Juice Fast Progress

Friday, May 05, 2006

Keep on keepin' on.

So.. I'm feeling a little bit cautious. Because... yesterday's ephiphany (epiphanies?) seems to be sticking. I had two magnificent, powerful yoga classes today, and I feel like I'm glowing. The classes weren't easy, by any stretch, but it seems like if you make the primary "thing that you're doing" in the posture breathing, you almost forget about all the other stuff, particularly if it hurts. Plus, we got to yell "YEE HAW" and "FUCK YOU" during our situps as loud as possible. If that's not cathartic, I don't know what is. Yoga teachers from texas are a TRIP. Craig was talking more about the "yoga truck" today and how we should be wary of it, that it might sneak up on us, and to be honest, I feel almost a bit nervous, like it must be sneaking up on me. I don't want to feel overconfident, but right now... things seem to be going fantastically.

I have a visualization about breathing that I want to describe. It seems to be working magnificently for me. I imagine a plastic piece of PVC tubing, about 1.5 inches in height and 2.5 inches in diameter. It has little wheels inset inside it, all along the middle circumference, little wheels which spin when air blows through the tube fast enough. I imagine this little device right in the center of my windpipe, just behind the sternum (a little lower) right near where the windpipe bifurcates out to the lungs. In each pose, as my body bends forward and backward and side to side, I can imagine where in my body the non-deformable little tube thing has been moved to - if I bend backwards, my spine pushes it up into my chest. If I bend forwards, the tube thingy moves into my back, feeling almost near my spine. In each pose, I spend almost 75% of my mental energy trying to spin the little wheels with my breath, imagining pulling the air through from below the device, hard. This has kept my heart rate down dramatically, and seems to have made the entire class not so panicky. Anyway, there it is.

Dr T's poop lecture was disappointing. In a nutshell: Don't grunt or push too hard, just... you know... poop. There's a much longer and more verbose version of it involving the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, blah blah blah... yeah. Just poop. I guess we'll have to wait on the revelations.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Click and Lock

Great Glorious Expanses of the Infinte and Beyond!!!! WHOO HOO!!!!

It works. It's there. It's true. It's not bullshit, it isn't marketing.

I woke up this morning in the foulest mood I've been in for AGES. Pissed off at EVERYONE, my roommates, my vanmates, the yoga school, everyone in LA, annoying kids from my 3rd grade class - my annoyance and irritation knew no temporalspatial bounds!!! Class began horribly and annoyingly. Fuck this lady, who the hell is she? Why the hell doesn't she go back to Kansas? These pranayama breathing cycles SUCK! They're too fast! They're inconsistent! I hate her voice! RARRRR!!!!!.

And then... somewhere around, well (big surprise), ahem... (cough)... camel pose... it just evaporated. It was gone. In a moment, like a splash of water that drenched me for a moment and then slid away. It would be great if I could say these moments of breaking - well, this wasn't the biggest one of the day, but it'd be great if they suddenly made the class easier, but no... class is still hard. But the day was suddenly light, joyful, hilarious, stupid, magnificent, funny, absurd. I belong here! I'm doing this! I love it! May every day from now on be filled with challenges, may I be pushed to where I think I'll break every day, so that when I do rest, I'll SLEEP THE SLEEP OF THE JUST! (as Joe would say...). Yoga Teacher from Kansas whose name I cannot remember, I SALUTE YOU! I was a fool to ever doubt your pranayama pacing!!!

That wasn't really even the big break. I fucked up my dialog today - I was not as practiced as I could have been, I was a bit low on energy, and the dialog dragged out of me, reluctantly and without excitement. Those poor folks in Standing Bow Pulling Pose - they had nobody there to make them give it their all. But I think I needed that to happen - because it was a failure, but not in the way that I'll beat myself up for it - it was really clarifying. Why did I fail at it? Not because I'm stupid or not cut out for this or lethargic and dull - because I didn't practice it mindfully enough, precisely enough, often enough. Cut and Dry. Simple. And I don't have to feel bad or anxious about the next one, because the next one (Balancing Stick), is going to be incredible. Fun. Hilarious. Exciting. Because, when I go up there, I won't have a sliver of a doubt in my mind that it's going to rock - in fact, I won't even consider it. It will be ingrained. And really - it doesn't take that much to make that happen. Mindfullness, precision - and I'm going to DO THE DIALOG.

And THAT wasn't even the big break. The second class of the day. Was so rushed getting dressed and ready and so on that I didn't have time for the ritual pre-class, "Ugh... not more yoga" exasperation. Got into class - we've transitioned to being in rotation around the room, so it's somewhat forced where in the room you are. I was not quite under a heater, but close enough for sizzletoes. Tight quarters... clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right... and CRAIG IS TEACHING. The remnants of "oh fuck", but not quite as much as usual, and a new feeling - excitement. Just at the end of breathing, which was dizzying - Craig said, "Okay, we're almost halfway through training, you guys are getting a lot stronger now, let's let the horse run a little bit." My heart jumped a bit at it, but again, a new feeling - okay, let's do this. I held awkward part 2, first set, for over one minute, solid as a rock, no sinking, no rocking, face calm, breathing slowly. My thighs were on fire, they were screaming, but I was so focused on trying to keep the breath big and slow and the stomach in and the arms electrified that it was like a voice outside the door. A fucking LOUD voice, of a dude with giant arms and a shotgun. Second time around, a stumble, but only one. It's actually easier to just stay in and live with the pain than it is to get BACK in, I learned tonight.

Craig's class felt like sixth gear. I know we've got more to climb, I know this is not the fastest or most intense or strongest class we'll have, and I know I'll find more in me, but I really WENT for it. I stayed in the loathsome standing head to knee, even though I can barely express it. I held bow on two sides without falling, without having bad form. And camel... it was like one of those shows where they have to crack open the sternum to get to the heart, it just folded open, I seriously felt like my sternum was a v-shape pointing out of my chest. Surrender, release - I drank almost nothing for the whole class.

And this evening has been like wearing a new pair of clothes. I feel like something just snapped. I'm SO ENERGIZED. I can feel my skin sizzling. I feel like I can reach out with my feelings and actually FEEL my friends in New Zealand, just the hint of them, but they're there, especially Clodagh, who I can almost reach out and touch. I'm bouncing of the walls, and feel like I have a giggle inside my chest that I can barely contain - it's just shy of uncomfortable, but solidly in the territory of AWESOME. I don't know how many times I'll get to feel this way, but the hairs on my legs are literally standing on end. And I want MORE.

Actually, I'm avoiding the real truth here... Dr. Trapani, or "Dr T.", our esteemed Anatomy/Physiology teacher has promised us, on his honor, with great seriousness... to teach us tomorrow how to properly poop. I'm completely serious. And he even wagered that, after his "How to properly have a Bowel Movement" class is complete, that not a single one of us will be able to say we've ever previously contemplated what he will provide us to ponder. Pinky... are you pondering what I'm pondering? Yeah, Brain, but where we gonna find twelve rubber duckies and a bucket of yogurt at this time of night? So, tomorrow.... I shall report on how to poop. CORRECTLY. Be prepared. (We speculate here that it will involve 3 feet of rubber hose, a plastic bag with NO HOLES, a rubber band, and a meat thermometer. The jury is out on the WD40).

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

The slumps are BORING.

It's so boring to be melancholy! I know I'm worn down, but I'm not worn down so much that I'm approaching a breaking point, and I'm almost disappointed - it seems like, for many people, the breaking down is a sacrament of some kind, a doorway to something else. I suppose I could intentionally drive myself into the ground, but that doesn't seem like the right thing to do.

I wonder if the training of the movie industry and my "previous life" has given me tools for managing chaos. I'm good at ignoring madness and doing as much as I can, even pushing myself for excellence, without beating myself up for not dotting all the i's and lower case j's... but then again, perhaps I am beating myself up for it.

Two noteworthy things happened today. First of all, I instinctively used my friend Kris's mocking theory of reassurance on a friend who was struggling, and it totally worked. I was so thrilled. One of my new yoga friends was sitting on the floor outside in the lobby, looking a bit vacant and shattered, crying very lightly. I watched a bunch of people go over to tell her she'd be okay, and she responded and nodded, but still looked a bit distant. As I was leaving, I walked past her and gave her a hug and said, something along the lines of, "Yeah, you're a total broke-dick. You're so broken. You should probably give up, clearly you're not made for this... soooo retarded". My tone was caring, but with that loving mockery that Kris has taught me. And she laughed and shook it off and hugged me back. I think Kris should have mockery teacher training. And make a reality show out of it.

The second thing that was interesting was a dialog delivery by one of our dialog superstars. We have a girl in our group who's a television personality in the UK, sorta a VJ on a music show on the BBC, as it was explained to me (I'm probably getting that wrong). Anyway, she got up and delivered Standing Head to Knee pretty much flawlessly, as usual. Because it seemed to be effortless for her, the advice she got from the instructors was that she needed to get out of her comfort zone, to fuck up a little bit. So, when we transitioned to the next dialog, Standing Bow Pulling Pose, she got right up in the front of the line, announced that she did not have the pose memorized, but was going to "fuck up", as instructed. She proceeded to deliver the best dialog I've heard so far. Amazingly, she managed to get about 75% of the dialog correct, but more importantly, she taught. She gave individual corrections, she spoke quickly, she was enthusiastic and excited and pulled them into the depths of the pose. I was so inspired! I feel like this is a lesson I want to learn. I don't feel like I'm teaching. I'm somewhere in between performing and trying to remember. I don't feel like I'm doing badly, but I'm still very conscious. I want to feel like the instruction is just flowing out of me.

I almost cried in savasana today. Almost - still working on it - the teacher had mentioned that she was humbled and giving respect for the fact that we had given up money and time and our loved ones so that we can make this commitment to learning to help people. She said that in a few weeks (my first class is in like 6 weeks! Holy shit!) we'll be in front of a room of people who are looking to us to HELP them. Not just teach, or explain, but HELP. This got me for some reason. I felt shocked by it. I know that my reasons for coming here were not really principally about helping others. They were about helping me, really pretty selfishly, to superficially look better, discover some new tricks, and hopefully find a way to like myself more (that theme is getting so boring!). Still, I'm here, and the prospect of not only helping people, but voluntarily choosing to make a life change so I can help people, and myself... that's really a big deal! I've never thought about doing something like that before, and have been in a small amount of awe of people like Clodagh who specifically chose their life path so they could help people.

I'm going to see if I can get a bit extra sleep tonight, as an attempt to find some passion for doing this, instead of this meandering dread about having to struggle. I also must note - I feel a little bit of pressure now to be interesting in my blog entries, knowing that people are reading them! It's so weird!!!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Under, under, under my skin

When do we learn the MOTHAFUCKIN' ATTACK YOGA? They keep talking about shooting figurative lasers out of our outstretched hands and feet - when do we get the literal lasers? Because I have a bunch of people I need to incinerate!!!

Well, maybe not quite so drastically. It seems that I'm about a week behind everybody else, because the irritation and annoyance that everybody seemed to have been hit by last week hit me like a mack truck today. The specific irritants aren't worth describing, that'd just exacerbate the problem. To quote Ruben & Ed, "It's not the problem that's the problem, it's how you handle the problem that's the problem". I'm really frustrated with myself in the physical aspects of the practice - of course, in areas that I shouldn't waste time being frustrated about. I'm frustrated with myself because I can't empty and still my mind while under a heat blower in a 106F room. And these frustrations are just bleeding out into irritation with things I'm surrounded by, things that probably wouldn't normally trouble me enough to get worked up about it.

Last night I stayed up until 2am writing a computer program to randomly quiz me in anatomy/physiology to help study for the midterm, which was today. I got 100% correct (even without the giveaways!), but I seriously doubt it was worth the sleep deprivation and general shreddedness in class today. Still - I can use the same program for the next midterm next week, so that'll be something.

I feel like I'm in a stalling place. Usually that feeling is shortly followed by something drastic, so I'm a little expectant. Bring it... on?