Sunday, May 18, 2008

Up To Me

Suddenly summer came, without warning or preparation. I slept with the doors and windows open, legs and arms flung to the four corners of the bed. The season hangs above the foothills with deliberation; in the evening the sunset spills across the sky like paint. Every thing and every one seems to be moving closer to the ground with the heat, slower and quieter. There have been a few mountain lions wandering down towards town, one in the alley at 1 in the afternoon across the street from where I'm living. I can't help but feel as though I'm trespassing when I'm hiking, or biking home late at night, thinking of what might be watching me. There is a secret excitement about knowing we are still challenged on the food chain.

I've moved into the apartment above Alice and Bill's house and am feeling out a new routine of early mornings with the boys, late afternoons with the girls and in between practicing yoga and working at the studio. Reading a few books in the transitions, some good and others great (E.B. White essays and Joan Halifax's The Fruitful Darkness), and trying to find my writing voice again. Having the space to live in and call my own for the next few weeks is wonderful. I feel so welcome in their home, and knowing I am needed and wanted there is wonderful, too.

(i've been listening to tons of bob dylan lately, and certain songs i've never really liked have suddenly endeared themselves to me, "up to me" being one, which is where i got the subject for this post.)

I've been taking few yoga classes this week, and when I do take them they feel juicy and delicious. I took HPF with Trista a few days ago, and it was almost perfect. Sweet, strong, moving. She reminded us throughout the class to come back to our breath. She said a few times if we didn't have that deep, cleansing breath in our postures we were missing the point.

I confessed to Richii Jai Jai this morning my fear of going upside down in class. I felt teary just saying it to him. I think of you when I don't want to come to yoga, I said, I think of all the things you'd say to me. I meant this to be a little funny, to poke fun at his exaggerated eye rolls and sugary energy, but instead he stopped what he was doing on the computer, made me stop what I was doing on mine and flipped me over upside down on the couch. We talked like that for a few minutes, the tops of our heads on the floor and legs crisscrossed on the back of the couch. Forget what the studio wants you to do, he told me. Just do what you want.

It seems so stupid when I try to write about it now, like I don't know who I am or what I'm doing. Mostly I don't, mostly I do. Working at the studio seems to have added this extra pressure to my yoga practice that sometimes I like (when I push myself to find new postures like peacock)and sometimes I don't like (the gym-like mentality of needing to 'work-out'). There is a strong possibility I'm just as sensitive and soft as I was as a little girl, that my constitution is something slower and subtler than the yoga I'm practicing. I love the yoga I am doing now--I just don't know how to make it my own.

The thing about the work-out stuff at CP is that I like myself the way I am. I don't come to yoga to re-shape my body or whip into something lean and mean. I feel a little inadequate at the studio sometimes, I worry someone will catch on my resistance. Of course my body responds to what I ask of it during class with increasing strength and I can't help but admire the results. On a superficial level I love it, I love it. My confidence feels bought, though; insured somehow. Like, as long as you're in this studio, you're okay. Like we whisper to one another with enthusiasm on the way to class Let's Get Our Yoga On! And when I miss class for a few days I feel it i my body, and my brain responds in an ugly, demanding way. I'm missing yoga, I'm losing muscle, I need my work-out everyday, so on and so on. And then the same question shows up: Do I practice yoga because I love myself, or because I hope one day I will?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tout Doucement

Back from Santa Fe tonight with a tan on my face and a horse shoe in my bag. Tonight marks the first night of my summer adventures away from the blue house. Only a few more weeks before California and the yoga team reunion at Lulubandha's.

In Santa Fe I took a Bikram class at the College of India. Lots of egos balancing atop a stinky brown carpet in a poorly lit room. I was practicing between two teachers at the studio, and their practices were distracting and disheartening. I don't know that much about it, but it seemed as though the class was more concerned with looks/ego than things like, I don't know, safety and reason.

Here's something: I don't really understand the "lock your knee" thing. The woman teaching kept yelling that, "lock your knee, lock your knee, last chance to LOCK your KNEE!". How does feeling as though your leg is about to snap in half a good thing? I ignored her and worked on shifting my calf muscles the way Laura K. showed me. I don't know how important the knee locking thing is--I don't know that much about it, but it doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Maybe Bikram yoga isn't really for me. I kind of knew this already, but I guess it's good to confirm. I like being free to wiggle my fingers around, or stick my tongue out in the mirror, or hang out in downward dog or child's pose if I want. Maybe this makes me undisciplined. Richii Jai and Cara would say this is 'owning your yoga'.

I have not been owning my yoga. I haven't even been to yoga since I got back from Santa Fe Friday night. Moving out of my house has a lot do with it, but also I just don't want to. I don't know why. I don't feel good, and I'm eating sugary food that makes me feel bad. That same feeling I get when I wake up at 7:50 for an 8:00 class and think well, I've already blown it and roll over to sleep again. I know I should just go. I'll feel better, I always do. Is this normal, this resistance? Part of me hopes the TT will cure this somehow so I'll come back to be like Richii, who just looks at me like so what when I'm tired and who has enough energy at 6am to last 48 hours. Everyone says 90% of something is showing up to it, and if everyone says it, it must be true. How do I get beyond my own stubbornness? I feel like sometimes I'm just waiting to wake up as SuperShinyStarYoginiSarah, even though I'm still afraid of going to intermediate classes, I'm still afraid of going upside down, and I haven't been to a class in four days. Is it laziness, fear, lameness?

It rained and snowed this morning. Things are late this season, not metaphorically but actually. I slept in the apartment above Alice and Bill's house last night, curled into a ball of legs and arms beneath a quilt. I didn't leave the studio until after 10 last night and blamed my exhaustion/laziness on the weather. Listening to the rain made me wish for a moment for my old room and my record player, to dance alone around the apartment listening to Motown records like summers past. It feels uncomfortable at times to be without a home, and in the past few days I've had to remind myself over and over that I can't just go home. It's forcing me to 'show up' to things when I really don't want to, to be with people when I really want to be alone. And sometimes I want to be alone for pretty lame reasons, like I don't like my hair, or I want to watch eighteen episodes of "Heroes" in a row while eating beans from a can. There's nothing that wrong with those things, I suppose, but I've come to rely on them as escapes. A friend and I were talking about relationships the other night, regarding the testiness of others. I said quite breezily Oh I don't think I get testy and two seconds later realized I'm able to say that because there is no one testing me. What is all this crap I'm writing about not wanting to go to yoga? Being as testy and tempermental as a little baby. As Audrey would say, u u u u g g g g g h h h h !