Thursday, November 25, 2010

life returns to 'normal'!

Well, after my first week back at work (which seemed to never end!), I am settling back into 'normal' life. But I do still feel that lift that several weeks of wonderful new experiences/catching up with old (and new!) friends and family/being out of the daily routine, brings.

I have finally unpacked everything (this was brought on because this coming Saturday people are coming to stay in the bed that was covered with half-unpacked things!). Jedda pussycat is very happy with the new Moroccan rug, which she is taking as a place for her to sharpen her claws on (?!!!) and as a sliding game that she can take running jumps at! Sigh!

Can't say I've got back into cooking much yet. But next Tuesday Angela is coming for dinner and I'm going to cook a yummy Pasta and Aubergine (and cream) dish that Judy made one night in London. It's a Nigel Slater recipe from his 'Real Cooking' cookbook. This was one of the books that I got in London and posted home - everything I posted has arrived now.

And yoga ... I've got to class every Wednesday and Saturday since I've been back. And I've managed to practice quite a lot during the week (at lunchtimes at work). So I'm pretty pleased with that. However, last Saturday my practice was pulled back by R, or his assistant (who I think he uses to 'do his dirty work', or say things that the student won't like!) I was reading a blog yesterday - I think it might have been in Mel's blog, where she said something about how you have to go with how the current teacher teaches, whether it's at home or in a workshop or wherever ... And I do understand this, but it's still hard sometimes!

I've been stopped doing Marichyasana B and D, and have to replace them with that 'threading the needle' pose. Huge sigh!! I'm not even clear why, but a Mysore class isn't really the place for extended questioning that could lead to arguments (and tears!) if I wasn't careful! If I think about it (as I have A LOT!!) I'd guess the main reason/benefit of that pose is to open my hips. Which can't be bad, I know! There's lots of work to do there. But, but, but still ... !

In the end I have made a compromise with myself. I will do as I'm instructed in class (as of course I know I must, otherwise why go to class!) but when I practice at home/work I'm still going to do Mari B. I think I'll leave Mari D for a while until I can bind Mari C on a regular basis (as opposed to intermittently/occasionally!), at least on one side. It's that twisting around that I also need to work on, and if I can't bind in Mari C, there's no hope in Mari D! But this way I won't lose Mari B again, as I did before after I stopped doing it a few years ago when I was ill.

I'm also back to doing a modified chatarunga (well, my chatarunga was pretty much non-existent!) in an attempt to build up the strength necessary to do it properly. I'm OK about this - well, of course I'd like not to need to, but the fact is I do if I want to do chatarunga properly in the future!

Despite what I said at the start of this post, this has made for a challenging few days until I came to an accommodation with myself over it!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Back home in Kholo!

Well, safely back in Kholo at last. After a somewhat long trip home - two long overnight flights (London to Bangkok, and Bangkok to Brisbane) with an 18 hours stopover in Bangkok in between! Of course I can't sleep on planes unless I have a few seats to stretch out on. On each flight I was assured I would have empty seats next to me, and each time people came to sit in them! After this happened on the second flight, I then decided to 'bags' a nearby centre row of seats, but just when I was feeling safe there, a man was ushered into one of the seats as there had been a problem with his original seat! I just wasn't going to win! I gave up at that point, and spread myself across two seats instead!! I was so tired by only one hour's sleep the previous night, followed by a day wandering around in Bangkok that I did manage get 2-3 hours sleep then ...

Bangkok was of course amazing! I ended up getting a 'tour' with a guide and driver for the morning, to go to some temples (and of course the inevitable shopping stops!) I was glad I had - the maps I had of Bangkok were very misleading as far as distances went! Things that looked very close were in fact a long distance apart!

The above photo is of the face of the amazing reclining Buddha statue, which is something like 70m long. From memory the head is way taller than me! Hordes of people there walking around it, taking photos etc. But even with all that, it was really beautiful.

After I managed to escape from the shops I'd been taken to(!), and said farewell to my guide and driver, I went to the Jim Thompson house. Jim Thompson was an American who ended up in Bangkok after the war (WW2) and fell in love with it. He moved 3 old Thai wooden houses (made of teak) into Bangkok to be his home, and was very involved in getting Thai silk woven and marketed again. After he disappeared in the late 60s on a trip, his descendents gave the house to the Thai government, and it's become a museum/tourist place. Really interesting place to walk around and see/hear about all the lovely things inside it.

Got home yesterday, to a less than rapturous welcome from young Jedda pussycat, who'd been kept inside all morning to be there when I arrived home! But she did snuggle up in bed last night ... :)

Today I drifted around desultorily doing a few things, then in the afternoon went off to yoga! It was nice not to stop at navasana any more (after over 6 weeks!) But my balance in UHP (which went completely the whole time I was practicing in London at AYL) is still very dodgy! Hopefully it will get better over the next couple of weeks!! Tomorrow Helen is coming round in the morning to do some yoga, and of course be bored by looking at photos and my famous new rug! She did ask, honest!!

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Mari D thoughts, etc

Today was my 2nd-last time at AYL - for 2-3 years anyway. Flying out on Wednesday ... So, I'd been thinking about Mari D and how to approach it on my own, as I know my teacher in Brisbane will not be pulling me into that - either at all, or at best, not on any kind of regular basis! I'd decided to ask Hamish for his advice on what to do. I kind of imagined he'd be giving me lots of specific technical advice on how to get my arm far enough forward to wrap around, etc etc ...

But all he said to me was - it's all in the breath. Get your breathing right - equal inhale and exhale, and get the ujiyi breathing sound right, and everything comes. I actually think Dena may have said something similar.

Of course this appears all far too simplistic for my mind, which would far rather have some complicated instructions to "work on"! But I'm going to give it a try and see where it leads! I have so enjoyed practicing at AYL with Hamish. It's really been one of the (many!) best things about this trip.

Today I met another friend, Maggie. We went for lunch to Diwani's - somewhere we all used to go to a lot back in the 80s. Kind of a trip down memory lane! After some yummy South Indian food, we went to the Gaugin exhibition at the Tate Modern. That was a really lovely exhibition - I even bought the poster from the show. Hopefully I will get it together to frame it when I get home!

Saturday, November 06, 2010

The wonderful Jardin Majorelle

We went to this completely wonderful garden in Marrakech - the Jardin Majorelle. When I looked at a postcard of it before we went there, I thought it must be coloured - it just looked too unreal to be true. But, it really is like that!
Jardin Majorelle

Just incredibly beautiful! Most recently owned by Yves Saint Laurent, who set up a trust so it could be looked after in perpetuity. But originally created by a Jacques Majorelle in 1919.

Jardin Majorelle

Full of amazing colours everywhere, like these tiled steps:

Jardin Majorelle

Friday, November 05, 2010

Few photos from Marrakech

our hotel in Marrakech
Our (very cheap) hotel in Marrakech

Marrakech street scene
Looking into a house from a souk lane

Wendi with the chicken man in the square
Wendi with the chicken man (musician?!) in the square one evening!

In Portugal and Marrakech

I'm back in London after 8 days in Portugal and Marrakech, and I hardly know where to start recounting (some of) the adventures we've had! Expect a few posts on the subject! Staying with Wendi in the Algarve where she lives is always such a pleasure. One of my very bestest friends!

Funnily enough, from being someone who 'couldn't see the point of yoga!', she now does Iyengar yoga, and took me along to a class the day after I arrived! Lots of use of blocks, straps and chairs, but it was interesting to see a different take on many of the same poses I do in Ashtanga ... However, I certainly won't be rushing to another of those classes!

Then the next day we drove to Seville to catch the flight to Marrakech - just an hour's flight. What an amazingly wild place that is! The main square (Djemma el Fna) is pretty much as I remember it from many years ago, but with the addition of countless motorbikes driving just everywhere! Down the little lanes of the souks, through the thousands of people milling around on the square, and day and night! I never did get the knack of just ignoring them and believing they wouldn't drive into me!

We ate in the square, managing to avoid the sheep's heads at a nearby stall (!), as well as on rooftop terraces with a birds eye view of veiled women sorting through piles of knickers to buy in the street below! And such wonderful French croissants and pastries every breakfast!

We went to the most beautiful garden, about which there will be a separate post. We shopped and bargained (though not very well, probably!) And I came back to London with a beautiful carpet that I had bought! I am quite sure I am going to be overweight on the flight back home!


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