FLAVA FLAV, REVISITED
Apparently staying up late (10:30) last night to blog was not such a good idea. Today I awakened over a half hour late, at 5:05AM. I was frantic of course. But I'm familiar enough with the MTA from my last trip here to know that a train comes around 5:15/20, and that if I made it I could still get to the Puck Building in time to get a decent spot. I threw on my contacts and clothes (set out the night before), grabbed my mat and made it to the tracks just as the train came. When I got to the shala it was a madhouse as predicted, and there were a few spaces left in back and on the side near the viewing area. Then I saw LL, fourth row center -- and she had saved a spot for me. Despite the beginnings of a pounding headache, I was grateful/relieved. Then I went in back to change clothes (one always stakes out a spot before changing clothes). When it came time to take off my jeans I realized oops! I'd forgotten to put on my yoga shorts. Although my thong matched my top, I'm not buffed and waxed in such a way that it would look anywhere near as good as it probably does on Bikini Girl. So I went back to my mat, rolled up my jeans and tested them in Garbha Pindasana (a pretezelike position in which you sit in lotus and put your arm through your legs behind the knees and hold your ears). It wasn't bad. But MK took pity on me, and very nicely went in back to ask Jammu if she had an extra pair of shorts. I was on my back warming up when a something fell unceremoniously onto my head and scared the crap out of me; I looked up to see MK beaming. Turns out Jammu didn't have any shorts shorts, but AKR did. And they fit, too. Later she said she never carries an extra pair, and didn't know why she had them. Hmmm.
Today Guruji's count seemed slower. As usual I was stiff and in some pain (although less so in backbend) and felt heavy and slow. Eventually there was a lot of sweat but that didn't seem to help (in fact some fat drops of condensation fell onto us while we were in savasana; very disconcerting). We did who knows how many sun salutations and seven -- SEVEN! -- Navasanas, ouch. We almost skipped janu C (difficult toe-crusher pose) on the left (oh, well) but everyone automatically went into it anyway when Guruji accidentally called Mari A (the pose that comes after). He was unphased of course. What a great, booming voice....Did I mention how well he looks?
Most days I can hold utpluthith (lifting yourself up while in lotus pose) until at least the first "nine" (we hold that pose for a count of ten, which often ends up being around 50 of my regular breaths; when Guruji sees people fall like dominoes from lifting their own weight for such a long time, he backs up a few numerals or keeps calling nine until more people lift up. In India and in previous years I've been able to hold it the whole time; not anymore). Today though I had to come down a few breaths after 7. It's all that holding of Caturanga (pushup pose); during vinyasa, if someone races forward to upward facing dog before they're told to, he yells, "Catuari" and we holdholdhold Caturanga until he's satisfied. It's not easy to hold up your weight when you've got more of it than usual....
Today was the last day of class, which was bittersweet of course. Can I say how much more mellow, and how much less competitive the atmosphere is this year? It seems like there's a whole lot less attitude all around. And it can't just be due to the stunningly good weather....Or maybe it's *my* attitude that's changed. Or both.
After Guruji finally called "10" in Utpluthith, everyone started spontaneously clapping, and it wasn't just because we were glad it was over. It was in appreciation for Guruji, and didn't stop for awhile. Then, after the Mangala (closing) mantra, we did it again (as is customary). We clapped for a long, long time and then everyone stood up and continued for awhile. MK says she saw Guruji wipe away a tear. He wasn't the only one....
I didn't realize until yesterday that Sharath is sitting there, greeting people, during the Guruji feet-kissing, and that it's possible to ask him conference-type questions. So today I settled it once and for all:
The correct dristi (gaze) in utpluthith is the nose.
The correct dristi in yoginidrasana is the third eye.
Today breakfast was again at Orlin, which was lovely. Seven people today. Later LL and I met at the door to Eddie's, and went up to the puja at his "Ganesha Temple." It *really* looks like a temple, plus there was a Brahmin priest. Lots of pouring of milk, water, other liquids (coconut water?) onto the Ganesha figure; later when we were chanting for what seemed like forever, he closed the curtain and annointed him (Ganesha) with flowers, etc. Suffice to say it was beautiful and afterwords there was again that exquiste food made by the same guy who did breakfast (and who wears a sacred thread, hmmm). food! It was exquisite.
Afterwords I went to 27th and Lex to look for an Indian dress to wear to the birthday party tonight, because everything I brought with looks tarty. The dress is not very dressy but at least it won't show the dirt I'm sure to absorb from the subway on they way there. Nor will it make me look like a western hoo-ah.