Oh, yeah: it’s about the breath

Sometimes I forget that my yoga practice is something other than a kick-ass workout. Well, I should modify that statement to reflect that practicing Primary is a kick-ass workout. Practicing Second up to Supta Vajrasana after practicing Primary is simply BEYOND a kick-ass workout, perhaps to the point of overtraining…IF it were training. IF it were a workout. And that’s when I start to realize that it’s about more than the workout.

I guess I really NEEDED Second Series in that sense. In other words, if I dd nothing more than practice all of Primary every day, an arduous task, let’s not forget that, it would simply be a great workout. It would be meditative. It would be calm. But I could basically phone in my breath, and everything would still feel perfectly fine (except maybe ever single Up Dog and my Urdhva Dhanurasanas). I might remember my bhandas every now and then, and if I didn’t, well, I could get around that too.

Now, add Second Series to the mix and all of that goes out the window. Now, I have to conserve energy throughout my entire practice, which I always should have been doing but never felt the need. Now, I have to direct awareness to my ribcage consistantly, almost constantly, throughout my practce so that by the time I get to my Second Series poses, I haven’t burnt out my lumbar spine by lazily letting my updogs settle into my lower back. And of course, that means bhandas must come into play. The lower two bhandas – moola and uddiyana – support the ribcage’s expansion. They’re like the foundation of a very tall building that gets wider rather than smaller at the top.

None of which is to say that I am requiring myself to think about the next pose as I practice. I have to stay present, or I psych myself out. I dare no think about Pasasana (which is going quite well, thank you, MBT’s; today I just did it myself at the wall, heels glued to the floor, and I felt so good about it that when I returned to my mat, I decided to just move onto the next pose, even when He-Sub offered to put me into it…who would have ever thought that the day would come that I would say no to an offer like that; given that I had gotten myself fully ino the pose and felt good in it, it seemed like overkill to do it all over again with a human rather than a wall supportin my balance). I dare not think about Kapotasana. Sometimes I can’t even bear to think about Bhekasana, and I am pretty good at that, at least as far as getting my toenail to the floor. The chest lift is really only possible with an assist.

And God forbid I start to think about the big picture – the what the hell am I doing, two hours of yoga every day of my life? It’s like walking on a tightrope and looking down. You just DON’T. If you stop to think about what you’re doing when you’re doing something so extreme…well, you just don’t, if you don’t want to feel the sudden urge to stop doing exactly what it is you are doing.

So, the breath. Yeah, when the breath is good, the practice is good. It’s a no-fail correlation. Can’t attribute causation. Could be one way, could be the other. But the correlation is there. Tomorrow, Primary only. Could be good because I won’t have exhausted my legs by the time I get to UD. Or could be bad because I won’t have warmed up my backbends by the time I get to UD. The only solution: breathe. Long, deep breaths that expand the ribcage, that require the direction of energy and awareness into the ribcage.

Speaking of ribcage: I’ve noticed my ribs protruding more and more lately. My nemesis, the Squirrel, once noted that those who have become proficient in Second Series tend to have protruding pubic bones. What I have noticed is that backbending prodigies tend to have protruding ribcages as well. And not just because they’re skinny. I think that there is some kind of “freeing” action that happens when the chest opens in a way that permits deep backbending, allowing the ribcage to appear to articulate separate and apart from the rest of the torso. Maybe I am stating the obvious. But without having lost a significant amount of weight (or any), I have started to notic that when I am dropping into, say, Ustrasana, if I look down toward my chest, my ribcage looks like two mountains with a large valley in between, and the valley is getting wider and wider, and the mountains are drifting further apart.

Makes sense? Or more craziness?

I’m going to go with makes sense. But then, most crazy people think they make sense.

On other topics: Geshe Michael Roche and his “blonde bombshell” partner (not my description), Christie McNally, were profiled in the NY Times Style Section today. Robert Thurman is NOT amused, apparently, by the monk’s having taken a spiritual, if not sexual, bride, and besides, no one out there really is believing that there’s no sex going on. But who can tell? Seems a bit Clinton-esque to me. But instead of “I did not have sex with THAT woman” or “I did not have SEX with that woman”, it’s “I did not HAVE sex with that woman [because we are so spiritual, we do not HAVE sex, we ARE sex, or some such bullshit like that]”.

And on related topics, this month’s Elle Magazine seemingly asks that we sympathize with another “THAT” woman – one who lives in my town, who left her husband for her tennis pro, and who, boo hoo, was forced to sue her husband for divorce based on “cruelty” because New York requires that divorce be based on fault, and thus the adulterer cannot seek a contested divorce from her cuckholded spouse on the basis of adultery, although the cuckholded spouse could do so. But if the cuckholded spouse does not WANT to divorce, but wants to try to keep the family together, then boo hoo, the cheating spouse is shit out of luck and must make up some assy reason for suing for divorce. It actually IS a stupid set-up. The law makes no sense at all except when you consider how many families it has probably kept together because getting a divorce when one spouse doesn’t want to is just too f-ing difficult in his state. On the other hand, how many of those families that stayed together because of New York’s ridiculous divorce laws have done so miserably? On the other other hand, maybe it’s for the best for them ANYWAY. On the other other other hand, maybe not.

Who knows? That’s why I never had an interest in politics or making laws. The one piece of mock legislation I had to draft in law school, I will admit it now, my roommate gave me hers to copy and put my name on. My last name, actually, since we were both named Lauren. And don’t go telling NYU to revoke my law degree. The mock legislation was for an elective, experimental, ungraded class.

You CAN tell NYU that I never attended Criminal Procedure except to take the final exam, on which I pulled an A. Because the only one I hurt was myself or my law-breaking clients if I had wanted a career in Criminal Defense (because you only bing up Criminal Procedure issues in cases where the defendant DID the crime but has a way out of getting punished because the cops did something wrong, which, in truth, can never be tolerated, lest we dissemble into fascism).

This is my brain on non-blogging. I’m like someone who’s been on a cleanse, and now that it’s over, you’re showing me a tray of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies (or more accurately, a tin of freshly cooked marble fudge…much more my binge style).

And finally…LOST.

I was so pleased that this third-to-last-this-season episode did not raise an infinite array of mind-assaulting questions. Instead, I am asking “the only question that really matters” (Lost fans will understand what that refers to). And that question is NOT “how do we save the island”, but rather, WHY DO THE OCEANIC 6 HAVE TO LIE WHEN THEY GET OFF THE ISLAND?

What transpired immediately preceding or during their rescue that made it neessary for them to fabricate nearly every detail of their ordeal, from how the plane crashed (they say that it crashed in the water, which it did not; it broke apart in mid air and landed on the island in separate pieces), to how many people survived the initial crash (they say it was only, I believe, eight people, not 40-something as we have seen), to the parentage of Aaron (they say that Aaron was born to Kate on the island; isn’t anyone, like Claire’s mom, suspicious about that, given that CLAIRE was pregnant when she got on the plane; I mean, doesn’t that seem very fishy?) and on and on and on because there is almost NOTHING that the Oceanic 6 say that is true.

WHY THE LIES?

The other questions that were raised just seem insignificant enough to brush off – like, how come the Dharma Initiative kept dropping food palletts 16 years after every single member of the Dharma Initiative died in the “purge”? Didn’t anyone on the mainland KNOW that everyone on the island who had been a member of the DI was no longer alive? So ten why the food? But…unless this is some important clue to something, I think it bears forgetting.

Now that we know that the Oceanic 6 makes it back, that their escape was filled with trauma and bloodshed and chaos, that Ben can move freely off the island (maybe not back on though, we shall see) and uses that power to take his revenge on Charles Widmore and his associates, I’m just kind of left with the question of WHAT HAPPENED that made it necessary to totally lie about what went down?

That question is so much in the forefront of my mind, that I don’t even care about the time travel aspect, am not even keeping track of what day it is when and where, and I have given up on the thrill of “the numbers” and seeing where and when they appear. So, they were in Hurley’s muscle car. So what. WHY DID THEY LIE?

That’s what I want to know.

Oh, and also, I would like to know if Daniel, poor, adorable, sweet, Daniel, drifts out to see, unable to find the island because Ben succeeds in moving it. That would be sad. But maybe he can use his bearing of 305 to get back to the freighter. Maybe. But somehow, I doubt it. Since I love Daniel and Charlotte, this would make me sad.

Anyway, that’s my brain dump for the day.

YC

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One Response to Oh, yeah: it’s about the breath

  1. Polly says:

    Fascinating paragraph about your rib cage – really. I’ve very interested in what yoga does to the mechanics of the body. I notice when I’m practicing regularly, it keeps me out of the chiropractor’s office.

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