Sunday, 18 December 2011

The role of my teacher

This morning after backbending on the floor (and finding that for the first time since I first spotted my feet a few weeks ago, today they were just a vague glimpse of pink) I stood to prepare for dropbacks, and after a couple of half-hearted warm-up hangbacks, I sat down to take my forward bend.
The room was quiet, and unbeknownst to me C was watching me from her perch on the other side of the room. As I sat down she called out "MEL! get up!"
I tried to explain across the room (until she came over to my mat) that on Friday I went to see the osteopath, and after the adjustments he gave me (and the nauseating noises which accompanied them) he advised me to not practice for 2 or 3 days, and to very definitely back off the backbending for at least 3 or 4 days. "But did you have an injury when you went?" C asked.
When I gave her a head-wobble as my answer (i.e. I had a slight twinge in my lower back which bothered me only in shoulder-stand, halasana and any legs over-head poses - so not really an injury) she said "If you went with an injury that's one thing, but if you just went along on a whim because your job allows you to see an osteopath, then I don't go along with that advice." I giggled (a lot). Then I stood up. 

By this stage I was giggling so much that I could barely control my first dropback. She had completely got the measure of going straight to the top of the list today of the numerous roles of a mysore teacher is...
...calling you out on your bullshit.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Blogging dilemma

So, just a petit post for a petit dilemma (which, incidentally, I prefer to spell with an n, but apparently is with a double m. Who knew?!). 

As I may have mentioned ;) I will be heading off to India in the Spring for my fourth trip to Goa and my first trip to Mysore, a trip of just under three months. And (considering how shite I am at committing to regular blogging when I say this) I am debating what to do about writing whilst I am there. The matter of blog secrecy/openness has oft before been debated - and whilst it's obvious that my blog is not private, nor do I attempt to conceal my identity, nor do I openly discuss it's existence with my family or friends outside of the yoga world. I have once posted a link to it on facebook thanks to the new privacy features but it almost gave me palpitations to do so. But I can't help but feel that at least some of what I want to share from Mysore would be interesting to my family who will (I know) be hanging on any and every bit of news they can get out of me while I'm away. But letting them in on the blog secret now would mean admitting to having fibbed about it's existence in the past, not to mention an immediate censorship of what I post here (including going back and hiding old posts I'd prefer not to share). So do I create a whole new blog for my trip? What if people don't find it - or worse - mention the existence of this blog when they do?? The thought of two separate bogs - one more yoga related and one just about the trip has occurred to me but seriously, how likely is that to happen? 

Thank god I don't have to live a double-life for real, I think the stress would kill me....Talk about first world problems.

p.s. am in backbending bootcamp. Had to do about ten dropbacks today and still no solo standing....le sigh.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Nothing's changed and everything's different

It's maybe untrue to say that "nothing's changed" but given that the topic of my last post was hitting the two year mark with my teacher, this past week I've been noticing the extent to which my practice has changed. I am doing exactly the same asanas I was doing this time last year, but everything is completely different - I have started to experience the practice on an energetic level to some extent and it feels like it is starting to feel like it's been transformed, and that it's transforming me. True, I'm also in the midst of ayurvedic treatment, taking herbs and doing practices which are supposed to heal me and open my heart (and are in fact merrily fucking with my head) but I seem to be finding life a series of almost unbearably sweet days with the odd overwhelmingly disastrous tear-ridden thrown in for good measure. And I feel like when it comes to practice if these feelings continue, where I can find an immense sense of grounding with the energy WHOOSHING down and pinning me to the earth, whilst bouncing off itself and sending my flying with grace and ease, then I couldn't care less if I never get given another asana. I think the "secret" to this change is this: three years. My first year was all about figuring out the practice (and how to fit it into my life and find a teacher). My second year was about claiming the primary series, asana by asana, and my third year seems to have been about solidifying and beginning, in some small way, to understand what all of this craziness is really here for. I'm just scratching the surface, but I have greater respect for this system day by day.

And on the subject of unbearable sweetness, and inspired by Serene Flavor's occasional happy life lists (and memories of the weekly "What we Like" lists in Just Seventeen magazine...) these things are currently making me happy (in no particular order)...
  • Hearing Blue by Joni Mitchell over a lovely impromptu catch-up breakfast and coming home to download it and listen on repeat. Favourite tracks...A Case of You and California. Listening to it transports me to the imaginary life where I live in an attic in Paris and drink black coffee and smoke cigarettes (see also: Madeleine Peyroux).
  • Re-reading the copy of Chocolat by Joanne Harris that I bought second-hand (and last read) on my travels in Thailand in 2000 and still bears the 200baht price sticker....and trying to not picture the beautiful Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp as I read...)

  • My shiny new epilator. I am way too lazy and disorganised for any sort of leg hair removal that needs doing more than once a week.
  • Blowing the dust off my sewing machine to make dolls for my nieces for Christmas...crafty, satisfying AND saves money. Win win win.
  • Navigating my way through my ayurvedic treatment and coming up against some of the craziness that I've been burying for years...or decades. It's not always fun, but finding appreciation in each little change and gain that I can find.
  • The huge new shopping centre 1 tube stop from my house which it turns out is not the work of the devil (as I first thought) because it means I can stop off for porridge or a pastry and coffee on the way home from practice. On the days when I am less than happy it seems that my mental health can be tipped back into balance by one of these excursions...oh AND there is a Waitrose there. Fully stocked up on rye bread, mung beans and avocados after this morning's excursion....and wheat-free vegan chocolate-chip shortbread biscuits. Oops.
  • The sweet and possibly naive thrill of anticipation. Sometimes this is the best bit.
  • Going to really. I'll have worked 39 hours by the end of this week and I am loving being there. Every time I go I end up getting therapy of some sort...whether I'm lying on a couch or not. Reflexology after a 9 hour shift that started at 5.30am on Monday, an impromptu dunno-what healing session in the office to cure my migraine on Wednesday night (and it really did), a conversation with the ayurvedic doctor which turned into therapy....I am so blessed to work in this environment. What's not to love??

On my break at work. I look pretty miserable don't I?
Knowing that my trip to Mysore is oh so close, but appreciating every moment of the here and now.

That should do for now.