Sunday, July 8, 2012

Super-speedy and powerful practice, coconut water pitch, being a Mysore Virgin who is often mistaken for not being one

Today has been a day of extremes. I just came back home from a very interesting weekend in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St Paul): Where I live in Fargo-Moorhead, I'm about four hours northwest of the Twin Cities, so going down there is always a treat, not least because I get to practice with other people as well (in particular, at the Yoga House), which is a welcome change of pace from my usual home practice: In particular, this past weekend, I got to go to Saturday morning Led Primary and Sunday Morning Mysore.

I'll start by talking about this morning's Mysore practice at the Yoga House. There is something about practicing with other people around me that does something to me: It really speeds up the pace of my practice, almost without my knowing it. I'm not sure why this is so. Maybe it is due to some kind of urge to impress others? Anyway, this morning, I did full primary and second up to Ardha Matsyendrasana (I'm guessing that's slightly more than one-third of second series) in less than an hour and a half. And the thing was, I wasn't even fully aware that I was moving so quickly, except for the fact that I felt really, really winded when I got to Kapotasana. Think about that: Doing full primary and more than one-third of second in less than an hour and a half. Assuming that I took about twenty minutes to do that one-third of second, this probably means that I did full primary (including finishing sequence) in about an hour and ten minutes. Pretty cool, don't you think? Don't get me wrong: I'm not trying to compare practice times with anybody or anything: In fact, I didn't even time myself, and wasn't aware that I was really pushing myself any more than usual. It's just, I don't know, the "Mysore Class Effect"?

But my body definitely felt the effect of the practice after that. Immediately after practice, I made my way to the health food co-op nearby, and it took three (yes, three) coconut waters and one orange (I don't know why, but I have these cravings for oranges from time to time, especially when I'm thirsty) to rehydrate myself to a point where I feel like a normal person again. Oh, by the way, I highly recommend Blue Monkey Coconut Water as a source of post-practice rehydration:

     Highly Recommended for the full-time Ashtanga Fundamentalist
[Image taken from here]

This particular brand of coconut water was recommended to me this weekend by the teacher at Yoga House. Ever since I became an Ashtanga Fundamentalist, I've tried several different brands of coconut water, but in my opinion, Blue Monkey definitely blows the competition out of the water! Do give it a try. But if you already have your own favorite brand of coconut water, then feel free to ignore this (then again, it can't hurt to try something new from time to time, can it? :-))

But all this is only half the story. As I said, this has been a weekend of extremes. First, there was the extremely speedy and powerful asana practice, as detailed above. Then there was the... what shall I call it... extreme debauchery. Immediately after getting back to Fargo-Moorhead, I felt very jacked up (there's something about doing an extremely powerful asana practice and then cooping yourself up in a car for a four-hour drive that does this to you). I found myself walking around downtown Fargo, not knowing what to do with my jacked-up body and mind. And then I walked past a beer house, and thought: Ha! Maybe a beer is what I need to wind my jacked-up self down! Before I knew it, I was sitting outside this bar/beer house, eating chips and downing two big glasses of beer in quick succession. Even as I write this now, I am still a little bit (or maybe more than a little bit) intoxicated. Hmm... should one blog about yoga while intoxicated? But I hear from somewhere that beer (and alcohol in general) is tamasic in nature. Maybe I needed the tamas in the beer to counteract the powerful rajasic effect of this morning's very powerful asana practice? Well, at least that's what I'd like to believe: This whole rationale for getting drunk is starting to sound lame even as I am writing this... Anyway, I'll leave you to judge the lameness of my rationale.


There was one other interesting thing that happened at the Yoga House this weekend. Immediately after Led Primary yesterday (Saturday) morning, there was a screening of the documentary Mysore Magic (if you haven't already seen it, here it is). The reason why the Yoga House was screening it yesterday was because Jim Kambeitz, who did the cinematography for the documentary, happened to be in town, and stopped by the Yoga House for practice. 

The documentary itself is very well-made and heartfelt: It oozes the love of Mysore and the practice in every single frame. Personally, I have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, as I said, it is a very well-made and heartfelt documentary. On the other hand, I couldn't help feeling that the universe is rubbing the fact that I can't make it to Mysore in my face. I mean, think about this: According to my "original" plan, I'm supposed to be in Mysore this very minute! Why can't the universe leave me alone? 

But anyway, it is no use crying over spilled milk (or should it be spilled yogurt/raita?): It is what it is, and whatever has come to pass has come to pass. But here's something else that's interesting. When I told the teacher at Yoga House that I couldn't make it to Mysore this summer, her reaction was, "Oh... I'm sorry. But you've been there before, right?" And then I had to disabuse her of this notion, and tell her that I was a "Mysore Virgin" (do people still use this term?). Which is interesting, because over the last couple of years, at least a couple other people I've met have also made this same mistake of assuming that I've been to Mysore before: One of them is a senior teacher about whom I write a lot on this blog. Interesting, don't you think? Why do people have this impression? Perhaps one possibility is that people who have been to Mysore have a certain "Mysore look" or "Mysore Vibe", and that I somehow have it, even though I have never actually been there. Or maybe (and probably more likely, in my opinion) people assume that if you have a powerful practice (not to be immodest or anything, but my practice is really... how should I put this... not-not-powerful), then you must have been to Mysore: Otherwise, how else can you get such a not-not-powerful practice? (Answer: Do your practice, and all is coming.) 

Oh well. Maybe what all this means is that I need to try to lose my Mysore Virginity soon... Yikes! I can't believe I just wrote that. Must be the alcohol talking... Better sign off now, before things get even more X-rated. More later.      


  1. Funny, Nobel. If our previously discussed food theory has any truth to it, maybe the beer was, in the end, good for your backbending. Let me know. If beer = good for backbends, I say that is reason to rejoice. Ha!

    1. The question of whether beer is good for backbending is presently the subject of an ongoing experiment in my life and body :-)

  2. Just discovered your blog and so far I love it!