1. I’ve somehow suddenly became pals with all the Asian girls.

(It sounds awful to segregate our grouping that way, but it’s legitly how we differentiate, even Martinet).

One of the girls had her birthday yesterday, and I bought her a handbag like mine but in red, as she was always admiring it. She was so surprised and happy, she kept coming over and hugging me all day long. Another two (females, not handbags) were struggling with learning their Sanskrit terminology, so I sat down and gave them some aid. This morning one of them came over and offered me some special Chinese coffee (was very touched and almost accepted purely to be part of it, then the thought of being up for the next four days had me decline). This morning in pranayama, rather than sit with the “Westerners”, I plonked myself between the Chinese – they were truly really excited (or so it seemed; in retrospect, they may could very well have been a touch pissy that I infiltrated their set up). I’ve become mates with Monita (the older Cantonese lady here); I went for a little walk to the store with her before, and she put her arm around me and gave me a little side hug. And then there’s about three that don’t speak very good English, but we’re on smiling-clinching-shoulder terms that brings with it a heart-warming sense of friendliness.

I like being that person.

(Though I must admit; last night Chinese Jodie came and sat next to me at dinner. As I didn’t know much about her, I engaged her in some journalistic questioning about her life, where she was from, so forth. She soon got up and relocated back to her standard squad).

2. Papa Henio would be so proud of me.

The other day I hopskipped up to the convenience store and hustled some Harpic (no Handy Andy here). Upon being back at my abode, I absolutely blitzed my bathroom.

I wouldn’t necessarily say it “sheened”, but there was much less grime than there was to begin with.

3. The previous post I said about my Ayurvedic doctor’s advice to bring me into balance. While I haven’t started on the five-almonds-on-awakening or sipping-warm-milk-before-slumber, I have taken a few on board, including the thorough feet wash.

Just before I set to settle, I lather up my lower limbs and attend to my appendages. Then after drying them off, I apply a small amount of sesame oil into each sole (apparently it’s the best kind for one of vata composition).

As of yet I cannot give a comprehensive conclusion, but the last two nights I have slept rather soundly, and have woken up with glistening flats (alas, I lack arches).

4. Martinet has a real thing about wrists and how they should be held. My first few weeks, every single day at least seven times she would scream, “Poppy! NOT wrists like that!”

And now I’ve taken that terrification to change a hindering habit. I catch myself out all the time when I go to place my hands on the ground, turning them to a more positive placement. And the same goes for getting up from lying on my mat (always to the side, never straight up or else bringing knees in and rolling).

If I don’t come out with anything else, at least my wrist health will always be thriving.

5. The first time I did a yoga course I was spellbound with how often it made me think of Harry Potter. Kundalini being a coiled serpent sedentary above the anus (reminiscent of Nagini), words alike to those magicked up by J.K Rowling, just how HP would enter my mind from some small spark of similarity at any given moment (though to be honest, that’s in every other day too).

And this morning as we were practising pranayama, we had to expel the breath loudly out of our mouth – we sounded like a cluster of dementors.

Must re-read the series for the 77th time. Could Harry Potter Yoga be a thing? Must further investigate.

6. By fuck, I get nervous.

I have my first teaching on Tuesday, and I am riddled with ridiculousness. Not to the extent as usual, it must be said, but still a fairly deliberating element of angst in there.

I don’t understand when it ignited. Before I went to uni, I never felt any sense of the stuff. Is it karma, with jampacking my first 19 years into a mere handful of 365s? (366 if leap?). Or is it that the quest for perfect perfection, the pressure setting off the seed has just magnified?

Whatever the stemming, I’m really trying not to succumb. I don’t want to live a life depending on Rescue Remedy anymore (as yet this course, I haven’t let myself take a single spray).

7. I love it; wherever you go in the world, what country you journey to, whatever gastronomical heaven you find yourself indulging at, ask anyone of any culture where their best curry or cheesecake or complete roast up comes from, and no matter how refined their tastes or how much of a purist they may be, the answer is always the same – their grandmother.

What a beautiful, universal somewhat untruth.

8. When I was about ten-years-old I traumatised myself with upside down positionings.

The year was 2001. The school was Meadowbank’s Mt Carmel Primary. One afternoon, we were informed that the following week for P.E we would be doing gymnastics.

Now, I was a touch concerned. You see, as someone born with a centre of gravity somewhere around my left elbow, cartwheels and handstands had never really been my forte. (When I did waterskiing, tricking just wasn’t kind to me. I spent a full year trying to do a “back” – the second most simplest of tricks – and eventually my coaches got me to move on to something harder. “You need to stabilise yourself, find your centre,” they would say, exasperated, as yet again I would lean off to the back or left or right and dump myself into the Orakei Basin depths).

When I lived in Wellington my best friend Jaimee Orr would spend countless hours on the school field trying to teach me to turn tumbles. Just over and over again, our practice extending to my Garden Road hallway. I was desperate to turn a perfect circle, hell bent on making like a wheel and rolling. But despite the time and effort, the best we got was a one leg crumble.

So the idea that all my new friends in Auckland would see that I couldn’t turn one was quite alarming. It wasn’t that I was timid; no, not at all. I launched myself with – perhaps too much at times – gusto. I just couldn’t seem to figure out where my legs were and should be when I was wrong way up.

I decided to set to some weekend long practice. Get standing on my hands, at the very least. The locale of practicum was decided: Mummy Deb and Papa Henio’s bedroom, so their walk-in-wardrobe mirrored door could act as a vessel to see myself in.

Hours were spent. Saturday a.m, p.m, Sunday morn. Here and there I’d get close, but the stability didn’t last too long.

At one point, about midday Sun, I went full force and catapulted at it. My legs arsed over, I shunted into the wooden chest of drawers, then somehow I wound up falling partway down the staircase.

That’s when the timidity started, and handstands came with a wave of trepidation.

(As it happened, Mt Carmel gymnastics involved running along a beam and nothing more taxing than a forward roll).

Since that fateful time, anytime a handstand has been of call I have managed no more than a mere pathetic flick, feet no higher than my knees. Both previous yoga courses I have shied away from even giving it a go, the closest coming a backwards walk up the wall.

But with Martinet, this hasn’t been an option. So I have been going at the wall with gusto skin to that of my pre-teen self.

And mate, have I improved.

The first week I could get my legs to about waist height. Week two, Priyanka would flick me up to the wall lean. The last five days have seen me need the assistance of a fingertip. I’ve been engaging my adductors, my abs, opening my shoulders, closing my (strange) armpits, engaging mula bandha (don’t even ask), looking forward and down and gazing blindly. (Lyndal told me that behind my back Martinet has been saying how I’m strong enough and I can do it, I just need to get beyond that hurdle that’s hindering me. Not to my face though, of course. She just comes over and slaps my armpits shut then moves onto the next female). But until this afternoon, I decided enough was enough.

Fuck it. Just inhale and go up. Nanna, power me with some self belief.

And I did it.

I let out a triumphant holler and everyone turned to look. And literally erupted into applause. Even Martinet gave me a smile and a, “Yes.” (The highest of praise in her case). When I came down (with the grace of a tip-toe ballerina, I might add) (or so it felt), I got high fives all round.

Bloody top notch mate. And it dispelled a fair few qualms about my ability.

Got to hand it to Nanna Helen.

9. Tomorrow marks halfway through the 300 hour YTTC. I’m not sure how I feel about that; joyous in many regards, as I’ve gotten this far in these gruelling and sometimes relentless daily doings and know I can make it through the rest, but a dash of downtrodden knowing it’s that long until I can get immersed in finishing my bloody book. But then I remind myself I’ve got to stop wishing my life away; to take each day and be in it, without so much future focus on the foreseeable. “Live today. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. Just today. Inhabit your moments. Don’t rent them out to tomorrow.” – Jerry Spinelli. (Bought and am reading The Secret. Absolutely love such stuff).

It’s both nicely insightful and somewhat cringingly perceptful to get to know yourself well.

Hey Pop. It’s nice to finally meet and really get to know the real you.

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