That’s me in the purple top. I didn’t wind up there because I failed to follow instructions. I made it through three hours of advanced yoga in Spanish and did exactly as I was told to do. That position is downward facing dog. The teacher is actually lightening the load by acting as a human flying buttress. Buttressing my butt. The posture looks extreme but it felt pretty darn nice. After an entire day in Spanish speaking company I can say by the end of the day I achieved muteness. Immersion leads to exhaustion, physical and mental. I hardly understood anything Priscila said on the drive home. I had been up since 6 AM and it was headed to 10 PM. Mayra had to interpret. Kinda of embarrassing but also part of the road to fluency. Mental overload.
Today I can hardly move and I have not said so much as an hola. Tomorrow the real pain will set in. It’s just muscle soreness. No permanent damage done despite the cartwheels, handstands, and headstands. Like the language skills I think I helped, I’m optimistic some physical progress was made even though the body was overloaded.
I am headed out on a road trip to La Paz with my yoga teacher Mayra and my friend Priscila. We’ll be attending a three hour workshop on inversions. Inversions for you non-yogis or yoginis is the upside down stuff. Meanwhile it’s all in Spanish. I could be in for some serious pretzeling if I get my ups and downs and lefts and rights mixed up. So language issues, deep yoga issues and there’s some cultural issues, too. Mexicans eat on a very different schedule. To keep fueled and get in time with my friends I have to eat later or eat more frequently. So far I have chosen to eat two lunches rather than starve from 7:00 AM until 3:00 PM.
Aside from worries of ‘when do I eat?’ there’s ‘what do I wear?’ The few times I’ve seen my friends outside of yoga they were decked out with hair and makeup on. High heels, too. I can’t do this. There’s is no chance I can pass as a Mexicana. I have to go as me, slightly stylish and slightly askew gringa. Huge gringa, too. Time to clean up and get ready. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Here, to the left, we have me straddling a toilet in an unconventional manner. The white porcelain and cast iron tub was not fully inserted into its slot. Approximately 1/4″ protruded into the room. This 1/4″ was an annoyance to our lead tiler. Three of us pondered if it was in all the way. Rumors of a ‘that’s good enough’ moment were mentioned. I decided to see if I could get it further in. I was met with some skepticism. Here is where being an engineer and a yogi paid off. I knew that even though the tub weighed 450 pounds it would not take 450 pounds of force to move it. I can’t tell you how much force it took since I do not know the coefficient of friction between the tub and floor surface. I just needed a little bit of back support to press against. The only wall available was across from the toilet. The boy’s made all kinds of noises about this plan. I ignored them. I straddled that toilet and did some yoga chi breathing and shoved that puppy in. The boys helped some with the last bit. Ta-Da.
Five more days and I’ll be 50. I know lots of people do all kinds of things to commemorate this major milestone. I’m going to be happy this picture is flattering and that I got that darn tub in where it belonged.
One of my yoga teacher often ‘invites’ us to lie down and place our arms out like cactus arms. Its a deep and relaxing stretch for the chest and shoulders. I saw this cardon doing the same thing. It’s, perhaps, a bit too relaxed.
Today started off on the wrong foot. The upside was an expression of loyalty and support from my partner in life, Burt. That man is someone you want on your side. I could learn a thing or two from him. I am so lucky we found each other.
Last year my friends Jaimie and Ricardo gave us a bag of sunflower seeds to eat. They had grown the flowers and cooked the seeds themselves. Burt and I ate those seeds the entire way up the peninsula. Since the seeds were still hulled it was a way to distract ourselves from the drive with a hard to manage snack. When we crossed the border and got to the US the almost but not quite empty bag was lost in the detritus of the road trip. Months later I found the bag while driving cross-country to South Carolina. We finished them then. I was never a fan of the hulled sunflower seed before but now I am starting to see the attraction. I still can’t pop a seed in my mouth and crack it open and spit out the hull. I have a lot more studying to do.
This year I might be able to practice eating hulled seeds with my own homegrown sunflowers. Jaimie gave me a packet of seeds last year. These luminous beauties have grown in the spot where our shower water drains. I am not sure they will be ready for harvest in 3 weeks. They just opened. Time will tell. Meanwhile I can enjoy waking up to Burt’s happy proclamations about how much he loves the flowers. His appreciation makes my enjoyment sweeter.
The Spanish word for sunflower is girasol. It means revolve with the sun. Speaking of Spanish, I taught yoga in Spanish today. Weird. Matching prepositions to the body parts was the hardest part. All Spanish nouns have an assigned gender (They are more rigid that Facebook). Male or female. The chair is feminine. The floor is masculine….El brazo derecho. La pierna izquierda. La frente al piso. Las manos hacia atras. Telling left from right in English is trouble. Add to the general directional confusion gender and new words and somebody might get hurt. I stumbled a bit over the word derecha without a body part. DerechO means straight ahead. DerechA means to the right. But a right arm is brazo derecho. And a right leg is pierna derecha. I think. Someone tell me if I’m mistaken. I guess I did a good job because the students teased me that I was a very bad teacher for making them work too hard and nobody made a malformed pretzel of themselves. On the walk home I spotted two iguanas.
We have a new yoga practitioner joining us in Mayra’s morning class: the priest from Todos Santos. I’ll bet you didn’t see that coming. I certainly didn’t. Yoga gets a bad rap from some religious groups as being ungodly or, even, evil, so to find the local man of the cloth doing downward dog by your side can be surprising. All us lapsed and fallen Catholics are pleased to see him. Father Francisco is a new practitioner so when he shows up class has a sedater pace. There’s nothing wrong with taking the time to do your work in easier poses at a slower pace so you’ll hear no complaints from me.
Yesterday the schools of Pescadero did a big physical fitness event outside for the whole community. Mayra guest taught some yoga right after the Zumba. The event was on our way home so I joined in and Zumba’d with my neighbors and their kids. There were scores of people dancing in the plaza. I didn’t know we had so many kids in town. After Zumba I followed along to Mayra’s yoga class, too. An hour later I finished my walk home feeling pretty well worked out. As if that wasn’t enough exercise for one day, a few hours later we headed over to the palm beach for an evening swim. We found a baby horse and her friendly-ish mom. Mom was kind of snappish if she didn’t like you. She liked me well enough until she didn’t but by then the flies had found me and I left the horses and swam. Palm beach has weird currents and a strong undertow. Waves came in all kittywampus and collided coming and going. Disorienting is the way I describe it, especially when I don’t wear glasses. Staying on your feet takes work. When we all had enough, including Olive and Elvis, we headed home for a late night of leftovers. I was pooped.
Today the padre did not show up to yoga. Mayra took the chance to work us through all the arm stands and one legged postures she could fit into an hour. I wanted to call a taxi to take me home. I am now prostrate wondering where to take Burt for dinner. He’s working in the hot sun and shouldn’t have to cook tonight but I can’t lift a finger. I hope Father Fransisco is there to show mercy tomorrow. I might have to call the pope.