Monday, March 22, 2004

Well, well, well. What is life without some drastic changes?

I’ve pushed my Mysore trip back.

Oh, it’s still inevitable. Only now the dates are very much in question.

I could leave as soon as the end of April. Or I may be leaving middle of May. Or later.

My travel agent has confirmed there’s only a $250 change fee, which is a relief, because I was worried I’d lose the whole ticket if I couldn’t depart on the original day.

What sparked the change?

The company that employs me was recently purchased by another, much larger company.

Some years ago, my company had set up an employee trust whereby 10 percent of the shares in the company were reserved for employees.

One of the key events that would trigger a payout: the sale of the company.

Our company sold for $80 million up front, and $80 million to be paid out over the next four years.

All employees who’ve been with the company for more than a year will get paid, the amount depending on length of employment and current job standing.

And get this: after that first payment (which ought to be a whopper, even for a cog such as myself), all those employees will receive a check once a year for the next four years, as that second $80 million is paid out.

Regardless of whether they’re still with the company or not.

Can you believe that?

The only catch for me to get that initial check: I have to be an employee from the date the deal closes, which the upper crust is anticipating to be sometime mid-April.

I decided I’d be a fool to stick to my original plan.

All I have to do is stick out April, and perhaps a few weeks into May. At that point, I’ll be able to pay off my debts and then travel to Mysore.

Only I’ll have the financial wherewithal to stay for a lot longer, if I choose. A lot longer.

Plus I stand to get a check every year until 2007! I have no idea for how much, but it might just be enough to cover return airfare to Mysore.

After writing all of this out, it seems too good to be true, like winning the lottery.

It’s frustrating because I’ve become quite a clockwatcher. It’s absolutely killed me that I have my plane ticket, visa, and yoga money in hand right now, and I won’t be leaving.

Well, time passes. It’s the oldest, sneakiest trick in the book.

Now for the Encinitas weather report: the humidity has blown through the roof, and the temp has climbed a bit, so that morning practices are now comfortable. It’s somewhere around the mid-50s at around 6 or 7 a.m.

I gauge a day’s heat by garba pindasana: If I don’t have sweat on my legs and arms, I’m not quite warm enough.

Also, on the Bad Man report, I slept in this morning. I went out and saw Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind last night and returned late. Tim’s in Maui all week, too, so I woke up this morning at the usual time (4:30) and thought, “Fuck it, I’m going back to sleep.”

It’s been incredibly difficult to maintain a semblance of my former social life—which I’d mostly jettisoned anyway—and build a life around my yoga practice. I’m feeling a need to strike a balance between the two, somehow, or else I think I’ll go crazy. Extremes—in either direction—can’t be good, because in my experience the pendulum just swings back the other way.

There’re a million examples, starting with any and all of my friends who were straight-edge when younger. Almost all of them fell off the wagon. Hard.

The physical practice itself has been lovely with the increased heat. I’ve taken to sitting up for supta kurmasana, rather than crossing my legs behind my head from kurmasana. This way I can really work into my left hip.

I sit in eka pada sirsasana for a breath or two, fold the right leg up and back, and then sit in dwi pada sirsana for a breath or two. Finally, I pick myself up off the ground and lay myself flat on the ground, elongating my torso as much as possible for the five breaths of supta kurmasana.

It’s a more involved process, but seems to be working where I need it. The other way I used to enter supta kurmasana—grasp wrists, work left leg behind head, then lift and work right leg behind head—wasn’t getting deep enough.

I sort of had an epiphany about the pose while practicing in LA a few weeks ago. Noah picked up my feet in supta kurmasana, grabbed an ankle in each hand, and pulled my legs apart like he was tying a knot. It was the firmest adjustment in the pose I’ve had in years, and really moved me to where I think the pose should be working. Since then I’ve been trying to approximate that sensation.

Backbends continue to feel better and better, too. Bekasana is feeling great. My left heel is beginning to graze the floor. My right heel—that's another story. There’s a knot in my outer right hip—it resembles a tiny lump—that’s slowly working itself out, and really distorts my alignment in a multitude of poses, from samasthi and utthita parsvokanasana to purvotanasana and tiraing mukha eka pada paschimattanasana.

I think I put it there through a combination of activities—flipping over the handlebars of an ATV when I was a kid and slamming on it repeatedly over the years while skateboarding chief among them. Hip slams are so common they’re referred to as “hippers,” and I’ve taken my share of the bastards, the last several years ago on some shiny black marble ledges in San Francisco.

The knot seems to be working itself out, though (Miracle of miracles!), and the most noticeable result is in backbends, which are getting correspondingly more and more comfortable.

And perhaps I’ll save another post for baddha konasana. Let’s just say I was very relieved to read an interview with David Swenson in which he mentioned baddha konasana as a pose that gave him a lot of trouble when he was starting.

I wonder how much of this will change when I’m not chained to a desk? Give my hips, back and shoulders a month in Mysore, in the jungle heat and away from eight hours a day of sitting in front of a computer …

Soon enough.