Monday, May 3, 2010

And... Exhale *relief*

I've been getting on my mat nearly every day in the past week and a half while I've been away. Granted, because of my crazy work hours, these were super short sessions ranging from 1 downward dog, to a 15-minute short form incorporating some standing and some seated forward bends, to a 1-hr impromptu session... And I was feeling relatively good about my practice.

Y'know... the feeling of "at least I got on my mat!" And it also felt like I was keeping up some strength and flexibility and not totally losing that altogether.

So imagine my surprise yesterday morning when I got on my mat to finally get a "proper" practice of full Primary going.

I had lost pretty much ALL stamina and could only manage up to half-Primary (I cheated a bit after Navasana and went to Kurmasana and Supta Kurmasana, just to check that I could still bind it, which I could. Phew.)

Wow. Ashtanga is HARD.

That session back on the mat was a big struggle with my Ego. I had to stop myself at the point where I observed this part was tight or that part wasn't so open or how it didn't take much to get me panting... and the struggle was to just leave it at that and to stop myself from feeling dismayed or attached to where my practice had been to where it is now. I know I will get it back, that it is what it is. This week, I will work on getting back my Primary practice. Maybe then I'll see about getting Intermediate back next week.

Interestingly, while the past week was a great challenge and very fulfilling professionally... it's made me stop and wonder what a hit my health has taken.

The stress levels were so immense, that I actually went back to smoking again (Sorry Mum, I'm just being honest.) After quitting for about 4 years, I went back to picking up a cigarette again (I suppose every time I wanted a smoke, I should've just sat down in lotus position and started meditating or doing some Pranayama. But that would possibly have looked a little odd in the middle of a film set).

Old patterns are hard to let go of, I suppose. And I slipped back into it again. I'm glad to say that since I've been back from Barca and recuperating at home, I've not craved a single cigarette nor had one. So I know this reaction is completely work stress-related.

Food-wise, it is impossible to be vegan in Spain. Of the 15 items on the hotel menu (and don't forget we pretty much spent every waking hour there if we weren't on the location set), there was only 1 item I could eat: Nicoise Salad (And even then... with no tuna nor egg, please). So in order to try and have a healthier rotation of lunch and dinner, I'd also throw in a mozzarella & tomato sandwich (so I ate quite a bit of cheese). Or get the stir fried beef noodles with no beef. So on set, I'd just end up eating junk too - chips and cookies. Blech. I ate a lot of junk.

And I suppose this stamina-loss in my practice is probably smoking and bad diet-related too. Every single forward bend I had, my nose got all snotty... Purging all that ick from my system. Feels like it's time to go on another detox fast!

I just have to keep reminding myself that everything goes in cycles. I just have to work my way back to that part of the cycle where I so desperately want to be at now: being strong and fit, mentally and physically.

The one thing I'm looking forward to is being back in London again next week. We'll be editing there for a couple weeks, which means I can finally get back to a shala and be supported by the energy of a group practice. Kelly will also be there for a few days next week, YAY! He'll be there for another memorial for his dad, organized by the London office of where his dad used to work.

Like Hank, I could do with a cuddle now.


  1. Hey Jaime, like you say - all things go in cycles, don't be too hard on yourself.
    Excited to hear you will be back in London for more than a day - if 'a' shala means YP let me know when you'll be around, or if not then we can find a mid-point and still have coffee I hope! xx

  2. Thanks Mel! Yup, I'll be in the Soho area, considerably nearer YP than the last time I was there. Might wanna check out AYL too, but the lack of showers there makes me a bit grossed out. :p My schedule is changing yet again... it may turn out to be 2 trips spread across 2 - 3 weeks. You'll definitely know when I'll be in town, though. Practice and/ or a coffee... you're ON! x

  3. If you shower before practice, it's not that bad (practicing at AYL). I swear! or maybe I've just convinced myself :-)

  4. You should try out the famous AYL sometime if you get a chance, I almost cried when I first walked in there I loved it that much (it just didn't work for me, location & schedule-wise). In my reckoning (having never been to Mysore) it feels as close to the real deal as you could find in London. Like V says, the lack of shower is OK once you get used to it, but maybe not if you have to go straight to work after & are a but of a sweaty betty (like me haha!) But looking forward to seeing you wherever you decide to practice (Susan will be excited too!)

  5. Hamish is awesome. I'll never understand people who don't even give him a chance, but I guess there are plenty of good reasons (same as me being in NYC and not going to Eddie's I suppose).

  6. Roberta rocks too (she does evenings), that's who I was going to. I never got a chance to go to Hamish :(
    (or should I say...yet!) But now I am a Cary devotee anyway!

  7. I love Roberta!!! I've started going to her when I have to do very early morning shifts at work, and she is just fabulous.

  8. You are scaring me. Not to compare my work schedule with the insanity of your time in Barcelona, but I have been working WAY too many hours the past couple of months, and my practice has definitely been more erratic as a result. And the past 4 days I spent in a hotel with no time to practice at all. I got home too late to get on the mat today, so tomorrow I begin getting back on track. I was definitely experiencing the drop in endurance before I left, and have been pretty much inert from 8A-10P the past 4 days, so it is not going to be a pretty re-entry. So - time to re-commit, yes?

    How wonderful that you get some time with Kelly!

  9. OK, that's yet another good thing said about Hamish, so I'll definitely have to check him out some time next week. Thanks, London yogis! :)

    Fran, I think you'll be OK coz you probably weren't smoking and eating junk food too. HAHAHA. Can't wait to hear how your practice went. Go go go! x

  10. OK folks, I've just Google-mapped where we'll be staying next week in relation to where all the shalas are. And guess what? I'll be kinda sorta within walking distance to AYL! Woohoo! So will get best of both worlds - practice AND a shower in my own room without having to jump on the tube in between. :)

  11. No smoking or junk food, but I've got a couple decades on you so it's harder to maintain my strength & endurance against biological imperative. Practice was kind of sloggy, but I did get through full primary. Off to do it again right now.
    You are SO LUCKY to have access to great shalas/teachers!

  12. Go Fran, Go! ...I don't usually have access to great shalas/ teachers here in Amsterdam, so will take the opportunity while I'm in London! xxx

  13. ay, you remind me i need to get my yoga groove again. it's important for me too for grounding. been traveling 8 days and it was nearly impossible to practice. i ate a lot of unusual (for me) food, not my usual diet, so i understand how you feel. good thing i was in remote areas where i had to eat real food and not cookies.

  14. Arturo, cookies are real food! So are cupcakes! ;p x
    (yeah, completely un-vegan, I know!)


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