Archive | January, 2014

Stripping Things Down, or, the Yoga of Hell No

15 Jan

I went to Mysore at a new studio in town this morning at 6am. Ironically, the teacher did not come because he has school that morning. The gym did not mention this on the schedule. So I bumbled through practice on my own, and was able to go very slowly and very carefully. It was interesting, and I had to laugh at myself once I realized the teacher was not coming. I was so nervous about meeting a new teacher, and he wasn’t even there! Just like life– I get myself all worked up over nothing in the end. Once I relaxed and realized that it was Ashtanga business as usual, I was able to drop more deeply into my body than I have been able to in a long time.

On the way there, I was thinking about how long the journey has been between being over 300 pounds and a drunk cocaine addict to standing on the front of my mat at 6am in Austin, Texas in very sober samasthiti. To get to this point, there has been a lot of subtraction. Subtracting the drugs and alcohol, subtracting over 100 pounds, subtracting excess material possessions, distractions and unhealthy relationships; ultimately, subtracting a whole lot of thoughts and closely held beliefs that did not serve me. I’ve heard Ashtanga repeatedly described as “The Yoga of No” and in my case, it seems to be the Yoga of hell no. Hell no I don’t want to stay up late. Hell no, I don’t want to go to a bar with you and get totally f*cked up. Hell no, I don’t want to eat that junk food and hell no, I don’t want lots of distracting noise and chaos in my life. These things just don’t do it for my anymore. I realized that I was yogastoned after practice this morning—very similar to accustomed (the high you get after accupuncture), but a lot sweatier. I’ll take the yogastoned over really being stoned any day.

I belong to the World Wide Metta meditation mailing list, and I received their newsletter this morning. There was a piece by Thanissaro Bhikkhu called “Stripping Things Down” that made a lot of sense to me:

We can think of renunciation as a process of simplification. That’s a word with a nicer ring to it nowadays: You want to simplify your life, to cut away the unnecessary clutter. But either way, whether you call it simplification or renunciation, there are hard choices you have to make. And so it’s best to look at it as a tradeoff. You can spend your time on activities that give immediate results that don’t last very long, or on activities that give more long-lasting results but take more effort, more time, more patience, require more precision. Ultimately you realize that the best trade is the one where you give up lesser forms of happiness for more long-lasting ones, ones that speak to the really deep issues in life.

Yes, and yes.

Tomorrow is a Moon Day, which is a perfect day to connect with others in loving kindness and do a practice of metta meditation. Well, every day is a perfect day for this, but I really like knowing that somewhere out there on New and Full Moons, there are other people metta-ing.

Link to the original article here: http:///gallery.mailchimp.com/ea2e5620a6396a3fc34db91d5/files/D_Stripping_Things_Down_Part_One.htm

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Kino MacGregor Led Primary Series in Vegas, December 2013

2 Jan

Yes, my pretties: I did it, and I lived to blog about it! My lovely sister-in-law gave me the Xmas gift that keeps on giving: a led primary series with my Miami Yoga Goddess of All Things Ashtanga and Hawaiian print, Kino MacGregor. I really wish that we could have done more of the rest of the workshop, but funds were very tight as I had to move unexpectedly at the end of the year. The most surprising things, other than the fact that I did not die or perish in flames? How incredibly tiny she is! And also how much she channels Jois in the way she teaches. She came over and said to me, “You do!” and believe me, I did. She kinda scared the crap out of me! It’s odd to hear the voice of a 90-year-old Indian man coming out of a tiny, very young woman.

As always, I enjoyed her very clear instruction and the way that she helps you to understand the asana from the inside out. Kino is just an amazing teacher, and I can’t wait to do more workshops in the future with her!

Another surprising thing about this workshop: I didn’t spend most of it body-checking everyone and obsessing about whether or not I was the fattest person in the room or not. I was too busy praying to the Dark Gods of Ashtanga, Heavy Metal and Whatever–desperate pleas that I would not embarrass myself and/or not be able to finish! My practice has been non-existent over the last 4 months, and I was dreading the ass kicking that I was sure was going to happen. I felt very proud that I finished, as I have only ever done the full primary three times. It made me realize that fear and my own doubt are my worst enemies in this practice. Kino did, in fact, say to another student, “Why fearing?”. I felt like she really meant it for me!

The benefit of having to move unexpectedly is that I now have a practice space, hell yeah! I practiced this morning, and while it was short and kind of not the greatest—it was practice. It feels good to be back in the AM Ashtanga groove again.

 

 

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