It depends on how much you want it.

At different stages of time as my practice has evolved, I have struggled with various asana. Some are the usual suspects of ashtanga like Mari D, any form of balance, and my ever changing back bending. I’m a bit more than halfway through the intermediate series and kapotasana has most certainly kept it’s reputation as difficult, both physically and emotionally. The first time I ever went into it, I not only felt like I was having a full blown anxiety attack, but released a kidney stone…seriously. On the comical side of it, I had no idea I even was experiencing a kidney stone, I thought I had hurt my back, so…by the end of the week as the stone was finally breaking up and causing me to pee burgundy, the doctors in the ER thought I was a freak because I was happy and relieved to have a stone as this meant my back was not injured. I’m pretty sure this shows just how certifiably crazy I am. I promise, I hate pain and injury, but with any demanding physical practice, at certain points, things sometimes happen, but by knowing my back was open enough, not torn, nothing tweaked beyond the horrible discomfort of the stone breaking up and working it’s way out of my body, I rationalized that kapo helped heal an underlying health issue. I admit, my husband likes to point out to me that sane, rational people who don’t practice ashtanga may not understand my perspective, but I’m fine with that. I’m pretty sure it’s more than ashtanga that makes me beat to my own drum.

Anyway, it’s now been a year and change since that lovely moment in time, and though I now have bigger fish to fry in learning new asana, the evolution of kapo has not always been smooth, far from it. Illness, sleeping funny, cold weather, my mindset, as well as a trip to India all caused minor setbacks, but nothing has been more detrimental than my sweaty hands. I really have had an almost impossible time creeping my hands back and up to my heels and ankles. Towels, wiping my hands, more wet, dryer, I had almost given up on the floor method and was really just attempting to go straight down from the air as I can in an adjustment…sigh, I’m lazy here too, because three or more attempts to “get it” is just so taxing. On the bright side of it, I have really had to get my breathing calm and stable, and much of the time, it is!

About three weeks ago, my teacher S told me he had the same issue with his hands and the only mat grippy enough was the lululemon the mat. ( though now, over time he can just do it with any mat) I groaned, because, I had tried that mat, and given it away because it smelled so strongly of rubber, and it also wasn’t all that grippy, at least the one I had had before. I love my mat, my space, my manduka…besides The Mat isn’t cheap and from a frugality mindset, there was nothing particularly wrong with my two plus year old manduka pro. I resisted, I decided buying the mat would be an ego based decision and that is not what yoga is about, until of course you start envisioning the easy crawl into your feet on The Mat! So, I did what any sane rational person would do, and caved and bought The Mat about a week ago….and it worked! My hands actually stick to it’s slightly sheened smooth black surface! Ease in kapotasana is almost the most rediculous statement I can make, but hey, it’s working.

It has caused me angst though, as I let my desire for grip guide me to make a mostly unneeded purchase. Desire and I go way back, my mom always laughed telling me even as a small child I would say, but mommy I don’t want it, I need it! Well, I guess I still cave to that ego, because I really wanted needed The Mat. IMG_0745.JPG

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Read the fine print.

I love coffee. I brought my own supply of French coffee to India with me, as I had heard there were differences in preparation, etc. A French press was my coveted, most needed appliance. A morning cup or two of coffee starts my day. I am quite thrilled with the expression, no coffee, no prana. It fits me and my habits enabling my need to drink a cup of Java before doing anything else.

Within this ritual, I enjoy coffee with half in half, whole milk will do in a pinch, and life in India was all a pinch;) Milk is not in cartons in India. Rather instead it comes in pint sized plastics bags.

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Many people still have it delivered every morning by a milkman, left in bins outside their doors. I was picking it up at a local bodega. I was in awe the first time, with the packaging, figuring out how to get it open, not spill it, and then transfer my precious milk to another container for safe storage in the refrigerator. Yes, I know, quite a bit of thought just in milk, but my coffee is important, and I really don’t enjoy it as much black, though desperate times can call for desperate measures.

I didn’t think much of it when the packaging was a different color one morning out replenishing my milk supply.

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However, I was wrong. The next morning, as I poured my lovely milk into my precious coffee, and went for my first glorious sip, I almost choked! I thought maybe the milk was spoiled but it was also spicy? Was it goats milk, or something else?! How could milk be spicy? Well, in India it can be. I read the packaging, and there were ingredients, beyond cows milk. Unknowingly, I had been given buttermilk accidentally by the store clerk. Unlike the buttermilk here in the States or elsewhere, this had spices in it like cumin and coriander, not exactly what I wanted to be flavoring my morning cup of Joe…sigh, it was stomach churning and yet as with everything there being so precious, I felt so wasteful in not being able to consume it. Joyfully I had made enough coffee for a second cup, which I drank black, but at least not filled with cumin. Funny how something can seem heaven sent, even when it’s not your ideal, as it’s better than none, or at least palatable! Another lesson learned, read the fine print, no cumin in my milk please.

Devaraja market

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“Though this be madness, yet there is method in ’t.” Yes, I love Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and this favorite line perfectly denotes the Devaraja market in Mysore. Though I will admit I mostly saw the madness!

I went there on a Saturday after being at Mysore palace in the early morning. It was really an excursion to take in the experience and maybe get some essential oils and powdered pigments for painting. There had been a man hawking anklets in front of the palace, I rebuffed, telling him I was headed to the market, saving my rupees for shopping later. Who know he would be following me for the rest of the day?

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I was obviously with friends, as the open market in Mysore is not somewhere to explore alone, and preferably with a guide or someone who has been there before. My friend Stan had mentioned a great place to get incense and oil in the market that he had been too ten years prior. He had told me about a young boy, Syed, he had met and taken videos of that had very high quality goods. No sooner had we walked into the full vibrancy of chaos, when Syed was right in front of us, now a grown up 23 year old!

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Syed was so wondeful. He, as well, remembered the earlier visit! He took us into the back of his storefront and happily started ordering us chais to get from his workers as we sat and smelled his incense and oils. Oh, the swelling pride that glowed in his face as he described his mother hand-making the incense, and showing us the difference in color as well as scent in ingredient choices! A true labor of love handed down generationally. His grandfather had won awards in Mysore for his craft with oils. Syed was passionate and joyful in his duty to continue the family business.

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I admit, I wanted them all! The scents were divine, heady and intense, but also pure, subtle, and refreshing, a great combination! My order was ready after drinking about four chai. The conversation was worth the time spent. I loved learning about Syed, his family, his exhuberance, and his work. When all was finally said and done, yes, with the anklet guy still hovering right outside the kiosk, I bid Syed farewell, and said I was going to explore the rest of the market. He looked at me and exclaimed, “But you can’t! Don’t you see, you are so blonde and white, you are the Mark of the market!” I laughed and assured him I was in good hands with my friends and that we were only going to loop through, no more purchases, he was confident with that and let me go.

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The anklet man was quite persistent. he not only followed me and found me at the market, but stayed with me negotiating all the way back outside to the scooter..he earned my purchases that day!

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