"Outer LimitZ II"  by Pamela Nielsen

Tonight I did yoga at an Ashram on 9th St/ Oak . Rebecca invited me (and bribed me with vegan rosewater pistachio cupcakes.
As of 6:20p I was so tired and irritable, I was wondering if there was a way I could ditch, but the lure of Rebecca, her vegan cupcakes and this project proved enough to get me there.

“There” is an ashram, not a yoga studio with nice middle-aged white women, but an ashram, with a grassy outdoor field with adults and children playing frisbee and a large multi-roomed building populated by men with long beards and turbans and women with wrapped hair, bandanas and the distinct aroma of patchouli.

The instructor began with a long talk about the intention of the class, which was to cultivate bliss. He said this was not going to be a nice “ommmmm” type of a yoga class and warned us that we’d could look forward to getting pissed at some point (he was not lying), but that there would be an opportunity to let go of it all. All of the baggage and the negativity and feeling stressed or depressed.

He suggested that the intensity of the Kundalini yoga set we were about to do would actually oxygenate the blood, alter our blood chemistry and literally alter our mood and emotions, as an access to a new outlook on life. And in a sentence that gave me much relief, he said, when the mind gets in a certain groove, and one becomes depressed there is no way for the mind to think itself out of that depression. It just stays in that groove until it is interrupted.

This practice was to be one such interruption, but pretty much, you had to go through the fire, and get pissed before the psyche would alter. And so for the next hour and fifteen minutes he kept on taking us to the edge and beyond. The point he said was to build strength, physical, spiritual, emotional…to draw on the deep well and ultimately to find bliss in letting go.

Bliss Circle Mandala.  Photo by yugenro

Bliss Circle Mandala. Photo by yugenro

It was the most intense yoga practice I’ve ever done. In my mind, I f*cking hated it. It was both physically and mentally challenging. We would continue doing the same repetitive motion for up to six minutes at a time. Frankly, about two minutes into the opening set of high knee kicks with alternate hand punches I was winded and wobbly. I was certain I wouldn’t finish.

I can’t. I said to myself over and over, but then I kept going until finally he allowed us to sit down after the first exercise, but then we were to stand back up and then sit down again.

I can’t. I won’t finish. But then somehow I’d push through and finish. And so it went for the entire hour. I can’t and then I did. I stopped briefly a few times, said fuck a bunch and then at the moment that he invited us to let it out, I just wailed and whined and grunted with everything I had and everything that hurt, oblivious to whether is was too loud or too crude or anything else.

pistachio rosewater cupcake crop I collapsed to the floor in relief and continued with the rest of the class. A part of me hated that class, hated that teacher and hated being pushed and having my arms hurt and being asked to do more and more and would never want to go back. That part of me is resigned to mediocrity, survival and has a high regard for comfort. (Is that so wrong?)

Another part of me knows that it’s exactly what I need and even what I want. And maybe this is the answer to the “You’re Evitable” post. It’s three hours later and my arms still feel like jello, my mind is a Denver scramble and I’m not sure what to make of the whole thing. That’s my life in a freakin’ nutshell. The life I want is on the other side of a fire and I usually don’t feel like getting burned.

Riffing off the “Alien Face” post from the other night, I’m going to focus on the experience rather than the label. I also just found out tonight in posting the hotlink that starting today they are now offering classes from 5-6p on Saturdays for a love offering, which I’m going to accept as a gift from on high. I’m pretty clear that this is just the kind of interruption I could use right now. I’ll keep you posted. Peace out…D

p.s. The cupcakes were delicious and so worth it. She put rose jam underneath the drizzled pink icing on some of them and it was divine.

p.p.s. a musical selection for your listening pleasure.