Thursday, July 31, 2008

Class# 197; AYC DC Mysore Class # 46: Eureka!!!

- with an assist from the bench -

(and after taking two days to recenter myself from Monday's lackluster practice and slamming my chin on the hardwood floor in my transition out of Bhuja Pindasana earlier this morning)

It was so cool, everything just clicked into place. As I started to stand it felt a bit like I was toppling forward *yet again* to my knees and was about to give in and then I realized that I was standing.

Absolutely crazy man.

Also, I must give a shout out to Yogitect out in SF for posting his notes from a recent backbending workshop he attended. Something in there really just clicked in this morning's practice.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Mantra Monday: I know. I know. I know. Or, in other words...

...dedication, patience, and contrary to my belief I am only human.

Phone call with the Mathematician:
  • I know.
  • I know.
  • I know.

  • I know that I've quite possibly been running myself ragged these past few weeks between yoga, work, and "fun work."
  • I know that at some point, the human body needs some good solid sleep and downtime.
  • I know that when I'm overtired I can become a tad emotional, lack concentration, and will devour anything and everything in sight.

  • If you keep on hitting your hand with a hammer, it will continue to hurt. Recognition of the hammer is the first step.
  • Pleasure and enjoyment are found within the simplicity of the moment.
  • Act don't react.

  • Clear schedule.
  • Capture the play of the sun rising on the landscape with a SLR camera.
  • Bake dark-chocolate-ginger-biscotti.

Friday, July 25, 2008

One Year Markers; B-lated One Year Asana Practice Anniversary

I was all excited because, I *thought* today was my one year anniversary of attending my first-ever-yoga-class. However as I looked back at my blog during lunch (which I began the same day as my asana practice) apparently I missed it by a day.

It was yesterday!
I forgot my own anniversary!

So far to date (not including this morning's practice) I have attended:
193 classes in a studio/shala setting.
Which translates to attending classes for 53% of my first year.

This number does not include the various workshops spanning AcroYoga to Jivamukti to Baptiste to Forrest Yoga and Nada and Kirtan. Nor does it include the 4-day AcroYoga intensive in London.

Translated to hours on a yoga mat (hym), I'm estimating, approximately: 335.75 hym.
I think that's a respectable number. Not a small amount of asana.
But not wildly crazy for a first year.

I'm not including the hours reading about Yoga Philosophy/Techniques or watching demos on YouTube or general asana "play." There are some things that are hard to quantify, especially when the practice of Yoga, in a traditional sense, is an 8 limbed path.

I will also spare you the calculation of that amount of $$$ I have spent on classes/worshops out of my own general fear of seeing that number in print outside of the safety of my budget. Also, I would rather not open the can of worms that is the amount of business I have single handedly provided Lululemon,, YogiToes, BePresent, and Manduka on yoga related "stuff."

Here's to the start of the beginning of my second year!

Aside: Lawyers log their lives in 6 minute increments - m
aybe I should be applying some of this logging logic to drawing/painting and other artistic pursuits...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Class# 192; AYC DC Mysore Class # 41: Follow-Up

Ok. So I might have been "a little" pithy in my post earlier today.
It was one of those practices where nothing seemed to "work quite right."

Whether it was attempting to spring my "legs symmetrically and tightly around my arms like a snake" for Bhuja Pindasana or any speculation of standing from Urdhva Dhanurasana even with the assistance of the bench - I *might* have been becoming "a little" impetuous.

While at the bench, D walked over and commented that I was basically standing and placed some blocks on my mat so I'd be closer to "standing" when/if I came to my knees. I fully realize asanas take time and patience and that things will eventually will click. After further sundry attempts and glorious fiascos, D concluded that I might not be using enough of my lower back muscles. Seeing as though I landed square on my Polish nose during my solo drop-back attempts on Saturday and Sunday - I have a sneaking suspicion that he might be onto something. So, promptly he had me stand and move into a half drop back and just hang there, focusing on my back muscles.

If you've never hung with your head a foot or so from the ground, bent backwards for a good 30 seconds...three times in rapid succession...
Let me tell you.
It's an interesting experience - to say the least. Something like walking on the edge of panic - that moment before inking that first line on a pristine piece of 300lb hot press paper, it seems to take an eternity and is always a little awkward.

In retrospect, I quite liked it.

So. Tomorrow is a new day.
I will wake at 5 am. I will be at the shala at 5:45am.
Back to the drawing board, or mat, as you will.

Class# 192; AYC DC Mysore Class # 41: Question 3

Why am I doing this?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Class# 185; AYC DC Mysore Class # 35: Do. Or do not. There is no try* & a Jedi Assist

According to the Mathematician and the Artist, I didn't crawl much when I was a baby. I'm almost positive my reasoning went something like this: Why am I going to crawl around on the ground, getting myself dirty when everyone else is upright moving so much more efficiently? Walking was pretty much where it was at. They are oft and quick to regale me with the story that I stood up unassisted in the URI quad, took two steps, paused, my eyes widened and then fell to the ground. And after that, there was certainly no going back.

Of late I've been "forgetting" to work on standing from
Urdhva Dhanurasana (UD) being "too tired" to attempt to stand. Yes, there's a 4" bench available to assist in standing and drop backs. I've tried it and have not gotten any closer to standing. Drop back, no problem either with or without the bench. Standing just wasn't happening. Besides, if I'm going to stand, I'm going to stand without the bench.

(I have noticed that I do have a slight proclivity to stubbornness.)

On my first
UD of the day, D walks by my mat and inquires, "Are you going to stand today?"
My response, "No." I return to the floor and reset for my second
UD. I go up for my second UD, and walk my hands closer into my heels. 15 breaths, I do a little rocking back and forth, return to the floor. My "final" UD, I go up walk my hands insanely close to my heels.

I see two feet enter my dristi, and they aren't mine. D, tells me "You're going to stand." I realize there is no other option as the feet disappear to my feet. As I let out a frustrated sigh, D presses two finger tips smack dab in the middle of my maunbrium (upper part of the sternum - yes I still somewhat remember anatomy from AP Bio all those years ago) and I stood up. I really stood!? Don't ask me how it happened but it did! I dropped back, his finger tips still there and back up again. D gave me some coaching on drop backs, and on my second drop back, I got a little hang time before my hands touched the floor, it was almost as if his finger tips were holding me off the floor. Crazy. From that point on, I felt like a character from a Pirandello play. Up and down, up and down.

But if I had known it would only take two finger tips!

*Yoda, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back

Class# 184; AYC DC Mysore Class # 34: Uno Mas.

Sunday I was going along grooving into Navasana and moved into Urdhva Dhanuarasana (UD). Hanging out while in my third, half way upside down, K comments that he should have added Bhuja Pindasana a few days ago and noted that I always seem to have started back bending when he heads over to add it. Yesterday, after finishing 4 or 5 repetitions of Navasana, I vinyasaed out and dutifully knelt on my mat patiently waiting for the mysterious Buja Pindasana to be revealed.

I had some inclination of what theoretically should happen. Yet again, theory and practice don't always meet true like a beautiful dovetail joint on the first attempt. I had no difficulty linking my feet, but I encountered some difficulty when it came to dropping my chin 5mm from the mat and lifting my toes from the mat. All in due time. *BUT* I managed to transition out and held a close approximation
Tittibhasana A resulting in my amazement, leading my collapse into a sweaty pile during my transition to Chaturanga Dandasana.

I regained my composure, thinking at least K doesn't know that D and J are trying to get me to stand from
UD (or at least he doesn't let on) and I move on to back bending and to finishing. Soon I found myself prepping for Sirasana A, aka headstand, without pausing for an assist. My first full on Shala solo attempt which ended up something likened to Viparita Dandasana.

K came over to my mat, smiling, motioning for me to repeat
Sirasana A. I was spent, between the Buja, Titti A, and UD, still, up I went for 20 breaths, with only a simple light assist. Of course this is easily likened to the times I've been out with CoffeeShop Girl and Vespa Boy and another Pisco Sour magically appeared in hand.

I knew I shouldn't but...why not?
Uno Mas.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

3.75 Inches & 1/2 of 2008

Last night I had decadent dinner in Georgetown, comprised of intoxicating conversation, spinach quiche in all of its buttery and cheesy goodness and split a bottle of champagne (thank goodness for moondays). I even pulled out the 3.75" Charles David heels expressly for the occasion.

During dinner I was asked, "So what makes your eyes sparkle with wide-eyed passion?" I totally fumbled my answer to that one. I could easily answer this a couple months ago, right? I wanted to give an honest answer but in the moment I didn't know how to respond. That really surprised me. Yes there's, Ashtanga, AcroYoga, Jivamukti, the Mathematician and the Artist, the Cru, the Attorneys I work for, others, and shoes - but what about me?

Towards the end of dinner, I couldn't help but overhear the conversation at a nearby table. Two men were discussing various firms. Initially I paid no mind until the older of the two mentioned HOK, which I immediately recognized as one of those monolithic Architectural Firms with 18 domestic offices and 37 internationally. My interest in their conversation heightened and I resituated myself so I could eavesdrop with greater ease. (I
think the older of the two found some humor in this as he smiled at me when I unintentionally made eye contact.) I remember looking at that firm when I was making my move to DC - I gave up my pursuit, when I realized it was what I thought I didn't want.

Sitting with a cup of lemon ginger tea and some ginger snaps tonight, I began writing out my 2, 5, and 10 year goals. (After all, we're at the half way point of 2008.) I started thinking over the conversations I've had over the past few months, blogs I've stumbled on, books I've read, and my recent dreams.

I vividly recalled a succinct conversation I had back in December. Soon thereafter, walking to yoga after work, I would notice the numerous boutique and medium sized Architecture firms surrounding my office. While in London for AcroYoga, I went to only one museum, Somerset House, with the express purpose of seeing their exhibition Skin and Bones (on fashion and architecture - I thought I would be most intrigued by the fashion but spent the majority of my time drooling over the architectural models). I recently received a mailing from the National Building Museum about their exhibition on Eero Saarinen - definitely in the top 5 of my top 10 for architects (because of 1 building).

No, I am not thinking of immediately up and leaving my wonderfully nuanced and passionate attorneys in the near future. This a really long term and rather involved goal that feels surprisingly liberating and at least makes some sense for this moment.

If you create your own reality, and if reality is perception...
Is everything already present and we only choose to notice those things that are of particular interest or timeliness?

Maybe, sometimes it's necessary to throw those 3.75" heels back on...