Click Here to read 25 Random Things About Yoga…on the Huffington Post.
I googled myself. I was trying to determine if Google had yet “crawled” this new blog address and included it in searches. What I found was that (a) no and (b) it seems that my image has become synonymous with my bitching and whining about Ashtanga, at least lately.
It’s always a warm, fuzzy feeling when I find links to my writing, especially when said links are preceded with, “I thought this was smart” or “Check out this funny piece” or even “This inspired me” (okay, that one is rare, usually occurring approximately once per year, around the month of October, when pink pervades). But I was shocked (I don’t know why I should be shocked) and dismayed to see some of the reactions to Five Words That Do Not Belong In Yoga, as presented and linked to by other bloggers. Apparently, I’m perceived by some to be “bitter” and “going through” some sort of “thing”. As if I can’t have just fallen out of love with this particular yoga system. I am also, apparently, perceived to be personally attacking the ENTIRE population of Ashtanga teachers, and individually attacking all of my own teachers, without exception.
Apparently, my communication skills are not what they should be. Either that, or people read what they need to read into my writing, my criticism of certain aspects of the practice (FIVE WORDS, people. FIVE WORDS. Not the entirety of the system), in order to remain confident in their own choices.
I do know that I stand firm on this: criminal, crank, bad, cheating and pain are five words that do NOT belong in any yoga practice unless to say that it is criminal to crank a person into a pose, that it is bad to feel pain in the context of yoga and that cheating is just another way of saying “yes I can”.
This is very weird for me to be blogging here. Is anyone out there? I think so, based on my newly discovered “Blog Stats” feature on my WordPress Dashboard. Not that that should be important…and yet it is somehow. It’s like, I can’t write anything coherent if I don’t think someone is going to read it.
Unfortunately, Blogger.com seems to be a lost cause for me. Can’t get rid of the malware warning, and truth be told, I think they are very very real: after repeat visits to my blog (my OLD blog, now, sigh), my laptop needed some reconfiguring before I could turn it on this evening.
Talk about an exercise in non-attachment.
Today, on another blog, I read this: “[P]eople sometimes lose faith in their teachers. I wonder if it isn’t more about a loss of faith in one’s self that then gets projected on the teacher. I wonder if that isn’t the root of teacher discontent.”
I knew who this was directed to, since I am, at the moment, the poster child for “loss of faith” in teachers, and since this particular blogger recently deleted a comment of mine that questioned the sanity of desperately attempting to go deeper in poses that our bodies (aging bodies, I might add) simply are not meant to go deeper in. I had written that perhaps there is a “wall” at which progress stops, and why fight it?
Deleted. Truth hurts, huh?
Anyway, I would like to address it here.
It’s my blog after all, and I would rather expend my words here, than waste them …well…there. So here goes:
Of course, I can’t answer for everybody, but I know why I have lost interest in being “taught” yoga by a yoga teacher (with some exception). It is because I have come to a point in my practice where I totally understand what is going on in my body and where I totally know what my body needs on any given day.
A projection of loss of faith in my SELF?! HA! Not even one bit true. It is the opposite of true.
I am a senior teacher of yoga…of myself. When it comes to teaching me, it doesn’t get more senior than this. I am the expert, plain and simple, inside and out. I know what my body needs, what my body tolerates, what feels good and what causes pain. I choose not to have my body cranked and yanked into poses. I choose to honor my body by keeping it safe from harm caused by teachers who think that we WANT our shoulders dislocated and our spines bent the wrong way (newsflash: the thoracic spine is not meant to be bent in the same direction as the lumbar spine). Well, maybe some of you do. But I no longer see the point.
Yeah, see, I don’t feel the need to seek approval from a teacher, and I don’t need my Intermediate Series “validated” by anyone other than me. God knows, the people who actually matter in my life don’t even know what the fuck I’m talking about right about now.
I am not so desperate to prove…I don’t know…something…about my body, about myself, about my youth, about wielding control over the aging process…that I have any urge at all to get INJURED on a daily basis. And that is what some people are doing. Injuring themselves daily. Getting cranked, yanked, and, basically, spanked. For WHAT? To come back tomorrow and do it again? To grumble about my feelings of inferiority because I will only ever “graze my toes” in Kapotasana?
My backbends ARE inferior to some of those out there. Hell, they’re inferior to many. Halle-fuckin-lujah…I still get to the mat, and I still run, and I still hike, and I still use my body in any way that I desire and any way that I am able. I’m not saving it for the mat. Who gives a rat’s ass?
I like to feel good. All I get when I get put into Kapotasana by a teacher is ripped tricep muscles. I’m over it.
Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah.
Fifty-Cent Word, blah blah blah. Fifty-Five-Cent Word, blah blah blah blah.
Blah-blahasana. I practiced it eighteen BILLION times today. Blah blah blah. It’s not about the physical blah blah blah. I only do it for the spiritual blah blah blah.
Famous Yogi says blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Sanskrit-blah blah blah. Hindu god blah blah blah blah. Don’t remind me of the truth because I will destroy you blah blah blah.
What the world needs now is love sweet blah blah blah, peace, save the children, save the rescue dogs, hate all things republican but love love love, blah blah blah.
Blah blah blah, if you don’t agree with me, you’re stoooopit and just not very good at backbends. Blah blah blah.
It’s crappy outside, yet again. It’s not thunder and hailstones like it has sometimes been this summer. But it’s the kind of damp, lukewarm day that makes hanging around outside unappealing. And now I am waving the white flag. I am officially giving up on this summer and looking forward to autumn.
I look forward to wearing jeans during the day, so that my bruised and bitten legs don’t have to be on display. I look forward to boots and tights and anoraks and mustard and burgundy and plaid.
I look forward to apples and root vegetables and stews. I look forward to firewood and the smell of my fireplace and the smell of other peoples’ fireplaces when I walk around outside. I look forward to the sound of leaves crunching under my feet when I hike, the smell and the color of autumn keaves.
I look forward to starting up at school again, to the energy of an academic environment, to walking through campus with a cup of ooffee in one hand, to using the gym at school, to running outside any time of day rather than having to wait until late in the day when the heat has died down.
I look forward to my kids coming home. I miss those little monkeys. I do. I miss cooking for them. And I look forward to helping my little one (not so little at 10, really) get and remain organized during the school year. I look forward to the structure of school days, of going back to getting up early in the morning, getting the kids out to the bus and getting something done in the morning (two days a week, it will be Experimental Psychology starting at 8:30 a.m.), getting my ass moving early.
I look forward to fall travel baseball, to the High Holidays (not so much for the synagogue experience, but for the yummy harvest-themed food).
I look forward to having my freedom curtailed a bit. God, I know that is kind of lame. I ought to be able to curtail myself to the extent necessary without the need for an external force. But, well, maybe I haven’t been doing so because I know the externals are coming anyway: kids, their school, my school.
Yeah, I know, I had a lot of hopes pinned on this summer. I had planned on marathon yoga sessions, improving my backbends, long walks with the dog. The broken hand changed everything. I couldn’t do any of those things. I had a very different kind of summer than I planned. I got to take some long runs, some long hikes. I got to practice yoga without vinyasa. I got to see, once again, that when you have downtime in yoga, it’s still there for you when you get back. It’s comforting, although I tend to forget it after a while. And I got to realize that summer is not going to be the only time in which to make improvements to my practice. It simply can’t be, especially since I didn’t get to make any this summer. I got to see a lot of friends, to push my social edge, to meet new friends, to have some social adventures that my yoga-intensity had never allowed me to have.
But now, I’m reminded of something Brian said to me last year about the last few days of camp. After Color War is over, despite how much he adores camp and everything about camp, he feels ready to go home. He starts to long for home a bit. I get that. It’s like, summer has been really fun and exciting and filled with adventure. But today, as I noticed some fallen yellow leaves (early, yes, all par for the course with this summer’s odd weather), as I nurse a hangover from a fun afternoon into late evening spent with a friend and our beagles in the city, as I start to mull over my fall schedule, I realize that I’m not going to mourn the end of summer. I’m ready for fall.
Today, I practiced full-on. A first since I broke my hand back in June. Yeah, I did Second Series once, and a number of times, I did essentially vinyasa-less Primary, not to mention, venturing into Jivamukti, Bikram and Pure Yoga for classes. But today, I got on the mat in the mid-afternoon, and despite having a peanut butter and banana sandwich for breakfast and a Cliff Bar for lunch, I managed to flow through Full Standing, Half Primary and Full Second, with so little in the way of distraction and what I have come to refer to as “yoga stylin’s”, that I managed to finish the entire deal in 85 minutes.
85 Minutes! The way it should be done, in my opinion. But how often can I do things exactly the way I think they should be done. Granted, I am still sitting in lotus as I write this. So, maybe add a minute or two to the whole thing, and let the record reflect: I didn’t do Savasana.
Sing it, like Kelly Clarkson, “Oh, no, I do not TAKE REST! I go fast.”
And I also listened to a mixture of tunes from my iPod that ranged from the old standby “Alone” by Ansar (“Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu…” sung by lucious female voices and accompanied by a driving trance beat) to that Taylor Swift song about Romeo and Juliet (how friggin cute is that song?!) to Gaga (Poker Face) to Brit Brit (“If You Seek Amy”).
Ah, the freedom of self practice.
As the Om instructors used to say: “JUICY!!!”
Now I am meeting a friend in the city. Hope I can keep my eyes open since I was up til 3 reading a really stupidly enthralling book by Anita Shreve (she wrote “Light On Snow”, probably the only book of hers worth reading, but still I try). Woke up midway through the morning, did some gardening, took some photos, went to the fish market…blah blah blah.
Since I get so easily addicted to the attention, I must think of something adequately pot-stirring to post to the Huff Post. Sooner rather than later, before I fall away into oblivion again.