Sunday, September 15, 2013

Moscow Asana

     Moscow is welcoming me yet again with all the colors that the gray spectrum holds. Ranging from pale, barely noticeable smokey to ominous stormy gray. It is not warm, to put it mildly.
On Grey vs Gray ( for those, who constantly wonder like i do.
I start my day with a sweet anticipation of my first yoga class in Moscow. It is about an hour away from home i am staying in and i leave way earlier then i must to omit any possibility of tardiness. Needless to say i arrive an hour early. I enter the studio. I am greeted by an elderly woman the "administrator". She knows everything about running a studio, but not as much about the yoga itself. I think this division may aid in a more successful distribution of business aspect and the teaching of yoga. Isolating one from another, drawing a clear line, may be very helpful to teachers. Removing them from the need to collect and enforce the rules and leaving them to teach. I like.

The studio is in the basement, like most in Moscow (or so i have read). It is cozy and bright with one room dedicated to practice, 2 showers and 2 bathrooms, and a large closet for changing. The studio is called "Ashtanga Center of Moscow" but they teach various styles, hatha, vinyasa included. The classes are unusual for US 1 hour and 45 minutes. I prepare myself for "enduring" the length by abstaining from eating in the morning and mentally channeling my inner strength to be able to finish all the asanas without dying on minute 104.

A teacher walks in. He is a sturdy young man of about 30-35. Very focused and concise. So was his teaching. Not much was said during the class, except for the names of asanas and a discussion of an upcoming Turkey retreat. The beginning of the class was interesting with a couple of stretches that i have not learned or seen before, mostly joints, which i found very useful and will incorporate into my own practice, teaching. The "guruji" did not adjust at all nor did he offer an option. We OMed at the beginning of the class, but after Savasana, final relaxation. No "namaste" no nothing. Just fold your mat and go. I felt strangely interrupted from my usual gratitude for practice. Like i didnt have time to say thank you to the teacher and the students along side of me. Well, everyone is different, overall it was satisfying to learn something new and experience THIS particular style. I am still grateful.

In other news on Yoga and Asana.
Subway is just as good of a place as any to practice. When you spend about 5 hours collectively in public transport a day one has to adopt. One particular asana that stands out is Tadasana, or the Mountain Pose. One particular practice of Yoga that comes to mind is patience. While you are surrounded by coughing, pushing, screaming people, who while stepping on your feet cuss you out for not moving along,  there is no better time to learn how to breathe, exercise patience and compassion. Trust me. No BETTER WAY to do so as you are getting elbowed in your ribs during subway rush hour by someone in a crowd of people trying to squeeze the last capable body onto a train.
And yet again i am extremely grateful to my dad and his wife for allowing me the luxury and opportunity to take this trip. For my friends who have given me anything i needed including shelter, food, lots of hugs and smiles. Grateful for friends and family whom have supported me from home, reached out and waiting for me to return. I cant wait to come home, but my journey here is not over. Not even close. So lets move. Lets do. Lets succeed. Lets learn.
"Love is all you need"


Monday, September 2, 2013

Moscow Blues

The subway is a place of bugs life. Like the movie, but not quite as green and happy. Giant underground tunnels filled with people, herding together in an endless stream of fast moving mass. We are all separate here, we are all one. The illusion however is in the unity. Everyone is connected to the blackberry/iphone/smartphone/ipad loosing with each click any eye contact, any attempt at human interaction. Any potential to see yourself in your neighbor. Life is so fast here. Underground. I wonder if all the worlds subways feel the same way.

The weather in the most punctual of ways gives preference to autumn in Moscow. August 31st, sunny warmth surrounds the city. September first, like clockwork, i am under pouring rain, skies grey and unwelcoming crying a river down on me. I stand on the street and wait for a trolley. There are a couple of us, waiting rather patiently for the slow metal giant to come and rescue us. It comes 30 minutes later. My jeans, that use to be light blue, now are dark ocean color and soaking wet. An old lady to the right giving me an empathetic look, it doesn't help to dry the jeans but it sure helps to warm my soul. I am tired and slightly cranky. Every day i spend at least 1.5 hours in the subway each way from my moms hospital and back. If i detour somewhere, that adds another 2 hours. That is the life here if you are without a car. I start appreciating more and more the ways of the west. There is a positive. I can read. I am catching up on the literature that waited for my eyes for years on the dusty shelves of my Moscow apartment. As the subway stations zip by, so do the pages of the book.There is another positive. Every day the number of steps i take up and down the escalators, stairs, streets make my gluts - buns of steel.

It was the right decision to come back now. The situation would have really been difficult. At least now we have a fighting chance for "success".

I miss the one i love very much. I am hopeful, i am so hopeful that despite everything he will wait. I hope for the happy ending. I hope he hopes too, even if a little. Always.

I do my practice every day. Yoga and Asana keeps me alive and shuts out any doubt that my path, while difficult now, will be strong, prosperous, full of light and love. Hope for wisdom from this experience. Hope for wisdom from every experience! 

Just got a call from one of my moms "friends", with words of accusations for me. As if i haven't heard enough already. As if i am purposefully sabotaging her well being. I am trying to be compassionate towards people who are "NOT IN THE KNOW" at all and are dying to be helpfully critical? is that what i would call someone who is maliciously trying to "aid" without having the slightest idea of WHAT actually is going on and what the situation really is?! This is not the first blow in my direction, not the last from these "helpers", i just gotta keep strong and carry on. It is quite incredible though how people are so judgmental without having information that would remotely suffice for dumping their opinion onto others. I am guilty of such doing myself...but not recently...not for a while now. I HAVE gained that wisdom through my experiences. This time i am just uncomfortably surprised at some of human nature.