Phew!

Ahhhh. Good to be back to normal life, finally. The past few weeks have been insane — so insane, that I’m feeling a little traumatized. All of the stress was work-related, so while it isn’t ideal, it wasn’t like I was dealing with personal (i.e., really important) issues. I just had to put my head down and keep my act pulled together. I actually tend to think of this as “single Mom mode,” because it’s something I perfected during those long years as a single Mom pursuing a graduate degree and climbing the corporate ladder. Ooh, it makes me a little tired just thinking about it!

Those days are gone, but one thing I took away is an ability to strategize, set goals, figure out tactical requirements, schedule myself (and everyone around me) like crazy, and stay on task until it’s all done.

The past few weeks have required that kind of focus, and yes, lots of projects wrapped up, I travelled to meet with a new client, wrote all of my performance evaluations for my team, and made a presentation to the Board about a new initiative. Oh, and I tried to stay flexible so I’d be available to anyone on my team whenever they might need to talk.

The Board presentation wrapped up at noon yesterday (yes, Saturday!), and that was the finish line of this recent madness. I came home and pretty much just collapsed. The dogs seemed perplexed by my inability to get off the couch. The house is a mess, since I travelled last weekend, so didn’t have time to clean, and when I got back on Wednesday night, there was nothing I could do but dive back into long work days. So the place is a mess.

Tyler kept standing by the door, wishing for a walk, but I just didn’t have it in me. I needed to lie on the couch and eat a Tootsie Pop. He decided that in lieu of a walk, he could lie on top of me and chew a nylabone. Fine. As long as he’s happy.

***

Today’s a new day. I’ve practiced and taken Ty on a nice walk. It was SUCH a pleasure to just be out in the sun, with nothing in my head. Ahhhhhh.

***

Practice in DC was pretty nice. Travelling Ashtanga is always curious. The best part was that I got to meet Tova at her shala in DC. She is just what you would imagine — humorous and dear and very beautiful. She and a few other early birds open the shala and begin practice at 4:45 AM, though official Mysore practice starts at 6 AM. The early start was perfect for me, as I had to get to the office for early meetings.

So there I was, up at 4 AM, getting ready for practice. I didn’t think too much about the fact that 4 AM is actually 2 AM Scottsdale time. At least, I tried my best not to think about it. I am always a little amused by the expression of desk attendants at hotels, when I show up at 4:30 asking where I can find a cab.

Tova was waiting at the shala when I got there. She walked me down what seemed like a long maze of halls and doorways to the very end, where a sliding glass door brought us into a big Mysore room, with beautifully shiny wooden floors. I was surprised to see so many space heaters. I’d forgotten about the cold. I feel like I battle the winter here in Scottsdale, but of course that’s just silly compared to what DC is like. So there were big space heaters in the room, and for the most part they just took the chill off. No steaminess, for sure.

I was fine, though. It was lovely practicing with Tova and the other early arrivers. Everyone was friendly and welcoming, and I just love the whole Mysore practice thing, where someone new can join in and we all do our practice together. There’s something so perfect about the fact that all that matters is that we all practice — individual differences, personal background, none of that matters. It’s nice to chat about those details afterwards, over tea, but it doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of the Mysore room.

DI, the teacher, showed up at 6. I carried on, as there were plenty of people arriving and practicing. After a bit, I looked up. He was standing a bit to the side, hands behind his back, watching the room. It reminded me of Matthew Sweeney. If ever I were a Mysore teacher, I would want to be the kind who stands back and observes. For some reason, when a teacher just stands and observes, I find it very reassuring.

At kurmasana, he came over and asked if I did supta kurmasana. I said yes. He crossed my feet behind my head. Then he left.

It was maybe the best supta kurmasana adjustment I’ve ever gotten. I am accustomed to being wrestled with and sat on for supta kurmasana adjustments. I’m accustomed to having my feet pulled down my back and pulled tighter across each other and all kinds of other stuff. DI just crossed my feet and left me to my own devices.

I’m not sure if it’s just me, but I sure do like the minimalist adjustment aesthetic.

And that was my only adjustment on Monday.

***

Last time I posted, I whined about my right shoulder. At this point, I’m willing to call it an opening. Weirdly, it hurts most during ardha baddha padmottanasana and ardha baddha padma paschimottanasana. And it’s not when the right arm is binding — it’s when the left arm binds and the right arm reaches to the floor or to the foot.

It’s getting less painful each day, so I figure everything’s sorting out. In the meantime, ALL of the stuff in my shoulder girdle (bones, muscles, tendons, and that elusive fascia) seems to be shifting. It’s kind of strange, but also very cool — instead of feeling like a solid structure, my shoulders are suddenly a variety of discrete parts.

***

Okay, enough blogging. Tyler is eager for lunch, and he’s not gonna put up with another day of me lounging around on the couch. šŸ™‚

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6 Responses

  1. Your experience with Tova and DI and the shala sounds sweet. Global ashtangi community is one of the very good things in life, especially when we can conspire.

    Really admire the Single Mom Mode. Respect.

  2. šŸ™‚ Karen was a delight to meet as well.
    When we were driving back to your hotel, i can’t remember exactly what we talking about, but you said something and the insightfulness and thoughtfulness were exactly how you write about things here. and i thought wow! your brain just works like that all the time! what a blessing!
    and i LOVE the image of you lying on the couch eating a tootsie pop!

  3. hi Karen
    welcome back. you give dogs a routine and they always expect it, eh? how nice you got to practice with Tova. often when I’m visiting a different room, with a new teacher, I initially get adjusted less because the teacher doesn’t know my body too well. if it’s a workshop with a master teacher, it’s different because the teacher in a way is also transferring the knowledge of how to adjust.

    i love Tova’s comment, because when we meet in person it would be a pleasant experience to realize that a cybershalamate is the same wonderful person as they communicate in their writing. i once commented to a yoga teacher who had written a book that she sounded just like she did in her books, and she did.

    hugs
    Arturo

  4. I was going to give you some props for the single mom mode, too. I admire that so much.

    Sounds like meeting Tova in DC was wonderful! Did you see Alfia too?

  5. I am sorry I missed your visit, Karen. Tuesday is the day I teach immunology, so there was no chance for me to come to dinner. šŸ˜¦
    I did catch a glimpse of the end of your practice, and I thought it was very graceful. I hope we will get a chance to meet one day.

  6. You were there, Alfia? Aw! I wish I’d known!!

    Next time, I hope to meet you!

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