Luckily, breakfast makes everything okay.
I am on the roof, eating…um…I don’t know what they’re called. Lentil flour pancakes. With a little bowl of spicy coconut chutney and a little bowl of spicy vegetable soupy stuff to dip them in. You break off bits with your right hand and dip them in the chutney or vegetable stuff, and it’s delicious. And — correct form or not — I eat up the end of the chutney and the vegetable stuff with a spoon.
I was pretty eager to get home from practice and eat something. I needed comfort food. Why, you ask? Because of my mat.
So this morning is second practice at the Shala. I go a bit earlier than yesterday and end up in the right place, with all the others who share the 9 AM time assignment. Yay! My nervous system is pretty chill, and it’s going to be an awesome practice. Sharath calls for one more and I get a nice little spot in the middle of the room. What more could I ask for?
I roll out my mat. On the last two trips, I lugged a 7 pound Manduka mat from Phoenix to Mysore. My rubber security blanket. But for this trip, I decided to bring my lighter mat. The floor of the Shala is marble covered with a bunch of small cotton yoga rugs. This means that there are spots where the cotton rugs overlap, creating three dimensional features on the floor. I always think of it like looking down on the earth from space and seeing mountains and canyons.
A thick black mat helps smooth out the floor features, but I decided that on this trip I’d go with the thinner mat and just cope with the three dimensionality. The stickiness of the thin mat is greater than that of the black, and the toughest job on this trip will be walking my hands up along the sides of my feet in kapotasana — a project where success is highly related to the stickiness of my mat. So I was stacking the deck in my favor as much as possible.
Here’s what I overlooked: the desert where I live is all about dryness and dust. Which means yoga mats are slick and slippery. As soon as I unrolled my thin mat here in Mysore, I noticed that it is crazy sticky from the humidity. As sticky as my hair is curly from the humidity. And that is saying something. Needless to say, I was psyched. Walking in to my heels on a super-sticky mat? Heaven.
Double-edged sword, though, as it turns out. First jump through of practice this morning saw me catching my left toe on the sticky mat. Ow! I told myself it would be fine, that I should just go on, and I did. Much pain, of the searing variety. I looked at my toe and saw that it was actually sticking out kind of sideways. Not good. While keeping the vinyasa count (no kidding, it’s how we’re trained), I tried pointing my toes to see if it’d straighten my little toe. Nope. I tried flexing my toes. OWW! I took a moment at the beginning of the next seated pose to grab the tip of my toe and pull it straight out until it slipped back into a more normal configuration.
I was annoyed at myself, but what can you do? I wondered if I should go ask Usha (who runs the office) for some tape, but then I just decided to go with awkward one-footed jump backs and see how it went. Ugly, but good enough. A few of the postures did not feel at all good, and I was wondering how backbends and dropbacks would go. Turns out they were fine.
Sharath came over for assisted backbends. He went “hmmmm” under his breath because my breathing was so shallow, but I was in survival mode at that point. All I wanted was to walk in to my heels & get it right this time.
“Walk in,” he said, and I did. Right to my heels and then up my ankles a bit.
I was rewarded with a “Very good.” And he chuckled when I said, “MY feet!”
Tomorrow is a moon day, so a day off from practice. I’ll nurse my toe by drinking lots of turmeric tea & tape it to its neighbor toe. I may also dabble in some aspirin. I don’t think I can get ibuprofen around here. Regardless, there’ll be no disabled list for me — I’ve come too far for this!
Need to wrap up and go pack. Moving to an apartment down the street, where I’ll room with some friends I made last year. Pictures and stories to follow…