on sunday we didn't practice because we wanted to rest after our dinner party. however, we didn't know it was a moon day on monday. spending three days without practice was not a good idea. practice today was going fine, but at the end my Lower Back Pain (LBP) returned for a visit. yoginis have occasional LH (ladies' holiday); i have occasional LBP. I don't know if my sneaked-in yoginidrasana after bhuja pidasana triggered this.
i want to get the inversion machine, but maybe next year - too many expenses anticipated this year. today R. changed the mysore mat bag to a plastic drawing roll. it looked like a musical instrument case. friday i go to Kuwait.
the table is set with new tableware we bought last week. a table top expanded our capacity to entertain 8 people. i invited my new colleague to meet current and former colleagues, and my family. the whole family helped, cleaning, preparing, cooking. one couple cancelled because the wife of one of them did not like one of the guests. mind you, i had to intuit this. this happened to me once before, although the last time I had to cancel the event because two people did not like one of the guests. if one is going to be a host, it is difficult to keep track of who dislikes whom.
does yoga make you more loving, more compassionate? i don't know, but i feel friendlier and more compassionate this morning. it was just led primary class. the only memorable thing i remember is imagining Guruji telling me, "too much thought. empty your mind of thoughts during practice, so the body can do the practice."
i felt apana rising. somewhere in the core, my uddyana bhanda was lifting my lower diaphragm and allowing me to go a little deeper into each pose. i felt my body being able to get further in poses because there was more space in the body. bla bla. i think only yogis understand these blatherings.
after class a tall Chinese yogi from Brazil started talking about his life. he ended having breakfast at our usual hangout, which allowed for discussion about practice. i told him it's important to be friends, as yogis understand each other. the practice is intense and requires a lot of discipline. it's nice to share about it with someone who understands. fotos by Flow Chan, taken in Antartica.
the most notable thing today is that i woke up without lower back pain. walking around the apartment in the early morning my spine felt erect, free of pain. all the extra practice in the yoga studio of upward bow poses are helping. a business relation sent an insulting email about a delayed payment. the matter was not entirely under my control. it took my usual cheery composure away. i suffer while trying to create something great. i must practice the idea of finding a temple within my body-mind in which to rest.
strong practice today. the body felt lighter, able to lift and jump. badhakosana adjustment was awesome. in assisted urdva danurasana i got the highest ever upward arch, thanks to teacher's instruction and help.
overheard today before class:
"after lunch, sit a while
after dinner, walk a mile
after yoga, feel a little horny" [chuckle]
overheard today after class:
"after yoga my body feels light, strong and energetic."
woke up and sleepily made my way to the shala, along the way leaving my bank card in a machine which i thought was an ATM. it was labeled "personal banking machine" and had the setup of an ATM machine. it was an advice dispensing machine that accepted my card and kept it. that made me lose time, leaving me with less time for yoga. my body felt stronger and lighter during practice compared to before. i started remembering how i used to get into binding poses. yesterday i started identifying the name of the lower back muscles that hurt. it's the deep muscles that connect the legs to the spine and allow us to stand straight. the ones on the left have been bothering me when i wake up in the mornings. the pain goes away with practice and returns at night like a creepy little monsters. after breakfast, i entered the bank. being the first customer, all employees lined up and bowed to greet me. touching, this aspect of Chinese business. the bank attendant recovered my card.
practice today at the shala was a led class. the schedule was adjusted for one week and we did not know this when we arrived last friday morning. i felt a tinge of concern about unexplained closings, my previous teacher having experienced some before. because class today was three hours later than when we woke up, we ate breakfast. I had energy to practice but was unable to bind or twist in poses.
yesterday we went window shopping in an expensive department store in Pudong to checkout tableware. we have committed to hosting two upcoming dinner parties, because we promised to introduce some people. after viewing a range of local and international wares, i selected as a favorite a Chinese brand of tableware in beige color with silver accents. to compare we went to a large Carrefour store and found tableware in similar color with different patterns at half the cost. we opted for the less expensive items.
for some unexplained reason the shala was not open this morning. it's not a moon day, so we were not sure why. we went to a fancier restaurant than the one we usually go to for breakfast and ate a little bit more than we normally do. the weight is coming off ever so slowly. with age, putting on weight is easy, losing it hard, despite that i am carefully recording my eating with the Cronometer program. i'm looking at the calendar for Kino's and Tim's workshop in Shanghai, sponsored by our shala. these days i have to travel 10 days about every six weeks. if i am not traveling at that time, then i may attend the workshop.
in yoga while some of us are digging for clams, others soar like eagles and levitate.
i did about 23 upward bow motions today - focusing on aligning the arms close to each other as possible. i started with 5 bridges (some with one leg up at a time variations), 3 upward bows with the head resting on the floor and pushing the legs, 3 upward bows lifting upwards for three breaths, 3 regular upward bows with five breaths count, 3 upward bows against the wall with two blocks under each hand, 6 upward bows assisted by the teacher. during the assisted i placed my hands around his ankles and lifted upwards. after five breathds he would move farther away from me and instructed me to engage the legs, lift the sternum, lift the shoulders above the hands. now after practice i can feel my quadriceps every time my body engages them.
today following Teacher's instructions, at practice closing poses I did five bridge poses and extra practices of urdva danurasana, with emphasis on keeping the arms together and engaging the leg quadriceps. there was a lot of attention to alignment and bringing the shoulders high and above the head. i may have been doing UD badly, contributing to back pain. now i my lower back feels comfortable. lately when waking up my lower back has felt sore, at a deep level within the muscle tissues.
started practice with my left lower back sore, something that recently happens. now after practice i feel comfortable. teacher says i should concentrate for the time being on Primary and he'll get me to Second eventually. i agree. however, i explained that the chest opening asanas of Second help me. i have a lot of lower back pain from sitting too long daily lurched forward. so he instructed me to do bridge five times and plans to give me some gentle dropback practices.
my new desktop computer at home has a wireless router that lets the laptop connect to the computer wirelessly through wifi, reading and writing files. that is amazing.
meanwhile, at a museum recreating ancient houses from Xian...
Practiced from primary series to kapotasana in second series today. There was someone in front of me that reminded me that getting into marichyasana D should not be such drama, as he got into the pose without straining. I had the same feeling when from the corner of my eye noticed another practitioner coming to standing from urdva danurasana, and going to the floor in dropbacks. I feel there is an abyss down there when my chest opening back. Lunch of vegetables and rice at the restaurant across the street from the shala looked like like a work of art. The practice made me feel strong and wanting to hug the world. R. questioned whether wanting to hug the world meant I had desire for sex. i don't think so. practicing yoga sometimes leaves you with a calm feeling that makes you look at beauty in people.
we did led class today. ohm. did i mention i love the heated floor in the shala? i would like a floor like it in my home in Shanghai. the temperature is so even and warm. you want to do more yoga when you want to kiss the floor. OK, maybe that's a little strange thought. weight seems to be slowly adjusting downwards, which is good.
i like my expression in this photo taken in Ooty. the shirt collar would have to be photoshopped to be correct.
the shala has heated floor boards, making it nice to practice on. we got in early today, leaving the house 15 minutes earlier. it gave me time to practice from primary series to laghuvajrasana in second series. at that point teacher tapped me on the shoulder and said, "no need to kill yourself today. take it one step at a time." doing the second series poses felt good. today he helped me bind in Marichyasana C. I'm slowly getting my binding back. losing weight needs to happen also for binding. a lot of steps to climb once more.
i've been calm towards some people, crabby to others. so strange. i retraced all my steps of yesterday and still no sight of my lost keys. the event is so strange; it feels i could have placed them in the freezer and not noticed, as if i was sleepwalking preparing to go to the shala yesterday. maybe i placed the keys and the gloves in the coat pocket and when taking out the gloves in the bus ride home the keys fell off. i may not have noticed the clanging noise keys make when falling because of the movement of the bus. then again, the keys may be in the house, fallen somewhere, like for example the freezer.
my sweet mom preparing appetizers during Christmas.
i've been practicing primary series intensely this week. my lower back is sore. i hope it does not become debilitating, which was why i needed to do second series more often before. i have a lot of energy and peaceful mind, but also feel ding-batty today. lost my house keys in the process of moving from house to shala to get to practice early. i bought the key chain 18 years ago, so it's not like i lose keys often. strange occurrence. i noticed two people practicing second series in the shala today and can't wait to be able to do it again soon. there was a time a monkey bit me while hiking in a holy Buddhist mountain.
nice intense practice of primary at Red Door today. R. is not so familiar with the series, so Teacher thought of making him learn proper breath count coordinated with movement. consequently he didn't do more than standing poses. below a pose from another time, another place...
amazing how much more awake i feel. Teacher helped me to get into a deeper supta kurmasana. felt almost like old times. below is B.B. with our host S. while we were in Mysore.
i noticed today that Red Door Yoga's door is not red, but brown. maybe it was red at a previous location. this is an earthshaking revelation.
today we went to Red Door Yoga and practiced Mysore style with Rob Lucas. the room was packed. it's the only shala offering this style presently in the city. i heard Kino is coming in a few months for a workshop. my practice was good, although now my body is fatter. i have to remember my CRON to put my body back in shape. we met B.B. who was practicing in the room. we met her in Mysore a few weeks ago. she is a student and teacher in the shala. soon i have to travel again.
we've had a busy set of days working every weekend. with deadlines being met, at home we are finding some time to practice yoga again in the morning, at least one hour. on the days we don't practice i experience a lot of lower back pain. this weekend we have time off.
I'm an architect, originally from Puerto Rico, living and working in Shanghai, China. I practice ashtanga yoga and Buddhist meditation. I also observe calorie restriction while seeking optimal nutrition (CRON).