Started my practice later than usual this morning. I usually start practicing between 6 and 6:30 a.m. on weekdays. My rest day is on Sunday, so I practice on Saturdays too. Having to start my practice later (woke up late this morning) made me appreciate the importance of starting early. When I start my practice later, it's harder to bring myself to the mat. There are all these voices in my head clambering for my attention ("Hey, it's already 10 a.m., shouldn't you maybe skip practice today, or at least cut it short? There are so many other things waiting to be done... You sure you have time for this Ashtanga thing?") When I start early in the morning, my mind is somehow quieter.
Did full primary today. The voices in my head started quieting down as I headed into the standing sequence, and the entire practice flowed smoothly and seamlessly. Still can't lift fully into handstand from navasana, but at least I didn't fall on my face :-) Will continue working on it.
Last night, I made a trip to the local Barnes and Noble to read that Yoga Journal article ("Measure for Measure") that Anna Guest-Jelley of Curvy Yoga was so up in arms about (I gave up my YJ subscription years ago). I really don't see what is so shame-inducing about the article. The article starts with the author making a trip to the office of Linda Bacon (yes, the Linda Bacon who is the founder of HAES; apparently, she's a nutrition professor at the City College of San Francisco, and also has a clinical practice as a health/body image consultant.).
Anyway, Bacon tells the author in the plainest terms what nobody has had the guts to say to her face thus far: She is fat. (Yes, she actually uses the "f" word.) This starts the author on a journey of self-reflection about her eating and lifestyle habits. She changes her yoga practice from an Iyengar-style-long-holds-in-postures-type-practice to a vinyasa flow practice. In the process, she listens to her body more, and realizes that she had been eating more food than her body needs (she realizes, for example, that she had unknowingly gotten into the practice of eating out of sheer habit rather than out of hunger). In order to change her lifestyle to one that is more in line with what her body needs, she starts to monitor and keep track of her food intake more closely; keeping a food diary, measuring out her portions (hence the title of the article). And she ends up losing more than 20 pounds. In the process, she also discovered that asanas which she used to find very difficult (twists, inversions, etc.) became much easier.
As I was saying, I don't see where the shame-inducing/humiliating part of the article is. If anything, the article is a nice blend of both yogic and scientific common sense. Somebody comes up to me and says I am fat. I can choose to blow that person off, or I can choose to consider whether what that person says is in any way reflective of the reality of my situation. Either way, I have to face the consequences for my choice. Choosing to blow somebody off for calling me fat isn't going to change certain very basic things about how reality works. Whatever words we choose to use to describe body shapes, the basic scientific truths remain: Biology doesn't care whether I am "fat", "curvy", "round-bodied", "chunky", "big-boned", "[insert your favorite euphemism]". The more pounds I pack on, the harder my body has to work, and the harder my body has to work, the more likely premature wear-and-tear of the internal and external biological systems will occur. We can choose to accept this basic scientific reality, and work with it as best as we can; or we can choose to deny this reality at our own peril. It seems that somebody we know may have chosen the latter path.