Monday, July 17, 2006

This is the bendiest person ever.

This looks like it comes from some eastern european place, or maybe that's misleading but anyway - how hypnotic is that shit! She is obviously pretty young still - early to mid teens I suppose - so she must have basically been born like that and kept it up from a young age. The mind boggles. I wonder if she has any aches and pains.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

pet yoga cat

Earlier I was thinking of the first place I tried yoga - a so called 'power yoga' studio in Christchurch, NZ. This is a little misleading beacause those guys still rank for as some of the best teachers of ashtanga I have had and they had a great class, always busy, really informative and inspiring. After a few weeks of being there I noticed a little cat wondering around the room as we all practised - about 40 people were there. It was hilarious, a really cute ginger kitten, which bounded around and while everyone took rest you might feel a light tickle as it's whiskers brushed the souls of your feet. And the name of this kitten? Gerald the Yoga Cat.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

warm winter

I went for the third acup treatment today and things are going nicely so will leave it until after the weekend for another follow up. Now getting heat to the site too which feels pretty good.

Today is a day when I normally go to practice with other people and a teacher. I feel like a change of teacher though and will perhaps go to a class run by LT, whose sessions I attended when I first arrived here at the start of 2005. She has a great practice and is a lovely woman with a very attractive approach to teaching.

Having very little to do these days, other than self imposed tasks, leaves a huge amount of time to do very little. Today I got divorced officially, it has been two years and a month since we separated and we sorted out the paperwork so the order came through today. Feels good to have totally moved on and through that whole experience. Talk about adjusting one's expectations of life and bringing awareness to where those expectations came from - the whole relationship, marriage and breakup has encompassed a huge transformation of me as a person and my view of the world and what I'm doing here. From what I want to eat and drink, to where I want to live and who with, to how I treat my body and my mind day to day things have moved on apace from London, banking July 1999 which is when we first met. Best of all, what I like about what I'm doing now and for the next few months is that I am leaving expectations and judgement to one side as much as possible. They can lead to a lot of problems. Equally, counting one's blessings, which for me include being single, healthy and happy with no responsibilities and just a little cash in the bank, are a good way to appreciate whatever may be happening around me. There is no doubt that Ashtanga has been a big factor in allowing this to occur by creating a pathway for acceptance of life as it is, and myself as I am.

This is what happens sometimes when you give yourself nothing to do. What then of my projects mentioned earlier - things like the business plan and vlogging? I still love the business plan and it is in reasonable shape. I don't have a huge motivation to engage with it at the moment. If it still looks good when I get back from Indyah then I will examine doing it wholeheartedly. There is lots of stuff there for me about taking on responsibility, coping with high levels of demand on my time and energy and also being committed to living and staying in one place for a period of time. I've put those ideas up for examination and they are around. Vlogging - it's pretty expensive to buy a camera, although it would be fun but I have to say that, having looked at a few recently, I think that blogs are just fine and can be resonant and absorbing without moving images as long as they are well written and display elements of reflection and observation. So, this will remain a blog.

This winter is turning out to be the easiest since I came to NZ. Houses here are jolly badly constructed, often with no insulation, double glazing or heating and it gets very cold and damp for several months of the year. However, the place I am living in now is insulated and easy to heat so for the first time ever I am warm and cosy for winter - which makes a huge difference to one's state of mind. Previous winters have been a shock to the system and a constant battle to stay warm. Like having to go to bed with fleece bottoms, tops and hats on then waking up in the morning and finding ice on the inside of the window - like living in a tent. No joke I can assure you.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Knees. The left one is responding very well to the treatments meted out thus far. These are - acupuncture, twice in two days, lots of arnica, ice packs (until tomorrow when it wil be heat) and being careful. Yesterday had perhaps 20% articulation of the joint, today is back to 60-70%. This feels therefore like a strain, not a tear. Remaining cautious though as there is still slight swelling and some pain if I move it too much and without awareness of the joint. Hmmm. I have joined and so this blog should be visibile there shortly.

Monday, July 10, 2006

divine moments

The John Scott 'Ashtanga Yoga from the Heart' weekend has turned out for some to include glimpses of the divine - not for me though I have to say that not one teacher I have yet come across has managed to communicate so effectively, in practice, at the time of practice, the deep spiritual and emotional nature of the practice of ashtanga that sometimes makes itself felt. Over 5 two hour sessions we had a good mixture of physical practice and talk, mostly on the subject of grounding, rooting from the ground to the sky, allowing prana to flow and carry the practice. During these moments some students will feel powerful forces and emotions shifting within then. My friend JS said that as he was talking, John Scott passed her and touched her head. She thought he had put some substance on her crown because she suddenly breathed in the rich scent of a tropical bloom - perhaps a lotus flower. A glimpse of the divine. Like the penny dropping. There is something more.

At the end of the final session, as we were doing baddha padmasana, Lucy Scott came over and assisted me with the best way for me to get into the lotus position - the old hips and knees are pretty tight, but they are opening. As she was assisting, my left knee gave a pretty decent pop. That was the end of practice for me. She did a bit of craniosacral while I took rest and this morning it was stiff, sore and pretty immobile. It seemed to fit just right the way this has happened, right at the end of the workshop, just so the ever so lovely Lucy could give me some much needed yogic attention.

Anyway, enough of yogic yoga teacher crushes. This morning I went to get some acupuncture, much needed - some very sore sites mid way down the outside calf - and it appears I may have slightly torn the lateral collateral ligament. Need a week or so to see if it's torn or just badly strained but it has been niggling for many months. This is definitely going to slow things down. I took a whole week off a couple back because I could feel the knees were taking a bit too much strain, but it wasn't enough so now there is an injury. Ice for a couple of days to reduce potential swelling, then probably heat as well as some intensive acupuncture, this is the recipe. Was inspired by John Scott's recounting of his practices in the early days of being a father - sleep deprived, but getting up at 5am anyway to practice, getting to the mat and saying the opening chant then simply lying down and resting. That was his lot. Today I did 3 very careful Suryanamaskara A, then examined possible standing asana to find that none were going to work so sat and did one side of Janu sirsana A and that was it. Could be more of the same for a little while.

I am definitely getting better at tking this kind of event in my stride. For example, if I were working now then there is no way I could go in to anything other than the most undemanding things (at least in a job where physical mobility was important a it was in the world of winemaking). When I had my wisdom teeth out in January it took me 3 weeks to get my practice back to the same stage of physical fitness and suppleness as it had been at prior to the op. It freaked me out a little at the time, and I worried that I somehow might not make it to where I 'had been'. When I had the 'week off' lately I really felt it when coming back to practice. The aching arms by the end of Surya Ns was a telltale sign. This was nearly a thing of the past. But these things are false markers. Some people probably never get past the standing sequence, there's the whole of my life to work on what comes next. I'll get as far into the sequences as I get, there's nothing I can do about that. An injury is the best reminder of this. Definitely Kapha with a smidgen of vatta.

Right at the start of the world cup I got given the Italians in a sweepstake. Would have happily swapped them for several other teams. But they just won the world cup on penalties. $40 to me.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

I have managed to watch about half of the total matches played in the world cup - my best ever performance. Which is more than can be said about the England team. This partly accounts for the lack of posting.

Moments to savour - for me personally, the second Argentina goal against Serbia, which must be one of the top all time world cup goals, was a real lifetime sporting high. I was watching the match on my own at a friend's house and was going absolutely potty each time the Argies scored. They were a true joy to watch. Art. Exquisite. Ahhh, who ever would have thought I might get quite so enthusiastic about football. That's what the world cup is for.

It has also proved a handy foil to having lots of spare time. Although my business plan has been progressing, my motivation has been wavering. Not so much for the idea, which I really think is a good one, but more about the whole Hawkes Bay thing. It ain't for the long term I have realised. But how long is the short term? This remains to be seen. In the meantime, my citizenship application is simmering, and I have now jumped through the last hoop under my control by sending in all papers I could find which demonstrate that NZ is my 'permanent base'. Hopefully they will make a decision before I go to India.

On the yogs front, had a whole week off the other day. Just felt like the knees were taking a bashing and needed a rest. So, now back to it. Shoulders have tightened, hips still opening nicely. It's amazing how quickly the cardio fitness goes though. Ho hum. Comes back ok too. Still feels like the whole practice is getting neater, more coordinated. One funny thing is that a really competitive side of me keeps nudging into my thoughts during and between practices. That hasn't happened since very early on. Just another example of the phases we go through I suppose.

Its been two years now. Started yoga in June 2004. It is fair to say it has become a focus of life and that it has changed my life too. I don't imagine it will always be this way. As life develops, as my priorities change and motivations shift perhaps ashtanga will be more of a background aspect of life. One day. For now it's right there, front and centre.