But I think that practicing in colder weather has its advantages too. Because my body is tighter, I have to work with the tightness and perceived lack of flexibility, bring more consciousness to the breath, and move with greater awareness; whereas in a warm environment, there is a tendency to just allow yourself to kind of "melt" into the softness of the muscles and joints. As I moved through primary this morning, I made a conscious intention to breathe more evenly and freely, and also to practice Jiva Bandha, i.e. lightly pressing the tip of the tongue to the center of the roof of the mouth. I learnt this Bandha from Nicki Doane a few years ago (she said that she learnt it from Richard Freeman). It's supposed to do two things: (1) On a physical level, pressing the tip of the tongue to the roof of the mouth prevents jaw tension. It is simply impossible to do this AND clench the jaw at the same time (try it: You'll see what I'm saying :-)). (2) On a pranic level, keeping the tongue in that position helps to conserve prana and prevent prana leakage.
Practicing Jiva Bandha is especially useful when it comes to challenging postures. In Kapotasana this morning, I made a conscious effort to practice Jiva Bandha. I didn't get deeper into the posture, but the quality of the posture was different: I was able to breathe a little more fully, and the posture as a whole felt more free of tension.
In a comment I posted on Claudia's recent post on avoiding Yoga Jet Lag, I half-seriously remarked that Claudia's experience "gives us another reason why we should all try to write a book." Claudia rather unexpectedly responded to my comment by saying, "Nobel, yes good idea, your book, can't wait!"
When I first saw Claudia's response, I simply smiled, and didn't think too much of it. But earlier today, I started giving the idea a little more thought: I have been writing this blog for more than a year now. I might be able to use some of the material in this blog to generate a book (just like Claudia used material from her blog to generate her by-now best-selling book, "21 Things to Know Before Starting An Ashtanga Yoga Practice" :-)). But I'm very much a blogging-on-the-fly kind of blogger: I almost never plan in advance what I'm going to blog about. This being the case, my blog posts are kind of all over the place: I basically just blog about anything yoga-related that happens to strike me as interesting on any given day. So, there are no central organizing themes in my blog posts (other than the fact that they are all related to yoga in one way or another). So what should I write a book about (if I'm indeed going to write one)? What are the central themes in this blog that are worth drawing together and putting into a book?
Well, let's see... here are a few off-the-wall possible titles/ideas (I'm being facetious, just so you know):
1. How to Mess up your SI joint, Bust Your Knee, (Almost) Break Your Back in Kapotasana, and Live to Tell the Tale
Who would want to read a book with this title? Hmm... but maybe if I write this book, the NYT will want to publish an excerpt of it (you know what I'm talking about; don't make me link to that NYT article again). And then I'll be famous (and maybe rich too?); but this fame will come only at the price of selling out the yoga community and becoming Yoga Public Enemy #1. So, not a good idea.
2. Random Confessional Musings of a Crazy Chinese Ashtangi in the Upper Midwest
Will anybody be interested in reading a book with such a title?
3. Confessions of a Crazy Chinese Douchebag Who Hangs Around Coffee Shops (and Secretly Scorns Strange Old Men Who Mistake Him for Being Japanese)
A book like this would at least be a true account of something that actually happened. But again, would anybody want to read a book with a title like this?
Speaking of which, here's something I'm really curious about, being a non-native English speaker: Can anybody tell me the difference between "asshole" and "douchebag"? I tried asking my students in class this morning, and we all had a great time laughing and thinking about this distinction, but in the end, nobody could come up with a satisfactory answer.
4. Why I Haven't Been to Mysore Even Though I Practice Ashtanga Yoga
I have written a few posts on this. But I'm not sure if there is enough material to generate into a book. Besides, I'm also not sure if anybody would be interested in reading something like this.
5. The Collected Wisdom of Kino MacGregor
Looking through my posts, I've noticed that many of them involve things that I have learnt from Kino, either in person at her workshops, or via email correspondence. There probably is enough material to turn into a book. But if anybody is going to write a compilation of Kino-wisdom, it should be Kino herself! It would be very weird for some other person to write a book like this, wouldn't it? Besides, I have heard somewhere that Kino herself is in the process of publishing a book. So why steal her thunder? (remember Asteya (Non-Stealing)...)
But seriously, any of you regular readers out there have any ideas about what I could write a book on, if I should decide to use material from this blog to write a book? If you have any ideas at all (doesn't matter how off-the-wall), I'll love to hear from you. I'm not yet committed either way (to writing or not writing). But I would like some ideas, so I can think about this some more. Many thanks in advance.