Thursday, May 19, 2011

You can't eat yoga, but it sustains you

"You can't eat hope,' the woman said.
You can't eat it, but it sustains you,' the colonel replied."

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Met with my friend B yesterday evening to do some Ashtanga. B was one of the two friends who did yoga with me in this post.

The events leading up to the practice session were quite interesting, so I'll relate them here. We were supposed to meet at 6:30 p.m. at my place. I waited till 7 p.m., and he did not show up. I called him, and it turned out that he had come home from work, decided to take a short nap, and ended up sleeping through the appointed time. I told him he could still come over if he wanted to. So he did. When he got to my place, he told me that he had been on a self-imposed diet of bread and water the last couple of days, because he was trying to "detox" from having eaten so much rich food the last couple of weeks: He had been traveling a lot the past couple of weeks due to work and family commitments, and when he travels, he tends to overeat.

As a result of his bread-and-water diet, he told me, he was feeling really hungry and weak, and he took a nap in order not to have to feel the hunger. He then tried to weasel out of our yoga session; he offered to buy me a slice of pizza and a beer at a local pizza place. [Note to reader: Unlike many other Ashtangis, who are much more observant in making sure that they do not eat past a certain hour (for more details, see the comments on this post), I am sadly lacking in this area. Which may (or may not) explain why I have yet to complete second series.]

In response to his offer, I observed matter-of-factly that if we go for pizza and beer, the whole yoga plan would basically go to shit. (Which was, of course, precisely his intention.) He chuckled somewhat sheepishly, and I assured him that the nice thing about doing Ashtanga is that (a) he will be so occupied with the breath during the practice, he will have no time to feel hungry, (b) the practice tends to have an appetite-suppressing effect, which means that he will probably not feel so hungry after the practice.

I don't think he bought my story; but seeing that I would not back down in the face of gastronomic temptation, he reluctantly gave in. We did a short practice: 5 Surya As, 5 Surya Bs, Padangusthasana and Padahastasana. After the practice, he said he didn't feel hungry anymore. He also told me that he had been to a few Sivananda classes in India (he's originally from India), and always felt ravenous after those classes. [Another note to reader: In case you are wondering, I have absolutely nothing against Sivananda. I have great respect for that lineage.] As he left my apartment, his face was exuding a post-yoga glow, and he smilingly told me that he was going to stick to his bread-and-water diet for a couple more days, and that we should get together to practice again soon.

Moral of the story? Hmm... maybe it's this: You can't eat yoga, but it sustains you :-)


  1. It sure does :) I love the post-yoga glow. I feel so healthy!