Hot damn!

Or, rather, damn hot. Yup, it was hot at Starbucks of Yoga this morning. Led class, and there are New Year’s resolutions going on. Lots of people. I haven’t sweated for months, it seems, so it was just delightful. I can’t wait for summer!

Volleyball Guy did chanting as folks were coming into the room. Usually everyone just chatters away until 10 on the dot, when Volleyball Guy announces, “Samasthiti!” This morning, though, there was chanting of the yamas, niyamas and the eight limbs. Also the chant: Asatoma Sat Gamaya, Tamasoma Jyotir Gamaya, Mrityorma Anritam Gamaya — which I love. I’m not a huge chanting fan. It’s pretty much impossible for me to learn things from just hearing them (and I have six years of diligently pursued and ultimately hopeless French classes to prove it). If I can see the words, though, it’s a whole ‘nother story. For some reason, Volleyball Guy had a little whiteboard and had written out the words to the Asatoma chant, and then he took some time to translate. Very cool. Luckily we have chanting books at the zendo, where chanting can go on for close to an hour during retreats. Without the book, I’d be lost.

Speaking of the zendo, there is a women’s retreat scheduled for the 20th of this month. I am psyched. Just a one day deal — 5:30 AM – 5 PM. A nun from the main zendo (in California) will be coming out to lead the retreat. It’ll mean missing a led class, but it’ll also be a chance to really see how asana practice has affected my sitting. I am aware of a HUGE difference, physically, when I just sit for 20 minutes here at the house, so it’ll be interesting to see how the difference manifests over the course of a day. And also how the differences might manifest in my mind. I’m always wondering how Ashtanga affects the stillness/concentration of my mind, as compared to zazen. Basically, I’ve been practicing Ashtanga for a year and a half, and during that time I have not sat for a whole day. Now I’ll get to see how the asana practice affects my meditation. Quite exciting.

Led class this morning was lovely; the energy in the room was very personable and energetic. Lots of smiling and the occasional humorous quip and some laughter. Crim Girl was coming in just as I arrived, so we practiced next to each other. Just as we finished the first surya A, it occurred to me that my pants felt weird. Too high in the front, too low in the back. I peeked inside the waistband, and sure enough, they were on backwards. Oh boy. I wondered if perhaps it wouldn’t matter, but then realized it was going to drive me crazy, so I made a quick trip to the Yoginis room (seriously, that’s what the sign says) and turned ’em around. Back in the day, it would have disturbed me that I couldn’t dress myself properly. Now though, I’m neither surprised nor concerned. I guess the equanimity of yoga really is pretty handy 😉

Urdhva dhanurasanas were good. I pulled my mat up to the wall so I could try to push my chest to the wall. One very clear indication that the extra backbending I’ve been up to is useful: we did a bunch of urdhva dhanurasanas, and I didn’t keep track of how many we were going to do, how many we had left, etc. Another indication: my hands and feet are getting closer to each other and I’m actually starting to kind of like the way it feels when I push deeper and deeper into the backbend. Woohoo! I can’t even tell you how relieved I am that I am starting to like backbends. I’ve always wanted to, and now I am. Or perhaps I am just seeing the writing on the wall: I’m starting second, and I’d BETTER start liking backbends! Either way, I’ll take it.

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3 Responses

  1. You wrote that you try to get your chest against the wall in dhanurasana. Is this helpful? Should dhanurasan not be an equel arch? It is a real quesion.

    The story with your pants are really funny.

  2. Look on the bright side – at least you remembered to wear them!

  3. Ursula: yes, the arch is supposed to be equal. Mine, though, is not. I have alot more in the lower back and legs than in the upper back and arms. Because my shoulders are tight. So the wall idea helps me push more into the legs and stretch more across the back/shoulders. Hopefully, then, once the back is opened up, the arch will be more equal. I hope that makes sense.

    Tim: LOL! Yes, I guess I don’t have to worry until it gets to the point that I forget my pants entirely. Hmmm, I wonder if I’ll get kapotasana first or age-related dementia…

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