Seriously, I am so happy to be here. People seem even more friendly this year than last, eager to include others in plans for meals or excursions. Part of it is the way cafes are set up, with low tables and pillows strewn about, and everyone just sitting together with strangers. Kind of how the lunch tables at middle and high school should have worked, but never seemed to.
This morning was my first practice in the shala. My start time is 9:30, so of course I woke up at 4. Nervous. Luckily, Brandi and Susan (from work) were online, so we did a little discussing of some new products (because eLearnings about mergers and acquisitions don’t just make themselves!), and a little personal chatting. Then we all told each other to quit working since it’s supposed to be a day off.
I did some writing (poetry) and reading (also poetry), which is a little sketchy, since writing tends to make me rather vata (spacey and agitated) — so if I’d been more cautious, I’d have skipped the writing before practice, but I was exceptionally inspired so went with it.
Anyhow, practice time finally rolled around. And I had an excellent first practice. At first I was very shaky and nervous and the heat was astonishing — I had to counter my worried thought (“I’m going to faint!”) with a brave thought: “You’ll be fine.” I counted the length of my inhalations and exhalations to make sure they were long enough to sustain me. I thought about a quote I’d been struck by in my morning reading: “The locus appears later,” and set my personal feelings about what was happening aside. By the time I got to sitting poses, I was dialed in.
Backbends were awesome — last year I was very anxious about my ability to do drop backs and come back up. It’s nice to see the progress since then: I have no anxiety about either dropping back or coming up any more. The work with David Garrigues got me to quit lifting my heels, and my duck foot problem is much improved. On the last drop back, I walked in to my heels but couldn’t seem to grasp them. When I came up, though, Sharath smiled and said “Very good.” Most awesome compliment in the Ashtanga world.
Then Susan, Kristen and I went to breakfast at my favorite breakfast place, Santosha. Totally hippie environment, with folks lounging on pillows and drinking chai. I had a huge slice of toast slathered with peanut butter and two cups of chai with jaggery.
Later on today I’ll go back out to purchase a book for chanting class (Cheryl, I’ll share it with you when I get back!), pick up my Indian phone, have a coconut, and meet up with some folks for early dinner.
It really is heavenly to be here.