Early one morning last week, I was on the train, on my way to the shala, and a young boy, maybe 10 years old, gets on the subway at 190th st, careens into a seat near me, and starts writing. i...will..try..my..best..to..be..on..time..There were pages of this, my guess was 500 or 1000 times. (yeah, I'm one of those people who will look to see what my neighbors are reading) He was writing it assembly style...words in columns and working his way down each..for pages. I wondered why this kid was on the train by himself before 7am..awfully early for school for someone not in high school, and his apparent punishment seemed so poignant to me. At the same time, I struggle with chronic lateness..to work (especially)..to meet friends..to do anything. I wondered what effect writing these words, this mantra, so to speak, would have on him. Would he be on time, would it just sail on by? What is the effect of the mantras we use, whether we choose to use them - i.e. yoga mantras, positive affirmations, other religious prayers, etc, or they come unbidden by us - those repeating loop thoughts in your head, the ones you wish would go away (which I am much too familiar with these days), or they are imposed upon us - such as this old school style school punishment. I have been thinking a lot about how what runs through my head all day affects me, my emotional state, in particular.
I am coming to terms a bit with the sub at the shala. Still having a bit of a panic before going to practice, since the intense (to me) assists in some of the postures are still rather scary to me, and I have to learn how to take care of myself. Plus the sore wrist (always something..or in my case..several somethings). I gave back a couple of the intense changes- back to grabbing elbows in parshvottanasana, and no more trying to get into full garbha (ie. not trying to hold my chin in my hands, a rather futile experiment right now). I did try bhuja a couple times. First attempt went pretty much like my usual. I did try to squeeze my legs into my arms, which never makes my upper arms feel good. Still stuck to the ground. I then asked the teacher, who was watching me, about how to come up, and she says, I have to do this pose more than 1 time each practice..So I repeat. She has me jump my feet in front of my hands for the first time ever. Less scary than I thought it would be. Then as I lowered down, she told me to not let my feet touch the ground. Squeeze the legs up! into the belly, so to speak. Never even considered that. I managed to still plop down, but I guess it was more controlled. Then the same direction on the way up. This was so hard..without the superpower granting teacher watching and encouraging me to do it, I would have given up. Still touched a foot down, but it was better. I am sure it helped a bit that yesterday was a moon day, but sometimes I think my bandhas are weaker the first day of practice after a rest day, despite the rest of me feeling stronger.
UHP is back to being a disaster, though today someone set up their mat almost under my leg when I was on the first part of the second side! I managed to hold the pose for some of that, but fell out when I came up, my drishte is just not that strong yet.
My first holiday baking attempt -mandelbread, though a bit modified from my stepmom's fabulous recipe (her mandelbread used to be what I wanted to eat on my birthday). In my supposedly healthier version, chickened out of using all buckwheat flour in this batch, so it is only half buckwheat/ half white flour. Turned out a bit sweet, apparently sucanat is sweeter than regular sugar, and I have less of a taste for sweet stuff these days. Even the chocolate chips by themselves tasted too sweet to me. Of course none of this stops me from eating them.