One Blessed Day to Transition

I am getting better at this transition thing. Used to be, I’d get home and just hit the ground running: start  wash #1, answer emails, make phone calls, teach my classes, start wash #2, grocery shop, run errands.

Used to be, I’d know, intellectually, that my trainings would be intense, but I’d tell myself it didn’t matter, that I needed to catch up on all the things that had been neglected while I was gone. So I needed to push through the fatigue.

Used to be, I’d go to trainings, and come home and wish that the world would stop, just for one blessed day so that I could sit in my room, meditate, sip tea, take a bath, write.  Used to be, I’d disregard all that as self-indulgent, thinking that everything else was way more important than my need for quiet reflection.

But that was the past.

Today I gave myself that One Blessed Day.  I gave myself a Transition Day, and you know what?  It has made all the difference in the world.  I think while I am in a training group, doing hard work, taking notes, learning assists, trying to soak up as much as possible, it is all just going in as “info storage.”  It is only when it all stops, that it has a chance to soak in, integrate, be absorbed.  If I don’t allow this time, it just falls away, water-off-a-duck’s-back-ish.

I did do a load of wash today.  I did some work on the computer, too. I wrote an important email, but I also took time to write in my journal, and meditate, and walk the dog, and make a nice meal, and sit in the hot tub.  And tomorrow I have a massage scheduled with my massage guru, and hopefully she will be able to put my very sore body out of some of its misery.

And then tomorrow night I will teach my first class since being back.  I feel all new, all inspired, my cup is  filled to overflowing.

Day 2 in Yoganand’s Playground

It’s fun, but exhausting.  As expected, we attempted all kinds of  impossible postures today, and it was really quite amusing (and somewhat alarming) to see what is actually possible.  I partnered with Kim for the morning and we had a blast doing (or approximating) Mariachyasana and Locust and Supta Baddha Konasana.

It’s very playful, this yoga training. It reminds me a lot of being a kid out on a playground, doing crazy contortions and asking your friends, “Hey, watch. Can you do THIS??”

And they go, “Yeah, that’s pretty cool, but watch this!!”

And you go, “That’s DISGUSTING, dude!  How did you get your arm to bend like that??”

And they go, “I dunno, it just…goes like that. Here.  I’ll help you.” (and this, in yoga, is called an “assist.”)

And then you try to do it, with their help, and you end up dislocating your shoulder and your mother calls your friend’s mother and you’re not allowed to play with that friend anymore.

Except, here,  in Yoga Teacher Training, most of our mothers don’t even know we’re here!


And then we have lunch and come back and put all the crazy postures together in a practice that has most of us slipping off our mat because of the sweat, and begging for mercy, or death, or our mothers to rescue us. (There were many moments when I was going, “Holy mother, is there no end to this??” under my Ujayii breath.)

And then suddenly, bam, the day is over and we all walk out into the glorious sunshine, and say, “See you tomorrow!”

Kim told me about this great Whole Foods nearby (relatively nearby) and I was going to wait until after rush hour to go, but I bonked on my bed, and just now got up, so I guess the playground got the best of me.  Tomorrow morning I may head there, if I go to bed right now and get up early.  Tomorrow we don’t start until 11:30, which is sweet!

Oh, and another sweet thing?  I got into Emily’s March Madness Pool!  And last I checked, I was in 2nd place.  (She’s probably really sorry that she went to all that trouble.)

But hey, there’s a lot of b-ball left.

(But, Go Dukies!)

YTT Day 1

I am sitting in the Best Western in King of Prussia, munching on Mary’s Gone Crackers, sipping water and reflecting on the day that is coming to a close.  There are a lot of things on my gratitude list so let’s start there:

1. Sun.  Today was sunny, mild, and totally life-affirming.  I drove east and south and the farther south I drove, the more lovely the day became.  I saw a car on the Northeast Extension tooling along at 75 with the top down.  If I had a convertible, I would have done the same thing today.  The amazing thing was that not a hair on the head of the driver moved!

2. GPS.  What did I ever do before Wanda, my GPS?  I got a new one for Xmas and this was her first outing.  Sadly though, this new Wanda isn’t as sweet and sexy as the old Wanda. This new Wanda is strictly business.  “Turn left in 1 mile,” she says.  The old Wanda would have said, “In one mile, turn le-ahh-ft.” drawing the word “left” out a little, and saying it with a little smile in her voice.  The new Wanda?  No smile in her voice. Very “driver’s ed,” if you know what I mean.  I’m going to work on her, see if I can make her lighten up a little on the way home.

3. Stillpoint Yoga.  This is the studio that hosts Yoganand.  The practice room has soft yellow walls with swirly sunrises painted on them and a Kwan Yin statue in the corner and a big Ganesha picture on the wall.  The people in the workshop are all repeats from other programs so there was a lot of hugging and catching up this evening.  Very sweet.  Loved it

On the down side, I checked my brackets on my March Madness B-ball pool only to find that for some inexplicable reason, I wasn’t included in my group.  I found my picks, I’m listed independently but I didn’t make it into the little group Emily set up.  Kinda sad about that.  2 years ago I actually won it, so I was really hoping that my b-ball ignorance would once again prevail.  (We play for wine, yo.)

This morning I had my last high octane rocket fuel morning juice for the next 5 days.  I am kinda scared about how I’m going to perform without it.  I have not NOT had my juice since back in January when I started the cleanse.  My body could start jonesin’ during pranayam tomorrow.  I could bonk.  Food is an enormous piece of my energy management and the food situation here is very, very sketchy.  I brought some stuff from home, but I am used to eating my big meal mid-day, and now…  It won’t happen.  Stay tuned.

Tonight we had the intro session, and I feel pretty good.  Tomorrow it begins in earnest.



Got a massage today and it was amazing.  There were times when I almost konked out, and other times when I was on “high alert” because she was bustin’ some serious moves on some very sore muscles, and it hurt.  Not a bad hurt, but I had to keep reminding myself to “allow” the muscle to stretch, and to not armor against the pain. I had to tell myself that this long, slow, deep move that was inching up my IT band, over some pretty rocky terrain, needed to happen.  I needed this length, this stretching out.

Massages always feel self-indulgent to me, though. I used to have trouble justifying the expense, but when you find an intuitive, skilled massage therapist like mine, massages feel like an essential part of your health care. Nothing else can put you in such intimate relationship with the bio-mechanics of your body.

Normally, I am too obsessed with the external “look” of my body. I know this.

I feel (and hate) every excess pound.  I mourn every wrinkle, every gray hair, every indication that gravity is getting the best of me, that time is not on my side. But on the massage table, face down in that padded brace with expert fingers finely articulating the geography of my musculature, exploring the architecture of my body, I know who I really am and it has nothing to do with wrinkles and gray hairs. It’s about the mystery of blood and bone, heartbeat and breath, and how much I am willing to expand out into the vast universe inside.

A Colorado Blue Sky Day in Pennsyltuckey

Today was what Ira would call a “Colorado Blue Sky Day:” snow, brilliant sun, blue sky.  And oh man did it ever work its magic on my mood!  I felt so happy today!

I drove to Corning for an early haircut and highlight, then went to Wegmans for groceries and treated myself to a soy latte.  And can I just pause here to say that I really miss coffee?

I miss coffee. I love coffee.  I love the taste of it and the instant energy boost  it gives me.  And maybe it’s only having this effect on me because I don’t drink it everyday anymore, but for the rest of the afternoon, I felt so much happier and so much SMARTER.

How can that be?? But without question I felt my brainpower amped up. While I did my errands, I structured my writing project in my head, had great car dialogues with myself, told my self funny stories about my life, and even chatted it up with an old guy in Home Depot about ergonomic snow shovels. I was wickedly witty and I made his whole day and he even told me so.  And I attribute all this sparkliness to… coffee.

I dashed home lickety-split, put away the persishables and took Boomer skiing.  She’s a really good cross-country skier: never runs in my tracks, stays with, and has a blast while I kick and glide. Today was my cross-training day for the half-marathon training and it felt SO GOOD to get out of the gym.

And today?  I bought the latest edition of Runner’s World magazine!  I used to subscribe to it all through the 70s and into the 80s but haven’t even been tempted to flip through it in at least 20 years, and now there’s a copy of it on my bed table. How weird is that?

And tomorrow I’m going shoe shopping for running shoes.  And on Saturday we have our first “group run” as a team.  And tonight Tim showed a great film about a marathoning group at Tufts University that made my eyes well up with tears.

But now it is time to hit the hay because boy, it’s been a day.  A very good day.  A Colorado Blue Sky day.

100 Questions

I was in a kind of slump today, so I went casting around for inspiration among the bloggers I read regularly.  I am way behind on my Philosophers Notes, so I picked one at random.  It was the one on How to Think Like Leonardo DaVinci.

Brian Johnson reads books and summarizes the big ideas in them, much like Cliffs Notes, then tells us about them.

Today he was talking about the 100 Questions.  Here’s how it works:

You write down 100 Questions.  They can be anything you want to know: Why is the sky blue? What happens to us when we die? What am I here for? Etc. etc.

Then you look at the questions and see if there are any themes, and group them under those themes.

Then you pick your top ten questions and rank them, and these questions determine how you live your life: you live your life in quest for the answers to those questions.

I’m going to do that tomorrow.  Stay tuned.

The Stupor Bowl

Okay, right off the bat, I don’t watch football.  It’s not that I hate football or anything, I just can’t sit down and watch a whole game of it.  But in this house, Boomer is addicted to football, which is why we got her in the first place.  When we were looking for a breed of dog, we got a book called Choosing a Dog For Life by Andrew de Prisco and James B. Johnson.  And here is the line about Welsh Corgis that decided us: “They love swimming, hiking, and any sport and television too (especially during football season.)”

So every Sunday I’ll wander in while the dog sits glued to the football game, ask her who’s winning, and then go play online, or do a wash, or take a bath.

But everybody watches the Super Bowl, including me.  The Super Bowl is an American Tradition, right up there with fireworks on the Fourth of July and Groundhog Day.  I didn’t have a dog in this particular football fight; I didn’t care who won.  I did watch part of a pre-game show that featured Drew Brees and decided on the basis of that, that I would root for the Saints.  That, and the Saints wear a Fleur de Lis on their helmets, which is so much classier than a horseshoe, or godforbid those stupid Tony the Tiger hats the Bengals wear, blech. Because I totally and completely judge a football team on their uniforms.  I love those Vikings simply because that royal purple makes me swoon.

But like most people who don’t really care about the football, I do care about the ads, and sometimes the halftime show, just because of the possibility of a wardrobe malfunction.

But this year the ads were horrific.  Everybody in them seemed to think they were hilarious, while I just sat there stupified at the innanity.  The Betty White one was good, and I saw somebody I know in real life in the Punxatawny crowd scene (Hi Suzanne!), but even my E-Trade babies disappointed.

And The WHO?  OMG.  No.  That was pathetic. I kept looking for the EMTs off-stage who would come in with the defibrillators and rescue them from the heart attacks that were sure to ensue.  Old guys still trying to do what they did when they were young guys is painful to watch.  All the arm windmilling?  Oh god.  No. I sat there peeking through my fingers.

But my dip rocked!

So onto the food.  Super Bowl food is deliberately awful.  Chicken wings. Pizza. Chile. Chips. Beer. Beer. Beer. And did I mention beer?

But I am only a week off the cleanse and didn’t want to go there, so I made a dip recipe from my UltraMetabolism Cookbook called “Super Bowl Sunday Dip.  It was gluten-free, dairy-free, quick and vegetarian.  And delicious!  It had 7 layers!

I drank one Stella, too, just to be American.  And had a small slice of the Vegan Chocolate Cake that G made the other day.

The Saints won, and the game was crazy and more interesting than I remember Super Bowls usually being.  Most of the time they are one sided massacres and I don’t make it much past half-time.  But I watched the whole thing this year. Yay team me!

But Boomer fell asleep.