Sunday, July 24, 2011

Day 1 of MS workshop: Does Carbo-loading apply in Ashtanga?

It is now 9:50 p.m. CDT on Sunday evening. I am in my hotel room, slumped over my computer as I write this post. I believe this physical and energetic slump I am experiencing right now is caused by two things: (1) The soreness in my quads, caused by all the backbending and other stuff I did in Matthew Sweeney (MS)'s two workshops today, (2) The big dinner I had at the Rainbow Chinese Restaurant a couple of hours ago; the effects of the carbohydrate-induced stupor have yet to wear off. I hope this will not have an adverse effect on my mysore practice in the morning at 6 a.m.

Ah, food, glorious food! You are probably questioning the wisdom of my eating a big dinner in the evening when there is mysore so early in the morning. Well, your questioning is justified. But here are a couple of mitigating factors: (I) As there were only a couple of hours between the two workshops today, and the afternoon workshop was a backbend workshop, I did not think it would be wise to eat a big lunch before doing deep backbends. So I only had a juice and a small cup of soup for lunch. As wonderful as yoga is, man (or woman) cannot live on yoga alone. So I had to eat something substantial at the end of the day. (II) Back in the day when I did some long-distance running, there was this concept of "carbo-loading" among runners (I don't know if this is still a credible idea in the running world; I'm out of touch with developments there): The general idea is that one should "stock up" on carbs a few hours (or even the day before) before a big run, in order to give the body the energy it needs for the run. I wonder if the same idea applies to Ashtanga too? If you see a two-hour mysore session as a "big run" of sorts, would this same idea not apply too? If you have any thoughts on this very ad hoc theory of mine, I would love to hear it :-)

Well, this has been a very ranting post. And I have said nothing so far about the two sessions at the workshop today. Well, as many of you already know, MS is well-known for creative sequencing, for thinking outside the Ashtanga box, if you will. This definitely shows in the sessions today, especially the one on backbends. It's quite surprising how where backbends are concerned, doing less may sometimes be more: For instance, he had us do a whole bunch of hangbacks instead of attempting the full dropback. It's really surprising how much more work you end up doing with your front body if you slowly and deliberately hang back, rather than just allow yourself to kind of just flop back to the ground; which probably explains my sore (wordplay: MY...SORE) quads right now. Hmm... I wonder how things will be like in mysore in the morning. Well, I guess we'll find out in a few hours... For now, I need to go to sleep, and hopefully, that big Chinese dinner will digest itself in the meantime. We'll see. Stay tuned.   


  1. I think carb loading can work, as long as i give myself enough time between eating and sleeping mind. I always remember sharath chastising when people couldn't hold uthi plu for his full count by saying we should eat more chappati.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Esther. The "eat more chappati" line is really funny :-)

  3. Hi Nobel, great postings about the MS workshop. I would love to hear more details about the backbendig workshop, excersises, etc., if you have the time I'd really appreciate it!
    Thanks so much.

  4. Thanks arenal. I'll try to write a more detailed post about these things in the near future :-)