Ashtanga Yoga- A Primer

We had a sub teacher in yoga class today. She practices Ashtanga yoga. As I frequently talk to people who either ask me or want a recommendation for what “style” of yoga to take as a beginner, this is not it. But some explication might be helpful.

This was my second Ashtanga class. I don’t have much memory from the first, but like with many traumatic events, I have PTSD, but cloudy memories.  Since this was my second class and I maintained consciousness (mostly) I think I’m better able to guide you. 

Ashtanga is a Sanskrit word combining our words of “pain” and “agony”.  There are 5 series of Ashtanga, maybe 6, but I was starting to lose consciousness when this was mentioned. You do the same poses in the same order for each series. i The first five are pain and agony, more pain and agony, most pain and agony, excruciating pain and agony and unbearable pain and agony. 

You do a vinyasa between every pose.  Vinyasa means movement to and while focusing on your breath while ignoring that your heart just exploded in the center of your chest for exceeding your maximum heart rate.  

The first half is designed to build heat in your body.  This means, simply, that even in an 80 degree room, you will sweat like Miley Cyrus on the front pew of a southern baptist church.  The second half is meant to wring whatever remaining sweat that did not except your pores from the first half.  

This was my first yoga class in a week, as I had business out of town last week and a couple of social engagements. When I miss a week of yoga, it often feels like starting over and I marvel at how much fitness I can lose in a week.  This intensified that feeling, much like going on a run straight from a recovery room after surgery.  Un anesthetized.  

If you’ve never tried yoga before, don’t do this. Or, just have a friend hit you in the stomach with a shovel.  

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Zumba: Advanced – 1,2,3 songs in the bathroom

(Disclaimer: Do not try this at home. This is for advanced Zumba practitioners with highly developed alcohol skills)

Now that I have 2 1/2 years of Zumba practice under my belt, I have found an interesting correlation between my Friday night activities and the 9 am Saturday morning class. I am now able to rate my Friday night soirees by the number of songs in Zumba class I’m required to spend in the bathroom the next morning.

As you may know, Like Zumba or other forms of exercise, partying and drinking requires a certain amount of practice, stamina and endurance. As you also may know, these two activities are not always best done back to back. Well, more exactly, it’s easier if you Zumba first and then party after, rather than the other way around.

I’m proud to say I normally have a “zero” bathroom break class. I may often go right when I’m supposed to go left and back when I’m supposed to go forward, but since that’s my normal lot in life, I can’t really blame it on Friday’s “Festivus for the Rest of Us”. I have noticed though, that upon having a little too much fun on Friday night, especially when I don’t wake up till 8 am, and getting to class on time is quite a chore (including two trips from the car back into the house to fetch one of more of “spectacles, testicles, wallet or watch”) that my body requires a full song bathroom break to get through class.

Until today, my record was two songs, and I’m both proud and dismayed to admit today was a three song day.

I’m not sure if my drinking is slipping and I need more practice, or my Zumba endurance is lacking, and I need more exercise. Probably both. As one of my favorite yoga instructors says; “Detox to retox”. On the other hand, as a hangover remedy goes, Zumba is certainly as good as hydrating or alcohol. I would not recommend combining the Zumba with the “hair of the dog” as drinking before of while Zumba-ing is definitely not recommended. Funny, but not recommended.

I have on a couple of occasions taken the Yoga Studio Owner’s 9:30 am Saturday class, instead of Zumba, and I’m convinced that rather than a hangover remedy, this is why California just became the third state to pass a bill allowing for medically assisted suicide.

“I am the Walrus. Coo Coo Ca Choo”

hangover baby