First of all, if you are planning on being in the NYC area this weekend, and you are interested in the Traditional South Indian Oil Bath, then get thee to Ashtanga Yoga Shala (formerly and at all times in the future known on this blog as Shala X) on Avenue B and East 8th Street for a workshop with Kimberly Williams. It is at 12:15, and you do need to bring your own shampoo. Soap nut/green powder are not needed as the workshop will be taught using Almond Oil, a substitute given approval by Guruji.
So, after practice today, I was hanging out in the entry hall with one-half of the Gorgeous Mother-Daughter Ashtanga Duo (the ageless older half), talking about oil baths when a tall, striking woman with long, wild and wavy dark hair came through the door. She was looking for Guy, she told us. We told her he had already left. She then told us she couldn’t help but hearing our conversation about oil baths, and that this interested her because…budumbum…she was giving the workshop on Saturday.
We chatted with her for a while. I don’t want to give too much away for anyone who is planning on going to her workshop on Saturday. But I will say the Oil Baths, which many students of Ashtanga yoga believe are intended to remove excess heat from the body (and would therefore be appropriate mainly for students like me, with excess Pitta), are good for balancing the doshas of anyone. For cold Vata types, the idea is that Oil Baths remove energy blocks, allowing heat to properly circulate throughout the body, thus improving the Vata imbalance. Anyone who is stiff and crackly could benefit as well, regardless of their dominant dosha.
I have done the Oil Bath thing, and I think it’s quite powerful. I won’t say that it improved my practice much. But the Castor Oil absorbed deeply into my body and gave me a cleanse like no other – it was better even than drinking Castor Oil. My hair also felt very healthy afterwards. I had no soap nut or green powder with which to cleanse my hair, but I found that using a conditioner high in oil-based humectants (coconut, jojoba, alove vera, gylcerin, almond) lifted the oil right out.
For those in London who do not know this already, Kimberly and Noah will be subbing in for Hamish from October 16 until Hamish returns in, I believe, January.
And that’s my version of Ashtanga news for this September 13, 2006.
And here is my version of petty self-centered news for September 13, 2006:
Practice was a mixed bag today. It all started out well enough, but then I noticed that time was moving very quickly, and I was not. So, I sped up. That is when all hell broke loose. My Marichyasana A bind was at the wrist, but sloppy. I noticed that both of my legs were rotating outward. Marichyasana B required assistance to get the wrist. Mari C just felt eh. As for D, I couldn’t even put myself in it. First I was slipping too much on my sweat. Then, I couldn’t contract my abs enough (a lot of fluids this morning, and a funky tummy from my Z-pack) to make enough space for a good bind. Sir helped me out and it was fine. But nothing to write home about. I hate when that happens. I fell out of the exit of Buja. Hate when that happens too. My Kurmasana was great though. I learned a lot from watching Lisa E enter Kurmasana, lowering herself into it with strong, chatturanga arms, and applied that knowledge. I ended up with my legs almost directly over my shoulders – or more directly over my shoulders than usual, at least. In fact, for the first time ever, my legs did not spread farther than the corners of my mat in my deepest expression of the posture today. Made the hand bind in Supta K (with Sir’s help, n’est ce-pas), but lost the hand bind when he let go. Sigh.
Still, he said that the pose is obviously deepening for me.
I guess he doesn’t take it’s temperature on a daily basis the way I do.
Then I spent a loooooooooong time in finishing postures, just because I am really really enjoying being back on the mat in an environment where I am forced to do things in a certain way, in a certain order.
And now, I am home. Ahhhh.