The last time I practiced was approximately 9 days ago. A snowstorm hit Dallas, I caught a pretty nasty cold and started my moon cycle. What an eventful week!  The weather channel predicted that today was going to be a nasty day as well, but, alas, when I awoke this morning, it was a nice winter day. So I got in my dirty car and drove to Dallas for practice.

I was told that practice after the third day of your moon cycle is acceptable as long as you don’t do any inversions. Does this include backbends? Random, I know.

I was able to bind Maricysana B today on the left side. Little by little. All is coming.

 

Advertisements

I haven’t practiced since last Thursday. This weekend I went to Austin and had a wonderful time with family and friends. On Monday evening, I headed out to the store to prepare for the storm that was headed our way. Unlike NYC, Dallas is completely unprepared for any type of inclement weather, so pretty much since Tuesday I’ve been housebound. Not to mention I’ve got a slight cold. Sometimes it happens. I can’t wait to begin again.

Shout out to Angelique Sandas for receiving her Authorization to teach from Sharath at KPJAYI in Mysore.

I have to be honest: I did not want to practice yesterday. If my roommate had not been tired, I would have gone to eat pizza instead. But he was, so I went. It was crazy. The entire time I couldn’t sync my breathe and my feet were cramping. The cramping was something I had never experienced before and it sucked. It was a very humbling experience and one of the reasons I love yoga so much: there is always room to improve and you will have off days.

I would like to say that this is the first week that I practiced 5 days in a row. I wanted to make this morning Day #6, but I have to be at work super early and I will be working until 8 or 9 PM. I can’t wait to try to achieve 6 days in a row next week!

But for today I am just content that I was able to practice. It was a great week!

Guruji with his guru, Krishnamacharya, behind him

Everyday when I walk into the Sun studio and even throughout my practice, I search for Guruji’s picture and I pause to reflect on him. I did not have the honor of meeting him and studying with him. However, I feel that he is my guru, too. Words cannot express how grateful I am for Ashtanga yoga. Seeing the impossible transform into something possible has been one of the most awe inspiring experiences of my life. Things that I never thought that I’d be able to do, little by little, I have learned how to do … and to think: I’m not done yet.

When I first come into the shala and I see his picture, I am reminded that all else can be left at the door and that this moment is one of self-reflection and connection to God. During my practice, when I feel that I am not executing the asana the way that it should be executed or that my body is not cooperating with me, I seek out his picture because it reminds me of the truth of this practice. I then focus on the most important part of it all: my breath. I may not be that flexible. I may not have a practice that is on Kino’s level. But, by golly, I strive to be the best “breather” I can be! 🙂

Today’s practice was amazing. That’s what I love about yoga. One day you’re on top of the mountain and the next day you’re eating a big slice of humble pie. You learn that life is ups and downs and the only “constant” (for lack of a better word) is you. Today I was unable to bind Ardha Baddha Padma Uttanasana and all of my balancing poses were super shaky, but that’s okay.

Perhaps tomorrow they will be better, but today I accepted where I was and I chose not to treat myself violently. I had compassion. That was more awesome than executing the asana itself.

During child’s pose after Sirasana A & B (I attempted B for the first time today), I always pray. I thank God for the moment, for allowing me the opportunity to connect with him, and for the practice.

Today I dedicated my practice to Eddie because today is his 28th birthday. He is in prison. I think part of my motivation and drive in my life comes from the fact that I want to somehow show him all of the beautiful possibilities that life has to offer … that somehow my achievements are his, so I strive to push forward because I feel that my success is his. I also prayed for my students and I asked God to use me to bless them, that somehow I will positively impact their lives and that the world will be a better place because of my work with them. Sounds naïve, I know, but if we all carried this intention in our hearts, how different would the world be today?

After class, I spoke with the instructor about Kurmasana because I have never officially been taught how to do it and I’m afraid of

Kurmasana

hurting myself because of my lack of experience. She showed me how to perform it and mentioned that I should take into consideration my anatomy. I have a very long torso and shorter legs and arms. I also have a deep forward bend. So my experience of the pose will be different from hers because she has a shorter torso, longer legs, and longer arms. That comforted me because I know that I’ve got to work with my body and find my expression of it.

She complimented me on my practice and called it beautiful. Beautiful is not a word I would use to describe my practice. I would say either honest or earnest, but not beautiful. But then again I wouldn’t use beautiful as a way to describe myself either. In my mind, I’m still that chubby little 3rd grader with really short hair. In my mind, I am still that hesitant girl trying Ashtanga for the first time and wanting to cry because I suck so bad at it. However, I have never felt more beautiful than just after finishing a practice. I let my hair down and my cheeks are flushed and I am pleased with what I just accomplished. I hope and pray that everyone has that experience at least once in their lifetime.

I will say that I just want my practice to be real. I don’t think the point of a practice is to push yourself to the point of mental or physical injury. A lotus takes time to blossom. Babies crawl before they walk. Patience is a lesson echoed in all of nature. I don’t want props in the yoga world. I just want to see where this journey goes and I pray that God allows me the time on earth to see it out as far as I can.

I found it comforting that the instructor today is familiar with Kino and Tim. That means a lot to me because the Ashtanga world is big, but small at the same time. The certified and authorized world even smaller. She’s going away to India for 6 weeks. I will miss her kind energy and I hope that it inspires a girl just like me on the other side of the world. One can only hope.

Tuesdays are my late day at work, so I ended up practicing at home in the kitchen which is the only space with hardwood floors. Everything else is either carpeted or tiled. Practicing at home is not an easy task. There are too many distractions, too many thoughts, to many to-dos … but what a great opportunity to sit in the midst of a storm and let it all go.

I started reading Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind a couple of days ago. I love how Suzuki says we should approach the spiritual path with a beginner’s mind, where all is possible and the emptiness becomes the birthing place of enlightenment. I tried to bring this intention to my practice and approach it with the same openness, curiosity and attention to breath as I did when I first started 2.5 years ago.

I am still unable to bind Marichyasana B on the left side, but I know it will come. Guruji said so.

“Fight for your freedom” flashed thru my mind as I was doing my last backbend in today’s practice. Part of me wanted to quit because I was exhausted, but the other part of me knew that as long as I continued to be lazy I would also continue to be mediocre and bound. Makes sense that I value freedom. I am a Sagittarius, after all. We are notorious for going to great lengths to be free. I dedicated my practice today to Eddie, who turns 28 on Wednesday, and who will spend approximately 13 more birthdays locked up.

The instructor is going to India next week and won’t be back for another 6 weeks. She will be assisting in a teacher training and also she will be teaching yoga to former victims of sex trafficking. I thought that was amazing. May she be blessed not only by her individual practice, but by the practices that she has the honor of influencing.

Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them.

Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it.

Let me not crave in anxious fear to be saved, but hope for the patience to win my freedom.

~Rabindranath Tagore

 

Going 4 days without practicing set me back. I felt like I just needed my back to firecracker open to feel like I could surpass the shell of my body. I am still attempting to do the entire primary series, but after bhuja pidasana, I feel like a newborn starting to crawl. I feel clumsy and whack, but it’s awesome because I’m pushing through. Making my way.

“After a hurricane comes a rainbow.” — Katy Perry