Saturday, March 31, 2007

Slip Slidin' Away

Time/Life is just doing that. I was inspired today to write a new post (translation: slow day at work). It's been only fourteen months since my last entry. Sounds like going to confession. I am at work and this may be disjointed as I will be getting called away from my desk frequently (pager goes off). Trying to blog has always been one of the worst jinxes with respect to an easy day at work.

I've just had my most busy yoga week in a long time. I was able to practice three times. That's a three or four fold increase over what I've been doing since October. My wife quit paying for me on the monthly plan--waste of money, strictly a one-off guy now. Between a change in work responsibilities, need/want to be around the kids for their things, recovery from various injuries, and just being a lazy person, I've become something of a yoga dropout.

Lightning catch-up paragraph: We went to Hawaii last June for a great getaway. I hurt my shoulder trying to show the kids how to really do a backflip off of a rope swing at the fancy hotel swimming pool. I hurt my hamstring trying to do Hanumanasana, my better hamstring, the one that I usually had no fears about. I fiddled about for a while trying to practice through it, not getting better, then backed off a lot in my practicing. Then I re-hurt my hamstring doing...., Trikonasana! Spare me, please. Triangle pose? I can't do fricking triangle pose? So, I semi-practiced, meaning I would practice to the point where it started to hurt or when ever I'd lose motivation, then I'd quit and take rest. Then, I gained about 20 pounds over the next eight months. Then I hurt my hamstring again, doing Kurmasana/Supta Kurmasana, which I couldn't really do anymore because of my progressive adiposity. Then, I got gradually better. (Loki and all other jinx gods, look over there! Go see what's happening!) Okay, now, I haven't felt any weakness or discomfort in the shoulder in quite a while ( I was having problems with pain for a while then I just struggled with weakness, especially when trying transitions out of tittibhasana) and my right hamstring has reached the point that it's no worse than my left. At my ashtanga nadir, I was no longer able to do Trikonasana, Marichasana D, Kurmasana, Supta Kurmasana, Garbha Pindasana, Bakasana B and Tittibhasana and the transitions out of it. My first pull back was when I decided to stop at Bakasana B until I could land it. When I re-hurt my hammie, I decided to blow off second completely until I could get my first series back. Some of the inability was from the injuries. When they got better, I still didn't do well out of the fear those injuries spawned. But my biggest limiting factor has been my weight. I had to be cranked into Marichasana D, and both of us were working for me to get into it. Garbha? For the first time in a long, long, long time, maybe the first time ever, I had to get up and take the "walk of shame" over to the cabinet and get a spray bottle to artificially lubricate myself. The horror, the horror. I've gotten everything back now except Supta K. Makes sense in the ontogeny of things, since it was the last pose in the first series that I was able to do on my own. It's clearly gonna take a couple more kilos off of the waistline to get that back. I had hoped to be able to do my full practice by the time we go on a trip soon, but that's not looking possible now. I haven't done second in probably half a year, so I don't know if I should even try to do it, especially on a trip. If I can't do Supta K, I'll pass on the second stuff.

Looking back over my last posting, well, a lot has gone under the bridge. We have moved to our new permanent studio. It's in a local shopping mall type thing, on the second floor above a Borders Books. That's handy, because after class, we can go down and get coffee or tea and then sit down and read magazines for free. That's what I do anyway. All of the other yogis head over to Jimbo's, the "healthy" grocery store in the same mall, and buy whatever it is that they have at Jimbo's, organic brussell sprout smoothies or something. The studio is definitely an upgrade from all previous iterations. For one thing, it has heat, although it has not always been utilized to the satisfaction of the paying customers. It also looks interior designed. Unlike the old studio on E street in Encinitas, there's not much of the essence of good old India in this place. It has a boutique, much, I'm sure, to the mortification of Tim, who, at some workshop, once protested that such contrivances were foo-foofery and that if the time ever came that his studio had one, we could just take him out and shoot him. It is not exactly something that has any value for men. There's maybe two t-shirts for guys, but every other kind of clothing for women, including thongs and one size fits all undies with AYC logos and pictures of Hanuman. The mysore rugs are nice though. Of course, every piece of finery has a flaw, whether incidental or intentional. While previous AYC studios may have been plain, unadorned, stinky, sometimes insufferably hot in the summer and hard nippled cold in the winter, at least they had a bathroom. In keeping with the Japanese aesthetic of shibui, the concept of beauty brought to witness by imperfection, our studio has no bathroom. You have to walk out and use one of the mall's restrooms about twenty yards away. I thought it was an inspired, though probably underappreciated bit of design work.

My wife teaches at the AYC now. She has an Intro class each Wednesday evening. She also commonly subs the Mysore class to help the other teacher when Tim is out of town. She has continued to teach at a variety of other places in our area, but I've asked her to back that down some, as I think she's spread herself a bit too thin and was getting stressed about it. She's a good teacher though and gets a lot of positive feedback from her students, so it's hard to turn away from that.

We didn't go to Tulum this year and will likely not do the family trip to Shasta this summer. My son is thinking about doing Pop Warner football and that starts in August. My wife and my youngest may go up though. That's still undecided. I've always enjoyed the Shasta trip, but after three years, or maybe it's been four, I can miss out on doing the same hikes and side trips again. I was never that big into nude swimming in 33 degree glacial streams and ponds anyway. Yes, that's George Costanza you hear in the back of your mind. Maybe next year. Maybe there'll be snow on the mountain then.

My kids have now stratified themselves activity-wise. My oldest does swimming. She's in the water 2 1/2 hours every day. She's been reluctant to move up to a more competitive practice group but made the switch recently. She didn't think she'd be able to hang with the work out level of that group but has done fine so far. The mind, it works against you in so many ways. My son, I think, well certainly he thinks, was put on this earth to play lacrosse. He has dropped soccer like an unexpected handful of dog poop. Last summer he tried out for one of the local competitive lacrosse club teams. He made the B team, but a lot of his friends made the A team. Most of them have been playing for several years, He started last winter. He worked hard at his skills in the Fall and made the main team for the winter session. Their team has been undefeated in three years of play. He played well all season. He made the all star team this winter in a big west coast tournament. He's now playing for his school team. Unfortunately for him, there not many 7th and 8th graders playing at his school this year. The upper division 7th and 8th grade team decided to move some of the 6th graders like him up so that they could field a full team. As a result, he now doesn't start at his main position and is practicing at a variety of other positions in the week, even at goalie. I worry that this will set him back compared to the other kids, but then I realize I'm talking about 6th grade lacrosse. It's probably good that he's not starting. The last team they played had a kid, in the 8th grade, named "Tiny" who was at least 6'3" and weighed more than any dad out there, at least 230 lbs. Our first goalie took a shot to the knee cap and went out at the start of the second half. Jake, who weighs at best 80 lbs, was playing emergency goalie. Near the end of the game, this big guy was driving in to try and shoot. To his credit and to his doom, Jake came out to challenge him. Tiny ended up landing on top of Jake along with a pile of other kids who were all glommed onto him, like bees on an bear trying to steal honey, trying to stop him from getting to the goal. Jake hurt his leg, not badly but enough to have to leave the game for good. As is his nature with injuries, something I think he picked up in soccer, despite being too injured to play, he went to a wedding that afternoon and spent the evening dancing, so it wasn't that bad. But the potential for a real injury was easy to see. He can play with these older kids, he's got the ability. He's just having to learn how to play with them. My youngest has fallen out of swimming, much to my chagrin. I think she didn't like that her older sister, who originally had to be dragged into swimming after Zoe got going with it, was getting good, while Zoe was doing about the same. Swimming wasn't something that was "hers". As the youngest, I think she really wants that thing that is hers alone. She has since taken up volleyball and is playing with a local club's developmental squad. She is getting more agile and she has the softest hands on the team. She knows how to play and has a better court sense than most of the girls in her age group. I may push Jake some in his sports, but Zoe I'll leave to go or stay with it as she will. She's a different sort in that respect and needs to find her own way.

My mom passed away last summer. Despite all of her plans and efforts to avoid such possibilities, a long progression of health dominoes began falling in the wrong direction. Fortunately, she died in the most peaceful way possible and her battle with life's capricious unfairness was able to end. One of my greatest regrets about how I have turned out in life is that I don't have more of her in me. I think I am sort of her spiritual antithesis: self centered, underachieving, mostly intolerant of other people's foibles, horrible with the use of the English language, etc. I know her strengths though. I need to develop them in myself. Then maybe my kids can know them too.

We're going on another family trip soon. To the big city, New York City. This is our kids' Spring break. Since we knew a summer trip was not likely to happen this year, we opted to go somewhere in the spring. We at first thought of something like Costa Rica (yoga and nature), then maybe Europe (yoga and culture) then backed it down to London, then finally decided NYC (yoga and shopping) was a better approach. I guess they've all decided that I'm not a good enough traveler and would not stand up to the rigors of a bigger to-do. Pah! I can out travel all of them put together. I can be the paragon of organization and calm. I was born to travel. I just never do it. Only problem is there's nothing to do in New York. My oldest can't see what she's going to be able to do since, omg, she can't swim for a week. And what lacrosse is there in New York city? Wall ball off of the subway cars? gtfooh. My youngest, my wife and I will have fun though. Maybe we'll go see Hairspray or Legally Blonde or something. I was considering Wicked. The Broadway play sites list it as "kid-friendly", but that was a pretty aberrant book and I don't know how it will translate on the stage and to the kids. Anybody seen it and also read the book? Okay for 10 to 13 y/o's? At any rate, it's moot because I am not spending $200 per ticket to see anything. And it's sold out anyway.

So, in preparation for our expedition, I'm trying to get a pound or two shifted around and am trying to breath some life back into this tired old horse so that I can put in some respectable practices while in New York. I don't want to give the impression that Tim has posers for students.