Gratitude, Clothes & Steam under pressure

I’ve been lucky to have the most delightful string of practices lately. Instant theta state. Just enough focus to be conscious of how good asana feels. Thought, one morning as I drank my pre-practice coffee, “I am so lucky to be able to do this.” Meaning the practice. And not meaning “able to do it well” or anything like that. Just to be incarnate. Muscle, nerve, bone: really, what more could you ask for?

So it’s been pretty rosy. I’ve been particularly enjoying stretching out the hip flexors — which suddenly became especially possible after Thumbs of Steel Candice undid some ancient knots in my left quadratus lumborum. Suddenly the samakonasana/hanumanasana part of standing feels UNbelievably good. Luckily, I was taught by VBG to include the samakonasana/hanumanasana crim bit in my practice. Otherwise I’d feel guilty about it.

Over the years I’ve left it out for long periods of time, because it really irritated my hamstrings — to the point that it was entirely useless for my hip flexors. But apparently it’s now time to enjoy hanumansana. It’s the most good-hurt part of my practice, by far, and I look forward to it every morning.

Oh, right, this is about gratitude. Well, this morning I am particularly thankful to the practice and its powers of transformation. I wrapped up and sat there for a moment on my mat, and noticed something was missing. Something I was vaguely, intellectually aware of possessing, but which I never *really* knew about because it was so much a part of the fabric of my psyche. Today it was notable because it wasn’t there.

I didn’t wonder, “Did I do enough?”

Nope. The new question, apparently, is whether I can feel practice all the way through.

I am a head person, which explains my penchant for fundamentalism in Ashtanga. When I was just doing primary, that was easy — I was heading for setu bandhasana, and once that was done, it was urdhva dhanurasana and closing.

Now, though, I am on my own and swimming out past the raft. There are intermediate poses, and extra urdhva dhanurasanas, and hangbacks, and passive bending. So it’s easy for me to feel like I am not “doing enough,” and that I should make a set curriculum for every morning of so many repetitions of each element. That way, I can assess whether I did enough.

But this morning, I was simply grateful that I’d had another feelingful practice in theta state.

What would it mean if I were to one day just sit on my mat and just stay there, theta-state, for hours? Would the world screech to a halt? Would I be “bad”? Would I be “good”?

Good, bad, yes, no, enough, not enough.

It’s getting practiced away.


In case this entry’s sounding too ethereal, let’s also make note of a couple of mundane things.

1. Clothes shopping

I know, I always complain. But seriously, I am hating buying clothes because there is no standardization of sizes. I went to a shop in a chi-chi part of town and grabbed a 00, 0, 2P, 2, 4P, and 4 of a couple of skirts I wanted to try on. The woman who helped me was hovering, eager to ferry whatever I was selecting to the dressing room, and when I finally headed into the dressing room, both she and one of her colleagues (who were already in the dressing room area) looked up at me rather guiltily. I imagined they were talking about me before I came in, trying to figure out why I don’t know what size clothing I wear.

Some of this I blame on Ashtanga. Back in the old days, when I was into weightlifting, I wore a size 4 suit. Now I have size 6 shoulders, size 4 waist, and size 2 hips. Um, yeah. Like a tiny man.

2. My newest entertainment


The Vapor Clean II. Yes, I’m a dork. I know. My Gift calls me “Monica” (if you ever watched “Friends,” you’ll get the joke).

Do I feel goofy admitting that I am thrilled by a tool that shoots out steam and cleans things without chemicals? A little. But then I think of the ozoney smell of the rooms I’ve cleaned so far… LOL!

I still feel a little leery of the thing, considering it’s boiling and pressurizing water in a small metal container that I’m pulling around behind me. I finally got comfortable with my pressure cooker after a couple of years of it not exploding — hopefully I can learn to trust the Vapor Clean II a little more quickly.

As I knelt beside it this morning, and started to clean, I had a quick flashback to climbing. That moment when your feet leave the ground in the morning and you wonder how the day’s going to go, and if you’ll be touching back down safely at the end of the day. I guess using the Vapor Clean II could be considered an extreme sport for housewives.

Needless to say, Tyler is magically attracted to the hissing, moving red metal animal. The Cop, on the other hand, is totally disinterested. Even though I showed him it SHOOTS steam.


12 Responses

  1. It’s almost like the set programme bypassed the ever present dididoenough chant for a little while, bracketed some of the less visible habits that had been part of the background. And now, after what is actually a pretty short few years, you can proceed with a different gestalt. One that is more of your conscious choosing. That’s the sweetest. Really nice.

    I tossed in hanuma-samok the other day and was delighted to see that I have a remedial samok. Duh. My body is not naturally open, but open in the places I open it. Nice to see the contrast.

    Excited about VAPOR CLEAN II!!! I’ve been scheming what I’ll do for my giant saturday workout if I leave LA, thinking Extreme Housecleaning might be just the thing. Let me know if it’s possible to choreograph inhale-exhale vinyasas to the VCII.

    How is the art/perception book?

  2. Sometimes the little moments in our practice pulsed with vitality. Art for art’s sake! Please Karen, do not take the truth for truth’s sake, unless it is the essential truth. 🙂

    Re. Angela… well, the playhouse has no monopoly of the poetic form 😉 Nine bloggers out of ten recommend zeetroll. Zeetroll bright lights and inhibit ignorance of sleep. Zeetroll strikes your balance. Zeetroll keeps you awake in irregular hours. It helps to train your body to be without sleep at a specific time. Zeetroll wakes you at a regular hour – yes, on weekends too! It’s worth making zeetroll a priority until you feel better rested.


  3. I want one of those!!!!!

  4. Sonya, here… take two. 🙂

    hahaha… hilarious !

    OK Guys,
    my teacher El See Door agrees with me… It really sucs (his words), I only said: “I am ever the edge”.

    So… I am out of ashtanga-blog world.

  5. PS.
    Sonya, you will understand the joke when Karen enable the comment (the one that awaits moderation). Enjoy. 🙂

  6. Wait, Karen- does that thing talk too? I think my man would really enjoy blasting steam on everything. He’s Mr. Monica.

    The world of clothing is such a mystery to me. I fit into a range of 6 sizes. I’m always altering. (you look nothing like a tiny man!)

    As a person who pushes herself a lot in my practice, I totally understand the “did I do enough” question that nags… how great that you’ve managed to get past it. You don’t strike me as a person who doesn’t do enough! (maybe Monica seeps into your practice too!?)

  7. Oh, the Vapor Clean II is the ultimate gift for male and female Monicas. I will get some video of it at work! It makes hissing steam noises and is very dramatic.

    I don’t know that I’m past the question — but for a brief, shining moment…

    And yes, my Monica sneaks into practice. 🙂

    I’ll write about the art/perception book soon. Maybe over the holiday break. I can steam clean things and write…

  8. Eh, it’s too bad … I had left this blog-world…too bad.

    Otherwise, I’d tell you about meeting with my teacher Honourable El See Door that took place today at 12 AM .
    Here… just a clip of today’s meeting, where you can see my Teacher (he is strong) and I discussing the nature of the Universe (or how we discovered a mysterious peacefulness of the Presence, that fuelling our creativity). Enjoy.

    “No matter, it is WELL beyond anything we can pick at with critiques or analyses. (Thank God.)”

  9. oooooomg
    my body just told me…. that cute girl was owl!!!!!!!!!!
    🙂 oh my dear.

  10. (too excited)

    welcome dear

  11. (a way too, too excited)


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