Wednesday, January 7, 2004

Moon day today – no practice. I have friends who practice on moon days, but generally I opt to take the proscribed rest, partly because I believe the body reacts differently during the waxing and waning of the moon. I’ve certainly noticed my energy level tends to spike during full moons — the highs and lows are particularly acute.

But mostly I take rest because, for god’s sake, ashtanga is pretty f**king hard. Two days off a month is a welcome respite.

I read an interview with Richard Freeman a few weeks back in which he discussed his visit to Mysore with Guruji, sometime in the late ’80s.

His daily schedule sounded pretty intense. After a time, it was only he and his wife there, so he was receiving some pretty hands-on assistance from what I only imagine was a much younger, fiercer Guruji.

He would do all of second series, then all of fourth. The next day, all of first, all of third. The day after, all of third, all of fourth. And so on. His practices were stretching into three, four hours.

“That sounds pretty intense,” the interviewer said.

“It was very intense,” said Richard. “I would pray for the days off!”

(Obviously I’m paraphrasing here.)

So I’ve come to treasure moon days, and I secretly suspect they’re not only to honor the moon’s effect on the body, but also to give ashtanga practitioners — and teachers — two days off a month.

Over the last few days, my practice has proceeded apace. Even when it’s just average, it’s great. Which is I guess what keeps me returning.

I feel as though I’m on the cusp of several openings. I suspect they will happen, yet will refuse to be dramatic and instantaneous, as I keep hoping. Rather, it will be gradual. I expect to stand up from backbends very soon, and the hips continue their ponderous yet inexorable movement.

Pranayama has been easier of late. I think Tim has scaled back a little this week; Monday was fairly manageable, and Tuesday was pranayama-lite in honor of the Feast of Epiphany, the full moon, and Mercury going direct.

I’m back in full effect at work after the holidays. Still, it’s more manageable, knowing I’m going to Mysore in June. Now it’s a matter of scrabbling to raise the necessary funds.