Yoga Vita

Musings on Yoga, Life, and the Yoga Life

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Brrrr. . .

Now that the season has turned, it is DARK and FREEZING (ok, 50 degrees F) when I walk to the studio in the morning.  It’s like someone turned a switch last Monday or so and it was fall.  I love fall, though.  But pretty mush only during the day.  At 6 am (still nighttime, IMO), though, it’s brutal.  You’re in a nice warm bed, with the bedding pulled up to your ears,  snuggling up to your lover who doesn’t have to get up for another hour, and then PING, that high-pitched, nasty alarm clock starts ringing and then you know it’s ALL OVER.  You can pretend it’s not happening, but it is- – PING, PING, PING- – so you might as well roll out of bed into the dark, cold world and get on with it.  Sigh.

Morning really is the best time for yoga though.  Too many things happen during the day that can throw off my practice if I’m trying to practice in the afternoon/evening. So morning it is.



What does it take to blog every day?

Some might say dedication, commitment, etc, but I think in reality it usually comes down to two things: (1) a strong interest in your chosen topic, and (2) a very boring desk job where you can get away with updating your personal blog and passing it off as work.

Hm. I certainly have a strong interest in yoga, but I have a job that seriously keeps me busy. Granted, I’m only working part-time, but as soon as I’m home, I’m usually distracted by other things and sitting down to write seems like an inconvenience. I think the best solution for me is to plan on staying in my office after work every day just to write for a little while. I’m not obligated to work, and there’s not much to distract me as long as no one’s around. Perfect.

P.S.  Any other ideas?


Yoga + Capitalism = ???

The September intensive I was scheduled to to teach has been canceled due to lack of enrollment. Pooh. This will provide me with more time to sleep, but damn, I was looking forward to teaching. But then again, another morning intensive is scheduled for October, so I may soon have another opportunity, if people SIGN UP. In the meantime, I’ll be helping out with more studio publicity and general sprucing up of things, so hopefully we’ll see a better turnout in the future.

But all this gets me thinking.   Blabbing follows. . .

It’s kinda hard to get new students at a studio these days.  Although there seems to be more general interest in yoga, there are a TON more studios. I’m not necessarily complaining- – I like the increased accessibility of yoga, and a bit of competition challenges studios to provide what students are looking for. But the negative side to capitalistic competition in the yoga world is that the things students are usually looking for, at least many new ones, are not necessarily. . . well, GOOD things. They want a yoga butt, or they want to just space out for an hour and a half, or they want to pick up fit dates, or they want to appear trendy/glamorous/whatever, or they want teachers who will massage their egos, or they want CardioYogaBootyTango with wrist weights, or whatever. So studios get all wrapped up in being trendy, offering singles classes, developing some kind of cutesy gimmick, and otherwise catering to yoga-consumers’ shallow desires instead of offering authentic yoga.

Studios that offer authentic yoga and that really focus on quality teaching just don’t have the gimmicks that draw people in, by their very nature. So most people end up at least starting at studios that offer really watered-down forms of yoga, or programs you could hardly even call yoga at all.  And lots of people get stuck there or quit.

Honestly, don’t really know what to make of all this.  I mean, is it really so bad if people are practicing TangoBootyYogaMix or Yogalates or whatever-the-hell and thinking they’re doing yoga?  I mean really.  Does that threaten my practice?  (It may threaten my self-image a little, but you know, vairagya and all that.)  And if people want their little after-work spa retreat foot-rub thing going on at their yoga studio, shouldn’t they be able to enjoy that?

Perhaps what it comes down to is that the market for yoga is actually just as small as it’s ever been.  Most people just want a back rub, some scented candles, a glowing ego, and a hot date.   Fine.  It would just be nice if there were a clear way to determine where to find quality, authentic yoga instruction.  But that’s such a nuanced thing, I’m not sure if it can be clear-cut.  Maybe we all just have to wade through the muck and figure it out ourselves.


The Magic Dropback Tool

Two-inch thick ugly, plasticky 1×1 1/2 foot foam pads. I have no idea what they’re normally supposed to be used for, but they’re amazing. Take a stack of them (I like to start with 4) and stack them on the floor up next to a wall. Stand facing away from the wall at a distance that will allow you to drop your hands back squarely onto the stack of plasticky foamy things without either hitting the wall or missing your target and landing onto the floor whilst smashing your face on the scratchy foam pads (as I gracefully demonstrated the other day). Bend back, place hands on pads. Stand up. Ta-daa! Magic! When you can do this with relative ease, take one mat away and repeat.

For some reason, I need to start with 3 or 4 pads, but then I can easily go down to 1 after I’ve warmed up a bit. Yet, mysteriously, when I have no pad at all, I tend to crash-land. In fact, I pretty much only crash-land. Those 2 inches are critical for me- – physically or psychologically, I do not know. At any rate, I love the pads, because I can practice dropbacks without assistance, which makes me feel accomplished. And then I practice dropbacks with assistance, because hey, it’s fun, and then I carry on with closing and feel GREAT. Because at this point I’ve done about a million and a half backbends and my nervous system is all jazzed up and and happy. Woo!

I’ll be bouncing off the walls when (if) I get to second series.


How to get up at 5 am?

Starting next week, I’ll be teaching a beginners intensive series which meets at 6 am (SIX AY EM!) Monday-Friday. Dear god. Not only to I have to be awake by 6 am, I have to be lucid that early. Lucid and articulate, even.  That means I have to get up at 5-ish to pull myself together enough to teach at 6.

Now, the thing is I don’t mind getting up early- – I even consider myself something of a morning person. But I’ve become very strongly accustomed to my routine of waking up at 6:30, stumbling out the door to start practice at the shala at 7:00, coming home to have breakfast and coffee at 9:00 or so, and not talking to anyone until that time. I enjoy my nice, quiet mornings.  No major interpersonal interactions until after the caffeine kicks in.

I’ve been setting the alarm to wake me at 6 sharp, so I can start to adjust, and I end up sleeping even longer than usual!  I am so exasperating to myself.  Well, Monday morning will be do-or-die, so I’m sure to get up on time then.  And then I’ll start adjusting.  So what if my students think I’m cranky and weird for a little while?  They wouldn’t be so far off. . .

P.S.  Sorry for not writing, Z.  It’s just that nothing interesting happened for two weeks.  Plus I was putting off reflecting upon my teacher training.  Then I just decided not to reflect and instead write about what I want to write about, which I like much better.