Well, I didn’t make it to the shala today. I suppose that if it had been really, really important to me, I would have. But it was the first day of school, and it seemed more important to say hello to the moms and dads that I haven’t seen in 10 or so weeks and who will be part of my life again for the next 10 or so months, at least. I really had every intention of dropping my kids off at 8:20 and then tearing over to my car and driving down to Shala X. But at 8:30, I found myself in the middle of a convention of middle-aged redheads over on my friend, Heidi’s, stoop (although Heidi was the only one of six of us who doesn’t happen to have red hair, not that any of us have it naturally at this point; I mean, how many 40 year old women have naturally red hair? Naturally curly is one thing, and it was a convention of naturally curly girls as well, most of them converted to Curly Girldom by yours truly. Come to think of it, I am also responsible for converting my friend, E, to red hair; perhaps my next calling is Hair Stylist to the Moms).
At around 9:15 the Clairol Clatch broke up, and I found myself walking over to the subway towards Yoga Sutra, where I had to be at 12:15 anyway to teach the lunchtime vinyasa class that I had been teaching all summer and which I was called upon to teach again today, one last time until the regularly scheduled teacher returns from Israel, or wherever she has been lately. I got there, unceremoniously plunked down my new favorite mat – the Purple Manduka – and proceeded to do my practice. It was friggin’ awesome.
I will admit that I spent 20 minutes doing a vinyasa-style warmup, exactly the kind that I tend to teach in a vinyasa class, and I have to say, it really works to warm the muscles, and quite a bit more efficiently than Sun Salutations, mainly because it covers more ground than Sun Salutations. For anyone who wants to give it a try (die-hard Ashtangi’s, don’t give me that face!), here is a quick rundown:
1. Five breaths in a wide-kneed child’s pose.
2. Five breaths in downward dog.
3. Down-dog splits, first with hips aligned towards the mat, then with the lifted leg rotated outward, hip away from the floor, five breaths on each side.
4. Crescent Moon (lunge with the back knee and shin down, arms reaching up and back) into Twisted Crescent Moon (from Cescent Moon, bring hands into prayer at the center of the breastbone and then twist, bringing each elbow to opposite knee) for five breaths in each posture on each side.
5. Vinyasa back to downward dog.
6. High Lunge into Parsvotanasa Variation (from High Lunge,straighten the front leg and fold over) into Standing Split (from Parsvotanasana Variation, transfer weight into front foot, bend knee, float back leg up as high as possible, dropping crown of head as low as possible, nose as close as possible to the knee), into Warrior I (from Standing Split, gently lower the back foot down so that you’re in a low lunge, reach arms up into a High Lunge, and then from there, pivot the back heel down – by entering Warrior I this way, you really notice the lengthening of the front of the rear leg and how much it really takes to bring the ribcage around towards the front) five breaths in each posture on each side.
7. Follow with Surya Namaskar A and B, three to five times each.
This whole sequence takes about 20 minutes, but, at least for me, it eliminates about 20 minutes worth of hemming and hawing throughout the series…you know, those places where you do “prep work” before actually getting into a posture. Or maybe I am the only one who procrastinates in this manner.
I know when I get back to the shala, there will be no warm-up vinyasa-ing for me. And there will be no postures after Supta Kurmasana. Nor will there be any drop-backs or stand-ups (which I am actually getting much better at…I no longer land on my shins, although I don’t stand up smoothly in an exact rewind of my drop-back…yet….). This makes me sad. But it is the choice I have to make if I want my teacher’s assistance and…um, his teaching….as in hopefully, there will be some teaching coming my way in the next year or so, and I won’t be held back in Supta Kurmasana until my older son is in Middle School.
So, anyway…..yeah, practice was awesome today. Even with the criminally non-Ashtangi warm-up, I finished in under an hour and a half (not counting a short Savasana…damn it, I really don’t enjoy Savasana. That’s strange, isn’t it? It seems like most everyone really enjoys laying there. I really can’t bear it. Monkey mind, I suppose). Then I taught my class…with…get this…18 students. Again! My lucky number! Such a joy to teach a class with so much energy. I don’t want to jinx myself here, but I have to say that my relationship with Yoga Sutra has been all good. Even when the Yoga For Breast Cancer class had to find a new home, it was still all good – we treated each other respectfully, we were on the same page. it’s like, we just fit well together, Yoga Sutra and me. I am very grateful for that, as the yoga teaching world is so full of drama, at times it seems like it might as well be the acting world or the modeling world. Okay, maybe not the modeling world. But there are certainly scenarios that mimic the acting world – group auditions, cattle calls of sorts; the whole insanity at Sonic Yoga with the “Tell Us Who You Hate and We’ll Fire Them” questionaires, amazing teachers (I am not referring to myself, fyi) who can’t get on schedules at certain studios because of the politics. I wanted to be an actress when I was young – up until I was 14 and the director of the play I was starring in (The Diary of Anne Frank) informed me that I really ought not to try to be a professional actress if I was actually standing there asking her what careers she thought would be good to pursue on a parallel basis just in case the acting thing didn’t bring in enough money to keep me in the lifestyle to which I wanted to become accustomed.
So, yeah, I guess that I just didn’t have it in my heart. I certainly didn’t have it in my heart to endure cattle call-style auditions. So, then why would I have it in my heart to do so now?
Thus, I consider myself blessed.
I am also thankful that I am actually blogging at this moment. It keeps my head on straight. It is hard to be away for most of the day.
Time to get the kids into bed now….