, I never received less than the highest possible grade in any class.

When I got to NYU Law School, attendance was mandatory in the first year. I suffered through it and only hit my stride in my third year, when I felt free to be the architect of my own time. I know that if my mom reads this, she is going to have a conniption, but here goes: in my third year of law school, I took the final (and only) exam in Criminal Procedure without ever having attended the class. Not once. I did not even know what the teacher looked like. I did know that he had written the text book, which I read diligently and digested into my own set of outlined notes. I received an A on the exam and in the class. Note: I still have nightmares relating to this episode in my life. As well as it all turned out, it was crazy and risky, and it shows up in my dreams in some form or another whenever I am feeling anxious. Usually, it's a test I haven't studied for, or a class that I couldn't attend because I couldn't find the classroom, or a final exam for a class that I (incorrectly) thought I had dropped. Not showing up to class for an entire semester is not something I am proud of, regardless of the grade I got on the exam. It just is something that is part of my story.

And like I said, history doesn't lie. I tell my tale of high-priced higher-education truancy because it provides some insight into my shala truancy. It may seem perverse to some of my readers, particularly those who can only wish that they had access to the amazing teachers whose classes I am not attending these days, but this is the way that I learn best: with plenty of time to process things on my own. When left to my own devices with the seeds of knowledge provided by my teachers, whether college professors or Ashtanga teachers, I find myself blossoming, my creative juices flowing, my motivation soaring.

Of course, in Asthanga practice (just like in the school context), there are times when it is very important that I attend class on a regular basis. I have felt that need to be in class with my teacher. I felt it keenly when I was struggling with the Marichyasanas and to a lesser extent when I wanted to be taught (not just given, but taught Bujapidasana). I also felt it when Sir offered a course on Pranayama and Philosophy and when I had the opportunity to learn about yoga-practice-supportive eating at Yoga Shala Summer Camp.

I am sure that I will feel it again. Even today, even as I was luxuriating in the freedom of my self practice, I was already planning when I would return to the shala. A part of me wanted to come back tomorrow and Wednesday for Mark's last two days. But another part of me knew that I should continue with my self-practice and return to the shala in the fall, when I will be able to practice there with some consistency.

So, there you have it. There is, apparently, nothing new about my blowing off class. My own version of home schooling has been my chosen method of learning for as long as I had the right to choose my method of learning. It's not the shala. It's not the Ashtanga. It's me. It's the way I learn best: marinating in my own juices, so to speak.


Aren't Tic Tocs really just another word for Front and Back Limbers?

So, as I was saying, can practicing yoga still be practicing yoga if the person practicing it is fixated on the asanas and what his or her body is doing? Or to put it another way, can gymnastics/calisthenics be yoga if they are "done" on a mat?

Not long ago, and I am talking, weeks, I might have said "no way". And before that, I would have said, "Way." And once again, I am back to that. Kind of.

Here is my thinking. If becoming one with a physical action - or set of physical actions - takes you into that zone where your mind no longer speaks loudly enough for you to attach to your thoughts, then THAT, I believe, is yoga, as yoga is defined by Patanjali. Yoga is the quieting of the mind so that the Self can emerge.

The Self is who we really are - unchanged by time, by external events, by that which happens to our body. The Self is within all of us (of course), but some of us never even get close to perceiving what the Self might be. Some who practice yoga have caught glimpses of what it is to feel the Self emerging from the abyss created by the cling and clatter of the Mind. I believe that what it might feel like is a momentary sense of pure perception. Of complete connection with another human being or a part of nature, a wordless sense of wonder.

But most of the time, the Self is almost entirely obscured by the chatter produced by the mind. The methods prescribed by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras - the Eight Limbs of Yoga - are just route to getting to that quieting of the clatter, or, in other words, to yoga. I believe that other methods may get some of us there as well. At least some of the time. And at least temporarily.

See, if a yoga student is fixated on the postures, the effects of the practice may be quite profound while the student is on the mat. But at the same time, the effects may be short-lived, confined solely to the time spent on the mat even. For example, a student whose mind becomes entirely absorbed in the practice while on the mat may indeed come out of practice noticing that there are no thoughts that can be remembered or identified from the immediately preceding 90 or so minutes. That sounds like yoga to me.

However, if upon rolling up is or her mat after practice, that student looks around the room and sees another student (or two or four) practicing, postures that he or she has not yet been "given", then what happens if that student is not practicing the limbs of yoga other than "Asana"? What happens if his or her yoga practice is all about the Asana practice, and not at all about "Asteya", "Satya", "Ahimsa" or any of the other Yamas (or Niyamas)? In that case, the student may find that the thoughts that obscure the Self, that disturb the sense of calm, come bombarding back just as soon as he or she steps off the mat. Once the body is no longer fully engaged in the practice, the mind finds its voice again, and thoughts reflecting competitiveness, greed, desire, aversion can once again be heard.

That is why although some sports are known to be meditative (for example, running, swimming and golf), they aren't exactly "yoga". They provide temporary fixes. In order to acheive longer, more permanent shifts in the balance of Self and Chattering Mind, something more than the engagement of the body seems to be necessary.

For those who practice Asthanga - the Eight Limbed path, we have our road map. What we choose to do with it, that's another story for another day, which might or might not involve a confession of my having called someone an "F-ing Bitch" at the dog run yesterday at a particularly tense moment involving a beagle, a Bagle, two very hungry boys and my naivte regarding the ferociousness of food aggression a hungry hound might direct toward another hound in the presence of two slices of barbecued-chicken-pizza being eaten by his human brothers.

Trust me when I tell you, it's not a nice image. Therefore, I opt neither to confirm nor to deny anyting at this time.



Sunday, August 13, 2006

It's coming together...

Or else the afternoon sure makes practice feel nice.

Or else, stretching before practice makes practice feel smooth and unforced.

In any event, practice was delightful - calm, even breathing, mind not wandering so much, or not in a disturbing distracting way. Even not getting myself bound in Supta K was fine. I didn't ruminate or stay in it an especially long time. I just moved onto the next postures. Dropbacks are going well. I did three and stood up on two of them...but really really spazzily. It will come. This much I know.

And the best part of it is that I finally felt like I had the energy to go all the way through the practice, start to finish, without getting winded, without needing to take a break. It just flowed, one pose to the next, and then it was done.

I need days like this. They get me through to the next day, right up to the point where I start to hem and haw about not wanting to practice. The good practice from the day before becomes an entincement...perhaps you will have another day like yesterday....perhaps....but it never truly factors into the decision to practice. Because there really is no decisionmaking, per se. I just practice. When I am in the mood, when I am not. When I feel crappy. When I feel great. I just practice. So, attachments may draw me towards is, aversions may draw me away, but ultimately, there is really not much choice in the matter. If you want to do this yoga, Ashtanga, you have to practice every day. It's designed that way. Five breaths in a posture is not enough UNLESS you are practicing that posture every day.

I will continue the gymnastics post tomorrow. I am too sleepy right now....


Commercial Break

The regularly scheduled Yoga Chickie broadcast is being interrupted to bring you the following message from Dunkin Donuts.

The backs of my legs.....dehneh-dehneh-dehNEH...deh dehneh-dehneh-dehNEH...stickin; to the pleathAH!!!

"Hey hey hey hey."

"dehneh-dehneh-dehNEH...deh dehneh-dehneh-dehNEH"

Seems I cannot get this out of my mind on my, uh, thanks for helping me out...


Saturday, August 12, 2006

I'm not doing gymnastics here...not that there's anything wrong with that...

Yesterday, as the Sister-in-Law and I were bending on the roof, one of my neigbors appeared with newspaper in hand. He proceeded to sit down and read. And watch. And read and watch. And that was fine. Everyone who reads this thing knows that I am the last person to object to a doting audience. The more the merrier. If no one's watching, why do it. OK, that's a bit of an exaggeration. At least I would like to believe. But come to think of it, I can't think of a single time that my mom and dad have come over to visit that I haven't whipped out my mat, gotten myself into some rather improbable pretzel shape and sang out like an eight-year old who's just come from a tumbling class: "Look at me!!! Mom and Dad!! Look!!! Look at this cool thing I can do!!!"

But today, when my morning walk with Lewis brought me face to face with him and his wife wheeling their 10-month old baby , he stopped and said to his wife, "You should see the gymnastics this girl was doing on the roof yesterday!" I debated correcting him, telling them with a snobby sniff that it's not gymnastics, it's YOGA. Ashtanga yoga. As in acheiving a meditative state through .... eh, whatever. I decided it didn't really matter, and I just thanked him and changed the subject to our co-op's proposed banning of dogs from the building. That's right. Banning of dogs. As in the Lewis Clause of the Co-op rules. Is he really that bad? I find myself taking this very personally since Lewis is one of the latest additions to the building's dog repertoire. But I digress. I will save the anti-anti-dog rant for another day.

Meanwhile, back on the mat....(that translates roughly as " I was saying" in "Matheadish", the idiomatic language of Matheads)...

The thing is, maybe I WAS doing gymnastics (calisthenics perhaps? After all, Surya Namaskar A bears a striking resemblance to Good Ole Squat Thrusts from High School Gym Class)...? The Sister-in-Law and I were chatting throughout much of our practice. And when Mr. Neighbor appeared with his newspaper, there was some three-way chatting as well. It's not like it was particularly meditative. It's not like we were practicing Ujayi Pranayama for the most part. And it's not like we became so engaged in our physical practice that the mental gyrations fell away.

Which brings me to a discussion that kind of got started on Linda's Second Trip To Mysore regarding whether a yoga practice is really "yoga" when the practitioner is fixated on the postures, and particularly on progressing through the postures at the expense of learning to float through the postures in an effortless way so as to remain "undisturbed" by the "play of opposites" inherent therein (as dictated by one of the few Sutras that addresses Asana practice in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras). I surprised my usually somewhat judgemental self (being at my most judgemental when I see myself reflected in someone else's behavior) by weighing in on the side of "Maybe it IS yoga after all."

To be continued....


Friday, August 11, 2006

And that makes seven.

The Sister-In-Law and I practiced on the roof today. I am happy to say that I have completed a full seven days in a row of yoga practice (one was Jivamukti, the rest, Ashtanga), and tomorrow I can finally rest and get back on a normal schedule (a normal schedule being one where I do not practice on Saturdays or moon days). I felt a little tiny bit stiff and tired today, but it didn't keep me from doing what I would normally do. Since Friday is supposed to be the day to take it easy, I did not repeat any postures or do any R&D.

Lewis watched us. He is such a sweet precious pet.

Kids are coming home soon, and I must bathe.


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Practice makes....


But I am loving loving loving it at the moment.

I had the most wonderful practice today. I finished only two minutes ago. I practiced on my terrace (which is enclosed by windows on all four sides, one side being a window into my bedroom) and watched as the sky went from blue to grey to black, giving way to torrential rain as suddenly as if this were a tropical island, rather than one made of concrete and man-made parks.

It took me this long to get started because I woke up absolutely exhausted today and wasn't even sure if I would have the wherewithal to hit the mat today. But as I was taking a hot bath in the late afternoon, it occurred to me that I really couldn't "know" if I were, in fact, too tired to practice unless I actually stood on my mat and made the attempt.

I'm nothing if not self-motivated.

Now, I don't want to jinx myself, but I could swear that I am making progress in Supta K. My goal is to be able to get into it myself. Well, I suppose we all have that goal. But it has always bothered me that here is a posture where we have to helplessly wait while splayed out on the ground (in Kurmasana) for our teacher to come and turn us into pretzels. And by "always", I mean for as long as I have been practicing in the Mysore style, even back when I was stopping at Marichyasana C and nowhere near getting put into Supta K.

I remember taking a led class at the shala this summer and seeing Linda pretzel her ownself into Supta K. Teacher (Petri) looked on with approval. I looked on and knew that I wanted to be doing what she was doing. Someday. If possible. It's not a lot to ask of myself, self-reliance in Supta K. Of course, it would be nice to even be able to bind in Supta K at all first.

My drop-backs are nice and soft now. I never ever ever want to not be able to drop back ever again. If that makes sense. My stand-ups aren't there yet, but again, without jinxing myself, I think I am seeing some progress.

My kids are killing each other, so I must run.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

It's not about the breasts

Thanks to Perez Hilton for the photo of Hillary Clinton, which caught my eye because of the notable absence of nipples on her preternaturally youthfully perky breasts....and also because of said preternaturally youthful perkiness, which, juxtaposed with the aging face perched above them, leads me to ask that age-old question: "The hell?"

My first thought, which I feel that I am uniquely qualified to have come up with, was that perhaps Mrs. Clinton (secretly) has had a double mastectomy with a simple saline implant reconstruction and has not yet gotten around to having her nipples done?

My next thought was that perhaps this was some sort of Stepford Wife prototype that Mr. Hillary Clinton worked on with the Stepford Men's Club. Perhaps the idea is that they'll keep the prototype in the museum until such time as it becomes important (not just to Bill, but perhaps to an entire nation) to put the wife back in her proper place: the House (of Representatives, ha ha, I just had to repeat that old chestnut).

Turns out that neither of those thoughts was particularly on target. Or, at least that is what the oddly (perhaps intentionally?) vague and (at least to me) unsatisfying explanation given by the sculptor would have us believe.

See, it turns out that the Daniel Edwards sculpture, entitled, "Presidential Bust" and unveiled recently at the New York City Museum of Sex was intended merely to "spark discussion about sex, politics and capture Clinton's age and femininity." I think it is important to note here that Edwards was also the sculptor who gave us Birtney Spears as a sinewy-muscled, naked earth-mother, giving birth to K-Fed's spawn on all fours on a bear-skin rug. I do not believe that a sincere explanation of Spears' fantastical (as in pure fantasy) appearance in that sculpture was ever provided. Likewise, I do not believe, not for one second, that it is sincere (or accurate) for Edwards to claim that Presidential Bust is a rendering of Clinton's "age" (breasts like that do not exist past childbirth, or past 25, for that matter, without the help of a surgeon's scalpel) and her "femininity" (um, whose what, now?)

My theory is that Edwards is not just a sculptor but also a performance artist. His seemingly creatively inspired depictions of celebrities that do not fit with our visual experience of them is only half of the equation. The other half is his incomplete and borderline nonsensical explanation of his work. It is within the almost disturbing clashing of the juxtaposition of the sculptural work against the background of the visual reality of the subject with the subtitle of the artist's verbal exposition, that the "art" can be found. Art as disconnection between what the eye sees, what the ear hears and what the mind believes. Art as dysphoric disunion. Art as the opposite of yoga.

That's my opinion, and I'm stickin' with it. And no, I was not the actual model for the Hillary bust.


I was going to lie

and say that I didn't practice today because of the full moon and all. But then I remembered that I started this blog as a way of keeping track of my practice. Sure, it veers away from that now and then and now and then again. But essentially, this is supposed to be a record of my Ashtanga practice. So, if I start hiding pieces of it and lying to try to avoid criticism/garner approval, then I'm defeating my own purpose.

So, here it is: Last night, when I saw the moon, huge, and round and glowing incredibly white, I remembered that today was a moon day. And I was bummed. I was looking forward to practicing again today. And so I did.

I spent a (tedious) afternoon in West Chelsea with the Mother-In-Law. We had lunch and then went to a gallery where everyone knew her by name, and it seemed that she was pretending that I was not her daughter-in-law, but her client, as in her client who was interested in buying some paintings that cost $20,000 and up:

"Hello Mrs. S, how are you [kiss kiss]?"

"Hello, Franz, I would like to introduce you to Lauren Cahn, who would like to see some of so-and-so's work").
When it became clear that I was part of some charade, I felt clammy and nauseous and said that I needed to get home for a "meeting".

That's when I went home and practiced. I needed to detox.


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Intuit - Into It

The Yoga Shala August Furlough Program is going remarkably well. Of course it's only been two days. And one of those days included not Ashtanga, but rather, a shameless detour to Jivamukti for some dogma-heavy, vinyasa-light posing. But still, I'm waking up early, I'm getting my errands done and managing to squeeze in some teaching, and I am practicing yoga.

Today I happily went back to my Ashtanga practice, thrilled to experience all 60 vinyasas from the start of Primary Series through final resting pose. Today, I made an effort to stay with Sharath's breath and vinyasa count for as long as possible without having to pause the DVD (except at the end of his Surya Namaskar A so that I could add two more of A and two Surya Namaskar B's before pressing Play again). I managed to get all the way through Mari D before I pressed Pause again, at which point I re-duxed Mari A, B and C and then did D twice. Then I hit Play again and went with Sharath all the way through Supta Kurmasana, at which point I hit Pause again in order to do some deep prep work for Supta K. Of course, binding is still a long way off, but then I am so Supta Kurmasically challenged that I will probably be comfortably executing Eka Pada Sirsasana before being able to bind my damn hands in Supta K (please don't read anything into my linking to a Yoga Journal article on Eka Pada, rather than, say, is not that I have gone over to the Yoga Journal side during this rebellious phase of mine; the YJ link was merely the first link that came up when I Googled the pose, what a surprise, that).

Ah well. The beauty of my Yoga Shala Truancy is that I have no one to whom I feel compelled (right or wrong) to prove myself in order to have the the next pose bestowed upon me like a reward (whether perception or reality, either way).

One might look at what I am doing and scoff, "Yoga Chickie is now doing all of Primary, although she has not yet mastered Supta K." However, I consider that to be a glass-is-half-empty perspective. Instead, I prefer to view it as "I am practicing all of the Primary Series, and will miracles never cease, I am struggling in only ONE posture!!"

It feels GOOD to practice all of Primary. It feels GOOD to drop back. It all feels like I am doing the right thing for my body. Why am I not "trusting" my "teacher's assessment" of the pose at which I should be stopping (this was a comment on a prior posting, and I wanted to address it here)? It is not that I am not trusting Sir's judgement. I never said that I didn't trust his judgement. It is just that I am doing what I want to do.

As Sir has said (I am paraphrasing), your yoga practice should elevate you, lift your spirits, bring you peace and happiness. If it isn't, something is wrong. In my case, stopping at Supta K was making me sad and anxious. I trust my teacher, but I am a big believer that the ultimate teacher is within ourselves. I don't want that to sound melodramatic or overwrought. But I have a great deal of faith in my ability to intuit what my own body, which I have been in for 40 and a half years, needs. But what it needs is only half of the equation. The other half is what my body wants. And what my body wants is to roll through the rest of Primary, which lets me end my practice on a high note, rather than crumpled up in a ball, cursing my body and what it has been through and waiting for the aching to subside before I can even consider pressing up into a backbend. As I am practicing now, when I finish Primary, I practically spring up into my backbends. And my drop-backs feel like heaven. And I know that I will stand up on my own in the not too distant future. Again, it's my intuition speaking.

When will Supta K come? Not for a long time. Inuition. So, what will happen when I go back to Shala X? Well, first of all, Sir is the only teacher who has EVER gotten me to bind in Supta K. So, when he returns to the shala, I will be thrilled to practice there according to his rules. Until he returns, I am doing really really well on my own.

Isn't it supposed to be this way? You find a teacher. When you can practice with your teacher, you do. When you can't, you practice on your own.

(To answer another question asked on another post - in late August, no exact dates yet, the Yoga Chickie clan will be travelling up through New England and Montreal to arrive at Mont Tremblant on August 27. I don't think that I will be able to stop in at Darby's because I will be en caravan, although I wish I could because it would be fun to see S and meet the rest of you northerners).

As Miranda Priestly would say (I finished that bit of derivative drivel in one day, mainly because Dustin Rowles basically told me I had to, and I do whatever Dustin Rowles tells me to do), that's all.



Monday, August 07, 2006

Shore leave

What a fabulously glorious day...

While I do love my yoga practice and even the repetitiveness of the Ashtanga practice in particular, today being my first day of deliberate and willful Shala Truancy, I felt as if I were on shore leave from active service, or, even, dare I say it, on my first day of prison furlough. I know that makes it sound as if I had been desperate to get the hell out of Shala X and do my own thang. And maybe that is even accurate. But what it doesn't mean is that I don't feel committed to my practice. Which is to say that I am still 100 percent committed. Like I said to Susan recently, what would be the alternative anyway? IS there any alternative?

So, my plan today was to take care of a number of pressing errands and chores, namely, and in this order:

  • Drop Adam off at camp bus (Brian is still away at his five-day sleepaway camp).
  • Take Lewis to the dog run for a nice long walk, run, wrestling match.
  • Come home to make phone calls, the most important of which was to get a definitive answer from Immigration Services regarding whether passports are needed to get into and out of Canada by car (the answer is YES, unless you have your ORIGINAL birth certificate and driver's license). This presents some challenges for the Husband and I, believe it or not, since, gasp, we both let our passports expire last month! Stupid, stupid, stupid. But not a problem that can't be solved by throwing a little money at it (for an extra fee, you can get your US passport renewed in three business days).
  • Walk down Third Avenue to Ricky's to pick up some Devachan products.
  • Proceed down Third Avenue to the nearest eyeglass store to have my sunglasses fixed. For free! Yay! One of the side thingies broke off. Damn Fendi sunglasses; the sunglasses I picked up off the street for ten bucks are just fine, although they aren't "fabulous". Which makes me wonder, how did the Dolce and Gabbanas work out for Gregg? Still in good working order, I hope.
  • Make a sharp right and head toward Madison Avenue to the Chopard store to have the clasp on my watch fixed. Said clasp would not close, rendering said watch unwearable. I was quicky ushered into a private room to consult with the "Repair Department". My "Repair Consultant" left the room for long enough for me to read the entire Chopard brochure and then came back, sat down in her comfy chair, smiled benignly and informed me that it would cost me $550 to fix the clasp. That is not a typo. FIVE HUNDRED AND FIFTY DOLLARS. The stainless freakin' steel clasp. After confirming that I had not heard her wrong, I stood up, gathered my things and said, "I'm sorry, but I just can't justify spending that much money on a steel clasp." I wasn't attempting to bargain with her. I just wanted to get the hell out of there. Yada yada yada, she fixed the clasp HERSELF. For free. Hmmm. I thanked her, but I did not feel thankful; I felt disgusted. What kind of a scam are they running over there anyhow?
  • Next it was due West toward Fifth Avenue to catch the downtown bus to Union Square for a stop at Paragon Sports for my favorite mat, the good ole Tapas Original. I have no idea where else they sell this particular mat other than Hugger Mugger online and private-labeled at Bikram and, of course, Paragon. For out-of-towners, Paragon is like the biggest sporting goods store ever. Or at least by NYC standards. So, downtown I went. N.B. The plan was to pick up the mat and then head uptown to do my self-practice, expected time of arrival at the Yoga Chickie home base: 2 p.m.
  • I got off of the bus at 13th and Fifth and headed East again towards Broadway (for anyone who cares, Broadway runs diagonally across Manhattan's grid pattern of Avenues and Streets, such that uptown, it runs West of Fifth Avenue and downtown, it runs East of Fifth). When I got to Broadway and 13th, I realized I stood at the crossroads of Bikram, Om, Jivamukti and the Shala house. I felt giddy. Turn right, a there was Om and the Shala house. Turn left, and in one building, there was Bikram and the brand spanking new Jivamukti studio. There I was, a kid in a candy store, a frat boy at a bachelor party, a Long Island girl at Bloomingdales with daddy's charge card....I was blinded by desire. What would it hurt, I asked myself, to just walk into the new Jivamukti flagship, just to see what they did with the space, just to pick up a schedule, which would probably end up in the garbage, but still....yada yada yada, I ended up taking the 2:00 p.m. class. But first, I had to high-tail it six blocks up to Paragon to pick up not only my new mat but ALSO some yoga clothes (Exhibit A to the Defense's case that this was NOT a premeditated act of Ashtangacide). Unfortunately, the price of yoga clothing at Paragon is off the hook, so the best deal was to puchase a UNITARD! You know, two for the price of one. Oy. I had to have looked like an escapee from a dance recital. Or else a high school wrestler. Either way...oy.
  • Class was fine. Lots of ecstatic chanting to start with, which made me feel weird and spacey. Then some very very wacky pranayama - a combination of Nadi Shodanam (alternate nostril breathing), Kappalabhati (short, sharp exhalations) and Kumbakha (breath retention). I couldn't explain it if I tried. Suffice it to say, I am quite sure that if I were indeed a prisoner, I would now be provoked to commit some serious acts of mayhem. The dharma talk was something about the root chakra. I really didn't listen. I really didn't care, in all honesty. And then we were vinyasa-ing. Pretty similar to the classes I teach. In fact, virtually indistinguishable. Which is to say, I prefer Ashtanga. The problem I have with vinyasa is that it does not have enough vinyasa. Hmmm...I just realized how ridiculous that sounds. But it's true. We did about seven or eight Surya A's, then two or three Surya B's (which included Warrior II, which I really, really don't like, as I find the transition to be quite awkward, and I never teach it that way), and then for the rest of the time, we were either moving from pose to pose. But there were no vinyasas in between, or precious few. Maybe one or two here or there. I missed my vinyasas. THAT said, I LOVED the fact that we "flipped" our dogs, that we squatted for what must have been two full minutes, that we practiced Bakasana and Ardha Matsyandrasana (with a bind if we wanted to), that she invited us into Laghu Vajrasana from Ustrasana, that we practiced Salabasana, Dhanurasana, Eka Pada Urdvha Dhanurasana, that anyone who wanted to could drop back. Wow, I sound a bit fixated on backbending. I'll just observe that and let it go. After class, I felt compelled to do a few of my Primary Series poses though...still had the energy to do so due to the lack of vinyasas. I covered Mari C, Mari D, Bhujapidasana and Kurmasana.
  • Finally came home, met Adam at the bus, went back to the dog run for another hour, and now, here I sit. I am one tired cookie.
I am looking forward to practicing quietly at home tomorrow morning...with Sharath...and without Bhagavan Das (if you have ever taken a class at Jivamukti, then you will know exactly what I am talking about), thank you very much.


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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