Friday, November 28, 2003

Been gone, figuratively, for two and a half months, more or less. Still not clear what led to me taking a break. I guess it's a predictable phenomenon amongst erstwhile diarists and bloggers. We run out of things that we might think are interesting to say. Or the effort to compose becomes not worth it. Etcetera, etc. Once I had stopped, it was easy to not restart. Not doing something is much easier and more natural to do that making an effort at something.

So, what's new in my world of ashtanga? In mysore practice, I've been given a couple more postures. I've had a reasonably good stretch of making it to classes the last few weeks. No major issues, no big injuries or anything. Pretty much same as it ever was.

Last week I was at a meeting in Las Vegas. I pretty much blew off some of the meetings each morning to go to one class or another. I did some searching on the web before traveling and found three places in Vegas that have ashtanga classes, Active Yoga Studio, It's Yoga, and The Hatha Yoga Center (no link).
I never made it to the first place. I was gonna go there on Thursday morning, but ended up going to a vinyasa flow class at It's Yoga instead. The Hatha Yoga place was a fair bit away from the strip, up in the Summerlin area I think it is. I took two classes there, an "all levels" class my first morning that turned out to be a typical prep class, and a full first series class on my way to the airport the day I left. The teacher there, named Darla, was very good. They pretty much did stuff the way that I was used to seeing it done. A few minor variations, as is usually the case. Nobody does it exactly the same way. For the most part the differences at her place were of the more challenging type. For instance, she had us hold kurmasana for 15 long breaths. The mind really starts negotiating to quit after about the eighth or ninth count. She also holds the closing postures for one minute each--she used a timer. The only notable omission was we didn't do garbha pindasana in either of my classes there. No biggie. Plus, we had good long savasanas.

The other place I went to was It's Yoga. This is a franchise, I guess that's the way to describe it, of a studio in San Francisco run by Larry Schultz. This particular studio was run by a very nice person named Maggie. I took one class with her. It was pretty much a full first series (funny thing though, we didn't do garbha pindasana there either, maybe it's a vegas thing?). I took it right after I did that intro/prep class at the Hatha studio on my first day there. I wasn't sure what that first class was going to be, so I decided to do both places. The first class was light enough that it essentially was a strong warm up/stretch out for the second class at It's Yoga. Still, that was a lot of sun Sal's and vinyasas. I liked Maggie's class though. She has a nice spot right across the street from UNLV. She made an effort to keep us smiling as we worked. One thing that I would change if I were despot of the world: she did do a lot of that going on about opening our hearts and honoring our practice and connecting with those on the mats nearby and stuff like that. Such commentary has it's place, I know, but for me it's just distracting. I guess I'm just too jaundiced. I'd just rather focus on what I'm doing, or more commonly, on what I'm not able to do, than on what someone is saying in the background. I did like her class and her teaching well enough to come the next day for a vinyasa flow class with another of their teachers that she recommended. It was a good challenge. I definitely need lunge and groin work and we did a lot of that, but in hindsight, I probably would choose to go the full first series class at the yoga studio I never made it to. The last class I went to there, Friday night, was with Larry Schultz. He was in town for a "Grand Opening" workshop. I blew off a dinner with some muckety mucks to take the class. I'd never met him before. In the various on-line bulletin boards, you can read a lot of opinions about him. That's why I wanted to take the class. I'd rather see what he had to offer first hand. The class was a mixed class, all levels from never done yoga before to old time students of his. He spent a fair amount of time discussing some of the philosophy and the approach offered in It's Yoga studios (too much time talking but then that's just me). We then did mostly standing postures, some seated work, some ab work, a few other poses from various places, like Hanumanasana. We ran out of time, Maggie had to sort of reel him in at ten till the scheduled stop time. It's a little hard to judge him or his approach in such a brief exposure. Suffice it to say, I'm happy I can study with my teacher. Despite all the good classes and great teachers I've had in the various trips I've taken, they have only given me a greater perspective that has increased my appreciation of Tim.

Guruji was scheduled to come to the San Diego area for two weeks but had to cancel and return to India because of the sudden death of his son-in-law. I had already taken the time off from work so I decided to go to class each day with Tim. I almost never get to go to mysore classes. To get to go for two weeks straight is like winning the Lotto. Of course, nothing is ever so straight forward. It turns out that Tim will leave to go to India for a few weeks in the middle of the last week that I took off. Still, I'm getting a lot of practice time with him these two weeks, more than I would usually get in two or three months. I guess I'm in good enough shape. I've not yet had any problems with running out of gas. I think the main reason for that is that I'm not staying all that long in any one posture. Each day I'm doing the first series and then doing what portion of the second series that he's given me. I don't have much time for research poses or those extra-curricular poses that I sneak in sometimes. Today I did do some groin stretches before Kapotasana. I usually just do some shoulder stretching research stuff but today I decided I was going to do what I really needed. And I learned that I really needed it.

I haven't gone to pranayama class in months. I think I stopped going shortly after I wrote that I was going to be going as regularly as possible. It became an issue of time available to help out at home, inconsistency because of scheduling issues, bunch 'o stuff. Hope to get back to it soon.

So, we'll see how it goes from here. Hopefully, I'll have something to say, even if I don't think that I do.