Thursday, July 26, 2012

Lightly Sacrilegious

A shout out to all my Jewish yogis:

If yoga had brought me out of the house and not shown me exercise - Dayenu, it would have been enough!
If yoga had shown me exercise and not strengthened all the muscles - Dayenu, it would have been enough!
If yoga had strengthened my muscles and not my mind - Dayenu, it would have been enough!
If yoga had strengthened my mind and not eased my eczema - Dayenu, it would have been enough!
If yoga had eased my eczema and not unburdened me of athsma - Dayenu, it would have been enough!
If yoga had unburdened me of athsma and not given me more self-confidence - Dayenu, it would have been enough!
If yoga had given me more self-confidence and not humbled me - Dayenu, it would have been enough!
If yoga had humbled me and not given me coping mechanisms for stress - Dayenu, it would have been enough!
If yoga had given me coping mechanisms and not shown me the way to find peace of mind - Dayenu, it would have been enough!

The way I was taught Judaism was to question everything* and, as illustrated above, to be grateful for everything. Many of us are atheist Jews in my family and I see nothing contradictory in this.

Growing up I loved singing Dayenu (the psalm that has been Weird Al Yankovic'ed above) loudly and off-key with my family. Dayenu has similar meaning to hallelujah. The song goes through all the wonderful miracles bestowed upon the Jews in their flight from Egypt citing that G*d could have done only one thing and it would have been a miracle but he kept going.

We were the proverbial weary traveler and G*d was the gracious hostess throwing piles of shrimp, oh wait, that's not really going with the Jewish theme now is it, um... latkes at us. Latkes really aren't as lavish as what I'm trying to get across here but you get the idea.

The moral of the story is that when a hostess gives you a latke, don't get all, "Where's my gefilte fish?" on her, be thankful for the latke and for the fork.

Although, honestly, you should never ask for gefilte fish. Just on principal.

There are a million things my yoga practice has given to me and I would have kept up with it had it only given me an arm muscle or two.  Had I received even the smallest bit of good, it would have been enough, yet look at how much has been piled on! Dayenu!

* Passover is the major holiday in our family. The service teaches you how to answer questions because questioning is important. My sister even put an orange on the sedar plate one year. When we asked "Why on earth is there an orange on our sedar plate?" she responded, "Why not, the service does not tell us not to put an orange on the plate. We should also question what is not in the service and why not." The idea being that a bunch of men wrote this stuff down and they might have been a wee skewed in their judgement of women. You know, a just smidge *massive eye-roll*.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

More Energizing Than Half-Tortise

Training has begun again for a small group of yogis at my studio. With the new year came a boat-load of new additions to last year's routine. While I approve of all of the changes (not that it would matter if I didn't) they do make for a noticeably longer training session. Last year, we struggled through 40 back-bends in a row. We would approach those backbends with the nervous anticipation that marks the high-point in any routine -- be it camel pose, the 3pm push at work, or that one point running up-hill that always makes your legs ache. 

This year, the backbends are sliced to bits and sandwiched neatly between handstand push-ups. For me, the push-ups are fun, making the backbends less tedious. For more bendy, less muscular folks, I am sure it is the opposite. Either way, most of us get a nice sandwich out of the deal, the bread being the delivery system one puts up with in order to obtain the delicious peanut butter and jelly middle. MMMmm. Just a moment. ....

*wipes crumbs off face* This new format, while containing delicious proverbial peanut butter, also has a plethora of bread to wade through. This section gets long. And tedious. I have not actually checked, but if I were to estimate the time, my guess is about 8 hours for this section of the routine (I am pretty sure time and space bends in that room). At the four hour mark* things can get a little loopy. No amount of counting backbends in fun languages (last week included counting like The Count from Sesame Street and Pig-Latin) staves off the desire for a looong water break. 

Fortunately, the exact point where we all lost hope last week coincided with the ipod's random choice of George Michael. I don't know about you, but for me, the nostalgia factor of George Michael is high. Combine it with the also high cheese-factor and you have a winning combination for a few "I don't give a football if you are watching" dance moves from yours truly. 

Sweat-Slingin' Dance Par-tay!
I can not dance. At all. I do not care. My completely soaked-in-sweat tiny yoga shorts were swinging in a rhythm that was as close to the beat as I can pull off. 

A few chuckles from the rest of the crew later, possibly some inspiration that nobody was going to look sillier than I did, and we were all gyrating in our sweaty glory to "Faith." 3 minutes and 16 seconds later we hopped right back to it and crawled down the wall for our final two rounds of backbends. I have now incorporated the dance-party into my training sessions and, like yoga, they defy logic for energy creation. 

I highly advice impromptu dance-parties when you need a little energy. If you feel gross, are highly un-coordinated, unmotivated, and covered in your own diaphoresis, all the better. 3:30 push at work? Mid-hill on a long jog? Stop, plug in some C&C Music Factory-style guilty pleasure and bust-a-move.

* Times may not be accurate

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Adult Beverages Lose Their Status Near My Mouth

As I am thirstily drinking my water, tipping the glass so far up that two streams form at the corners of my mouth, rushing down my chin and forming dark spots on my t-shirt, it occurs to me that I should stop drinking my water like this because a considerable portion of the precisely-measured supplement I just added to said water is not making it into my mouth. Reason number 3,487 that I am not yet an adult. 
I'm not really all that thirsty, just that sloppy.