Forgive me, ya’all, for I have sinned.
My last confession was, I don’t know, I guess, never.
So, here goes.
1. I have committed the sin of taking pain relievers. When something hurts, ,my preferred drug of choice is Advil, although I will occasionally slum with a generic version of Ibuprofin. I use when I’m home. I use when I’m teaching. I use when I am practicing. And THAT is the real sin here. Or so some would say. Others, such as, apparently, David Williams, would take a comletely different position, however, a position that would sound something like, “If it hurts, ya’all, ya’all why not do something for the pain? Why be in pain?”
2. I have committed the sin of failing to practice ahimsa.
First, against the one that I love best: myself. I spend half my waking moments engaged in a long discourse, no, make that monologue, extolling all of my non-virtues. I can be mean and petty, and most often, I am. I’m fat, I’m weak, I am a bad friend/daughter/mother/student/teacher/wife, not in that particular order. This dissing is not good. See? I am doing it again. OK, I’ll try a different tactic: this dissing is currently part of who I am, but I would like the endless dissing loop to play in a smaller corner of my consciousness, and I would like to demand that it be played at such a low volume that I cannot hear it as I make my way going through my day, loving my friends, family, children, parents, husband, students, teachers, etc. I would like to tie a big ole rodeo rope around that monologue and corral it into a teeny tiny little fenced off area in my brain and demand that not a peep be heard when I am trying to focus on the important people and things in my life.
I also fail to practice Ahimsa when it comes to the cute and furry animals that give us the names of our asanas. I wear fur occasionally, and leather quite a bit more than occasionally. I fail to practice Ahimsa when it comes to boycotting evil corporate farmers who suck the world dry: I eat chocolate and coffee that has been grown and processed only Lord knows where. Moreover, I support child labor and the reinstatement of children in sweat shops in third world countries. OK, that was you getting PUNK’D. I was totally lying about that last part. As Brian says, “Child labor is alright I guess, if I don’t have to do any.” Isn’t he just destined for a post in the Republican Government in about 25 years?
Less specifically, and I don’t know if this falls within Ahimsa or one of the Kriyas: I eat what I want, when I want. Three meals a day does not really even describe what I eat. I wake up, have a small snack before practice – perhaps a cup of skim-milk sweetened chai, and after practice, I have a full meal of maybe spelt pancakes, maybe fruit salad. Later on, since this will not hold me over until it’s time for ghee and seeds (!), I probably have a snack of bananas sliced with a couple of Tablespoons of peanut butter. Skippy peanut butter. Full fat, full all the bad stuff. It just tastes better. I look forward to a meal at night that gives me closure. Sometimes all it has to be is a nice big glob of cottage cheese with pineapple. Sometimes it has to be a piece of roast chicken with canned cranberry sauce, the the kind that comes out of the can looking like the can. Sometimes it might be a piece of salmon that I purchased on Fresh Direct, char marked and par cooked. I cook it the rest of the way in the microwave (!) and slice it up on a salad that came out of a bag. Lord knows what they might have been talking about as they bagged my salad, and ayurvedically or energetically speaking, what they talked about went right into me as I consumed the food they prepared. Thus, that could explain why last night after eating my salad, I had an inexplicable craving to take my truck for a Jiffy Lube. And…doodooodooodooo…..I do not own a truck……Things that make you go hmmmmmmmm.
I confess: I HATE sunflower seeds. I hate the hulled, and unhulled. I could never make a meal out of munching these pieces of bird food. I can’t eat bird food for dinner. And I can’t not eat dinner. And if that’s the right thing to eat for dinner, then I damn well am going to be wrong. Wrong as acid rain. Wrong as a porterhouse topped with a grilled Foi Gras, which in truth, I like very much, but my own personal health concerns give me too much pause to ever actually ingest such toxins (eating a goose’s liver!!!! tastes so goooood, is actually soooooooooo vile when you think about it) on a plate.
You know what I DO love? I love Hostess Cherry Pies. I almost never eat one. But one day soon, I might. What else do I love? I love nibbling on what my kids are eating – Pizza Bianca, or even Pepperoni Pizza, like tonight. I nibble here, a nibble there. Maybe it constitutes dinner. Maybe add a salad. Maybe finish with a sliced Gala apple. Maybe put a bit of peanut butter on the plate to dip the apple into. Adam had a bag of Cheetos tonight. He gave me two, and I groaned with happiness. Not guilt.
But I should have been guilty…for I had sinned.
3. What else, what else? Let’s see. I talk about my practice here. Incessantly. Repetitively. I bore people. I bore myself. That breaks a lot of rules, too many to even count. BAD BAD LADY.
4. I eat before practice – the chai, or sometimes a power bar. But damn, if I went in with an empty stomach, it would a big mess with the paramedics being called in to pick up my lifeless, low blood sugared body up off the floor. Senseless is the word that comes to mind.
5. Ah yes, and there’s the interminable lip-flapping and the related endless reams of ethereal paper onto which I write about the classes I teach, the students I teach, my shala, my teacher…all here. Violating some unwritten code of Ashtangi conduct. But I LOVE to talk about my practice, to deconstruct my teacher’s shrouded-in-mystery persona, even how much I love BEING at my shala. BAD BAD LADY, I know, I’ve heard it a million times. But I gotta be band. I need it.
6. Careful with the next one: it could burn right through your eyes just to read it, singing them with the fire of total bad ladyness: Occasionally, I teach Ashtanga in a led class, and I don’t begin it with a mea culpa, but rather “OM, Vande Gurunam…”. I just give the students what they want and what they came for. BAD LADY
7. I refuse to go to sleep early or skip meals or drastically diet down so that my arms will more easily wrap around my legs, or as JMS suggested on the Supta Kurmasana Thread of the EZBOard, “once the bad fat goes away, the bind will become easier” (paraphrasing here…).
8. I live for tabloid trash. It’s an addiction. And a distraction. And it is so in absolute dissonance with the teachings of Ashtanga, that only one thing can be said, and I imagine it coming from the man who does not know who Angelina Jolie is (only the kids on my Yoga Shala Summer Camp may know who I am talking about): oh never mind, he never really says anything, it’s more the way he looks at you instead of saying something. But I will tell you this: it strikes the fear of God in my bad lady heart and makes me, sniff, want to be a better yogi. If only I could….alas.
9. More confessions. Hmmmm…..where to even begin…. Well, let’s see…I disobey my teacher whenever he is not at home with me (which is to say, whenever I am doing home practice), by doing all of primary and sometimes even part of second! I was told that these were the first two horsemen of the apocolypse. However, no further signs have been detected, so I guess there’s no need to prepare for the rapture at this time (although the panty-less trio of Linds, Paris and Brits has been deemed by some to be the fourth and final horse….we shall see). I do lots and lots of prep poses in my home practice, extending my standing series to nearly an hour in the process. The punishment for this is clear, and Hail Mary’s won’t cut it. The punishment is simple: KNOW MY CHILD, THAT YOU ARE NOT DOING ASHTANGA. YOU ARE MERELY DOING SOME FORM OF VINYASA YOGA. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! A whiff of fire and brimstone would be more acceptable to me than to hear the death knell of “you’re not doing ashtanga.”
Okay, so I sin. And if no one sees me sinning, then perhaps its like, when a tree falls n the forest, and no one hears….I do believe that whether or not the tree fell, it just doesn’t matter.
Live, love, laugh. Peace, love, the Gap.
Don’t try harder. Try easier.
Practice, all is coming. Except maybe not Supta “Kbutthat’sokay.”
If this was incoherent, I apologize in advance, and anyway, I suck. You know, failure of ahimsa and all….Rome wasn’t built in a day. Talk to me tomorrow when I am busy hugging it out with myself and kissing my face in the mirror.
Happy happy joy joy
Oh, and by the way, I have been practicing since Wednesday. Or Tuesday. I actually don’t rememember. I am flexy but weak. I am way way more flexy than I was before. But weak. Pathetically weak. Can’t hold a chatturanga weak. Can’t press up in Navasana weak. It will pass. I probably need to peel a couple of excess lazy-ass-pounds that built up from seven weeks of non-practice. That ought to help. And just practicing, lots of chatturangas. Practice and all is coming, man, I am relying on you now. Don’t fail me. Please.