Tuesday, October 5, 2010

It's ALL Practice!

I have been told by my Yoga-Practice-Angel, aka Fran, to stop obsessing about all the other million and one things in my life and get back to obsessing about Ashtanga (see her comment from previous post.)


Thanks, Fran! Sometimes we all just need a good kick up the butts. Right? Consider this butt kicked. :)

It's been said many times before that any kind of injury teaches us humility on our mats. It's so true in this case. My busted foot is by no means a yoga injury, but trying to keep up some kind of asana practice has been INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT.

Even getting through any of the seated poses has been awkward. Any time my left foot is moved beyond a certain angle, the muscle where my arch is hurts to high heaven. Easy poses like Janu Sirsasana A become incredibly painful on the foot. Like... SERIOUSLY?! So I end up doing more poses on the right side than on the left... And then end up feeling lopsided and thinking "This can't be good for me." Right?

I feel like a fish out of water without being able to do my regular practice. It's a good reminder to just BLOODY JOYFULLY SURRENDER to where my body is at right now. I feel like such a cop-out, especially after recently getting back into the swing of practice again in London and thinking "I'm NEVER gonna stop practicing again!"

Moral of the story: NEVER say NEVER.


I can still hear my Physio tut-tutting me about not resting my foot enough. I thought finally getting a bike and being mobile again would take some pressure off this foot. As it turns out, I realize now I stop and push off on the bike with my left foot. So any time I come to a stop, the foot goes BAM! on the road and I feel a shock up my arch. Oh shit. (I tried doing it in reverse, pushing off and stopping with the right foot. BUT. My body just doesn't get it. Have you ever tried putting on a shirt the other way around - putting in the arm you DON'T usually put in first? It's a total mindfuck and even after the shirt is on, something feels off-kilter.)

The Universe is obviously making me rethink my situation and circumstances... And the more I think about it, the more it feels like maybe it's making me think about the attachment to practice. I fully believe attachment to practice is GOOD. Sharath said so too during his conference in Sydney. (Sorry, I hate to use the "Sharath said so" phrase too, but look at me using it!!)

A few times in the past week, when the asana practice has become either too physically laboured on the foot or just too much of a mental distraction (I find myself thinking "when will this bloody foot get better?!" then lose focus on breath/ bandhas/ drishti)... I've just stopped completely and moved into a Pranayama practice. Just a simple 10 minute exercise of sitting with only the Ujjayi breath for 10 counts on the inhale and exhale, then moving into Kumbhakas (breath retention) after the inhales/exhales... has made such a BIG difference to my frame of mind.

Maybe it's the Ujjayi breath, but it seems to be able to recharge me much more than my asana practice has in the past couple of weeks. So... it's not quite Pattabhi Jois' Ashtanga Yoga, but I'm practicing a different limb of ashtanga yoga - not the asanas, but the pranayamas. Who cares?! It makes a difference to how I feel, so I'll take what I can get.

I still can't stop that niggling sobbing (no, WAILING) in the back of my mind... MY DROPBACKS!! MY STANDING UP FROM DROPBACKS!!! I just got those back and I'm back to "square one" AGAIN?!? Holyfuckingshitthissucks.

Sorry, bad lady. I'm only human.

The GOOD NEWS is... Today, I emailed KPJAYI coz I still hadn't heard back from them about my application. I sent them a scan of my application form and they replied the same day and said OK, I'm in. (Er... why do they make you snail-mail the application then?!)


I've booked my flight already. ON IT!

Now sorting out this vedic studies visa thingamajig. I'm still in the midst of figuring it out, since I'm not a Dutch local here and things get a little more complicated. I actually have to make a train ride out to The Hague where the Embassy is to personally make the application. Another adventure.

Once I've figured it out, I will definitely post step-by-step info on what YOU need to do to get your ass to Mysore. Everyone seems to be a bit confused by this new yoga student/ vedic studies visa regulation now. So when I know what to do, SO WILL YOU! :)

OK... So now starts the next mild panic of "getting my practice back to where it was" before I get to Mysore. It's been 8 months and I'm still stuck at Laghuvajrasana (moving countries and turning my life upside down might figure into that but I can't see past that now.) Holyfuckingshitthissucks. I am convinced I will be stopped at Supta Kurmasana coz I've completely lost that bind. Then the other voice in my head keeps saying "SO WHAT EVEN IF YOU GET STOPPED AT... AT... NAVASANA?!? SO WHAT?!?!??????"

Trying to joyfully surrender to this process and stop playing mind games with myself. Holyfuckingshitthissucks.

I apologize for all the swearing today.

*End of today's yoga obsession*

On to my next obsession: Finding the perfect wicker basket for the bicycle.
Here's your reminder of what it looks like:


(I'm leaning towards this. But maintaining the all-white look will be a bee-atch!)

Or this?


  1. oh gosh, Jaime, I deeply hope I was your muse, and not merely a selfish nag!
    Speaking as an Ashtangi who suffered a loooong injury (the meniscus that wouldn't heal - but that's another story), and with the caveat that of course every person, every practice, every teacher is different, I would share that two of the most senior Ashtanga teachers in the world told me the same thing when I was injured: practice through it, even modify, but don't do anything that hurts. And I was lucky enough to have one of them help me develop a modified practice that supported me. I would also add that as frustrating as it was, it shifted my focus in very positive ways, it helped me come to a better understanding of what practice is, it deepened my commitment and appreciation, and yes, it helped me, like or not, learn non-attachment. It strengthened my practice by shifting my focus to aspects that I wouldn't normally notice or pay attention to, and forcing me to develop in ways I might otherwise ignore, given a choice.
    So I guess I'm saying 1. take hope! all is *stlll* coming 2. maybe get some help from a qualified teacher? and 3. don't do anything that hurts!

  2. Hey Fran, you're BOTH! And it WORKS! HAHAHA! (I mean that in every positive sense). And right after that post, I had a shower, got into my PJs, and did a half hour practice at 11pm. HAHA! Just the Surya As, tried Trikonasana again and pleased my left foot doesn't hurt *as much* (I should probably still back off and NOT do it!)... then Paschimottanasana and lots of hip openers - pigeon variations. Then did more pranayama and a very short Vipassana meditation.

    I feel so much happier for having done that. So for that... THANK YOU!

    Tomorrow morning, I am getting back on my mat and doing a modified practice, like you suggest (my few attempts at it just ended in frustration). I just don't know when to pull back coz as you can guess with me: it's all or nothing! It's completely switching gears in my head, like you say.

    Thank you, wise Fran! xxx

  3. Don't you fret, I will have the lamest practice in Mysore this winter as I'm certain they will be stopping me at Marichyasana A. I don't care! OK, maybe I care a little, LOL. I'm just hoping my hamstring heals before then. That's all I ask for.

    The application process seemed confusing before I did it. Now I realize, you just do it twice. Weird.

  4. The first time I applied (for when I was meant to be there now)... I hadn't contacted them, but they emailed me about a week after I posted my form to say they had received it and I had been accepted. I guess... My friend who's there now says 2 of her friends were caught out by the snail-mail system coz by the time they thought to email to check (and their forms never arrived by post)... It was too late and the shala was full. Bummer!

  5. That was my biggest fear, that there would be no room by the time I got my stuff straightened out.


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