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David is slowly adding intermediate back on to my practice. It feels totally different to be backbending on my belly. That was one of the first things to go when I was 5 months pregnant after a few dumb attempts at shoving blankets under my shoulders and pelvis to create a little room for the baby.

When I got pregnant I was at yoga nidrasana and I had that kind of scrawny look people get when they are close to splitting and the practice is sort of devouring them. Getting into kapotasana by myself took a long time, and all of the leg behind the head stuff was hard won, so I imagine it will take me a while to get back to where I was. I’m not really in any rush. The front of my body needs to stretch out again after surgery. It still feels tight in backbending and my incision feels tender if I push too hard. Also, the longer my practice gets the more jittery I get about leaving the baby.

Here’s a picture of me right around the time of conception. Look – you can play xylophone on my chest bones!

Now the only thing you can play on my chest is maybe pillow fight.

Mercedes is cool:

Driving to along Queen to pick up some merchandise for the studio, Mercedes pointed to man leaning against his ten speed bike on a street corner.

Mercedes: Oh! I thought that was a crackhead, but he is just a hipster.

Bwhahaha! Seriously, I don’t want to be a traitor to my generation or isolate myself from one of the six people in the city who didn’t vote for Rob Ford – but come on! Skinny jeans paired with ironic glasses and a beard? That look will not get you laid. Or maybe it will, in which case I need to have a serious talk with some hipster girls.

Ok. I’ll admit it. Sometimes I kinda love living where we do and listening to my neighbours blast “Jessie’s Girl”. It is a hipster-free zone. And if you think maybe someone might be a crackhead. Odds are…

David had 100 students in our Mysore program today. Yep, 100. We had been hovering around 95 for the past couple of weeks and we were waiting to hit three digits. It was a busy Sunday, but it felt manageable. I’m not sure that why our little northern city has caught AYCT Mysore fever, but it has been exciting to see it grow over the past two years. We are so lucky to have such a strong, wonderful and obsessed community. We are truly blessed.

We watched The Runaways this weekend and I have been singing, “Don’t Give a Damn about My Bad Reputation” since. The other day we went to an opening party for a downtown vinyasa studio, which was fun and we are very proud and happy for nice  friends. But if real life was a musical, then David would totally be Joan Jett and Mercedes, Holden and I would be the Blackhearts and we would have walked into the party with faux-leather jackets singing that song. And then the vinyasa kids would be dressed up like Carly Simon and sing back to us, “You’re So Vain”. Awesome.

But of course, in real life we just huddled together until a few people came up to us and said “Hello”. When we got back in the car 20 minutes later Mercedes said, “God. No one likes you guys.” Hahaha! We have been up on Ashtanga Island for so long, but it was sort of delicious to be a fish out of water.

Running a Mysore program is like the anti-thesis to a good business model. You have to be there everyday, asking people to do the same impossible things all the time without deviation, and then you have to bug people, who have already purchased monthly or annual passes, to come more often. It doesn’t make any sense. But here we are.

To get more students I am thinking of making this our new logo:

It is a sign in South Africa warning: “Very Steep Ramp Leads to Crocodile Pit”. I’m not sure why they put crocodiles at the bottom of wheelchair ramps, it seems particularly unfair. But anyway, I think it makes an eye-catching logo. And our new tagline would be, “Modify and we feed you to the crocodiles”. We would totally hit 150 in a month.

This video by Toronto Body Mind was made a few weeks after the baby was born. We were such zombies taking turns rocking the baby to sleep for hours on end. In the video, I love the sort of sad gulp David does before saying he gets up at 3a every morning. Good thing he could talk eloquently about ashtanga under any circumstances. Too bad they didn’t catch any footage of the crocodiles.


Four months!

I had such a Tuesday practice today. Everything was stiff and uncomfortable and I felt all grouchy and stinky. It was a scattershot day, wrong place wrong time – your might just end up in my line of fire. I hate days like that, although at the time I feel my anger and irritation is perfectly justified. I much prefer it when I think everyone around me is awesome. I did feel a little less like composing a negative letter to a few people after practice. I rewarded myself with a big cup of joe for not flying off the handle when I got home.

My toe is clearing up. I just feel pins and needles down the side of foot, and i’m trying to avoid bumping it with the most ridiculous granny-style vinyasas. I’m also wearing my favourite t-shirt today that I got for my 3rd anniversary. I have been wearing everyday since it arrived in the mail. I did have to take it off and wash it because I noticed a big mysterious brown stain on it when I was showing it off to a friend, but I put it on again right away when it came out of the dryer.

This young lady is wearing my t-shirt. She looks like she lives in Portland – kingdom of vegans – and knows how to make her own tofu and fix her bike when it breaks.

I desperately want to be the kind of person who is invited into the bomb shelter. I’m pretty sure David has enough rabid fans that they will get him in, and Holden is pretty cute. I really have to learn how to stitch hemp spacesuits or something. David always says when the apocalypse comes, our neighbours will totally eat us. We will be all Kumbaya and eating the dandelions in the yard and they will knock down our door and devour us.

Speaking of neighbours, our infamous neighbours kicked the tree stump that borders our property last week into our yard and now there is a big hole in the fence. He came clean yesterday and told us what happened.

N: But now you get to fix fence!

Honestly. Really, is that how it works?

Yep, apparently in my broke-ass neighbourhood that is how it works.

C-sections and Ashtanga:

C-sections are so common, I’ve talked to a gajillion women who have similar birth stories. I mean, my dog had two c-sections. I think in my case, once the birth started getting medicalized – I was strapped up to a bunch of machines, I was given a medication to speed up my labour and an epidural – I think a c-section was kind of inevitable. At a certain point I just couldn’t move to change the baby’s position or help move things along. I’m not sure if it is because no one knows how to use forceps anymore or doctors just prefer to intervene just in case, but I know more people who have had c-sections than natural births at home.

Now, four months later, I think anything is possible post c-section. There are just a few considerations. And I think everything moves a little more slowly because of the surgery. So far, I think it is all about learning how to collect your bandhas and reintroduce your abdominal muscles to each other. For the first two months, maybe because I went through labour, my pelvic floor was numb. For the first few weeks, I would only know I needed to pee because my belly would start to cramp. Lifting my perineum wasn’t really an option – I couldn’t feel it to lift it. I would see myself in the mirror holding the baby with my stomach sticking out and my lower back severely arched. David said that was why they call it householder yoga. You need to pull in your bandhas to carry around a baby.

I do think the biggest revelation has been how brave birth and a c-section can make you. Every time, I feel like wimping out a bit in my practice – I tell myself, “Hey! They sliced your tummy open and pulled a baby out. The epidural was wearing off when they sewed you back up. If you land on your face coming out of supta kurmasana is that going to hurt more? No way, toughie!”

So, having a c-section has made me even more stubborn than I already am.

Broken Toes and Ashtanga Yoga

I broke my pinky toe on Thursday rushing around. I heard the crack when my toe hit the corner of the wall and I just kinda knew it wasn’t the usual stub. I swore a lot and it felt pretty gross. On Friday the toe got a purple band around it with a slightly bluish hue down the side of my foot. And apparently, you do need your pinky toe to practice primary series. Lame. So, I am gently easing myself into and out of poses. Janu B and C on the left side are sort of out.  The good news is, my hamstrings feel better.

David broke his toe In Mysore several years ago when someone was sitting on his mat as he came out of Karandavasana. It was sort of the same thing – an evil-sounding crack followed by a sinking feeling and a purple band the next day. His cleared up in a week or so and I’m hoping mine will do the same.

And yes, I did tell myself, “Breaking your toe is nothing! You gave birth! Buck up, toughie and get on your mat!”

On Hallowe’en we are celebrating AYCT’s second birthday with our annual Ashtanga Olympics. The Ashtanga Olympics is totally the highlight of my year. Maureen, David and I made it up as a joke because ashtangis have a propensity towards competitive behaviour. We thought most people wouldn’t want to participate. But then, as the event was coming up, people started asking us about the events and trying to figure out ways to prepare. I had students demanding we tailor the contests to their strengths – long headstands, backbending etc. Last year I watched 10 adults pile themselves on top of each other in child’s pose for a free class, while I sat – newly pregnant – working my way through a mountain of cashew cookies. It was glorious. This year, I’m totally throwing myself on top of people. And I will also eat a mountain of cookies.

Oh! and we are setting up a photo booth for students to get asana shots taken and all the money will be donated to Farm Sanctuary to keep Sprinkles and Samuel in bling. Tim Bermingham is taking the pictures, his work is fantastic and I always feel relaxed and comfortable working with him. He took my pregnancy asana shots that I have so far been too overwhelmed with baby stuff to work with.

So, basically, unless you live outside the GTA, you have to come. If you don’t, we will all just assume you hate animals and Sprinkles won’t be able to get this necklace that he was dreaming of.

He really needs one!

Just so you know, I’m taking the whole poll thing very seriously. It has been a big topic of discussion in my household. For a while, “My super-exciting practice” was totally in the lead and I talked to Mercedes about feeling a little silly about subjecting everyone to endless baby pictures. Later I noticed that someone voted for the baby and I got really excited and ran downstairs to let David and Mercedes know:

Stan: Hey! Someone voted for Holden!

Mercedes: Oh… uhhh that was me.

Hahaha! I’m lame!

Ok. Here’s just a little small bit about new motherhood. If you voted for remoras – than just skip over this part: I had diaper-free time the other day and I learned some great lessons. First, be prepared for a lot of laundry, which I was. Second, you might as well get naked too and save yourself some extra laundry. Third, don’t hold the naked baby over an open drawer because if he shoots poo out then it will get in the drawer and there will be even more laundry. Fourth, once diaper-free time is over put the baby in the silliest outfit you can and it will make doing 10 pounds of laundry a piece of cake. See exhibit A – Giraffe suit:

Practice Notes – For Realz

Post-natal Ashtanga is not really quite what I expected. I’m always rushing through my closing because I’m conscious of getting out to feed the baby. Actually, often I have to stop after backbending – particularly when I am at home – to give him a snack. But I have been thinking lately that some of the poses that I stopped doing or modified during the last months of my pregnancy are really crucial for regaining my strength. Twists and closing poses seem to have a special charge.

Navasana is difficult, but the twists seem to require that I collect all the pieces of my broken little core and get them to work together again. I watched myself do revolved trikonasana and noticed that my belly was hanging down. Since then I have been trying to get those muscles to co-operate with each other. It is a different kind of work than just strongarming yourself through a vinyasa. It feels like there are two sides to my body and they don’t talk until I do mari d. David and Tim were chatting the other day about engaging the psoas muscles during headstand and that work is currently really blowing my mind. The other nice thing about closing is now that I’m not pregnant I’m not being suffocated by my boobs in shoulder stand.

Coming this week: more on c-section yoga!

I love vegan thanksgiving.

I can’t spend another moment in my kitchen and I have a food hangover which means I have to eat constantly to feel better. Woot! I am thankful for all the crazy indulgences!

Did you know Holden got a job? Yep. He is a bouncer. Look out.

Practice Notes

So, this is supposed to be a yoga blog, right? But all that blah blah blah about yoga gets kinda dry. Really an ashtanga blog can be summed up  with the following complaints: Oi – the shoulder! Backbending –  tricky stuff! Tired! Sometimes tears.

Maybe I should start a new blog called “Sometimes Tears” and that shit I would update everyday with a rotation of of the above complaints. And the title works for tears you get in your hamstrings and crying tears. Genius.

New this week: Holden Owl has a bedtime! This was so easy to start doing – I can’t believe it has taken me so long it get on board and he is such a cheery boy with an extra hour or so of sleep. I get more time for writing. And you will get to read more about my practice. Everybody wins. Well, except for you!

Here’s a little moment of interconnectedness. David just looked over and noticed I was writing a blog and he complained, “You never write about yoga anymore. You just write about the baby.” So, I’ll put it to a poll.

Place: Wednesday Mom’s Group

Discussion: Sleep

Mom #1: I only get up twice during the night.

Mom #2: Yes me too – my baby is a good sleeper.

Mom #3: I sometimes get up 3 times during the night because he is so big, but he goes right back to sleep (HInt: this mom’s name rhymes with can).

Mom #1: I feel fine – it is has a couple months, but I don’t think it is that bad.

Mom #2: I feel great too.

Mom #3: I could do it for another 2 months for sure – I’m totally rested.

Mom #1 and #2: (nod in agreement)

Good things about Mom’s Group: Babies, fantastic moms, and a support system of people who really understand everything you are going through.

Bad thing about Mom’s Group: The support system consists of people who equally as psychotically sleep-deprived as you.

I’m past that point of sleep deprivation that makes me feel like an evil hulking pit of darkness, but I think I’m in a new stage of – Hey! this sleep deprivation stuff is great! Fantastic! No Problem! Easy-Peasy! Piece of Cake! What’s my name again? Here’s a short list of some of the things I have noticed this week.

1. I don’t do basic math anymore, when a question that involves math comes up – like, “How many days until Thanksgiving?” I kinda “Oh, yeah! Thanksgiving! Soonish, Yes? Many days! Counting? Where is that calendar? Oh, maybe foufivsixish? Monday!”

2. I’ve become completely convinced of the erroneous assumption that eating = sleep.. Most of my life is spent in front of the fridge thinking, “Gosh – I’m sleepy – maybe a radish will help! What? I don’t need a nap! Pass the peanut butter.”

3. I have acquired a super human ability to sleep under any circumstances. I used to need my sheets to be just so, lying on my back or side and David couldn’t be touching me. Now I think I could sleep with an anvil on top of me.

4. Moon days every two weeks? What is that all about? Someone clearly evil decided to fuck with me and my baby’s sleep routine and make one week a never-ending and the other week with an awkward break in which my baby is suddenly expected to stay up late and sleep-in for only one day, and, of course, he never can. Total rubbish that whole householder stuff.

That said, I am really grateful for this coming moon day.