Monday, November 29, 2010

Mysore week with David Keil

Turns out that my elbow injury is a partial detachment of an annular ligament. Weird injury - I can do a lot of hard things on my arms, but there are some movements that hurt a lot. Movements with resistance, I should add. Like moving forearm up and down is OK, but brushing teeth is not. Working with a mouse for a long time causes elbow to ache. Practicing yoga - too, but to a lesser degree. I think if I am more careful in all the binding poses, especially pasasana, avoid a headstand and be gentle with dropbacks, I should be able to practice. Which is great, because David Keil is in town! Practiced with him this morning. He has a talent of turning the scary moments of ashtanga into very nice ones, so overall the feeling after practice is quite exhilarating. Awesome adjust in kapotasana - I have not been practicing the second series for 2 straight weeks, but kapotasana felt like a manageable pose with his help. It feels like I am getting a nice jump start on my 2011 yoga year. :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Safari in Florida

I hurt my arm in Florida. Being a "strong Russian woman" I am not always smart in applying physical force. This time I pulled my heavy suitcase, which was also stuck somehow, and something in my elbow gave in. Surprisingly, I still can do chaturanga, but can't brush my teeth. Go figure.

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.

So having escaped the zebras, we moved a little further and discovered that a bunch of rhinos abandoned their mud baths and came out to see what the commotion was all about:

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:

Now, back to the important stuff. Do I risk practicing with a damaged arm? Or should I go for a run? Decisions, decisions...

Monday, November 8, 2010

It is practically a vacation.

Wanted to go to practice on Monday morning. However, since I am a lazy bum and did not pack my bags yesterday, I had to do it in the morning instead of yoga. But I packed my yoga clothes and a mat, so things are nicely set.
Getting to the airport and flying to West Palm Beach was a breathe. The weather was not as warm as I expected to, but still nice (better that frigid DC in any case). So there is no explanation why I was so incredibly stiff this morning. I do not remember time when I was so very stiff. I literally had a hard time reaching for the floor in a forward bend, and updog felt like torture. Finished primary, and did Urdhva Dhanurasana, which probably reminded a press bench the most. A thought about drop backs did not even cross my mind, which is a good thing, because I would have hurt myself for sure. So strange, I do not have a satisfactory explanation for a dramatic loss of flexibility. Last time I practiced on Sunday, and practice felt wonderful.
My friend from work and I love the hotel we are in! Our room has a full-stocked kitchen, a living room with a large HDTV, and a bedroom with two king-size beds and even bigger HDTV. This hotels also provides a free breakfast and a free dinner, the latter includes wine and beer. It is located in a shopping mall with everything one needs in a walking distance and a huge grocery store across the street. So I will have no problem with my raw veg food at all! The hotel is also located in a very pretty and well manicured area, though a little too far from the beach.
The training is taking place at the Scripps Institute, which is also pretty, in spite of being an active research facility. Everything feels brand new, clean and shiny. A huge landscaped area around, with palm trees, ponds (with fountain in the center and turtles) and all kinds of vegetation which I have never seen in my life. I do not think I want to leave on Thursday...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

I am still alive. Kinda.

Winter is coming. It it still pretty outside, but cold... Good thing I am going to Florida for four days (work training, but who cares about training when it is 82 degrees outside?).

There is something about writing in the blog - it makes you stop and think about your life. Stopping and thinking is definitely missing from my life lately. I am trying to get back to a semblance of being awake and not just moving on auto-pilot.

On the other hand, I am still practicing yoga. If you do not believe me, here is the proof:



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