Different Light

Since Sunday I have noticed a different light in the shala. Perhaps it is because the hight of luminosity from the summer is leaving us, the light now comes from artificial lights, and it vibrates nicely in environments painted of yellow and orange. The shala glows.

My backbends were great today. Something happened. As Constanza dropped me back I felt something was different. She asked me if I could tell what it was, I couldn't, but she had such a "proud teacher" smile on her face that it must have been that I am bending deeper. Good. I did not clarify much, I prefer to stay with this story. It makes me glow.

The male/female, yin-yang, two sides of forgiveness

I have been repeating a mantra lately, one that just came to me through my work on getting to the real, true, me. It goes: I forgive, I accept, I release.

Many moons ago, in 2005 I attended a workshop in which women were being taught how to self defend in case of an assault. The teacher, an alpha male, was committed to helping women learn how to stop an intrusion, assault, or rape attempt. His heart guided by statistics that show that an enormous number of women are assaulted (and worst), by men every year in every part of the world, including the so called developed country we live in.

At the beginning of this particular class within the workshop, he addressed the women of the room and said: In the name of all males, I would like to apologize to all females for what we have done to you.

At that moment, the majority of the women in the room started to cry, me included. It was deeply healing to hear this man say those sweet words.

3 years later I find myself pondering about the other side of it. Am I willing to forgive the "masculine" energy of the world?.

Yes, we can argue that this energy when not properly canalized is what is taking us into unconscious wars and collapsing our economy in spasms of greed, and I am not suggesting we let it get away with stupidity, but can I start with where we are?. Can I forgive?

Furthermore, can I accept the masculine energy in the men around me, the real ones that I see everyday? can I let them be, well, who they are? while keeping my healthy boundaries around me, can I still know when it is OK to let them in, be who they are, and appreciate them for it, and more, enjoy their company?

Can I accept males as beautiful and whole as they are? and can I let go of my ideas of how they should be?, and can I embrace my fellow men-earth-links.

I am working on it.

On Being Grateful

As I left class today, in a cloud of gratefulness for the practice and how good it makes me feel, Greg offered me a cookie, I cood take it from Ganesh, Shiva or Manju. I went straight for Shiva cause lately I am into doing what scares me.

Then, after I showered and was leaving, I heard him sing the chants, but no students where with him, so he was singing alone. What a statement!, chanting happens with or without students.

I am so grateful to have such a dedicated and amazing teacher as Greg.

Thank you, God.

Conflicted Feelings

Nothing has worked better in my life than my daily Ashtanga practice, and I am completely aware that this is so, because I am me, but this is NOT the case for everyone else.

Since I "married" myself to the practice as I like to say, my body has been re-defined, my mind steadied, and a lot of emotional stuff that had to be dealt with at some point or another has come to the surface, quickly and it full force. I will spear you the tears.

There is no question in my mind that, at least for me, yoga is a spiritual path.

That being said, I just read Bindi' thoughts on her blog post for September 18 (today) http://www.astangayogachicago.blogspot.com/ and I find it interesting, how the practice is such a completely different thing for her, and for the 5 people who commented (so far)

For me the biggest conflicted feelings have to do with the lineage of Ashtanga. I had planned for a long time to go to Mysore for 3 months in March, that is, until I heard that there is a rumor that Sarath plans to quit the shala for 2 years, and that the family may close it.

Since then my plans have been cancelled of course, one does not want to change life when there are rumors that what one wants to do is not to be there.

I wonder about the seriousness of it all, about Sawasatti not being able to authorize people to be teachers, even though she is certified as much as Sarath, and teaches at the shala with as much dedication as Sarath (is it because she is a woman?).

I wonder about the fees, 750 dollars for the first month (this is India). Granted, you could argue that they don't do what Iyengar does (leaves you waiting for two years), and that the high fees curb people's attendance, but I am not sure that really works. The shala is always full.

I wonder about the shala clock that is 15 minutes ahead of "real time", and when they tell you to be there at 8:00 AM, they mean shala time, not real time, and by the way, this is not something they tell you, you kind of figure it out on your own.

As much as I respect Pattabi Jois for having given us this tradition that unquestionably has changed my life, I find myself with conflicted feelings around how the present tyranny.

Friends of mine quit jobs to go to Mysore last February when I was there only to find out that the shala suddenly closed, (with 2 weeks notice), and for a month and a half.

See, a part of me wants to play it nice and just blindly workship the guru and pretend nothing is out of place, but that is not the true, and after all, I am not a nice girl anymore.

Holly Mula Bandha!

On Sunday Greg stared the class by doing the breathing exercise where you bend your body by putting your hands on your knees, and then breath in and hold the breath while pulling in your abdominal muscles so you look really skinny, then hold the breath. All of this of course while tightening the mula bandha...

It was the first time in years that I have done this exercise.

The amazing thing, which made me conceive the title of this post, was what happened afterwards. I "flew" through the practice. I had extra strenght, which made me sweat more, which in turn made me go deeper into the poses. I even binded both hands and legs in kurmasana.

I feel so blessed to have had this realization.

The Fall of Lehman Brothers and ML shifting reality perception

The media all around, ready to report the latest news...

At lunch, as I went to get pictures for the visa request for Thailand I noticed that the picture that is going around the world in the NY Times of the big screens of Lehman Brothers are right across the street from me (pictures).

I was actually able to see first hand from their windows a few fellow humans behind those desks, one of them in particular was just staring out the window. I wondered about what he might be thinking.

It all reminded me of tragic events from the past, I could not but think about the worries that this man might be having, suddenly no job, on a Monday morning.

Perhaps this is why I have felt so tense today, there is, after all, a lot of tension in the same block where I am, and I guess maybe I can feel it.

I admit that I also felt fear today, the collapse of the financial institutions happening all around me scares me as it does to lots of people. The sudden change also shows me so clearly how paper thin is the illusion of security, even among the Wall Street giants that seemed so solid

Saturday Practice

I must be getting to be an advanced student, because I am beginning to hear those strange things that only yogis hear. Cool.

As a suggestion from G, I bathed in castor oil on Saturday, then laid in savasana for 20 minutes before showering with castle soap.

The oil felt hot within me, which, as confirmed by teacher, it probably means it was draining out the impurities. I certainly hope so.

I thought it would smell bad but it did not, it was not bad at all, and as a matter of fact was rather enjoyable. May continue to do as "Saturday practice"

Nice Girl No More

I am reading "The Nice Girl Syndrome", got it from the library yesterday after browsing through its pages at Barnes and Nobles during lunch.

They classify me (or so I gathered), as the "enlightened" type. The one that confuses compassion with stupidity. And I thought I was so clever and that one of my strenghts was exactly that.

I wonder how would life be if I was to be more discriminative when it comes to how I define compassion, who do I give a second chance to and why, and where is it really appropiate to give the other cheek.

The book is at amazon http://www.amazon.com/Nice-Girl-Syndrome-Manipulated-Standing/dp/0470179384/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1220563260&sr=8-1

Insisting on back stories

So, I finally understood that when I drop back I am not supposed to put all the weight on the waist part of the back... that part apparently opens because it has no choice... I mean, you are dropping back so it yields.

What I am supposed to do is open the upper portion of the back... it took me, what? 7 months to get it, good work! at least is not 7 years.

So Greg told me my drop-back was better today. Guess I am a bit of a sucker for encouragement, I really enjoyed hearing the "better" part. It also hurt less which was another plus.

Here is hoping to change the subject soon...