On Benders and Balance

While the benders I’ve experienced in recent years are mild compared to the “Winning!” variety – mostly binging on rice cakes and watching too much TV on the internet – I do think it’s natural for the pendulum to swing in extremes. And sometimes we forget how poorly that extra drink (or serving of cheese or gluten or Real Housewives or heroin) serves us until we wake up the next day with head stuffed with spikey cotton.

Well + Good NYC asks the question: If we don’t know what it feels like to be down, can we truly appreciate the accomplishment of up?

Four experts weigh in, and the prevailing wisdom seems to be: Benders are Bad! Love Yourself and Pay Attention!

What do you think? Are benders a part of balance?

Read the whole article.

This is Not Yoga

I joined a gym for the first time since December 2009. It’s in the basement of a Holiday Inn half a block from my apartment. It’s small. There is no light. It’s not sexy. So far I’ve only seen about three other men there, all with biceps the size of my thigh.

And there, I run. I go fast, I breathe hard, and sweat. There is nothing gentle, spacious or accommodating about it.

This is not yoga. But it is what I need right now.

Condo Yoga, Relaunch

I am incredibly pleased, proud, excited and nervous to announce the official relaunch of Condo Yoga, my wee company aiming to bring yoga to the people – wherever they are.

This venture is a work of love, and I’m so hopeful for its future and the possibilities it brings. If you’re so inclined, please take a visit. The new site is up and running here, and I’ll be adding news, updates and offers on the Facebook page as well.

Eep!

I got it, I got it, I don’t got it.

[photo by
MasTaPiannisat AshtangaNews]

I’ve been a little stuck. But you probably knew that. It happens. Cyclically. I get inspired, leap, hit my stride, get in a groove, then get in a rut, get bored. Then stuck.

But something happened the other night. I got home from work and whipped out the yoga mat. I did a 45 minute practice where I tried new things and shocked myself with my accomplishments. (Yes, I know yoga is not a contest but, c’mon! It feels good to do things you didn’t know you could do.)

This time it was Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana. Well, sort of extended, but definitely hand-to-big-toe. Not perfect, by any means, but still! I’d never done that before and I was so surprised I actually started laughing mid-pose and fell out of it.

Inspired, I got up the next day and went to my first in-studio class in about six months. My brain was not at all accustomed to being on the mat for so long, but my body welcomed it. I feel the groove coming on. I can hear the beat.

And then yesterday, bam, I missed class. This morning? The dog was whining to go out mid-Namaskar B (I’ve learned not to ignore her). So tonight I’ll go to class – and, cue sad trombone – I have a last-minute call for a project I’m volunteering on.

I feel like I’m ready to leap, ready to hit my stride. Weeeee! I am so close to getting my groove on I can hardly sit still in this office chair all day. I just don’t want to lose the momentum, you know? The wheels are turning. The plane is picking up speed and I’m ready to take off and soooaar. And I want to catch this updraft before I crash and want to do nothing but nap.

Hiding Behind the Mat

I feel like it’s important to share this no-dairy journey, but I’ll spare you the play-by-play action. It’s only day deux and I’m not facing any particularly interesting challenges or feeling any special magic vegan fairy dust. I am happy to be on this path knowing I will feel better in the long run, and I’m really looking forward to feeling clearer.

In the meantime, life goes on. I’m currently looking for new health insurance (again!). I’m working with my daily practice and am considering taking this show on the road – adding some classes into the mix and considering taking up the teaching mantle once again.

It’s intimidating to think about going back out there. I’m afraid of rejection, of putting myself “out there” and it seems so much safer to practice at home and pontificate online.

I wonder, too, if I’m waiting to be “better” before I go out there. Waiting to have it all figured out – I have a perfect daily practice, I eat like a superhero! – to build myself up before I step out on the ledge. Even though I know damn well there is no perfect and that I just need to get out there.

Oh, man. Sometimes I hate those kinds of realizations. Because once you get there, there’s really no excuse to stay where you are without moving forward. Anyone want to come with me?

The Daily Show

A daily on-mat practice is not always the easiest thing to do. Every morning I wake up to my phone alarm, church bells clanging in the distance. Cling, clang, cling, clang. And each morning I snooze, snooze, snooze until I have to start crossing things off my morning must list (snooze: I’ll grab breakfast at work. snooze: I’ll do a short yoga practice. snooze: I showered yesterday!)

But lately I’ve been waking up excited about my morning yoga. I’ve moved away from easing into the morning with gentle stretching. And now I’m up and ready to kick some ass. Sometimes all it takes is a switch in the routine. And my routine-switching ass-kicking is coming by way of Dave Farmar power yoga podcasts.

He’s pushy, he’s funny, he’s calm and real. And somehow he makes me think that after 15 years on the mat, I’ll finally be able to float to the top of my mat without landing like a frog in a squat. Now, that may or may not be possible but, for whatever reason, his tone and guidance is resonating with me right now. I’ve extended my 20 minutes to 30. Let’s see if I can’t work my way back up to an hour and half practice. Daily? Well, we’ll see how it goes.

Weekend Activities

Saturday I did a home practice with a Dave Farmar podcast. He’s good. I ate a really magnificent eggs florentine, and then went to the MoMA and watched a woman dance in sand for 15 minutes while listening to the people around me complain about it.


Sunday I did the same Dave Farmar practice except this time I was super cranky about it. I went to the Museum of Natural History with friends and Journeyed to the Stars with Whoopi Goldberg, and then enjoyed taxidermy while constantly finding the gift shop and nothing else. I came home and watched Enlighten Up!, which I liked but didn’t love. And I wrote an email to my dad. Love that guy. Oh, and I also made wasabi chick peas using this recipe, which I remembered to halve. They’re really addictive; I think it’s the salt.