Thursday, October 6, 2016

Too early or too late

I've been in Mysore now for one week. I once again feel so comfortable here, like I live here. I've met more new friends, been to lunch with some of them, taken rickshaws, ubers and gone shopping with them. I even baked banana bread in my little counter top oven and shared it with my housemates and neighbour. Feels pretty home like.

chocolate banana bread... HELLO!

new toe rings from Meena at Silver Nest

We have had three led classes to start off the season. Each one more jam packed than the previous. I kept showing up earlier and earlier to get a decent spot in line, so I'd get a decent spot to practice in the shala, but each time by the time I arrived, I was lined up outside the gates, while inside the gates every foot of space was filled with people and the stairs were packed as well! Holy Cow!

Moo! One of many holy cows here in India!

My second practice I got a weird sideways facing spot in the very back where I had to negotiate my arms and legs with a guy who was facing the front. Poor him. Poor me. Poor us! Somehow it worked. My third practice I decided I was going to make myself a spot! All of the mats were a little too far apart and I know eventually everyone would have to move closer, so I just did it myself and I stuffed my mat between two other mats, moving each of them farther apart. It worked out ok because I was under a little low ceiling overhang that wouldn't fit most people. When I took my arms overhead I had a one inch clearance while the guy beside me would not have fit. However, the universe decided to punish me for moving the mats and all I kept thinking my whole practice was "this is gross, this is gross" HAHA! I had two VERY stinky VERY sweaty guys on either side of me. Sweat FLYING everywhere. Dripping on me and my mat and my towel. Hands and legs all over my mat, bumping into me. GROSS! I kept reminding myself that I was going to go home and do laundry and take a shower so who cares. Get over it!

Each practice also seemed hotter and sweatier than the prior one. Maybe more bodies stuffed into the space? Maybe it was warmer outside? I normally only need a little towel but I definitely needed to lay out my long mat towel. Good thing I brought two of them!

I've also had two mysore style practices now. Self led, where we all start at different times. My original mysore start time was 730. On the first day when I showed up for mysore practice, I expected again the stairs to be packed, the little foyer to be packed, and for us to slowly get called in one by one when a spot became available. However... When I showed up the foyer was empty and the shala was only half full! What!? Sharath called me in right away. "What is your time?" I said "7:30". Two other people came in the door. They also both said 7:30. He sent one girl away to wait outside, he said "Too early". It was her first trip to Mysore. The other guy he asked how many times he's been to Mysore. He said 2nd time. Sharath said "change your time to 7am tomorrow". Then he asked me how many trips to Mysore. I said 3rd time. He said "Change your time to 630am tomorrow". Ok, so it seems the more times you come here, the more preferential treatment you recieve. Since starting earlier is more desirable (for most).

I enjoyed the practice, although I was rushing. A lot. For no reason. I was there relatively early and I was only doing the primary series, since that's all everyone does the first week. My shoulder, which had bugged me on and off for a few weeks, was really hurting. I think maybe I was excited about the practice, or had too much caffeine in my body, and wasn't being very mindful as I practiced. Even though I told myself to slow down my breathing and my movements, it didn't happen! My shoulder was really killing by the end of practice and all morning afterwards in fact. I put on ice, took advil and used tiger balm. It feels like tendinitis, an imflammation of the tendon where the muscle attaches to the bone. I used to have a lot of that when I was a competitive swimmer. It's generally just an overuse issue and best healed with rest. WELL, there will be no rest here!

In that first practice I had a bit of a disaster adjustment from an assistant in the shala. Supta kurmasana. A bit of a nemesis pose for me, since I have a long body and short legs. I can cross both of my legs behind my head - but the assistant needs to do it just right! This assistant did it totally wrong (for me) and had no success. LOL. Oh well. I was kind of annoyed, since I wanted to do the full posture properly and didn't get the help to do so... But I let it go.

Sharath was sitting up on the stage in his chair when I came to backbending. I didn't know until I stood up after my third one that he was watching me like a hawk. I did my three drop backs and stand ups and they felt pretty light and easy and floaty. However. Apparently they were too easy! He said that I needed to walk in each time I dropped back, before coming up again. He said "It's too easy". well, yes! I mean, no! It's not easy, but I've worked for years to make it possible and to make it safe and maybe it looks easy? Trust me it's not! Am I in a bit of a comfort zone? YES! Because the last two times when I came to Mysore and went way beyond my comfort zone I ended up really injured and having to back off my practice for a long time when I returned home.

I have worked hard on strengthening my core to protect my low back. On strengthening my glutes to open the fronts of my hips. And on strenghtening my upper back muscles to get more of my backbend in my thoracic spine so that the low back doesn't take all of the stress. In engineering terms, I'm trying to make my "bridge" have an even curvature all the way through, so no one point is more bent and takes more stress. An even sharing of stress = more steady and strong as a whole. DO I get as deep in my backbends as I used to? Nope. Do I care? NOPE! Because they feel a lot better. So it will be interesting navigating backbends this trip without messing up all of my hard work! Maybe if I grunt and groan Sharath won't think it's so easy for me?!

This morning I showed up again for Mysore. A few more people in the shala, but still some open spots. Only 2 people waiting in the lobby. I asked them their time, they both said 630. I didn't want to go in if I was too early. Sharath poked his head in and asked our times. I said 630. He said go wait outside. OK! I shuffled out and sat on the steps. 60 seconds later a girl from the lobby said Sharath told me to come back in. LOL! I came back in. He came and got me and said my new time starting tomorrow is 6am. And he sent me in to a spot in the front row.

My wake up schedule

Regular start time... 730... to 630... to 6am!

I very consciously went a LOT slower through my practice. Making sure my shoulder blades were completely retracted each time I went into chatturanga, so the effort was held by the muscles in the back of my shoulders, and around the shoulder blades and in my upper back, rather than my the muscles in the front of my shoulders - they ones that hurt and that I need to rest. It seemed to work well and I wasn't feeling much discomfort. I have also been doing a little elbow bend going back from updog to downdog which seems to be taking the stress out of the muscles that are sore and dispersing the work elsewhere. Experiments experiments! Nothing ever stays the same in the body, that's for sure.

All practice I kept hearing Sharath asking everyone what their time was. his answer was always either "You're too early, go back outside!" or "Why are you so late? Come in now!" Haha... I guess none of us could get it jusssttttt right! I think he's also trying to just break everyone down a bit. Breaking us in. Showing he's the boss. Follow the rules or else. Kind of funny and appropriate since most of us are spoiled entitled brats in one way or another and need a good spanking. HA!

I felt very emotional today during and after practice. Not sure why. I'm, in general, not a very outwardly emotional person so I guess sometimes it just needs to come out. I felt teary eyed in my first few sun salutations. Maybe I was just feeling happy and blessed to be practicing in the shala. And lucky to have my time moved earlier. And was thinking that maybe Sharath liked me because I was quite obedient, yes sir i'll go back outside, yes sir I'll come in now, yes sir I'll change my time... Which is so funny to me because in general, I'm not really an obedient person! I like to be in charge and make the rules! But it is nice to actually give up control and be subservient to another, when you trust and respect them. Role change. Teacher student. Vande guru... Bowing down, I am.

Sharath did not see me as he was busy with others, but each time I dropped back I walked in a bit, just like he told me to yesterday when he was watching. My back felt fine with it, so OK, I will continue to do that. On my last one I stumbled a bit coming up. Andrew Hillam (lead teacher at Jois Yoga Encinitas) assisted me with drop backs and well, nearly dropped me on the way up at the end, but luckily didn't. We laughed. He also assisted me in supta kurmasana and did a MUCH better job! He got my ankles crossed behind my head. Thank you!

Better assists. Slower practice. Happier shoulders. Yay.

Walking home I felt another small wave of tears. Let it flow.

And then my favourite street puppy came to escort me from the shala to my house like he always does. He's my security guard. I remembered to bring him a treat. His tail said thank you.


Another dog came out from it's owners' house to greet me and was loving the snuggles and was jumping up all over me. The man said "He likes you very much". Obvi! He said he was 3 yrs old and I said that's how old my dog is too. I sure miss my puppy!!! Luckily my boyfriend Bill is taking really great care of him back at home and has been sending me pics and videos and updates, so that I don't DIE of separation!

One more day of Mysore tomorrow then a led practice again to finish the week. Next week when we restart I'll be doing intermediate series again, up to kapotasana which is the last asana that Sharath gave me last trip. Oy.

Tata for now. Next blog I'll tell you about the extra philosophy, chanting and Sanskrit classes that I'm taking at the Anantha Research Foundation. Bet you can't wait?!

No comments:

Post a Comment