March 30, 2008

Always Be Standing.

CH doesn’t let me NOT stand up on my own. If I want to do assisted dropbacks, I have to stand up. This is an interesting counterpoint to Val’s approach, which is not to have me stand up on my own but instead learn it with her assistance until one day I am doing it with no assistance. Each has its benefits, clearly. I am improving. Bit by bit. I wish I could post a graceful, beautiful stand up and drop back. But until I can, let this suffice. Some say that it is harder to stand up from a held backbend (rather than exhale-drop-inhale-stand). So, I appeal to your generous slack-giving.

Oh – and I got a comment today about where the head and neck and eyes should be in UD. Guess what? “LOOK AT THE FEET!” And also: “The efforts you are making to look up in Urdhva Dhanurasana are misplaced.” Seriously. I think that was the line. I find this hilarious. And at the same time, it makes me, nay, DEMANDS, that I listen. It’s the thing I need right about now.

I cannot believe how difficult doing Parsva D the RIGHT way is. I don’t know if I ever ever ever will be able to press my entire foot together and not collapse on the floor in between sides. And I don’t know if I will ever be able to collapse on the floor between sides without getting laughed at. I’m doing my best to keep the feet together at the CT Shala as well, and for my efforts on Thursday, I got a “very nice” from Teacher.

YS is quite a formidable place, I must say. There are quite a few – many really – students who are deep into Second Series (it is Sunday, so all students who practice beyond Second practice only UP to Second) and who have lovely lovely Kapotasanas. Yeah, my driste was for shit. It w today. It was a particularly cacaphonous morning in the room. More my issue than anyone else’s. My bad.

I think I need to ask for help in Pasasana. I seem to be the only person rolling my mat, whereas EVERYONE rolls their mat at the CT Shala. I can do it flat-footed if I let the wall be my fall-back. But somehow that feels like cheating because it is so much easier to place my arms and hands in the right positions with the wall as my guide. On the other hand, I can’t bear to balance on the balls of my feet without support. It seems like a situation that is ripe for serious facial injury. Too much investment there to take it lightly. (Yes, Retard, I have also had rhinoplasty, as I am sure you are aware). Maybe I should talk to CH about this.

LOVING the yoga lately.

I suppose it is clinging to hope the love lasts. But I do.


Dear Retard:

March 30, 2008

Someone out there contacted me through Elise’s Mysore Musings blog to ask me, among other things, if I consider the work that is Ashtanga Yoga to include cosmetic surgery, like, for example, a tummy tuck, such as I had.

I responded in the curt tone that I deemed appropriate that yes, for me, getting past the effects of chemo and early menopause, in whatever way I can afford and can tolerate, is, indeed, part of my work, especially when it includes procedures like tummy tuck which could have been included in my original reconstructive surgery had I had enough tummy to create a breast out of it, which I did not, not that I need to explain myself, but I like to educate the ignorant;I consider it a worthy endeavor). Then, unsurprisingly, the troll proceeded to backtrack, as in “oh, why so defensive, I meant no attack, I too am thinking of enhancing my practice by having a tummy tuck and lipo.”

As if.

This person is obviously a retard. I try not to use that word indiscriminately, but clearly, in this case it applies literally. Retard.

Only a retard would express open hostility anonymously on someone else’s blog (neither mine nor the retard’s) based on my personal post-cancer life-improving decisions. Everything I have done post cancer has been an attempt to bring me back to where I was before I was stricken with this vile, evil disease that in addition to killing thousands and thousands and thousands upon thousands of decent, wonderful women, also takes the beauty, youth, fitness and joie de vivre from those same women as it kills them plus thousands upon thousands of others whom it does not succeed in sending to their graves.

Anyone who is jealous and or threatened by a 42 year old mother of two who has spent the last six years of her life trying to stay alive and also trying to re-capture her life, her mojo, her youthful looks and her fitness back in any way she can….anyone who finds that to be a source of resentment must be a retard.

So, go forth retard, and spread your hate and your stupidity. Better yet, go to a doctor and get a mammogram. Maybe you too will be lucky enough to find a cancer in your breast that will open up your little ignoramus world to the big reality check that is amputation, total hair loss, uncontrollable weight gain around the waistline, steroids moonface, damage to the heart muscle, bone loss and chronic fear.

Go for it, you fucking retard.


Oh, and ps, your retarded hate-venting on elise’s blog did not spoil one minute of my delightful practice today. I went into the city and practiced with CH, saw several friends, was asked to adjust a couple of people in Second Series postures, which actually filled me with happiness and joy, and got as much attention from teacher as I love to get at this time…a lot of spoken (hollered/snarked/laughed) advice plus some kickass physical adjustments.

This is a very beautiful moment in my yoga practice to have two such wonderful teachers, teaching two such different but complimentary aspects of the practice…

Joy! (And speaking of Joy, Joy Suzanne, you are too sweet!!)


Oosh be? Or not oosh be? That, is the question.

March 29, 2008

Tomorrow, I am going into the city for Mysore with CH. I decided to do that instead of home practice because tomorrow is going to be such a busy day, what with Brian’s birthday party and all, and it takes less time for me to take a train into Grand Central and walk to YS than to muddle through a home (read: undisciplined) practice. And the CT is out of the question for me on Sundays because it is led Primary, and I can’t see why I would want to do that on a Sunday, let alone at 8 a.m. Also, I am really enjoying the train ride into the city. I love trains. It’s like having my own really inexpensive chauffer. Plus, I can stretch and sit in lotus on the train. Can’t do that when driving the back roads to Connecticut.

Anyway, I am kind of nervous to practice up to Oosh tomorrow. I know that I am going to have to keep my heels together in Setu B, and my entire foot together all through Parsva D. And that takes a LOT of effort. Then to do a pose that I have only done once before in a Mysore room….I don’t want to hear, “Is that how Val told you to do it?” from across the room.

Except that I kind of….DO!


I have an 11 year old!

March 28, 2008

I am the mother of an 11 year old!

I gave birth to a child 11 years ago today!

11 years ago, I was hugely pregnant with a baby kicking in my belly. And it was Brian.

11 years ago, plus a few days, I brought this tiny, red-haired stranger whose skin was still vaguely yellow from jaundice (my blood type is O Neg, which makes me the universal donor, although I cannot donate blood, and which means that there is a 95% chance that any child I bear will have a blood type that is incompatible with mine, resulting in jaundice shortly after birth), whose eyes were a clear, slate blue, who smelled like a freshly baked loaf of…human, who wriggled out of my arms when I tried to snuggle with him, shocking me with his strength, whose long, slender limbs also shocked me (since I had theretofore believed that all babies came with chubby thighs with little folds), whose personality, and needs, and wants, were all a gigantic question mark to me.

I cannot believe that my 11 year old son has bigger feet than mine. And more freckles. And bigger eyes. And can throw a 53 mph fastball. And plays the flute with grace. And gets perfect scores on his standardized tests (well, the math ones, at least). And no longer wriggles away when I try to snuggle with him…as long as no one else is there.

Happy Birthday, Smooge (pronounced “smoozh”)


Oh…so that is why it’s called Setu BHANDASANA

March 28, 2008

The heels must stay bound- must touch all the time in Setu B, even at the expense of not having straight legs.

Primary with CH today. Major, massive whamo hands to the ground in Prasarita Pado C…I had to talk myself out of protesting that I was falling over because I knew he wouldn’t let me fall over. No assists then until Supta K…..he pulled my butt back to flatten my torso, and I ten breaths in Kurmasana. Then I reached back and touched my hands together, and he pulled them UP and I almost had the nerve to bind the wrist, but I was so slippery with sweat that I didn’t want to risk losing my grip. Feet over head, relatively (for me) graceful exit and onto the next.


Got the huge Bhadda Konasana squish and the instruction NOT to stick my chin out.

Got the instruction in Upavishta Konasana B to look UP. Oh yeah….

Which brings us to Setu B.

“When I work on putting my heels together, I don’t feel the stretch across my hips,” I whinged.

“Stretch??!!! The stretch is ancillary. It’s about the bhanda. It starts in the feet and goes up to the head.”

I need this. I do. I need my teacher to pay attention to what I am slacking on. It’s the stuff I slack on that I need to know, it’s the stuff I slack on that is what transforms it from a physical exercise to actual yoga. CH’s approach leaves me feeling that I have not actually practiced yoga in a long, long time…exercised yes, yoga’d? Maybe not so much.

Clearly, I have issues with grounding my feet. It’s as if I resist…being grounded. Just call me Nelly Furtado, pre-Promiscuous. “I’ll only fly awaaaaaay….”

Val is working with me to help me ground my feet. But it seems lately that her emphasis, the lessons she is teaching, are about gentleness and letting go of effort. That might be a lesson that I can use – I am quite sure that it is. But the lesson I am getting from CH is “Do YOGA” – ujaii breath, connect the bhandas, correct incorrect habits that make it not yoga but just a workout.

He let me take as long as I liked to work on my backbending before coming over to me. I held each backbend for at least ten breaths, and sometimes I need to do that. Why should anyone try to interfere with that?

Then I got lectured about Padmasana, only the most important asana, and one which no teacher has ever seen fit to correct me on. Until today: hello jalandara bhanda. And then, oops, got caught doing less than 25 breaths in Sarvangasana, Halasana and Karna P.

What I need in a teacher:

– someone who reflects my own feeling about myself as someone who CAN DO.

– someone who does not expect me to not be me.

– someone who bothers to notice what I am not doing correctly and tell me what I can do to correct it.

– someone who has the guts to require discipline in their students – and not allow me to take a yard when an inch is already too much.

Right now, the V/C combo seems to fill all my needs. It’s like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. Two great teachers that teach great together…although not in the same state…!


OOsh TRA sahna

March 27, 2008

Got it today. Or stole it, as it were in Ashtangaville. I asked for it, and got it. HATED doing that. HATED it. But I’ve been putzing around between Parsva D and Urdhva D, stretching my hip flexors and armpits, so I figured, why not do it in an official capacity. The hip flexors at least. And kind of the armpits, depending on whether I am allowed to wave my arms around a bit before putting my hands on my feet.

Anyway, the Oosh is an easy pose for me. Is it not easy for anyone? I need Laghu and Kapo. I need them. I need them in order to become the merely mediocre backbender that I know that I can truly be, rather than the piss-poor, pathetic backbender that I currently am.

To which CH said (regarding the pathetic backbender comment), “Not true. You just need to breathe.” Or something like that. I probably shouldn’t be blogging about him at all. He not keen on the blogging theeng. Or so I am told by FOC (Friend of Chris).

Anyway, that was yesterday, before Val let me do Oosh. Now, I am heading toward becoming the moderately bad backbender that I was always meant to be (rather than the horrendously bad backbender that I was and the striving, desperate backbender that I currently am).

That’s all. Must cut back on blogging time in order to spend time doing some writing that I might actually get paid for. As it is, I have made exactly 35 bucks in google ads. It’s not paying the bills. Well, actually I’m not paying the bills at all, really, unless you count the sweat equity that is the cleaning and the cooking and the gardening and the interior designing and the horticulture and the entertaining and the lunching that I don’t really enjoy but must do in order to keep our social life humming and the staying in tip top shape so that I can maintain my place in the food chain as Trophy Wife.

That was meant to be ironic.


pada bhanda

March 26, 2008

Who knew? I mean that seriously. Who knew that you were supposed to press your entire foot together in Parsva Dhanurasana, and KEEP them pressed together throughout all three “holds” and every transition. A show of hands please?

It is the little things like having that info called out to me across the room that made practicing with Christopher so, well, for lack of a better word, awesome. My friend and former shala mate, K, was there, and she gave me some great assists, one of which CH had not authorized…oops. But twas all good. CH has a certain kindness in his eyes, even as he is telling you that if you do this yoga, you can’t be normal. I like that kindness. I like feeling like someone gets it.

I love Val, and I will continue to practice with her, but I plan to add a day or two each week with Christopher. I need the yang along with the yin. And to think, if it’s really all because I had a problem with my nose. The nose led me to Dr. G, who was led (I believe, via David K) to my friend, S, who called me to discuss my experiences with Dr. G, who became her doctor, and with whom I have been following her recovery, in the midst of which she encouraged me to get my lame ass back to CH’s Mysore Room, and so I did.

Funny how a little think like a deviated septum can bring people together.

You might say that I am on a yoga high right about now…