newest entry 2002-01-04 3:03 p.m.

It felt great to teach again today after a long absence. I enjoyed seeing the ol' regulars, and meeting some new folks. One devoted yogini brought her friend who is undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. This woman has the greatest attitude. She was upbeat, very open about her condition and her fears without playing the victim. She gave me a big hug after class. Times like that make me feel happy to be a teacher.

My class today borrowed heavily from the Sivananda routine--I've preserved some of the things I like about their style, such as their kooky sarvangasana-to-setu-bandhasana vinyasa (that's shoulder stand into bridge pose). I also am slowly introducing breath retention into the pranayama section. In Integral training they repeatedly warn you, "No breath retention for beginners!" but in Sivananda, they have you holding your breath til you're floating to the ceiling. I think somewhere between those two extremes is appropriate. I suspect that a lot of breath retention kills about as many brain cells as beer for breakfast.

My humble goal vis a vis my new gym membership is to move and sweat for at least 40 minutes a day. Anything beyond that is gravy. I want to keep my seratonin levels sparkley, and my energy level up, without becoming a total gym-head.

I discovered two interesting things this week. One is that brisk walking on the treadmill (replete with dorky arm-swinging) makes me feel as energized and sweaty as jogging, but without the knee-abuse. The other is that whenever I get in the thick of running or exercising, (the "zone" I s'pose) Billy Bragg tunes emerge effortlessly in my mind. Different songs every time, but always Billy Bragg.

Faithful readers may recall my besotted devotion to mystery writer Kate Ross, who was a lawyer, wrote four amazing books, and then died. I've since discovered Sarah Caudwell, who was a lawyer, who wrote four critically acclaimed mystery books, and who, sadly, died in 2000. I just started The Sibyl in Her Grave and am liking it a bunch. Very good writin', and an Edward Gorey illustration on the cover.

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