Tuesday, December 30, 2014

mysore wanderings

Walking around gokulam in the early evening, my nightly ritual to buy any or all of the following items: milk, yogurt, bananas, vegetables (usually okra), and bread.

Saw a friend off this afternoon, so tonight's walk was extra melancholy. And i leave the day after tomorrow. Teared up as i tried to paint the view from my favorite spot, near the local idli and tea shop. After giving up on meeting people (or just too exhausted from practice to want to socialize) , i did meet some lovely people here. One month is just too short. I have hardly done any sightseeing, but i have tried to walk around a lot in gokulam. My sketchbook is at least 2/3 full...and the cows have an annoying habit of moving the moment i try to paint them. 






Saturday, December 27, 2014

floor 1, nose 0

My nose collided with the floor today, attempting the bakasana exit from bhuja...I don't think I broke anything, but definitely bruised from it. Nothing like whacking your face during led to make me feel like a little kid again, I wanted someone to tell me it would be ok, and even wanted to pack it in and go home to new York. Though in class I only sat out kurmasana and supta k, til I could get the bleeding to mostly stop. Lucky me, I had a front and center spot so no going to the women's changing to check it. I do wonder if I should have stopped...but done is done.

Also wondering what my alternatives are to ice here for the swelling and bruising. Yes, yoga can be dangerous, but mostly to my ego.







Tuesday, December 23, 2014

walkabout

A long time ago, i saw nicholas roeg's movie, walkabout. I think i was in high school,  and I'm pretty sure i didn't really understand what i was watching, but it made a huge impact on me. Not that i am wandering through the outback here, but this trip has been a break for me on many levels and a chance to have a lot of solitude, in an unfamiliar place. Photos are from my walk on Sunday afternoon. 











Monday, December 22, 2014

a night at the palace


Last night, on the eve of the solstice,  i went to see the mysore palace, my first real sightseeing since i got here. I love to go for walks, but venturing to the city alone hasn't been one of my interests. I am really glad i got over my inertia, and hopped a rickshaw to the palace. I arrived at dusk, and the place was crazy crowded, almost all local people. I realized almost immediately that i should have come a little earlier to see it all first in the daylight.  On Sunday evenings, they light up the palace with lightbulbs that cover the buildings. It's a cross between an amusement park strategy and the old films you can see of Edison's era, showing the uses  of the newly invented lightbulb. 


That's the palace lit up. They only keep the lights on for about 40 minutes. I need to come back in the daytime to see the inside of the palace which is supposed to be magnificent. A visit to a tourist site would not be complete without being mobbed by schoolgirls who want their picture taken, and then to take pictures with you. I feel bad that i know about one word of kannada, the local language, but the kids speak pretty decent English. 





Another view towards the front entrance of the palace grounds. The archway in the front is attached to a temple (another temple is on the opposite side of the entrance). Being india, a palace isn't just a palace...but has a number of temples on the grounds: one for ganesha, one for siva and the last i don't remember. I spent time in each temple, my first experience of a hindu temple in india (other than getting locked in the grounds of the local Krishna temple, though i was too timid to go in the main temple there.)


 


Explaining the right way to pray?

The ganesha temple near where i came in. Here is was allowed to take photos, though i felt a bit sacrilegious doing so. No sooner did i snap the photo below, looking into the closed main temple room, than a group of people arrived to worship. I felt so much like the clueless american tourist. There is something really powerful about seeing others' devotion, especially in an environment like this. Several times during my visits to the temples here, i was quite moved by what went on around me.




The two temples that flank the main entrance were open. You leave your shoes outside,  and go towards the main shrine room, where the priest comes out. You make a small donation, and are given blessed oil and flowers, and the red powder that goes between your eyebrows. I was pretty ignorant about the entire procedure, and completely messed up at the last temple...one of many edicut mishaps i have had here. In each of the temples, i felt acutely aware of being alone, despite the crowds outside. I also felt perhaps the sacredness of the space, even though it is not my religion, and i dont feel especially connected to the rituals and gods of hinduism.


The view into the siva temple.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Mysore, week 3


I can't believe i have less than 2 weeks left here. This week i seemed to need much more sleep, though i haven't managed to catch up at all. The week started out very solitary, which is my preference here, and ended with more social activities than i normally do at home. I am in real need of solitude this weekend. And sleep.

Yesterday I went to a wonderful talk by ani samten chodron, on the meaning of the Buddhist mantra "on mane padme hum". I was really touched by how the mantra is used, that it can be carved into stones and then walls are made with these stones. I would like to see those some day. I also found out that this mantra must be chanted out loud to work.

Today I have stayed relatively close to home, venturing out on an ill fated trip to get a thali. Thalis here are not dinner, only lunch. Which was too bad since I napped this afternoon, rather than rush out for lunch. I have been discovering that places often close in the afternoon, just as I want to venture out.

The shala is emptying out for the holidays. I actually had space on either side of me during led today. Shambhav showed up at the end of led class, announcing himself, calling out "8"! While we were in headstand ( I think). He saved us from an interminable utpluthih today too :), or perhaps sharath thought we all needed a break after two 6 day weeks in a row. Shambhav returned during conference, wandering in and out, and doing his best to distract everyone. Sharath never scolds him; he lets him be a kid, which is quite lovely to see. I suspect sharath is the least distracted by shambhav's hilarious antics. I think the real lesson of conference today was their interaction, and sharath's focus, more so than the things he was saying about the practice.



Sunday, December 14, 2014

mysore, week 2


It's already about halfway through my time here.

I am amazed at how little i get done here in a day. Practice, eat breakfast, wash clothes, make dinner. And that is it. Maybe some painting or drawing but much less than i would like. Everything seems like that. I have to accept doing less, less reading, less feldenkrais (almost none), less socializing, less ambitious in my practice too (shala is too crowded for that anyway). Maybe the trip is more about letting stuff go for me...

I thought it would be great to meet lots of other yoga people, but the reality is that meeting lots of people is exhausting and sometimes irritating (boundaries!) I'm an introvert, and would rather email than talk in person half the time. Sometimes i think if one more person asks me if i practice at eddie's, or what i do for a living, or how long i am here for...i will scream. I dont like small talk, and dont make friends easily. That said, I have met some lovely people, who seem to be evidence that this practice works. Whether it will work for me...that is tbd. Here I mostly feel more aware of how I haven't changed, of how things or people or situations push my buttons.

Such as wanting to murder the woman by the wall on the stage when she wanted more space at the wall...she had tons for a led class here, and wanted me to move my mat onto thr edge of the stage (it was about 1.5 inches from the edge)...and then she stops after supta kurmasana! (Hence not needing extra space at all). Good thing sharath doesn't read minds!

Or dealing with the security (huh?) guy at my guest house, who does nothing when you ask him for help, and then acts friendly all the sudden because he is about to ask you for a loan (wtf!)

Or trying to get anything fixed at my place...

Or buying groceries.

Or getting lost going everywhere. Feeling convinced that the streets and houses reorganized themselves when I tried to retrace my steps.

Or being afraid of getting lost and not exploring the area.

Or dealing with the rickshaws, which seem to have a cartel near the shala.

I have also felt truly lonely here too...in a really deep way. And all my little feelgood fixes don't work.

But there have also been really good things too...

Having a couple young kids be so absorbed in watching you paint...sitting at your elbow, literally. Seeing their absorption is far more interesting than anything else.

Befriending some of the outdoor dogs...

Walking through an older part of the town, seeing the mix of new and old buildings. The mix of bright colors everywhere.

Cows! Seeing cows grazing, and then rounded up by their owners to be taken home and milked.

Having fresh coconuts and then going for indian breakfast after practice.

Running into people I really want to see and having a good conversation with them. Having the time for it (unlike at home, where everyone, me included, runs around like rabbit)

And of course, practicing at the shala. The energy there is different than any I have experienced. Calmer, steadier. Quiet. How 70 people or more practicing can make less noise than 10 at my shala back home...a mystery. The soundtrack to practice is your breath and the breath of those near you, punctuated by sharath calling, one more, two more, short one, etc. I have a late start time, and lately by the time I finish assisted, no one else is waiting in the foyer for my spot. I am starting to calm down on my practice, and slow down, focusing on my breath more than I do at home. Practice here is strangely calmer than at home, when I was expecting the opposite.

I know that I want to come back.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

night life







Taken on my way to dinner. The tea stall is on my street. 




Friday, December 5, 2014

arrival




On my walk to the shala this morning for led class. The end of my first week, more or less, in mysore

I have been here just over a week, and am reasonably settled in. Everything seems to take much longer here (except for my practice, which has oddly speeded up). Even arrival takes longer, physically,I am here in mysore...but part of me is still in transit, or back home, or just somewhere else. Slowly I get used to things here, and feel like more of myself is truly here.
And nothing is ever what i thought it would be. Starting with the taxi ride from bangalore. I arrived at 5am, which meant i whizzed through immigration and such, the airport being empty at that time. I make my way to the exit, and find my driver, who doesn't know any English (which makes us even as i know no hindi or kannada, and am not sure if my few words of sanskrit would be of use). I had heard all sorts of stories about the ride to mysore
Which luckily dont seem to be true, at least this time. It's hard to summarize the journey, theway there is so much construction but so much stuff falling apart, the garbage everywhere and the cows, which seemed to turn up where you would least expect them. Oh, and the honking every time you approach another vehicle. Seems insane, but it works.( I actually feel safer on the street here than in nyc, in terms of being sure drivers see me)

After riding for about half an hour, i really started to wonder, was i even going to mysore. We started on a highway that was, well, a highway, then we turned off that road, or perhaps it merely morphed into another sort of road, one that snaked through small cities with no real division between them. Mind you, i had not bothered to change any money at the airport, and my phone battery was running low. The road we were on was nothing like the 4 lane highway that i had envisioned, based on the email from the person arranging the cab. Finally we end up on a road that was about 1 and 1/2 lanes wide, and the smaller vehicles would make way for the larger ones. We stopped,  and my driver got out; i was mystified,  was he going to pee or have a smoke? I realized later there must have been a tea stall nearby. At this point, i am wondering, did i get in the right cab? Instead of panic, i start to think, well, so i take an extra day to get to Mysore,  i still have dollars.

The driver returns, and we make a u turn and retrace our way to a slightly wider road. Hmm, were we lost? It was another 20 minutes or so before i finally saw a sign on the side of the road saying bangalore-mysore road. It dawned on me, finally, a 4 lane highway here is nothing like a 4 lane highway back home.

So far, my stay, even practice at the shala, has been like that-completely different from what i had envisioned when i was home. Nice to have all my expectations upended.


I

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

waiting

At jfk, waiting for my flight out. Still feels surreal, in 24 hours i will be in mysore.

International terminal at jfk is much nicer than the domestic ones.

Looking forward to being in mysore instead of anxious about being there, or traveling, or a million other things. I keep wanting to call my dad, and tell him about packing
Or my plans there, or comparing routes to the airport, or whatever, and then i remember. Makes me so sad inside..hard to breathe at times, it hurts so much. It's interesting, in one way, since i really sucked at keeping in touch while he was alive. I wonder if this is one of the thongs that mysore will transform in some way.

I do love airports.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

t minus 10 days

No, i am not really counting down the days til i leave. Though perhaps a countdown would be appropriate, since it is a bit like blasting off into the unknown. I can't believe that in 10 days i will be going to mysore. I keep feeling like it is off in the distant future,  but that isn't the case anymore. I know I'm supposed to be excited, but i feel more that i am accepting that i am going rather than looking forward to it. Although i am very much looking forward to 5 weeks  of not working. I guess i picked a pretty extreme trip for my first trip abroad on my own. I never was good with planning, or travel. It's been quite some time since i have been on a plane...and the thought of crossing an ocean is still a bit unnerving.

For most of the fall, it seemed like everyone i told was more excited for me than i was. I was terrified, but i felt so strongly that i had to go at least once. And that is what pushed me to do this. I'm sure i will find it funny at some point that i was sooo nervous, but not yet. I have been going for acupuncture to help deal with all my anxiety, about the trip and about the state of my daily life these days. That has been really helpful for me.

My dislike of change off the mat is the same as on the mat. this fall i also started second series, which initially felt like...be careful what you wish for. Just adding one (yes one) pose utterly exhausted me. It's a bit better now, but i am not wishing for more anytime soon.

So far my preparations for the trip have mostly been to cook a lot of indian food. Since i decided to go a few things worked out quite nicely-a messy tax situation worked out in my favor, and my stepmom was super supportive of my going, which pretty much shocked me. I have been carrying around the card she sent as a good luck charm.

I have also been taking a lot of walks
to relax and to take in the city in the fall



Central park on Friday.  So beautiful but also sad when the leaves fall.


Sunday, September 14, 2014

waffles purify the body (sharath's led)

If you are expecting me to wax poetical about practicing with 300 other ashtangis...you can stop here..that's not who I am..and I (sadly) suspect no amount of practice will change that. It feels more like a flash mob with a purpose..than some amazing breathing and moving in unison experience..For the most part, I was not even all that aware of the crowd in the room.

I survived, just barely. How I will do this in December, in mysore, in a much warmer room, is a mystery. how people do this at all is a mystery, I was never athletic, and led feels so much more like a test of endurance.

I know there was a bit of a conference after, but i was too busy crying or trying not to cry to hear most of what he said. I never do led classes here, this being only my 2nd led class ever (when sharath was in nyc for a day..that was my first). It doesn't feel like this was the intention of the practice. ..but that's me. I have always preferred to do things in my own timing. Savasana was 1 minute. And it looked like no one else had a problem with that! Hard to imagine starting the nerve cleansing of second when primary does such a number on me lately. This time there ware so many points where I wanted to bag the whole practice and have cry on my mat..it..was...sooooooo....hard...today. Silly me, I thought over a year of practicing full primary would make it easier.

I ended up forking out for a cab down there, as I was still sick, though much better than yesterday.  It would have been an hour by subway, and that's with nothing going wrong, which at 6am, would have been unlikely. Wish they would hold these a bit further uptown. The gym at the Chinatown y has zero ambiance. Even I would need to stay with someone downtown if I had wanted to do the week of classes, this location seems geared to people who practice at eddie's.

Practice was full of bloopers- I almost fell over in parvitta trikonasna (!?!), I was completely confused by which poses we are supposed to stagger ourselves for..as that didn't happen at all, and I jumped through to sit at the end rather than to stand for the closing chant (although I do it correctly in my own practice, and I am pretty sure I was the only one who did that). I also seemed to be the earliest back into downdog on each vinyasa..though I felt like I wasn't rushing either.. It was a huge relief to finish my attempt at supta K and play garbha bumper cars. Ut pluththi was interminable, he had not yet counted 1 and I was on 3! Needless to say, I came down a couple times to rest, so I could be only just ready to collapse at 10. Sharath has an excellent sense of when to slow down to drive us all nuts.

I think I need to do the class to prepare for india, but I do hope this is not representative of how the practice will feel there. I have to decide if it's worth doing all this again tomorrow, since I also have my appointment for my indian visa. I will probably go. I wonder if it will be a lot less crowded on a weekday.

One interesting thing, that since i didn't do dropbacks today, I was a lot less hungry after practice.  Or maybe that is just from the led practice being so much shorter than my normal practice. I stopped at bowery coffee for a muffin and tea..the amazing donuts were long gone :(

Saturday, September 6, 2014

when conditions are right

i am going to mysore this year. December. 

I am still a bit in shock..that I managed to finally get myself to commit to going (getting past the fear..the endless panic attacks during practice as thoughts of going to mysore would cause, even though I have wanted to go for as long as I have been practicing..maybe even a bit longer, as i used to read ashtanga blogs and that is what got me to start practicing ashtanga instead of jivamukti flow classes). I have my confirmation, and the time off from my employer..mysteriously, this was very easy to get. In the past, I once quit this same job to get 3 weeks off in a row..and another time, my employer pretended that I only asked for 1 week off rather than 2...so this is huge for me. But it is not just my employer that has changed..but me. I can deal with these situations with more grace than before..they don't become something which paralyzes me (though many many things still do that for me) into total inaction. 

I am the sort of person who waits waits waits for things to be easier..when x happens..then I can do y..like my life is some sort of math theorem. The trouble with this..is that conditions are never "right" on their own..you have to make them right, work with them, nudge them a bit (at least), and I am always hesitant to act. I can invent a million reasons in my head why it won't work, why I should wait another week, month, year...lifetime. I am really good at seeming to be patient..but it is not patience..

A lot of things have changed for me this summer..and that convergence made the thought of india..possible, again. I feel like some sort of weight has been lifted. As a friend of mine reminded me tonight..things are going, actually..well, for me. something I would rarely admit to until recently.

My commitment to go came about in a totally impulsive way. I had gone out on a date with a guy I met on the train who I liked a lot..but realized that evening, that there was no possible chance of relationship with him, even though I let him come back to my place. It had been a really long time since I have done that. I had a really intense dream while he was sleeping next to me..which made things feel really clear..I had to attend to myself..or else the changes that were starting to happen this year would not be sustained..I knew this already..but i have been ignoring it. I have been getting burned out working, teaching and doing the feldenkrais training without any sort of break for 3 years. It's awfully hard to listen to yourself..especially when you are constantly on the go (so it seems) in a noisy city like new york.

I realized that if I didn't go..and soon, I might never go at all, that is - the fear would win..and that I would so completely regret never trying, never going..more than anything else I can think of right now. It doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense financially to go while I am in the felden training (and i have a lot of work i need to be doing for that, as well as a lot of doubts over what i am doing with that at all) and while I have some other issues to deal with..and my job which always seems precarious (my mind needs something to worry about, always)..though I am learning to be better about it. I never thought I could get the time off..especially once my employer let go the other guy working in the office...how would he go for for me leaving for a month..even over the normally slow month of december? 

As my teacher says..when the time is right, the obstacles disappear..I never would have believed it before. So here I go ..to mysore, for my 47th birthday. woohoo.






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.