We just returned from class.  There were six class members there, I’ll call them MH, NC, MO, TJ, LS and SO.  Four of them have practiced asana before, mainly on their own, and the other two have never intentionally practiced.  I say intentionally because the asana are used in so many non-yoga settings now that most people have, in one form or another, practiced asana.  Everyone said they enjoyed the hour but I need to do a little self critique here.

I talked for far too long.  Yes, there needed to be an introduction but I tried to cramp a little bit of something on just about everything.  The end result was far too long and far too rushed.  I’ll revise the outline later today.  The other result was that I didn’t have nearly enough time for the asana portion.  I cut out the Surya Namaskar Vasisthasana variation completely, we’ll cover it next time.  Because we were short on time, I had to rush through a number of the poses.  Although I prefer the Sanskrit names, it is much easier for beginners to remember poses based on English names . . . need to remember to just use the English names in class for now.  I think all the talk and the weight I put into that set far too serious a tone at the start.  A few bad puns later and everything seemed much more at ease.

As I mentioned, I’ll have an updated class outline up later today along with a PDF of the asana that we did so those who came this morning have notes for practice at home.

I stayed to help clean the church afterward and I saw a number of the sisters there checking my sleeves and neck line.  Every temple endowed member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints covenants to wear specific undergarments, the breeches reach to the knee and the shirt is like a common undershirt.  Like a priest’s collar or a crucifix, these garments remind us of the covenants we make, to be modest and to walk uprightly before God and our fellow men.  The direction given about wearing them is quite simple:  Always wear them and do not expose them to ridicule.  Some activities simply cannot be done while wearing these garments:  bathing or swimming are excellent examples.  Each member is required to decide for themselves when it is and is not appropriate to wear them but the rule of thumb is to look for an excuse to wear them rather than an excuse not to do so.  All that being said I do not practice asana while wearing them.

As I discovered, much to my pain and suffering, the bottoms just do not provide enough support for me during athletic activities.  Running is fine but anything that requires twisting, lunging and similar activity through the groin area is, quite simply, a no-no in my book unless I’m wearing something very supportive.  I first learned this while playing raquette ball back in the fall of 1992.  The ball went one way while I was heading another, I planted a foot, twisted like a pro, returned the ball and fell to the floor due to the searing pain in my groin.  Sure that I had simply pulled something, I sat the rest of the game out and we went for shakes at Taco Amigo.  By the time we were done, I knew something very serious had happened and asked my brother or best friend—the rest of the day is foggy because of the pain and pain killers—to get me to Dr. Murdock’s right away.  Blood in my urine, lots of it but this was no kidney or bladder infection, I knew that as I’d have plenty of both.  No, I had torn my right vas deferens.  Dr. Murdock told me that the only thing to do was give me some pain killers and antibiotics and wait.  IF I was lucky the tear would heal such that the tube remained open—the reason this would take luck is that I scar horribly and the scar tissue would likely block the tube.  If the tube healed blocked then I would still be able to father children with just one testicle—we have four children so it worked out either way.  Oddly enough, other than the initial pain of the tear and the blood, there was little pain or discomfort even that first day.  I started practicing asana on 16 February 2002, something happened during my practice on the 25th—I think—and that night I woke in horrific pain.  Here’s how I described it the next day over on the WhineryAt 2:00 AM I woke up whimpering, some unknown torturer had inflated that blasted vas deferens back up to 50 PSI and traded my testicle for a golf ball.  There was one major difference between the two events:  Infection.  The pain was excruciating, much worse than anything else I have ever experienced.  With that experience I decided then and there that I had plenty of reason to justify whatever action it took on my part to prevent that from ever happening to me again.

Anatomy plays an interesting role in Yoga.  Men and women alike have bits and pieces that get in the way during some poses, bellies are a common problem.  My funny leg that likes to fly off to Jones’s on its own is another example.  We all have to make some kind of adjustment to fit into the poses we are doing and it is in making those adjustments that we have a chance to practice Santosha and learning to accept who we are.

I nearly forgot to say that I did enjoy teaching.  My favorite moments were with kakasana and simhasana.  I warned everyone that kakasana is much more difficult looking than it actually is, physically.  The true difficulty with kakasana is the fear of falling.  Although just as I promised them that they wouldn’t actually fall onto their faces, MO—who is my daughter—tried to do just that but caught herself just in time.  MH, this was her first Yoga experience, was able to come up into the pose and said, “Once you’re up there, you don’t feel like you’re going to fall.  It’s kind of cool!”  What a great boost for her!  I just love kakasana because it does look difficult and yet it really is easy, with just a little practice, to do.  It provides a great mental challenge and a marvelous sense of accomplishment once you get it.  After that, it’s just a very enjoyable pose to do and it always manages to let me slip away from the world around me as I float there above the floor.  We had a bit of fun with simhasana.  Everyone had the same reaction that we all do when we first do this pose with other people.  I made it easy on them though, I took my glasses off before doing the pose.  That way all I could see were large colored fuzzy things in front of me instead of six fierce—hehe—lions!  Very fun and very funny!