It’s always Boot Camp when the YC Family heads out west. With two days set aside for travel, and no days set aside to acclimate to the high altitude (8,000 feet above sea level at the base lodge, averaging 10,000 feet at the highest peak), we ski every single day besides those travel days. And on each of those days, on every single one of them, we awake by no later than 7:30 a.m., eat a breakfast high in protein (recommended to acclimate to the altitude, and quite effective, I might add), put on many layers so that skiing feels comfy rather than cold, and scurry down to the base lodge by 9 a.m. to put the kids in Ski School, which they love, by the way, so don’t be thinking it’s just so that we can ski without them.
By 9:30 a.m., we are on a lift, except the days when we take a run with the kids before we put them into ski school, in which case we are on a lift by 8:30 a.m. We carry Power Bars with us so that we don’t have to stop when we get hungry; however, by sometime around 1 or 2, it usually happens that our legs are no longer willing or able to take orders from our brains. That’s when we know that whether we like it or not, it’s time to stop in a lodge, whatever lodge we can find, for some grub and some ass time.
That usually lasts for maybe a half hour, during which we slurp some soup or scarf a burger (in my case, veggie, and not because I feel guilty eating meat, but because over time, I have grown to love those goshdarn meatless patties with a little cheese, ketchup, tomatoes and pickles). And by “half hour”, I mean more like 20 minutes. Because any longer than that and we’re staring out the window at the snow and the skiiers whooping it up, or, if we’re already sitting outside in the sun, watching the schussing action around us, and we can’t take any more of the sitting. At that point, we’re back on the slopes until it’s time to pick the kids up from Ski School. Depending on whether the kids want to or not, we then go back up to the slopes until the lifts close at around 4 or 4:30, depending on the day.
It’s a long day, yes it is. But it’s far from over, the YC Family Ski Boot Camp. We head back to our accomodations, where we change into bathing suits and then head out to the outdoor pool and hot tub. We stay there for a while, stretching out and splashing around, and then about every other day, I head up before the rest of them and practice some yoga.
This time around, I have a way longer practice than I ever have before. Last year in Steamboat, I was only up to Supta Kurmasana. This year, I am up to Dhanurasana. So, there was some splitting to be done. I think I ended up practicing five times over the nine days, including once at the airport without vinyasas. I only did my Second Series poses twice during that time, and Supta Kurmasana only once.
But today, it all came back to me. And it was delicious. And juicy. And sweaty. Every time I go out West, I come back so much stronger for it. You High Altituders are soooooo lucky. Come to New York for a week, and you will feel like a Superhero.
Val came to talk to me during my Second Series poses. She has been very very into the backbending, it seems, ever since Kino paid her visit. And that’s cool by me. Val talked to me about originating the backbend from the root, about pressing down hard with the feet to get the lift up into the back, and it all seems so counterintuitive, but damn, it really works. We did Dhanurasana a couple of times. The second time, she lifted my feet high, and we talked about the balance between effort and surrender that is integral to Dhanurasana and Bhekasana (and, I suppose all backbends). We also talked about how leading with the chin is like leading with the brain, and that instead, the chin should come up last, and the eyes should never lift up at all. Always the driste is down the nose in backbends. THIS is where the yoga takes on its magical quality for me, where it is so incredibly counterintuitive that I just have to have faith in what I am being taught. And the result is always surprisingly rewarding.