BACK A GRADE. MAKE THAT SEVERAL GRADES
Today I tried intermediate after warming up first at M’s – both with chai and with stretching. Suffice to say I awakened to pain in the lower back and shooting down the top half of my right buttock, and easily could have spent the day walking around doubled-over like the man who lives next door. But the stretches helped (and the chai, which is not so good when you try to make it away from home; somehow the cardamom got damp). I was in the subway by 7:15. The Puck ballroom was steamy/stinky when I got there; plenty of places to put the shoes and bags today, but the line to kiss the feet from the previous group was still quite long. I chose a spot in the far corner in the last row, farthest from the entrance. Hiding in back.
Everything went OK – Despite yesterday’s Italian ice and corn chips I was able to bind on both sides in Pasasana (noose pose)… though we held the second side so long my toes cramped up and stayed that way for the next few poses. I came up from Lagu, which is better than my last performance at the Puck back in the fall of 2003. And then came Kapotasana. Of course my hands did not touch my feet – Kovalam magic does not happen in NYC, and the pain reallly started shooting at that point – although I seemed do OK in B. But apparently not good enough. While I was in B, sweating bullets and breathing fast (maybe the chai wasn’t such a good idea after all) and wondering how I could come up without blowing out my knees, I saw Sharath bust the people next to me for coming up after A. He then got on someone else for having their fingers pointing the wrong way. But the only person he tapped out was me. (He touches you and says, "done" or "out" much like couples getting the tap from the judge telling them they’re no longer contenders in the big Charleston contest). Relieved, I sat there (usually you drag your mat to the back of the room, but I was already way in back) and watched the rest of the series. At one point Guruji became so annoyed by people’s in ability to "lift up" on their way to jumping back from certain poses, he stopped everything and had Sharath demonstrate. Everyone was surprised (including Sharath) and stood up to watch. Apparently after many of the poses you lift up into a bakasanalike position or half-handstand without actually putting the knees on the arms. No small feat. Later he walked around asking people if they’d done Karandavasana. Not believing them, he’d have ‘em do it again. I saw Zoe with her knees on her elbows, chin hovering above the floor, for what seemed like an eternity, waiting to get helped back up. Eventually she was.
In addition to seeing how they adjust close-up it was interesting to see how people’s practices have progressed over the years: There’s one guy I met in Mysore in 2002, who was sitting at Three Sisters one day beaming (while waiting the usual eternity for his lassi) because he’d finally officially gotten Pasanasa. Today I saw him do the entire intermediate series. And here I am going backwards by the day. But it isn’t about the poses, right? I mean, I’m lucky to be doing ANY yoga at all when you think about it. And you should never, ever compare yourself to others.
Lift up on an inhale between the two sides of Parsva Danurasana
Five sloooow steps forward, five equally slow steps back in Titibasana C
Five slooooow jumps forward, five equally excruciating jumps back in Nakrasana
Hold Urvha Dandasana for an eternity
Hold Utpluthith for even longer.
Guruji did not seem to recognize me today but he did answer my question, "Oota Aita?" with a long stream of Kannada, which of course I didn’t understand. I did get that he hadn’t eaten breakfast yet. That’s amazing, to do all that on an empty stomach at 90.
I asked Sharath if I should do primary, since I’m getting stopped so soon in intermediate. He said yes (other than the part about getting up at 4:30, I'm relieved). He also said that back at home I should do primary followed by intermediate up to Kapotasana. "Stop at Kapotasana."
Afterwards a few of us went to breakfast and then I met Kai for an iced tea (he’s one of the instigators behind brink.com). Apparently the door at the beginning of the Basquiat exhibit, which now belongs to Johnny Depp, was once his (long story). His name is on a couple of the pieces in the exhibit.
Anyway while he was at a meeting I did some halfhearted shopping (nothing appeals to me, hmmmm); then he picked me up and we drove back to Brooklyn. Now that’s a luxury – driving in Manhattan and over that bridge.
There is now a Best Buy at the corner of Broadway/Houston.
The bathroom at the nearby Starbucks is not locked and you can use it without buying a thing.
Apparently the WC at the SoHo Mac store is even better.
Today M wrote a note to his co-op mates, comparing himself to Groundskeeper Willy, and imploring them to keep the front gate shut so the teens don’t take over the stoop.