Thursday, October 30, 2008

The future's so Bright....

My cousin, Debpc, of Finding Om, suggested Kundalini as an antidote for my boredom. And I just have to say....YAY! I dug out my Ana Brett and Ravi Singh Navel Power DVD and after 75 minutes of core work and heavy And after two days of that, I found my Mantra Girl Advanced Kundalini DVD, and same thing...only it was more than core work. It was legs and arms. And I am exhausted today.

I went to the Good Doctor yesterday, which was an exercise in non-attachment for me, but more about that later. It was nice to be there, and great to be in his room and with S and J as well, but there's issues that may be insurmountable as far as me being a regular for now. More about THAT later too.

I want to get my dog out for a hike because finally the weather is nice again. And then I want to try to do my practice a bit later when my body is a bit less fatigued (how hiking does that for me must be a mystery to some, but probably not to most people who read this blog).

Anyway, I will elaborate on things later.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

Now this is what I call pretty and talented

DAMN, if only I could look that good as a Hassidic Jew or a total non-Goth.

Oh, and I guess "it's on".


And P.S....Nataraj, they're my lips, and my lips have never seen an injectable. Never. I've been blessed, I suppose, so thank you.

Live Blogging From The Oncologist

It's that time of year again, when the sight of the leaves, turned shades of gold and red and brown, and the smell of apples and pine cones and frost in the air bring me right back to a time six years ago, I was spending an awful lot of time sitting in a reclining chair on the 9th floor of the Atchley Pavillion, staring across the Hudson at the breathtaking foliage, needle in my arm infusing Cosmopolitan-red and urine-yellow potions into my veins, poison that held the vague promise of killing the cancer cells that might or might not have been plotting a mutiny on the mother ship that was my body.

It's a lovely place here. Truly spectacular in the fall. And I am thrilled to come here with hair that cascades past my neck and the dark, mascaraed fringe around my eyes and tiny little clothes that fit me just so. It's a thrill to be able to be here at all, but it's especially sweet to be here in what appears to be full, robust health.

I used to come here in my pajamas. Or what had become my pajamas. Stretchy pants, sweatshirts, I slept in them, i stayed in them all day as I melted into the living room sofa, my lifeline to the world being my laptop and my childrens' nanny.

When I come here, I'm reminded. When I come here I'm vulnerable. History could repeat itself. And the next time, it becomes a lifelong battle, rather than a battle followed by an uneasy cold war.

Today the women in the waiting room are chatty. Mary, whom I would guess to be about sixty, sits across from me, a porta-cath tape peeking out of her blouse. She's enjoying an apricot tart that the women in the "support room" gave her. She sees me admiring the pastry and offers me a piece, which I decline. She asks me if I am new. I tell her I am old. Six years "old". She seems happy to hear that and wants to know how many lymph nodes I had at diagnosis.

She soon learns that our cases are very different. She had tumors in both breasts and mets to the central lymph node in the chest. Although the cancer was not visible in any organs, she was still considered stage IV. Uncurable. Treatable. It's been two years now. She takes Herceptin, like I did. We smile as we talk about how lucky we are to have been Her2Neu positive, making us eligible to take Herceptin.

A much older woman is wheeled in by what appears to be her caregiver. She joins in the conversation, as does a woman of about my age with greyish dark hair that looks to be newly sprouted. I guess her to be less than a year out of diagnosis, and she confirms. The much older woman is here for her first and maybe only visit with Dr. H: she is 83, had a lumpectomy that revealed a low grade, non-spreading type of breast cancer. Chemo is probably neither necessary nor a desirable option at her age, 83. Her name turns out to be Mary too.

The younger woman begins asking me about nutrition and lifestyle. She asks me what I like to eat for lunch. I ask her why that particular question. She expresses concern over nitrates in luncheon meats. I tell her that I don't eat meat anymore and that my favorite lunch is peanut butter and banana on whole wheat bread. She gets called in, and I give her my email address if she wants to ask me more questions.

Now it's my turn. I undress and wait for Dr. H in the examining room. She asks me if there's anything new. She always puts it that way. I tell her everything's fine. When her back is turned, I say, "But there is ONE thing...."

Dr. H spins around. Her face is shattered. She doesn't even seem to try to hide it. I must have really taken her by surprise. I had no idea.

"It's NOTHING!" I assure her.

Writing that makes me laugh.

"It's just that I think I'm developing osteo-arthritis in a couple of fingers."

We laugh. We talk about my knuckles. She examines me, and all is well.

But a thin pervasive terror hangs in the air just the same, and even as I walk out into the lobby once again, her expression, the look on her face as she turned to hear what I had to say in that instant of misapprehension: it is something that cannot be erased.


OMFG! Madonna and Guy are Divorcing?!

Here's another Huff-Po for you to click on in your daily procrastination. Madonna and Guy - just ordinary folks?


Yoga Bunk: Debunked

Here's my latest Huff-Post post. To my commentator who suggested that yoga is boring me, perhaps because I am only practicing asana, well, I actually talk about that a bit in this article. But the bottom line for me is that asana is asana, and if I were doing more than asana, my asana practice would still bore me nonetheless.

I did have a delightful practice today. Who knows why, although I am sure that the fact that I ate only Hot and Sour Soup for dinner last night helped. Empty belly always helps when it comes to twisting and binding and lifting and jumping.

Then I ate half a jar of Nutella and completely null and voided all the benefits.

Such is.


Saturday, October 25, 2008

The winter gardening

Nothing left to do in the garden now but watch everything shrink and die. And that's depressing. And so, I am doing some winter gardening - also known as winterizing the hairstyle. I've abandoned my curls for the foreseeable future, with the help of a $10 box of chemicals courtesy of Ogilvie (of home perm fame) and a $13 bob from Supercuts. I'm super-pleased with the straightening results, not quite as pleased with the bob results, having had Katie Holmes in mind as a hair role model (BEFORE she got the mom haircut that she's currently sporting), and ending up with what seems to be more Suri Cruise. Ah well. It will grow back. I always figure: if I've withstood being bald as a cueball with no eyelashes or eyebrows, I can withstand any unfortunate haircut. And this one isn't that unfortunate. It's just not as casual and "sexy" as I usually like my hair to be. It will grow back. It will grow back. I just keep telling myself that.

Here's an attempt at sass - to make up for the lack of long waves to swing about...

Oh, and the yoga? Doing it. Bored as hell. But doing it. Hiked three miles every day except Wednesday as well, which helps to alleviate the boredom.

Waiting for the stable some renovations before getting back on Chance The Horse, by the way, as I know some of you were wondering.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

BORED of yoga


So bored.

Stand at the front of the mat. Sun Salutation A. Again. Again. Again. Again. And then Sun Salutation B. Again. Again. Again. Again. Then the standing poses. The same ones I've been doing forever. And will always be doing. Because even if I quit Ashtanga, how many ways are there to stretch and twist your body anyway? And then the balancing poses, and then more standing poses. And the whoomp - jump to sit. Try to fly through the seated postures, but find the boredom setting in something awful at Janu Sirsasana A. Can't I skip this one? And the next one? Maybe just do C? But then I'd be missing those strength-building vinyasas...can't have that. Then the Marichyasanas. No tolerance there for not-wrist-binding, and so I slow down a bit to make sure I catch my wrists or even my forearm, higher, higher, at just the right angle so that what? I don't know. It's pointless. But I do it. Again. Lately I've been sneaking in a Pasasana somewhere between Mari C and D. Or after D. To add excitement to my utter enui.

Then comes the dreaded Navasana. Boring, repetitive. It's like Sun A but on my ass. BORING. Then Boringpidasana, which adds nothing to my leg-behind-head skillset. Then what could be an interesting pose - Kurmasana and Supta Kurmasana - becomes a prana-stealing obsession as I rock back and forth to get my legs at just the right angles so that I can bind without assistance. Will I ever be able to bind with my legs in Dwi Pada? Doesn't seem possible to bind with the legs already crossed. Why? Is it the outward pressure my thighs are putting on my arms, pressing them apart? Is it even possible to hook the ankles while drawing the things in? Trouble is, I don't care. If I cared, this could be interesting.

Then blah blah blah, walking in my sleep throughout the next blah blah blah boring seated postures. At least I am able to roll onto my entire forehead for Setu Bhandasana now, so my hairline isn't getting ripped up. That's an interesting discover, actually, that yoga annoyances, like bruised arms, and scaly hairlines, and Linda, if you're reading this, rug burn, actually time themselves out over awhile. They die off. Unfortunately, I don't care much. This is only barely of interest to me.

And when THAT is done, it's onto...Second. No excitement here. Just a bunch of Bikram poses, really. On the belly, arch up. On the belly arch up with the feet pressing down. On the belly arch up catching the feet in the hands. On the belly, fall over. On the belly, fall over. On the belly, give yourself a hamstring cramp. Then Ustrasana, with its interesting effect on me - makes me desperate to put my hands down and do Kapotasana. But by the time I get to Kapotasana, I don't want to anymore. I think it's Laghu. HATE that pose. HATE HATE HATE that boring pose. It does nothing for me, only makes me bored and my quads tired.

Then the decision - to go straight into backbends? Or to muss around with the rest of my assigned poses...all extremely boring to me. Of course. Supta Vaj? Who cares. Bakasana? Blech. Been there, done that. Can't I throw in Astavakrasana? I'll come into it from standing. How's that? Maybe even learn to jump into it...but not from a headstand or a handstand. No. Not even remotely interested in anything like that. And what if I added Parsva Bakasana after Pasasana. Wouldn't that spice things up?

What, is this me turning away from Ashtanga and toward Jivamukti? I can see why Tim Miller conducts Improv classes.

Ashtanga can just be so. Boring.

The other day on my 3 mile walk around the Nature Preserve that Shall Be Nameless to Protect the Innocent (Lewis, my dog, celeb that he is), I decided to run it and walk it. run run run run run run...walk. I probably ran two thirds of it. Shit. What if I want to be a runner again? That would be so bad for my hip flexors. Maybe in moderation, it would be okay?



Monday, October 20, 2008

Today's backbend

I guess I only take these when I am feeling really good, physically, while backbending. It makes me want to see and record what it actually looks like to feel the way that feels.

Had a six-day practice week last week, took Friday and Saturday off, started again yesterday. Yesterday was Primary plus Pasasana and today was my full practice, up to Eka Pada. I wore socks during Kapotasana and and touched them - stretched them way out of course. But the straighten and walk, straighten and walk (the hands) method seems to be helping quite a bit.

Now that gardening season is offically over (first killing frost was this morning, and it killed all my Begonias, surprisingly, since I believe the Good Doctor assured me they would last until December...well, maybe in the city), I need another physical outlet. So, on Saturday, I took my first hike in a nearby Nature Preserve that actually allows dogs. It was SO much fun. Reminded me of walking Lewis in the city, except whereas we would see 40 dogs each time we walked in the city, now we see about 4. I went yesterday and today also. Took about an hour each time, took different paths, got a bit lost, as would be expected, and which makes it all the more fun - since you know you will get unlost eventually, it's not scary, but rather challenging, breathed in a lot of fresh autumn air, took in a lot of gorgeous autumn sights and decided that like it or not (and at the moment, I do like), I am going to walk Lewis on a daily basis. That dog is so so happy when I get out the leash, and he is a different (read: perfectly behaved) dog when he's out in nature. So, I am going to make time for walking this winter. It should be good for me too. Good for the legs, good for the heart, good for the sake of mixing things up.

I'm very excited!


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My latest tricks

My wrists were hurting me in backbends, but only sometimes. After being really bummed out about it for a bit, it dawned on me that they were only hurting me when my back wasn't bending enough to get my hands flat on the floor and my arms in a fairly straight line, close to perpendicular to the floor. And so, I have decided that it's not my wrists at all, nor my shoulders, but my back. It needs to bend more.

Someone suggested to me that the best thing for getting better at Kapo isn't "the big crank", but pressing up, up, up in Kapo B. I'm practicing mostly at home these days and have been experimenting with pressing up, up, up in Kapo B. In fact, I haven't even been bothering with Kapo A. I really want to emphasize getting my chest higher, higher higher before I even bother walking my hands in. I mean, hell, I know that I can be cranked into it. But what I really want to be able to do is to get myself into it and then to BE in it. And that is never going to happen until my chest opens and makes space for my back to bend more.

On Sunday, I experimented with pressing UP into Kapo B, as in from the the ground, as if I were pressing up into Urdhva Dhanurasana. Basically, I got into Supta Virasana (reclining hero's pose) and pressed up. That didn't get me very far at first. But it did warm me up to drop back into a better Kapo B. And patience helped. The first few breaths don't feel right. But it gets better. Then I had the idea to go from Urdhva Dhanurasana INTO Kapotasana B. I did a couple of UD's, warming things up nicely, and then I lowered one shin to the ground at a time.

VOILA!!! DEEPEST Kapo B ever.

So, to summarize, for anyone working with backbending issues who might want to try it at home:

1. Hanumanasana and Samakonasana after the Prasarita Padotanasanas. DO NOT sit down in Samakonasana unless your legs are at 180 degrees. Once you sit, the stretch is pretty much over. If you can keep supporting yourself with your hands, you keep the stretch going. Same with the rear leg in Hanumanasana. That is the one that relates to backbending. Make sure it is straight out behind you, not reaching around to the side. Otherwise, you're just avoiding the stretch that you really need. And if you can't lower your groin to the floor, the hold yourself up with your hands. If you're holding yourself up with your hands, then there is no need to fold over or to try to reach the hands skyward. Just work on stretching the groin and the hamstrings.

2. Try getting the back to bend BEFORE pressing up. For some people, that is obvious and easy. For people like me, not so much.

3. Try all sorts of permutations of backbends. From the floor. With the shins on the floor. With the elbows on the floor. Stretch the front body any way you can.

And that concludes today's session of "The Blind Leading The Blind".


Monday, October 13, 2008

Palin Fatigue: Tired of Talking about Sarah

Is anyone else bored of the whole Sarah Palin discussion? I sure am....

Let's talk about ANYTHING else Alaskan. ANYTHING.


Friday, October 10, 2008

The Nigerian Email Scam Spam Post

It took a while, but it got published on the Huffington Post here:


How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Breast Cancer Gene

Here is the latest from me on The Huffington Post.


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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