Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I practised at Shala North this morning, the late shift so I was there at 9:30. It was nice to be in a hot, hot, steamy room again! The whole place is hot, not just the Mysore room! While chatting with Owl in the changeroom before practice, I had to dig out my wipe rag to mop away the sweat. I was already dewey!

The room was moderately crowded (at North, this means around 20ish people). I found a spot in the middle back row). There lots of space on either side of my mat so I didn’t feel too crowded. I did my full Primary (no Intermediate, because it’s verboten for me in that room) and had a good, focused practice with minimal futzing and no Space Cadet moments!

I wondered how Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana would play out in this different context. It’s been so stable and solid at home, but I was shifting around so an assistant came and rescued me. I was glad for the help. I have a much deeper experience of that pose with some assistance. I probably need to work a little bit harder there when I’m doing it on my own. Noted.

I received a small adjustment in Marichyasana C, with helpful hints for deepening the posture.

For backbending, I just did my ‘thing’. I did my three warm up Urdhva Dhanurasana, then got up to work on my very mediocre dropbacks. Actually, I didn’t overthink them at all, just did them. As I was preparing for the third, it occurred to me that this is the first time I’ve ever dropped back in an actual Mysore room (I wasn’t doing my dropbacks at Shala Central). That’s kind of ironic.

DR wasn’t there (and there was no futon to drop back against), so I skipped the standing-up part and just finished.

I received a fabulous post-backbending Paschimo squish, rare in my world. :-) As always, the assistants at North were terrific. Thanks for your help, guys! :-)

I held Sirsasana for 40 breaths. I *think* that’s about 3 minutes. It certainly felt like it!

My gimpy hamstring felt fine throughout the practice. My hips are feeling particularly tight this week, though. I mostly notice this when I’m *not* practising. My quads are very sore. It was glad to have a one-day holiday from Intermediate to allow some of that to pass.


After practice, I hopped in Owl’s car and we drove a few blocks south to feed at my favourite Indian buffet. Delicious!

It goes without saying: Owl has a lovely practice (glimpsing her beautiful vinyasas has inspired me to get back to work on those lift-ups, now that the tweaky shoulder is feeling better).

But you should see this woman DRIVE! Holy!!!!

She developed her madskillz-behind-the-wheel in Los Angeles and she *owns* the road. She’s so decisive, all the drivers around her look tentative by comparison! I’m not accustomed to seeing someone new to my city navigate it so confidently.

As she whipped the car in a quick uey to grab a parking spot, I could almost see the thought bubble floating around the driver in front of us: “WHOA! I’m not messing with HER!”

On a more serious note, we had a lovely visit - it really made my week! It’s always fun to sit around and geek out over Astanga with someone who is so passionate about the practice. I enjoyed our conversation so much and I’m feeling all optimistic and inspired about my Intermediate again. Owl has that effect on people. Hang out with her for a few hours and suddenly you’re all “Astanga is AWESOME!”.

This was *exactly* what I needed to feel connected to the community and confident about the direction of my practice. Thanks, Owl!

I’m hopeful we’ll see a lot more of her up in these parts, now that she’s only five hours away by car (that’s probably 7 hours for the rest of us; Owl levitates in an automobile!).


(0v0) said...

Um, actually, I clocked the door-to-door from ACYT to my place last night, and it was more like 4:45. :-)

As for ashtanga being AWESOME, haha!!! What are you talking about, Kai??? YOU are the one who filled me with the vibe of your love for practice. Your no-nonsense commitment to your own practice coupled with the intelligence and idealism of your teaching practice.

Thank you so much for making the time for the indulgent sleep in and doubly indulgent (in a literal sense) lunch! Back to the 5 am wake-up today... would have been painful except I just spent the last two days on the best ashtanga vacation ever.

Thanks for making me feel so at home. Ann Arbor already has seven sister cities (we seem to be obsessed), but Toronto is definitely our new ashtanga sister city. I will send more folks your way and be back as soon as possible. What a gorgeous city and incredibly beautiful, disciplined, open, balanced people. Just wow.


susananda said...

OMG!! This is so exciting. Note for both your diaries, I'll be nearby with my Mom from 30 Dec to 11 Jan, and I am DETERMINED to get to a shala this time! I've never been to an ashtanga shala in Canada, so weird. I really hope you'll be around, Kai, and Owl, if it happens to fit in with one of your intended revisits, ummm... awesome...

Glad you both enjoyed it so much. xxx

Kaivalya said...

From now on, consider Toronto your second home! You're always welcome up here when you need to get a 'city fix'. Come back and see us soon! I miss you already!!!

Wow!!! That *would* be amazing. I'm definitely in town during that period and it would be so much fun to hang out with you! If Owl could come up too, doubly awesome. We'll do a blogger take-over of Shala North, then go stuff ourselves with Indian food. :-)

(0v0) said...

Susan, if my Jan-Mar goes as it seems headed, you and I could be ships passing in the night in Toronto, London and India. But with a little flexibility and wits, it should not be too difficult to connect in one or more of those locations. In particular, we three would all amuse ourselves silly in Canada.....


(0v0) said...

@Kai... right on.