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David: Who are you texting on Christmas Day?

Stan: My boyfriend. (in reality my bf Monica)

David: Well your boyfriend should help you pay off debt.

Stan: Hrmph. Maybe he will. Actually, probably not.

David: I was thinking that is why men have multiple wives, it wouldn’t work the other way around. If you took another husband it would be like twice the amount of work for you.

Stan: That is true.

David: But if you had a bunch of wives, you could really get a lot done. Everything would be so super organized.

Stan: Yeah, you know when my sister came over and I went upstairs for 10 minutes to put the baby down for a nap. When I got back down, she had washed, dried and put away all my dishes. She actually apologized for not knowing where one of the pots went.

Later, I decided to google “sister wives”. Lo and behold there is a reality show about a polygamist family. I haven’t made it through the episode, but if you have a few minutes and there are no sharp objects around your computer that you might accidentally shove in your eyes, then I totally recommend the video below.


Holden’s first Christmas was fun. Mostly he complained about being taken out past his bedtime two nights in a row. He did get some lovely presents and David and I stayed in our pajamas until 1 on Christmas Day, which was pretty great.

Practice has been a little tricky with the enormous amounts of food I have been eating. I am working on parsva dhanurasana right now. Initially, it made my incision a little tender and I felt a bit sucky doing final backbends. I’m very dramatic about my incision and any little twinge I get pretty neurotic about. I try not to share my hysteria with anyone else, but of course after two days of sensation in parsva dhanurasana I wigged out a little and imagined my psoas stretching too far, the incision line bursting and my guts flying out across the mysore room. Thankfully, I don’t believe I have come close to doing that and my incision line is still intact, slightly purply/pink, and slowly shrinking.

Currently, I am feeling sucky about a knot at the base of my left shoulder blade from carting around the 20 lb-monster vegan baby. It starts mid-back and travels up into my jaw. Yuk – it is such a gross feeling. Backbending does help a little. Apparently drinking coffee doesn’t help. Rats!

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…

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!