Annnndddd it’s up again 2.5, back to 135.5. See-saw, Margery Daw. Whatever. I feel good and I look thin and I’m running again. Although today was not a running day. Today was yoga and it felt really good.
Later this morning I’ll do my last class observation for YTT, and then I’ll be able to get on to finishing up all the last bits of homework and be on track to turn it all in on time this Saturday. OH YEAH baby. It’ll be good to get done with this. I’ve enjoyed the crap out of it but I’m ready to finish now.
Today, for the first time ever, I settled down fully into Hanumanasa, the splits pose. My alignment was strong, my hips were square to the front of the mat and I slid down gently and firmly until I seated all the way on the mat. I did really deep Ujjayi breathing to get through the fear and discomfort, and then that turned into cleansing breaths with Lion face, really harsh and loud. And then, when I bent forward into the fuller expression of the pose, of course I burst into tears. Sobs. I had to rest in Child’s Pose to calm down a moment before I could attack the other side. That was awesome too and I cried some more and did some more Lion face breathing.
Hanuman represents deep loyalty and love, not just in a passive way, but in a way where you expend a complete, maximum effort, a heart-rending expansion of your whole being in service of that loyalty and love. He represents surrender to this total effort, this total love. His story also teaches us that at the moment when your need is truly great, if you open to it, your immense inner powers will shine through and you will indeed be strong enough.
And I think that’s why I cried. In that pose, I opened completely to my own self and to my own story. I surrendered to the love and the effort of Hanuman. It seriously just cracked my heart wide open.
As a massage therapist, I have spent plenty of time around people who do energy work. They do Reiki, they balance Chakras and such; they say things like, “I can feel how your Chi is bunching up over here.” And I have just never been that girl, you know? I have in the past really not felt any energy. Since I’ve been doing Thai massage, I’ve started to feel it some. But pretty much, I’m not the girl who says things like, “wow, did you feel how dark her energy was? Like, she needs to unblock her upper Chakras.”
But today in YTT, I felt it, and it was crazy. We did an exercise which went like this: Person A spends 3 minutes talking about something that they often say “no” to or some part of themselves which is not fully expressed. I talked about how I suck at doing housework, and how I can not figure out how to improve that situation. Then person B puts her hands gently onto person A, like, onto her knees, and spends 1 or 2 minutes there, while inwardly repeating the mantra “I receive the already-present Divinity in this person.” LOL SO CHEESY I KNOW.
But okay, so I am sitting there, and my partner, my yoga teacher Ashley, is resting her hands on my knees. And first I was overwhelmed with the need to weep and a few tears squeezed out. Then that subsided. Then I became aware that Ashley’s hands had come to the same temperature as my knees, so it started to feel as if her hands were melting into me. So I was just observing this sensation of the boundary between us disappearing. And then she moved her hands slightly. And I straightened my spine and turned my face up. And then I felt as if my third eye opened up and a ball of white light emerged and was shining down between Ashley and me. You know how you can see light through your closed eyelids? Like that. So I just sat there, feeling this weird feeling, and a few moments later the leader called out to wind it down so we could switch roles. And the light sucked back into my third eye and went back to normal. Yeah… I know… WTF. Too strange.
And then we switched roles. So now I’m resting my hands on Ashley’s knees and I feel myself sort of bowing down in front of her. Then I felt myself straighten slightly, sort of extending toward her, and then I felt her energy open up like the door of a furnace. It was just roaring around me like a hot summer wind, like I could almost feel my hair blow back from it. I have never felt anything like it in my darn life. Now I’m writing this out, I note that straightening the spine accompanied both moments. Interesting.
So that was my afternoon today. Almost too weird to believe. I mean I am the most pragmatically non-New-Age person ever to do yoga. I don’t even know how to process this experience!
So I did gain a pound this morning, up to 136. But I actually consider that to a be victory, since I spent the weekend at my YTT retreat thing and wound up eating a massive amount of fruit there. OH so tasty. I am quite proud to report that I did not eat anything that was not Paleo. But, as I said, there was fruit. Mmmmm. (Also I’m pretty sure I ate something that had honey in it, so I’m watching now to see what my skin will do.) And also, I had an actual cheat meal last week, on Wednesday, although I was too all-over-the-place to blog about it then. I took my daughter for Dim Sum. Here’s a pic:
Mmmm, pork tripe with ginger and scallions! I did enjoy some very non-Paleo-type things, such as the steamed BBQ pork buns and the 8-treasure rice in a lotus leaf. But that was very interesting for me, because I really felt as if the flavors of the grain-based foods were sort of muted and muddy, while the flavor of the tripe dish was fresh, zesty and intense. I really liked the tripe best. (There’s a sentence I never imagined I would utter.) My son wants to go there today for Dim Sum, since he couldn’t go last week, and I think I will just have the tripe and maybe some eggplant or some bok choy or something. I don’t really want to have the grain-based foods. They just weren’t as good somehow. So I do call that a big NSV for me.
So the bottom line here: I ate grains last week and a whole bunch of carb-y fruit this weekend, and I only retained 1 pound of water. Pretty good! And I know it’s water. I’m pretty sure nobody is going to gain fat while they do 5 hours of yoga a day, in between eating fruit salad.
Here’s another NSV from this weekend: on Sunday, many of my fellow yoginis were stiff and sore from the intense beat-down they gave us on Saturday. (@heymaker, Ashley was in fine form. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen an entire room of people rubbing their butts together. Or trying to say “Hello” as if they were made of Ether. LOL!!) But when I got out of my sleeping bag on Sunday morning, I felt fine. The beat-down was vigorous, but I was more than strong enough to handle it. They were all, “I can’t move my arms,” and I was thinking, “bring it on!!” So I did feel like a massive bad-ass, which is pretty much never a bad thing.
Further NSV: I wore the booty shorts and everybody loved them and thought they were hilarious. Of course naturally that day we did a ton of Prasarita Padottanasana, also known as Wide-Legged Forward Fold. (Or, in this graphic, it is the “Prepare Your Anus.”) This only increased the overall hilariousness of the situation. But in fact the shorts were excellent. They stayed up around the midsection no matter what I did, never slumping down under my gut-flap, and also they did not ride up in the crotch or butt area. Really excellent. Shout out to Gap Body!! Good stuff! And the shorty-short legs really gave me the feeling that I was walking around with no pants on which was delightful. Which leads me to my next NSV. My legs still touch each other. But when I walk, they don’t really rub anymore. They just gently brush each other. It actually feels sort of nice. I got to enjoy the heck out of that with these booty shorts. Pretty sweet. Also, my husband really liked them, LOL.
So, in conclusion, the only sour note is that my poor van is back in the shop today. But other than that, I could not be in a better mood right now!
So as a sort of “treat,” the faculty of our Yoga Teacher Training brought in a teacher whose specific job was to kick our asses. Or, as they refer to it in yoga, “help us to confront and push our edges.”
We did all manner of very difficult and uncomfortable things, culminating in an intense sequence featuring a variation of Compass Pose, which is like a Side Plank, but now extend the lower leg forward, grab it with the upper hand and haul it up toward your head. (I asked the Sanskrit name but it fell out of my head.) And then the apex pose was Mayurasana, Peacock Pose, which is a symmetrical arm balance where you lean onto your elbows and then basically do a Superman with your legs into the sky. NUTTY SHIT. I stuck the balance like a boss but couldn’t fully extend the legs.
God but it was sweaty. I am seriously completely beat now. Sweeeet.
The long-awaited racerback bras arrived in the mail yesterday afternoon, and they fit. Actually they are even a smidge big. But I can’t be arsed to return them and fool around with trying to fit myself to a new bra size over long distance right now. I’m taking my new bras out shopping. This afternoon, I think.
In some ways, these new bras represent one of the last pieces of the puzzle for me. Now that I have a couple of these bras, I can try on and maybe even buy some of the pretty yoga tops that every other yogini in the country seems to own. So to me, these bras represent a chance to blend into the crowd, to be more like everyone else I admire. I’ve spent quite a lot of energy over my adult life working at blending in better and I have to say I’ve never been sorry about that. It’s been well worth it for me. I’ve learned that I can be funny, quirky and even a bit eccentric without having to feel isolated, alienated or alone. I’ve learned that this is possible when one puts a bit of effort into controlling the message via the medium of self-presentation. And in this new life that I’m designing for myself, racerback bras are part of the necessary equipment. So I am super-stoked to have a couple!
In other news, I am not doing a good job of keeping up with Tumblr at all. So if I have missed a sweet post of yours, I apologize. I’ve been face-down in my YTT homework. This week we are studying the classically hippy-dippy topics of prana, the koshas, the gunas and the doshas, and of course the chakras and the nadis. It’s a lot of information to take in! Although it’s so far-out that I feel as if I should put air quotes around the word “information.”
Oh relax, it’s just for a few days. I began a new and exciting thing today: Yoga Teacher Training. YTT, as we call it around here. Anyways, the teachers are massive yoga nerds as is appropriate in such case, and they have assigned us a crap ton of reading and writing, not to mention all the yoga and meditation and whatnot. So I have to go jam myself head-down into Erich Schiffman and Desikachar and anatomy and chakras and doshas and I-don’t-know-what-all. And that will seriously cut into my tumblr time. I’ll probably still post but I won’t have the time to creep all y’all’s blogs. SAD PANDA I know I will miss a lot of good stuff.
So hugs and kisses to you all and hopefully I will get through this session’s homework in a few days or so and be back to spamming you with snarky replies.