Monday, June 30, 2008

Brand new week

The Internet access in my house was intermittent at best this weekend, so I gave up on it completely. As a result, I was incredibly productive and accomplished a lot, which made me feel really good. Is it possible that the Internet is the source of all evil after all?

On Saturday, I went to see an acupuncturist. She was a very pleasant woman, young looking, with some yoga experience in the past. She was taking my pulse a lot, and inserted two kinds of needles into my back - the regular ones and the "cones", which she heated up with an open fire. I have not realised how very hot these needles were until she first cooled down one of them by putting it in water ( the hissing sound clued me in) and then dropping one of them on my back (the hissing sound was coming from me this time). Here is a picture. My back is not normally this spotty; she marked it with a marker and the red spots are where the hot needles previously were:

I practiced on Sunday and my shoulder blade was hurting really bad afterwards. But I was glad that I went anyway, because I ascertained that I can lift up from UD, not only after a dropback, but from a static pose as well. Yay! Second, I attended the Q and R session with David, where he talked about breath and bandhas, which was interesting and useful. Third, I found out that one of our Ashtangis professionally practices acupuncture and his office is two blocks away from my house. I wish I knew this earlier! Now I have to let go of the pleasant lady in favor of my fellow ashtangi. I hate doing that!

So my shoulder needs healing. No practice for this week. Luckily, there will be no teaching as well until next Sunday, so I can heal without interruptions. This sucks, of course, but I learned the hard way that my impatience hurts me every time.

This going to be a short and sweet week. Happy Monday!

Friday, June 27, 2008

The week is over! Well, nearly...

Skipped shala again, had a slow and gentle practice at home. Avoided everything that irritated my shoulder blade, which this time also included jumping back, forward and through, and all twists. Sleep was better today, but to compensate for that I had a really bad dream. In this dream, my husband confessed he was in love with another woman and leaving immediately. I woke up sobbing, and realised that I just projected my friend's situation onto myself. Good thing in this nightmare I did not have to deal with a breast cancer scare (which is still not resolved), otherwise I might have not woken up at all.
Yoga nidra progress - I rotated all the way through the right leg! With this speed I will be able to finish the whole practice in a couple of years! :)
Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Practicing patience and yoga nidra

My shoulder blade was very unhappy all day long yesterday and at night too, so I decided to baby it a little and skip the practice today. Though the suspense is killing me! Can I lift up again or not? Can I do it from a static UD? But the quality of my sleep was so poor because of the stabbing pain every turn would bring that I think it was prudent for me to wait a little.
Speaking of sleep. I have a 45 minute Yoga Nidra program on my Ipod that sounds very interesting. From the bits and pieces I caught, they go into deep relaxation and then do weird things, like induce a feeling of cold in the left foot or some such. I am very curious. I tried it five times already and I fall promptly to sleep at the point when the rotation of the consciousness reaches the right elbow. I have a supreme awareness now of all the fingers of my right hand, palm, wrist and the elbow. The rest of the body - not so much. I tried it mostly before bed because it is the only time I have, but obviously it does not work for me. Hopefully, on the weekend I can find time when I am not sleepy and finish the rest of 43 minutes of it.
Peace and happiness!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Turns out it is helpful once in a while to plunge into the depth of despair. It makes the next day all the more better. I woke up today with a stiff neck (slept poorly because of the shoulder blade pain), came to practice without any high expectations. The first several up dogs were excruciatingly painful in my upper back, but I persisted because I am familiar with this pain and know that movement helps. We had a girl from shala subbing for David today (who had a knee surgery on Monday). I was kind of glad I did not have to explain why I am skipping kurmasana and supta kurmasana, because she was a little overwhelmed with the full class and did not keep track of the poses. When I reached setu bandhasana, I hesitated for a moment, and did it anyway. It was not too bad, except for the very last moment of rolling out of the pose, when I had to press into the back on my head. I sat for a moment and almost cried because of the misery of this morning's practice. Did three UD, they actually felt good. Then got up and prepared for the dropbacks. Looked around - the girl was talking to David, who came to observe. So I dropped back on my own, tried to stand up, fell down. OK, I thought, I will try again. I tried and stood up! I did not quite believe what happened, so tried again, and stood up again. Third times - same thing. Yay! Nearly cried again, this time from jubilation. The girl came around and congratulated me on the "graduation from the bench". Lying in savasana, I thought about it and realized that getting up from the dropbacks gives a little additional momentum, which I was missing from the static pose. Which means that I still have to learn how to stand up from UD after 5 breaths, but I think this time it will not take 6 months. I am so excited!
Today is also my son's 21st birthday. My poor baby is all alone in New York, no friends to go to the bar and celebrate the fact that he is legal to drink now (OK, I am not too sorry about that). I still wish he were home so we could celebrate it together.
Have a great day, everybody!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Desolation and despair

I just do not get it. I am flexible. I am relatively strong. I am quite fearless. I am stubborn as a mule. Why can't I get this standing-from-UD thing? Honestly! I do not see anybody around having as much trouble as I am. Keith said today that he actually talked to David about giving me Pasasana, but David said no, mostly in light of my recent injury. He wants me to do the drop-back-stand-up consistently before moving further. I have a sinking feeling that I am stuck here forever. No matter that I can bind in pasasana with the heels down. I am stuck.
Speaking of the injury, my pain in the shoulder blade which I think is the remnant of the rib injury I had recenlty, flared up in the last couple of days, particularly after kurmasana and suptakurmasana. I did not even mention it to Keith, he must be tired of me whining about my pains and aches. I will just slack off these two poses in the coming week and use a muscle rub at night. Oh, and Epsom salt bath. Not to forget Epsom salt bath...
My friend, who is getting a divorce, is having a biopsy of a lump in her breast. I do not even know how she is holding up there. Too much crap clamped together. It gives me a perspective, though. I bet she would trade her troubles for my UD any day! I am done whining about UD from now on. I promise!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The downside of being healthy

Turns out that I am healthy as a horse. At least biochemically speaking. I got back the results of the multiple tests I had done for the baseline before starting CRON. The idea was that I will enjoy the dramatic improvement of multiple indicators of my health by following the calorie reduction. But my results are practically the same as people's who followed CRON for many years. Which is interesting, because one would expect some health hazards associated with having nearly 30% of body fat. What am I to do now? I wonder if changing something in my lifestyle will actually worsen everything, because there is no room for improvement. Darn.
The weekend is over and I did not even notice it. But I did lots of yoga today, so it was not completely wasted.
I hope you guys had a great weekend!

Friday, June 20, 2008

I am baaaack!

I had a deep tissue massage yesterday! My body feels nice, if a little weak. I wish I were rich, so I could have massages weekly. Aah! I shared with Keith my theory about lacking psoas minor and hence the inability to stand up from UD. He laughed and said that the advantage of good education is that we could come up with really good excuses. I guess he did not buy it.
Low energy, but focused practice today. When I reached UD, something interesting happened. Keith was helping me to go down and up, and at one point he said he did not do anything and I stood up on my own. I am not sure whether to believe him; but if it is true, then my problem is not physical, but purely psychological. How to deal with it now? I was visualizing my lifting up like a maniac, it did not help. Maybe I should get an inflatable prop, which would pretend helping me? Hmmm.

Thank you, everyone for your good wishes. I could feel them and they do help a lot.

Happy, happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, June 19, 2008


During the last 2 days I think I slept at least 36 hours. Granted, most of them I spent in a theraflu-induced coma, it was very restful nevertheless. I still feel crappy and feverish, but better than yesterday. Tried to do some yoga, but gave up due to shaky knees. Tomorrow would be a better day to re-start my yoga.
But I ordered my Mac! Can't wait for it to arrive. Thank you everyone for contributing your opinions. My husband did not approve very much, claiming that I hammered the last nail into the Vista coffin, but I am OK with it. I need to learn new things, and Mac OS seems like a good one to start. I am also contemplating buying a camcorder, but I will wait until my head and sinuses clear up a little.
Be healthy, everyone. I am off to bed. So what it's only 10 am?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Cold again.

I am sick. I can satisfy snot needs of a small country. Head hurts, throat hurts, too. I woke up feeling like shit and thought "Thank God it's a moon day!" Now, how sick is that?
I had a cold relatively recently. What happened to my defences? I wonder if my strive for anti-inflammatory, omega-3-rich diet affects my ability to fight infections. Who knows? Can't think.
Again, my cold was preceded by two days of crappy practices. This is interesting. Maybe next time I have a rough practice I should take extra vitamin C and oscillo and this will prevent getting sick? Might be worth exploring.
I hope your moon day is better than mine! :)

Monday, June 16, 2008

I had a very rough practice today. Mostly because I spent this weekend with a shovel, helping my friend to make her house ready to sell. Her future ex-husband was nowhere to be seen, but lots of friends and relatives came to help, and there was a clearly visible difference by the time we were done. I realised though that I am a very urban person, completely unaccustomed to the hard garden work. My arms were killing me yesterday! During the practice arms were OK, but I was very tired overall. My UD is still very pitiful. But I am at peace with it. Too tired to be upset, I guess. I am supposed to be working now, but I am just sitting and dreaming of epsom salt bath I am going to have later today. Old age sucks....
Oh, there is one very bright spot in my life - my son got a full merit-based scholarship for his last year at Caltech. Yay! I think I am no longer the poorest person along the Eastern shore. I might be able to afford a new Mac after all. :)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Lazy lady

I overslept and did not go to shala today. Briefly considered a home practice, but decided in favor of a nice, hot, epsom salt bath instead. I will make it up on Sunday.
They fixed my iPod! I also looked at all those Mac notebooks and my palms itched really bad. They were soooo beautiful! Light, bright screens, sleek designs. I have never used a Mac in my life and I am pretty good with PC, so it is a dilemma. My current notebook is 3.5 years old and it suffers from erectile dysfunction - I have to prop the screen to keep it upright. The 100 gb hard drive is too tight for me now. And everybody says Vista sucks. Shall I abandon a PC and turn to a Mac I know nothing about? Dilemma.
Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Path to mindful living

lies through breaking (or loosing) your ipod. Which happend to me this morning. As a result, I noticed today's weather, talked to three times more people than I normally do, avoided mistakes in a kinase protocol (do not ask!), and nearly completed my homework for Monday's teaching class. Nevertheless, all those wonderful things do not mean that I am not going to the Apple store the second I am free from work. I need my audiobooks (whine)!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Routine is good, right?

Pains and aches are back. The bliss lasted two days, and now I am back to the routine. Which is OK, I just need to be a little more careful. It is funny, though, how I moan about my pains. A co-worker asked me today how my rib was. I said, "better, but I can still feel it". "How do you feel it?", he asks. I say, "Well, Parivritta Parsvakonasana is a little uncomfortable, then in Marichiasanas I can't twist to the full extent, and in all jump back-jump through positions it hurts a little under the shoulder blade". " So it does not hurt to walk, talk, bend, breathe or sleep?" "No." "Then you are OK, healed completely!". I guess so. There are injuries and then there are injuries. When I say that my knees bother me, I mean that binding in Marichyasana D is a little troublesome because of the knee position. When "normal" people say that knees trouble them, they mean it hurts when they climb the stairs or lower down on the seat. I probably should just shut up about the body aches altogether.
A friend of mine is going through a divorce right now. It was a huge shock for her, and for everyone else around. I heard her talking on the phone with him less than month ago, there was so much tenderness and feeling in the way she was saying "I love you, too". And now he is leaving her for another woman, after 20 years of marriage. They were going to celebrate their 20th anniversary this August in Italy. Life is just crazy.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Monday - good time to start new life

Thank you, Annabella! I think you pazzled my practice today, it was quite amazing. I am actually contemplating now taking a vacation from Mysore once in six months or so. Not two weeks, of course, but a week of no yoga at all.
I felt flexible, strong and energetic. All my accumulated pains and aches - gone (well, the I can still feel the rib, but it does not count). I am particularly happy with my knees; there was always some discomfort in Marich D, which prevented me from deep twisting. They feel fine now! I can actually start working on the wrist binding in this pose. Yay! Stood up three times from the bench in UD, symmetrically, with both hands (I was developing a one-handed technique lately, which irked David). In Supta Kurmasana I touched my fingers by myself, which is new. I am so excited about my today's practice, I can barely sit on the chair now. New plans of crim activity are swirling in my head. Probably a meditation is needed to calm myself.
Happy Monday, everyone!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

I want my UD to look like this

Tomorrow - back to shala! I did my full primary today at home with minimal discomfort. I guess I am back in business! :)

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Chitta Vritti's meme

I am so not a meme person, but they say change is good. So here we go:

The rules:
1. Post the rules of the game at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read the player’s blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

What were you doing five years ago?

I just got my PhD, was deliriously happy, started my postdoc job at NIH

What are five things on your to-do list for today?
Take my husband to and and bring him from his CFA exam
House cleaning

Not very exciting!

What are five snacks you enjoy?

Sweet snap peas
Sweedish fish
dark chocolate

What are five things you would do if you were a billionaire?

Buy a house
Make happy my relatives and friends back in Almaty
Open an orphanage in Almaty
Support a pediatric oncology ward in Almaty
Sponsor a neutering/spaying program for dogs and cats in Kazakhstan

What are five of your bad habits?

Computer games
Too much TV
Reading trash
Eating too much

What are five places where you have lived?
Alma-Ata, USSR
Almaty, Kazakhstan (same place, different era)
Moscow, Russia
New York city
Washington, DC

What are five jobs you’ve had?

Yoga teacher
High School teacher of computer science
Autoradiography analyst
Visiting scientist

These are the five people I tag:

1) A BhaktiYogi
2) Arturo
3) Elaina
4) Lilalia
5) Gypsy Girl

If you decide to do the meme, please let me know! :)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

When was the last time your kurmasana felt good?

I did practice today, but only at home. I decided it was prudent to explore how poses feel unhurriedly, really listening to what was going on in my rib cage. Overall, it was not too bad. It still hurts to twist, so most of the standing poses did not feel good. Chaturanga is OK (it was painful 2 days ago), but my pitiful attempts to jump back are not. Most of the symmetrical poses felt great. Rounding my back felt really good, I guess because of the stretching of all these hunched-up muscles I got at the site of the injury. Kurmasana and baddhakonasana felt like heaven.
So I am not sure what to do now. Shall I go to shala for a truncated practice? Or should I practice at home, adding poses that feel good on my back, even though they are not in the Primary?

Monday, June 2, 2008

I will practice on Wednesday, I think.

When I was teaching a vinyasa class yesterday, I actually tried to do some of poses myself. It seems that my rib is now in a pre-"crack" mode. It hurts to push my right arm back, like when I put on my clothes, but it is nothing compared to what it was three days ago. I really wanted to go to mysore practice today, but decided to be mature and give it a couple of more days to heal.

Rayna met some Japanese yogis in Mysore and posted links to their sites. Since she went private, I will post them here, too. Stunning photography!

Happy Monday, everyone!


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