From Ashtanga, that is….
Jill, my sister-in-law, convinced me to go to a Bikram class with her today. Well, in truth, it didn’t take much convincing. I fully admit to actually really wanting to go. I had a wonderful Ashtanga practice with Erika yesterday after my morning vinyasa class – I don’t remember if I mentioned it yesterday, but there were only three of us in class, which meant that I got LOTS of attention, and I really enjoyed it! That being said, my back muscles are TIRED from the hard work I am doing in Ashtanga, my chest muscles are exhausted from each and every day being asked to open wide and allow me to do what I want to do in order to get through Primary, not to mention that I felt like it wouldn’t hurt to take a day off from my regular dose of forty or fifty chatturangas (how many chatturangas ARE there in half primary anyway?). My arms are already so freakin’ freakishly strong for a girl of my size that even Sir has commented on it (well, he didn’t call it freakish, but he did mention that my arm strength could potentially be one of the reasons I am so tight in the shoulders).
Most importantly, Jill kept talking about how the intense sweat of a Bikram practice makes her feel cleansed afterward, and I really longed to get that feeling….so, on impulse, I decided to join her at a noon class at Bikram on 72nd and Broadway.
When I got there, I was happy to see that George DeLancey was the teacher. I know George pretty well, since I used to work at the desk at Bikram Yoga midtown and take his class after my shifts. That’s right…I WORKED at Bikram! Have I ever mentioned that before? It’s true. After a year or so of being home and not working, I got kind of antsy, but I didn’t want to go back to being a lawyer. I wasn’t qualified to teach yoga yet, so I figured I would do the next best thing…hang out at a yoga studio for money, or free classes, or both. Anyway, I digress. George is hysterically funny and adorable. He reminds me of what Will (of Will and Grace) would be like if he were a real person. Unapologetically gay, totally committed to his boyfriend and kid, serious about his work.
I have to admit, while I felt very very bendy, and all in all, it was a wonderfully hot, sweaty experience, the heat really beat the crap out of me.
Here is where I pause to note that, as anyone knows who has ever taken a Bikram field trip, the Bikram sequence takes much from Ashtanga in terms of structure. It begins with breath awareness and warming up the body from the inside (yes, the INSIDE) and then saluting…in this case, the moon….then moving onto a standing series that includes one-legged balancing and half lotus variations and a posture that is in effect a cross between triangle and extended side angle and then moving to the floor. In between the floor poses, there are situps, rather than vinyasas. And the floor series takes a lot from the backbending aspects of Second Series in Ashtanga. But all in all, it definitely brought to mind the logic and discipline of Ashtanga.
And it made me miss Asthanga, or at least some of it. After class, I felt compelled to run through the Marichi’s, which are no longer the “dreaded” Marichis….I actually missed them. And I bound. No surprise there, considering that my body was heated up to somewhere around 105 degrees. I see it as a sort of “mini” fever, induced artificially, and I hope that it has the effect of burning out the toxins in my body. At least that is why I am drawn to it on an on-again, off-again basis.
Since Shala X is not so sweaty now that winter is coming (it is not exactly cold and drafty either, in all fairness), I am thinking that maybe one of my six yoga practices per week can be Bikram for now. I am really really desperate for structure, it seems. Each week, I try to come up with a solid structure that I can consistently follow. Unfortunately, something always breaks it up.
Like today, I had a pumpkin-painting party in Brian’s classroom. We created this devilishly frightening looking Count Dracula pumpkin, painting on a scary-mean face and then gluing on big, white fangs, bushy pipe-cleaner eyebrows, and grey thumbtack pupils in the eyes. Then we added a black felt hood lined with red felt and added a white collar and blood-red tie below his chin. SCARY, man.
But all of that cost a lot of time, and Shala X was long since done with their morning sessions. Soooo, my choice was led at Sutra, self-practice, or Bikram. Oh, and the fact that I was able to even have those choices was made possible by the fact that my noon gig at the NYC Lab School was cancelled for the day due to an early dismissal.
But I really really really desperately crave some structure. I feel like my life has become quite chaotic, and I am never comfortable with chaos. I keep trying to figure out why the chaos. But every time I realize that the addition of the dog has gotten me bogged down, I can’t internalize it. I have trouble accepting it. I love Lewis the Beagle, and he’s here to stay. So are my obligations to him as the canine member of my family: taking him out for long (two hour) walks or dog-run excursions at least a few times a week. So is teaching yoga. So is practicing yoga. So is getting my kids to Tae Kwon Do, Hebrew School and playdates. So is going to my kids’ parties at school and going on field trips when my kids ask me to. So is spending Tuesday afternoons in Adam’s classroom, because his teacher encourages parents to spend time in the classroom. So is having SOMEWHAT of a social life with my urban mom friends (like having a pedicure with Abby today) and a few assorted non-mom friends that I have managed to keep in my life (hi Stacey!!! I miss you!!!) despite the difficulties in making time for one another.
Lately, I have been losing things. A LOT. A scary lot. Not counting my stolen cell phone (stolen right out of my car outside of Temple Shaaray Tefila), I have lost my wallet three times in the past two months. Luckily, I have gotten it back each and every time. But the circumstances are DAMN SCARY…they make me wonder if I am totally losing my mind, or what….
Last night, as I went to pay the cab driver who had taken me to Yoga Sutra, I discovered I had no wallet. I knew immediately what had happened…I had left it at home, near my computer, since I had bought something online right before leaving to teach my Breast Cancer Survivors class. But when I called home, my babysitter told me it wasn’t there. Twenty minutes later, she called again to tell me that it was there after all. But that was an upsetting twenty minutes….not to mention the fact that I was with my breast cancer survivor students, who were waiting and watching to see how I would handle this crisis…I PROMISED them that teaching yoga to them would help me to put it out of my mind, and it was almost disappointing to find out right before we began class that the wallet had been located and challenging-crisis has been averted.
Scratch that. It’s a good thing.
Today, at Bikram, I asked the desk manager to watch my handbag while I practiced since said purse is made of fur (bad, Yoga Chickie…I know) and wouldn’t survive 90 minutes in a 105 degree room. When I was leaving the studio, she was walking into the next class and handed me my handbag. Into a cab I climbed, only to discover my purse did NOT have my wallet in it. OH NO!!! NOT AGAIN! But I knew that I had it at Bikram, because I actually paid cash for class.
I went to call the studio, only to find I did not have my cell phone…it was at home…I remembered slamming it shut and leaving it on my dresser at home after a fruitless, time-sucking phone call with the Geek Squad at Best Buy (regarding my iTunes, which I am RELOADING at present…talk about time-sucking). More stress, obviously. Jill lent me her cell phone, and the desk manager who answered the phone was unsympathetic and very resistent to the idea of looking around for my walled. According to him, “If it had been found, it would be in a safe, and it is not there, so we don’t have it.” It didn’t matter that I told him the story of how I paid and put my wallet away in my bag and handed the bag to Jenny-the-desk-manager. He just wasnt going to help me.
Since it was already time to pick up the kids from school, I was lucky enough to have Jill there to do the picking-up for me (including taking Lewis on his afternoon walk), and I booked on over to the West side, back to Bikram, where I had to wait for Jenny to get out of class. When she got out of class, here was her response to my wallet-inquiry: “OH yeah…your wallet fell out of your purse when I put it on a shelf. Check behind the garbage can. It should be there.”
And it was.
But it’s all good…I did get my wallet back.
So, what is the answer? Going waaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy slower? I suppose. I mean, Sir told me that, just the other day. But MUST my life be one wake-up call after another? Or is there a better way to look at it…am I damn lucky to have so many lessons virtually spoon-fed to me each and every day of my life?
This has gotten way too long. If you are still reading, bravo. Now go get a copy of War and Peace, and make better use of your time!