Friday, July 22, 2005


I am kicking myself for putting My First Book* and My Bad Back** before The Yoga Practice*** and not going to India for Pattabhi Jois's 90th birthday celebration yesterday.

At least we can live vicariously through Joey (apparently his Indian name is "Joy"), an obssesive blogger who took a few photos at the partIES (scroll down to see Guruji and family, plus Richard Freeman in Muslimwear, our friend Zoe wearing that beautiful maroon sari and two of the Three Sisters {where, pray tell, has Harini gone?}; everyone looks a little shiny if you ask me so maybe it's good that I'm not there but here in the energy-sucking USA, where I have not one but *two* air conditioners at my disposal). There's also some exquisite text-only reportage (pictures are coming Madam) from my other favorite blogger, Vanessa, which I've excerpted here:

"Disconcerting moment of the day: Instead of gifts, Guruji and his family requested that we (if we wished, of course) gave money to a charitable trust that they have set up (with the help of lovely Stacey from New York and I'm sure some other people whose names evade me now). Part of this money has been used to help a local charity that provides disabled people with prosthetic limbs.

Part of the celebration consisted on bringing ten of those disabled people onto the stage, where one by one they hopped to Guruji, who presented them with their fitted fake leg or arm, and fitted it to their stumps.

This is the kind of thing that many Westerners, me included, found slightly uncomfortable. Even when we act out of generosity and donate money to these charities, we don't want to see the diseased. We want them to get help, but far away from us if possible. Their presence reminds us that disease and death are just round the corner from everyone, us and our loved ones included, and that disturbs us.

What happened yesterday was a more pragmatic approach: disease exists, those of us who can and choose to, help. And by fitting the prosthetic to the person, Guruji gave that person a name, a face, a presence, and acknowledged their humanity. I can't say I enjoyed it or I felt comfortable, but I bow to Guruji for doing it."


Not that anyone noticed or cares, but I *did * wear my talking Pattabhi Jois tank top all day yesterday. Which was indeed a full moon day if the students' actions are any indication. In my second class a woman came in 15 minutes late (it's a health club after all) and made a racket putting down her mat, accessories, WATER BOTTLE, etc. A half hour later we're all doing revolved triangle pose (all of my classes were compelled to do at least 3A, 3B and the fundamental standing poses in honor of Guruji's 90th) and she's doing.... ardha chandrasana (half moon pose, which is NOT EVEN IN THE SERIES). I cocked my head (now that sounds dirty) and watched her do it on the right side. When she proceeded to do it on the left side I said, "Why are you doing this?" And she said, "This is my last pose before I leave." Then she rolled up her mat and left! The rest of us were there for another 45 minutes....

Anarchy also reigned in my evening class. One lady sat out nearly every vinyasa while another student proceeded did sitting wide-leg stretching exercises as the rest struggled through Janu Sirsasana C (the seated "toe crusher" pose in which the bottom of your foot is wrapped around your inner thigh, perpendicular to the floor).

I did get a good laugh out of that same class. After Savasana (final resting pose) I told them I was wearing said shirt because of Guruji's 90th birthday; that he was born on the 26th of July (as was I) but he celebrates on the full moon, whereas I would be observing mine next Tuesday (C-U Next Tuesday, indeed).

"What did you say? How old is he?" one of them asked.

"NINETY," said I.

"Ninety?! Wow, he looks great," she said, and everyone nodded. "It must be the yoga."

And then I looked at them deadpan and replied, "Believe it or not, I turn EIGHTY-NINE next week."

I guess you had to be there.....

Speaking of which....Mercury goes retrograde today; fun for the whole planet (until it goes direct on August 15). From a really out-there website called Writer in the Window:

"While people speak of Mercury Retrograde periods that screw up computers and television sets, today's astrologers believe the mishaps happen in more personal realms (Uranus is the planet that rules television and computers). Mercury rules communication, but more informal communications, like writing, speaking, short shopping sprees and other erranding endeavors. So, while Mercury is Retrograde, don't give that party, be extra aware of what you say and what you interpret when chatting with or writing to friends, cut back on errands, expect that the check will be in the mail longer than usual. Since the car is usually used for shopping and errands, don't be surprised if the battery wire loosens or the fan belt snaps just when you have rush out for that one ingredient you forgot to buy.

The good things to do when Mercury is Retrograde: meditate, contemplate, edit the book/poem/song/essay you've been writing, clean house, talk to your pet, listen to music, paint, catch up on sleep!"

We can all get behind that last bit, can't we?

Especially now that we're armed with the knowledge that the world's computers and television sets are ruled by Uranus and not the evil triumvirate of Turner, Murdoch and Gates.


*It looks like the book is still on. Knock wood (me and my peeps [ie; British lawyers] have a few issues with the contract -- and it's still not signed. Yet.).

**For those of you not keeping score.... I threw my back out in March while helping a tall stiff man drop back from standing into upward facing bow, and sealed the deal a few days later by slipping on some ice and falling down a half-flight of stairs. I'm still "in recovery." But approaching twists and backbends the way Tim Miller showed me at an Asana Doctor workshop several weeks ago is making all the difference in the world.

***I'm still stopping after Kapotasana as per Sharath's instructions in May.... Although this week -- without any assistance -- I managed to clasp my wrist in Supta Kurmasana (feet behind head, chin on floor, hands on back) and in Pasasana-on-the-left (suffice to say the pose is hard to explain and even harder to do). Methinks it won't happen again any time soon.

1 comment:

  1. any reference to c u next tues is most welcome....did i tell you that when i said "knock wood" to father sometime ago i got a "we're jewish. we dont say's mum".