Practice (Meow) Notes

Today was my first day wearing the Meow hat to practice. No, this isn’t a reference to Super Troopers (which is a favorite movie at my house, and which even inspired The Cop and some of the other guys on his squad to grow ironic moustaches for a while there). Anyhow, the Meow hat was purchased by My Gift when she was in middle school. It is a black beanie with little knitted cat ears, and the word “Meow” printed on the forehead in red. I always loved that hat, but of course, being an adult, I couldn’t actually wear it anywhere.

Until now. Thank you, morning Mysore practice! For my 5AM commute, I can wear the Meow hat and my fuzzy black slippers! I know it’s ridiculous, but it’s such a treat.

When I got to Starbuck’s of Yoga, the only cars there were Volleyball Guy’s and Returning Guy’s. I was running 15 minutes late, and usually almost eveyone who’s going to show up is in by 5:45. Hmmmm, perhaps something to do with the holidays? Returning Guy was off and running, so I joined in. A little while later Sanskrit Scholar and NY Chick showed up. Okay, now things were starting to feel normal. The British Director even stopped in. She is nursing a back injury (not Ashtanga-related) and wanted to stretch out a bit.

My mind was…how shall I describe it? Terrier-like. Yes, terrier-like: very alert, very quick, and rather bullheaded. Just like the dog is when she’s trying to convince me that I should give her a cookie or throw a ball for her. It was hard for me to put down my thoughts. And when I did manage to put them down and just practice, after a little while they’d snap right back, right where I’d left off.

Miraculously (or actually, not that miraculously, given that this started last March) my right hamstring is starting to feel normal again. For a long time, both hamstrings were shot to hell, and then the left one, eventually, went back to normal. The right one’s been persistently achey, but not too bad. I think I was actually used to that baseline level of achiness because I was very surprised to notice this morning that it is going away. I’ve been keeping at the samakonasana/hanumanasana add-on, using a block on the right side, and I guess it may be helping the injury. Or else the injury is just healing despite the hanumanasana. Either way, I’ll take it.

Once again, I feel like something is coming loose through practice. I first had this experience about a year ago. I’d been practicing for six months, and I started to notice that something was happening in my lower back and hips, as if lots of old habits (physical and mental) were coming undone. And now the feeling is back. It’s in my back and shoulders now, though — at least the physical part. The mental loosening feels more generalized than last time. Not sure where this will go, but at least I’ve learned that these loosenings and realignments are positive.

Baddha konasana update: I can now get my head on the ground with a push from one sandbag. Volleyball Guy came over once my head was on the ground and squished me even more. Until there was a nice, satisfying crack from my sacrum. I am so addicted to that feeling. Funny how when I first experienced it, I was terrified.

Joshu asked Nansen: `What is the path?’
Nansen said: `Everyday life is the path.’
Joshu asked: `Can it be studied?’
Nansen said: `If you try to study, you will be far away from it.’
Joshu asked: `If I do not study, how can I know it is the path?’
Nansen said: `The path does not belong to the perception world, neither does it belong to the nonperception world. Cognition is a delusion and noncognition is senseless. If you want to reach the true path beyond doubt, place yourself in the same freedom as sky. You name it neither good nor not-good.’

Okay, I get it: achey hamstring, sacrum crack. Neither good nor not-good. Just practice.

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