Monday, August 27, 2007

Kubler-Ross Ashtanga

Previously, i have been in denial. yesterday, i went thru anger. today, i was initially thinking, "there's not much i can do, so the hell with it. can't stress on that crap". i figured i'd moved right on to acceptance. i didn't even do any research during class. just did the poses. problem was, i kept thinking about what i wrote yesterday, the issues, etc. and i kept getting angrier. by the time i had my "i'm as competant as anyone else" delusions once again shattered in the life process known as Karandavasana, i was so mad i wanted to hit someone. so i quit and laid down. screw the rest of it.

I guess i forgot that the stages take a little while and there's a few more before acceptance comes into play. I never liked her anyway.

But, i felt better lying in savasana. near my mat, a mom had her toddler with her and was playing with him. I heard my name, "that's John" and figured he must have pointed at me or something. I was going to maintian my hissy snit and just keep to myself, but realized that would be a total ass thing to do, so i looked over. sure enough, he was looking over at me, trying to suss out if i was a source of fun or if i was a threat. i reached over, picked up my hair tie and shot it over at him. he thought that was cool and went running around the room, going from mat to mat, showing it to mom and dad. so then i wasn't as mad.

after class, a friend was in the entry way. she had suddenly become nauseated. on her way to the bathroom to throw up, she asked me to cover her 12:30 class. "But I'm angry. I'm in a bad mood!!", I wanted to say. I taught the class. And the class was fun. it was in some empty office space at a big insurance company office building. Only about ten people. Most of them in the early stages of learning yoga. I probably worked them with more rigor than they were used too. I got enough looks to hint at that. i think overall that it worked out though. and i left in a good mood.

as lax remonstrated in yesterday's comments section, too much thinking. and, for sure, i was today. All i could think about during practice was some of the stuff from yesterday. No mas, for now. The rest of that crap is just crap.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

What's It All About, Alfie?

Anybody here not know why we do ashtanga? To get the next pose. Right? Anybody disagree? Raise your mouse. You lie. We may wish it were for all that other stuff, but in the nitty-gritty real world we all sweat in, it's about quantitative evaluation. You do better, you get more poses. You don't get poses, you're not good enough to get them. The simplicity is attractive. It's honest, understandable and it works. We get into it, get motivated, do more and maybe inadvertently gather other benefits as well. But, for most, and probably all of us, the true motivator is: what's next.

So, why blather about this? Well, I was trying to assess if it's possible for me to get a pose. Ever. Regardless of what i am able to do athletically. There are factors that could make progression, and therefore satisfaction, impossible. Namely, access.

Obviously, poses are given in Mysore classes. At our studio, Mysore classes with the teacher who gives out poses are on Monday thru Friday, only. so that eliminates one sixth of my chances right there (working with the theoretic six practice per week regimen). Another quirk of ashtanga is that classes aren't held on moon days. presume 2 moon days per month, which will fall on Mysore class days 71% of the time. Also, the norm is to not give poses on Tuesdays, an inauspicious day (Mars' day) in Hindu culture. Scratch another four days. So, where am i so far? 30 days minus 8-9 weekend days, minus four Tuesdays, minus 1.4 moon days, that's 13.4 days gone already. Ok, the big kahuna, being a senior teacher, usually is out of town on a weekend teaching junket twice a month. Typically, he used to be gone from Thursday thru Sunday. Lately, however, he has been out for Monday too (travel recovery day?). so that's another six days per month lost to me. Two thirds of the month is already history and i haven't even entered the studio yet.

I'm one of those 'normal' people, the pretenders, one who actually has a day job that limits my ability to make it to Mysore classes. At our studio, the Mysore classes are from 7-9am on M-W-F and are from 9-11am on T&Th. Since my typical day on call starts at either 7:30a or 8:00a, the only time i can get to a M-W-F class is if i am in clinic in the morning. On those days, I can schedule my clinic to start at 10:00 and work thru lunch to make up for the late start. The only time I can make it to Mysore on T & Th is if i work overnight the night before. I get off a bit after 8, drive up and usually can make it to the studio right at or shortly after the class starts, presuming no last minute crash c-sections, etc. So, if i am to make it to Mysore, i have to either be in clinic on a M-W-F, or I have to have been on call Wed night.

Looking over the last few months, I was on call on a Wednesday night only once each month, so that takes away another three days. I was in clinic in the morning no more than twice in a given month on M-W-F. So, that gives me 2-3 days in an average month in which i might see and be seen by my teacher in a Mysore setting.

I've got two chances a month, essentially, to practice and show enough worth to be advanced. and some months, it's not even that many. There are usually many other practice chances, usually led classes, Saturday classes, or the second Mysore class, led by another teacher. Not classes in which I could "progress" though.

So, what's it all about? Self delusion. I don't think teachers think you're a real student, a serious student, one who they might think about progressing, when you're only there twice a month.

Now, this shouldn't be misconstrued as a whiny, "i deserve to be given a pose but I'm being unfairly passed over" thing. I know that I'm not doing the poses near the end of my practice well. and may not ever be able to do so. This is more a diatribe about how we can fool ourselves into thinking that we're like every one else, all the daily practice people, when, we're not. we're the de facto strap hangers, the carpet baggers. we have a place and more power to us for whatever we can accomplish, but, no matter what our ability, we won't ever be able to do what comparable daily Mysore people do, because we won't get the chance.

it still beats going home and playing internet poker.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Pies to Die For

I'm going to take a cue from my e-friend lax and let people come here to get these recipes. these are recipes for a couple of ice box pies that are perfect for summer evening backyard barbeques and what not. both require very little in the way of ingredients or skill. just a bit of work for the chocolate one to get everything blended and smooth

French Silk Pie

i opted to use the link my sister gave me, rather than just post the typed out recipe, because i thought the readers'comments on the web site about making the pie were pretty good. one note, my mom, who we got this recipe from, used a deeper dish pie crust, so she would double the recipe. the recipe actually calls for an eight inch pie crust, not the typical 9 incher. so if you use a 9 incher, i would suggest doubling the recipe. this suggestion was also made by several of the ppl on the recipe web site. if you do double the recipe to make sure you have enough, you could also have a few small three inch mini-pie crusts nearby that you could use to make mini pies with any extra filling. the key is to beat and blend this stuff a lot. the recipe calls for one egg at a time with a five minute blend after each egg. it does take that long but the effort is well worth it. this is maybe the richest pie i've ever had.

Key Lime Pie

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Mix the crust ingredients and line the bottom and sides of a 9 inch pie pan. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes. Cool

4 egg yolks, beaten well
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup fresh lime juice
Whipped cream sweetened
Grated Lime

In a bowl gradually add the milk to the well beaten eggs and mix well. Add the lime juice. Pour the mixture into the pie shell and freeze. Remove 10 minutes before serving. Top with whipped cream and garnish with grated lime.

My comments: for me the crux of this one is the crust. i grew up in the pre-cuisinart era and we hand to use a rolling pin to smash up the graham crackers to get the stuff for the crust. after we walked fifteen miles in the mud and snow to the neighbor's hen house to steal the eggs and milk the condensed cows. it sucked, but, i felt involved with my crust. i strongly, strongly advise against buying a pre-made graham cracker crust and recommend that you make your own with this recipe. it will look much messier and be much harder to do than just pouring the filling into some perfect manufactured crust from the store. but the buttery richness of the real home made crust perfectly accents the tartness of the pie. it's a world of difference. as for those purists out there, sure you could use key limes, but imo, they are too bitter. we just used either sqeezed lime juice or those Real Lime things, the little plastic limes filled with lime juice thatthey have in the produce section of most stores. i don't know, maybe now a days, in the era of global fruit production, maybe there is not an out of season time for limes and you can get them year round. back then, nearly in the mcCarthy era, we had to use what we could get when we could get it. try it with both some time, key limes and normal limes, and see which you like better.

For both of these pies, let them set for at least several hours in the freezer before trying to serve them. and warn your guests that the key lime is really tart and that the french silk is considered a controlled substance with the same level of addiction potential as prescription drugs like oxycontin, percocet and viagra.

and leave the whipped cream off. that's for poofters. these are serious stand alone desserts.