Saturday, June 28, 2014

lost in translation

so my very friendly and gracious student B with very limited english skills returned to my feldenkrais class, with his friend. apparently he liked the class so much last week, that he told another woman about the class..and she showed up and brought a friend too..i think she said there were a couple other people who she thought were going to show up..just as well they didn't. it was enough to have 4 on the floor and one sort of doing the lesson in a chair.  there were 2 people with very limited english skills..especially when it comes to feldenkrais directions..and one of the women on the floor would sometimes translate for the other two..though she had no felden experience either, so i hoped her interpretation/translation made sense to the others. i still had some pointing and demonstrating and a lot of repeating to do..but i made it through the lesson. unscathed.

for now, i have to let go of my ideas of how to teach these lessons, and just be happy to get people to follow basic instructions (moving slowly and resting not in their minds yet) by any means necessary. (Feldenkrais classes are normally taught with all verbal instructions and no demonstrating or adjusting students.)  It is so hard to tell what the students' experience of the class is while they are doing the lesson. I see them working too hard, not resting, and moving faster than they ought..but at the end, when someone tells me that they feel relaxed and feel the difference where they should, all i can do is be thankful that the felden lessons work despite language confusion.

i also told myself before the class that i was not going to freak out over what people can or cannot understand..i do need to start picking up some basic spanish vocabulary..just so i can connect with the non english speakers a bit better. and i need to find some spanish language info on feldenkrais..It is going to be a challenge to teach this group this summer. 

I felt ok after teaching this time, unlike last week's post class freakfest and emotional exhaustion over not feeling understood (and i don't think it was just about teaching the class). i won't be able to be at all ambitious in terms of lessons i teach for the rest of the summer if this is the new "group" of the class..but so be it. i think i was partly annoyed last week at feeling like i had to backtrack (how dare students need something other than what i wanted to teach!)..but these folks have never done feldenkrais before..and that is enough of a challenge, even without the language issues. now i am glad that i will have a couple classes to sub in august..i can teach a bit more involved lessons to that class. 

Saturday, i hibernated at home. watched the exciting second half and then overtime and then tiebreaker penalty kicks to break the tie for brazil v. chile. it struck me that i have really been enjoying watching the world cup with spanish commentary..commentary that i cannot understand..other than names of players..and gooooooooooooooooooooaaaaallllllllllllllll!!!!! tone and volume of voice conveys a lot already. so maybe not all things need complete verbal comprehension to be enjoyed and understood.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

friday practice..a walk in the rain


My new friday practice seems to consist of yoga (a given), followed by an indian thali lunch, and then a walk through central park. The warm rain on friday was pleasant..and kept the park quite empty. I felt as if I was in another city. After living in Oregon for 10 years,  a few raindrops do not faze me

Practice was quite good friday, considering how stressed i had been all week. My feldenkrais training is this weekend, and every time i have a training weekend, i get more than a bit anxious about it - the training itself, and my inability to manage my time well or get enough sleep during these times. this time i thought i was being smart, and booked an acupuncture appointment the night before..only to have my supposedly stress reducing session cause a lot more emotional upheaval. good grief. took me til friday afternoon to start to feel normal again. oh, back to practice...i am trying to adhere more to the vinyasa count where i can. that is-trying to take the pose in seated on the exhale, etc. only where i can. not forcing it elsewhere. it has been an interesting experiment. the first time i tried this..i started to get befuddled about where i was in the series because it felt completely different focusing on this aspect of practice. then it felt more exhausting, and then on friday, the day i was the most agitated, it somehow helped calm me down and keep me more focused..until the maris that is. it also helped that i got assists in a few poses along the way..sometimes assists can really help rather than hinder my sense of flow in my practice.

I also realize that sometime soon i need to really look at what the vinyasa count is..ie..a book on primary. i am still completely uninterested in the whole idea of led classes..i hate following anyone else's timing..but i know i will have to get over that one of these days.
I am also struggling to get up the gumption to reduce the number of suryas i do..from 5/5 as i was taught, to 5/4 or 4/4 or 5/3 for the warmer weather. My general tendency to want to overdo everything plus the months and months it took to be able to do 10 suryas in a row without wanting to fall over or getting afraid i could not do that many without falling over, makes me reluctant to give up even 1 surya. silly, yes, given full primary has a hell of a lot of vinyasas. The other thing is that the vinyasas and suryas calm me down, maybe more than the postures themselves. One of the things I learned from a wonderful feldenkrais practitioner and trainer, was that feelings of anxiety/panic can be headed off by doing something physical that involves your whole self- the examples she gave were pushing at a wall or trying to lift something heavy..so real physical effort is involved here. After that, I realized that part of my attachment to ashtanga is a real need for those vinyasas. I don't have time to be anxious or upset when trying to jump back or through, or when I try to do any of the more strenuous exits.



Training this weekend has been really great. One of the easier sessions, both physically and emotionally. We are learning how to work with feet..and about the connection between the feet and the head. I had to miss a bit of friday night's class in order to teach my class..but i have had a few good practice sessions with people in my training..and feel confused, as always. but am not panicking over that feeling. Really knowing what you are doing in this method takes years..training, almost 4 years of training that i will have when i am done..well, that's just scratching the surface. It is a lifelong practice of learning to become more aware of my own body and to work with others. 


Friday, April 25, 2014

home and away practice

one of the important birds in central park 
posing for the camera with its best bat signal.

it's been an entire week of self practice, as in practice at home and even away from home, at my aunt's house. oddly it was my aunt's house where i did my first ever real non-shala practice a year and a half ago..after thanksgiving. practicing there is more about getting something done..not about a good or pretty practice. just a partial antidote to too much eating and sitting and sitting and eating. you get the idea.

i had every intention of going back to the shala this week, but i kept waiting for LH which just did not want to cooperate.  i was feeling quite sad last night (pms induced) and stayed up late watching the hindi version of the lunchbox. enough of the movie is in english already, and somehow you don't need to know the exact words. 

i thought LH was going to arrive today, so i turned off my alarm and let myself sleep more. when i got up, felt like LH would be much later in the day if at all today so i decided to practice at home, and of course LH arrives in the middle of practice. do i abort then and there?..nope! i finished which might have been a bad idea. my intercostals on both sides seem rather trashed, but i didn't notice it til i started closing. nothing during practice felt like it was too much on them. i tried sitting up after kurmasana to stretch each leg over my shoulders..but i made sure to not do anything too intensely. honestly i dont know why people do this..you lose momentum and bandhas by faffing around with this for a minute or so...i also tried an illegal pasasana in its proper place (my worry is that pasasana did in my intercostals). couldn't bind, but i could make a passable attempt at it on each side. no falling over, i just couldn't rotate the arm that goes round the knees properly, though i could get that hand across my feet. didn't try too hard and only tried 1x on each side. i could see that it would be possible with a teacher's help. 

standing up from the "last" ud continues to be a mess. i couldn't stand up from the floor today, which was annoying. i am sure it is my legs-- once i shifted how i am doing UHP, it immediately affected backbending. before this, i was standing up from the floor after 1-2 attempts most days, and now i have much less lift and strength/weight in my legs than before. the backbends may be getting deeper again but seems like that is more about my upper chest than my legs (might just be the sheer number of them in my extra failed attempts to stand up).  the focus on my inner thighs in UHP has made both the suryas and standing feel more stable. the only positive change with the backbending this week, is i don't have any crying fits about not being able to stand up..even if i do make a few too many attempts.

off to the park for some sun..and maybe lunch first at my favorite indian restaurant..if i can get there before their lunch special is over.
magnolias

Friday, March 14, 2014

south indian thali friday



I have been pretty insanely busy this year, with work, teaching feldenkrais, feldenkrais training, and my yoga practice..and have been sorely neglecting this blog...

Practice wise, I have been working on standing up from that final backbend. Right before last xmas, I started to be able to stand up, not pretty at all, but up is up. Since then it has improved somewhat..though very slowly. Now, it generally takes a couple tries to stand up, and I am not past the occasional (or more than occasional) loud crashing fall on my butt. Today, for example. Learning this is even more frustrating than learning to stand up from dropbacks..and slower for me, as I only do it once (I keep telling myself I will repeat it some days..but I am so relieved to stand up that I never bother) and then move on to dropbacks, no matter how undignified the standing up was. What is harder for me is to let go of it on days when I can't stand up..like one day last week when my teacher told me I was trying too many times, and making myself crazy (very true..as I had a bit of a meltdown on my mat, out of frustration). So much of this is mental..how I react to what I can or cannot do on the mat. That said, I am in awe of people who do the 3 backbends, only dropping to the crown of the head in between..and then stand up so beautifully. I feel like I am a lifetime away from that. 

The standing up from regular dropbacks has improved, since I recently discovered how to keep my head back..truly back, while I stand up. It doesn't happen every time, but I can tell the difference..and until I "accidentally" did it one day..I had no idea that I really wasn't keeping my head back (and I had a sore neck to show for it). That was the most interesting thing..suddenly becoming aware of something I was doing..an old (well, not so old as I only started standing up last fall) habit by doing something new, and then when my brain realized..hey, that's a whole lot easier..it became the new habit. A lot like the feldenkrais lessons I do and teach..discover your old habits by doing something different, novel, etc. and discover how to do the same thing,..but with more ease. Who doesn't want more ease?

Today, to celebrate the first 6 day week where I managed to stand up from that last backbend every day, I treated myself to a really good meal. South indian thalia at saravanaa bhavan. I had been there once before for an incredible dosa. Dosas, however, are not filling enough for after practice (at nyc prices, that is!) This is probably the best indian food I have had in nyc...and maybe ever..as restaurant food. Wonderfully light and tasty. Probably a good thing I don't live in that neighborhood..as I would go back, a lot! You can look up the restaurant for pix of their food. I feel silly photographing my food, but I did take some photos from where I sat and daydreamed after my meal. This may become my new friday ritual.




Monday, December 30, 2013

this year was lousy, but at least it was familiar

Continuing with the Calvin and Hobbes theme (you can never have too much Calvin and Hobbes IMHO) today. I can totally commiserate with calvin on his hatred of change. I am terrible with change, and prefer the familiar, even if it is not good. I used to get almost sick with worry before the first day of school, in elementary school. I am a little better now, but not much. Teaching my one class wipes me out emotionally. Often I spend far too much time and energy worrying over things that might change, but that don't need my attention in that way. Or I take so much time to decide to do something, that I sometimes lose the opportunity to do the very thing I had decided upon. Other areas of my life, which could use some (well maybe a lot of) attention, get ignored.

Calvin and Hobbes

image taken from here

I am definitely going to write some resolutions for 2014.

I don't feel like the year was lousy for me..but it has been exhausting, with working more hours (close to full time for months, though not paid for full time), no vacation time til this week (and not getting the full 2 weeks I should get), continuing with the feldenkrais training program, starting to teach feldenkrais classes (and discovering I have a love hate relationship with teaching), anxiety over looking for a new apartment (but then not moving), other anxiety issues, and continuing my practice no matter what. Working more has meant less time for keeping up with friends here (and re-thinking what I want in a friend), although the training program has introduced me to a lot of new interesting people over the past couple years.

I am looking forward to some quiet time on new year's eve and new year's day. Really happy new years day is a moon day, even though I have no official plans for new years' eve.


Friday, December 27, 2013

chocolate helps backbending

Well, I doubt that it helps, but backbending certainly seems to create a craving for chocolate...





I managed to stand up from that last UD at the shala today. Bit of jogging back and to one side, but up is up..and it sure made the 3 dropbacks afterwards easier. Celebrated at home with some chocolate, of course!

Off to a museum tonight..though I still have to decide which one. 10 days of freedom from work..first real break in a year. Much much needed!