So I am driving home today. Turning to our small street, I am passing by a pleasant little house with a cozy front yard. In the front yard I can see a little white-haired old woman. Moving with a lot of grace, she is practicing with a sword - a real, big sword. Huh?
Friday, October 19, 2012
Monday, October 15, 2012
It was a long time since I was here. The current state of affairs is not very cheerful - I slightly broke my back in August 2011 (a hairline fracture of a sacral vertebrae). It took forever to heal, and I am not sure it has healed completely yet. Once in a while my back muscles kind of seize up, knotting into tight knots. These knots are painful first, but then they just stay, not really relaxing for a long time. Strong massage inflames them and they become painful again, so it seems not to be a good solution. Acupuncture did not help either. Anyway, this kind of sucks, because I could not really do yoga or much of any other activity for a long time. Result - 25 gained pounds and loss of much of the acquired strength and flexibility. I did do some of the yoga poses, but not much and not regularly. So today I finally did a full primary again. Feel great, but also very sad. My practice took a giant step back, to the level of a beginner. Lost most of my binds, especially in Marichiasana D and supta kurmasana. Twists did not feel good, so I tried not to push too hard. Urdhva Dhanurasana was pitiful, but I did not expect much. Was actually happy I could lift at all. Whew. But forward bends were intact, like nothing happened at all and there was no a year-long hiatus. I think I would have just stopped Ashtanga practice forever, thinking that I would re-start one day and never actually doing it. But what motivates me now is that I signed up for a teacher training and a Mysore week with David Keil in January. Now I need to bring myself into a semblance of a yoga practitioner. I just need to remind myself not to do anything stupid and not to re-injure anything. My doctor suggested also to add some weight training to increase structural stability of my spinal column and to balance the flexibility of the hips. Gold's gym, here I come! :)
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
We spent around 10 hours there. After all kinds of tests, including a CAT scan, MRI, MRA and multiple prodding and poking I was discharged with a diagnosis of TIA - transitory ischemic attack. It did not sound too serious, but after proper googling I found out that TIA is considered to be something like a "mini-stroke", caused by clotting and is a good indicator that a maxi-stroke is coming. Victor asked me then - OK, now what can you change in your lifestyle to make the possibility of a stroke smaller? You really should have kept a couple of vices for a case like that. There is just no way one can lead a healthier lifestyle than you do!
To make a long story short, my current diagnosis is a complex migraine ( which is indefinitely better than TIA). I had migraines my whole life and thought I got rid of them 6 years ago when I went cold turkey on all caffeinated drinks. But apparently migraines stayed, though a pain of a headache was gone. Otherwise it seems that I am ridiculously healthy. My neurologist was shaking her head and bitterly complaining how difficult it was to diagnose a person who did not have a single thing wrong in all the tests performed. So yay, I think. I still need to keep a diary for the neurologist and eventually have to take a some kind of anti-migraine medication, but this is nothing compared to the life of constant expectation of a stroke.
So here. I did not want to write anything before I would know for sure if things are OK or not. Now back to our camels, um, I mean yoga.
First of all David Swenson's workshop this weekend. It was awesome. In addition to being a yogi who can fly, the guy is also a comedian. He was really funny and I think he would make better money working as an entertainer. I did learn a lot, though. One of the things he said got stuck in my head firmly - do your practice at 80% capacity. If you do at a 100% all the time, you will be sore all the time and one day you will push ( or your teacher will) a little harder, go over your 100% and hurt yourself.
Now, after David Swenson's weekend, which left me sore all over (I guess even when you work at 80%, 6 hours of yoga a day is a bit too much), I am doing a week of Mysore with David Keil. First of all - there are too many Davids in my yoga life. Second - ouch! There is just no 80% in David Keil's vocabulary. The first two days went like a blur. Today, my feeling of joy of practice was tinged a little with self-pity when I started doing my urdhva dhanurasanas. Low back was sore since kapotasana, energy level was below zero and I was contemplating weather I could sound pitifully enough to get out without dropbacks. Then David said - Alfia, stop doing backbends, do eka pada shirsasana instead. Gulp. The most difficult part was to keep balance in a forward bend, but still the pose is doable. The exit was far from graceful, but oh well. Anyway, the point is that the bruised and fragile feeling in my lower back was gone! Apparently it just needed this stretch of having a leg behind the neck and all was cured. Wow. From now on, eka pada is my new favorite pose!
Unfortunately, when I am back at my regular Mysore studio, my last pose is still bakasana. I think I will get a split with David Keil faster than I will get eka pada with David Ingalls. That is OK, though. My practice is so long now that I am not really looking forward to making it even longer during my normal practice. Once in a while I will just practice at home, doing just the second series up to the last pose given by David Keil, and it will make me secretly happy
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Anyway, let me tell you about safari we went to on our last day in Florida. We did not have very high expectations for a twenty-dollar trip without a guide (well, we were given a CD as a guide) in the middle of nowhere. But surprisingly, we had a couple of adrenalin rush moments. Go figure!
So we started our trip after a stern admonition not to roll down the window at any moment and not to run down anyone. Saw lots of birds and animals, mostly horned variety:
Passed lions, which was not very exciting, because they were behind an additional fence. Then this creature appeared in front of the car:
Little thing, with crooked horns, who knew it would cause so much trouble? Anyway, it was slowly and calmly walking in front of the car, making us crawl behind. If you look at the picture carefully, you will see rubber bands, stretched in the gates between the zones. So supposedly, they were holding the animals inside. Not very effective, let me tell you. This little creature crossed it in 3 seconds, only jumping up once in panic, when one of rubber bands touched it. Perhaps it was not quite as calm about a huge car behind it, but anyway. It just continued its calm walking in a new zone, which was African planes.
We slowly drove behind, because the stupid thing was walking right in the middle of the road. We saw a herd of zebras far ahead and thought "hey, move faster, we want to see zebras!". Well, in a moment all zebras stopped eating and looked at us kind of scarily. My friend said "One might think they have never seen a car before" and at this moment, all zebras started running towards us. 40 or 60 of them. All at the same time. We stopped the car and tried to remember if our rental car insurance covered trampling by zebras. At the very last moment the herd divided and run on both sides of the car:
Turns out they were not after us, but after the trespasser. The stupid thing was a third of a zebra side, why they felt so threatened? No idea. Anyway, the zebras are now running around in great agitation, and I think the stupid thing escaped into its own zone. At least I hope so.
Let me tell you, this was really scary. Five or six of them piled up on the road, blocking the car. Each of them the same size as the car, if not bigger. All of them turning the head from side to side, which felt very sinister. And the CD guide is droning at the very moment: "please do not stop your car close to the rhinoceros, because they are very aggressive". Having heard that we silently tried to remember if our rental car insurance covered bodily harm. Luckily, one of the safari workers saw our predicament and started unloading his zebra-striped truck with rhino's food. Rhinos thought about it for a moment and decided that having a snack would be merrier than trampling our car and slowly moved toward the food. Phew!
The rest of the trip was not quite as exciting. Just a couple of more pictures:
Cute giraffe:And the ugliest bird on Earth:
Monday, November 8, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Two days in a row of really good practice (knock-knock-knock, spit-spit-spit). I even got bakasana today. Well, did not really get. I was going through my regularly scheduled supta vajrasana suffering and asked David in frustration if I was going to get stuck in this pose forever. I really did not mean to ask for a pose, but he readily gave me bakasana. Since being nice is not really in David's nature, he added that is did not matter if I was going to get stuck in SV or bakasana, because I would get stuck there for sure. Such a typical David! Still love him. :)
I think I did not mention my hip problems here. I got a bursitis of the hip joint due to my sucky jump through. I used to land heavily on the outside of my right foot every time I jumped through, felt the jolt in my hip and thought to myself "oh, this is not good". It really was not good in the end, when the outside bursa inflamed, with pain spreading to the butt and to the knee through the IT band. Massage and acupuncture are slowly making things better. Meanwhile I thought that my jumpback improved, because I no longer felt the jolt in the right hip. But today the realization struck me - I just learned to land not on my right foot, but left one instead! I am listening attentively to my left hip now and planning a weekend marathon reading of Gimmli's archives on learning how to jump back and through.
My new work keeps me just as busy as my old one. For some reason it seems a little more meaningful, so I do not feel drained and unhappy. It would be good to have some time to write and to read blogs, though.