1. There’s one female in our course who is extremely emotional. (Not me, would you believe; nah mate, mine is all under a mask of mischievousness). She came into one of our rooms with myself and the other members of the quartert one afternoon, and when she left both Sabina and Priyanka said how they just felt so drained of energy, like this lass had sucked it out of them.
In bed that night, I thought about how I come across to people. I get told a lot I’m “like sunshine”, but it got me wondering if when I’m having a bit more of a downer day I could possibly also vacuum vitality.
I brooched the subject with Priyanka the next morning. “Do I drain?” I asked. “Is my aura all right?”
She laughed out in my face. “Poppy, you are like the ultimate hit of dopamine,” she said. “You make your own happy, enthusiastic energy and radiate it out to others.”
I was quite chuffed with that.
2. I was in my room sorting out my stuff (packing is a process, ok?) when I heard a dog barking. It sounded exactly like my Otto! My brain in task, it didn’t click where I was and I felt a burst of love and I got up to go see him.
Then realised I was in India and he wasn’t actually here.
Honestly, the disappointment felt was so strong. It’s the first time (about from my silly, underslept day) that I really felt a bit of homesickness.
(Insertation: was just having a doze in shavasana – I know I know, should be present and all that lark – when I heard “Otto” again. In my half-asleep haze, I almost called out to him. When I realised where I was, I was so disheartened.
I miss my boy).
3. Five-point-two-five weeks into the corse, you can rightly imagine that enthusiasm to do the same asana sequences four-and-a-half hours a day is starting to lack. As Priyanka put it, “At this point everyone has given up. Poppy is literally the only one still doing it all.”
I hadn’t even noted that when instructed to do five urdhva dhanurasana, I ’twas the only one doing the full lot. I decided I would take it easy one class, and instead of going five UD, I’d be rebellious and do one less.
“Poppy, how many have you done?” Martinet shouted out as I went to move into the counter pose, my much loved “happy baby”.
Up we went for a fifth.
The moral? Don’t follow the herd.
And Martinet knows everything.
4. I don’t know what it is about Indian toothbrushes, but I’ve gone through four in the last five weeks. The bristles just all burst out – both to the sides and off the stalk (stalk? Handle? Blade? What is the stick of a toothbrush called?) – and I find myself striding back to the convenience store for yet another medium-hardness cleaner.
The Pedaller wouldn’t last two days with one here; he polishes his pearlys with such furious force, I always mock him when we clean as a couple.
(I just Googled “anatomy of a toothbrush”. You’re welcome).
5. Martinet was explaining a Chinese fruit she loves to us, saying it “cost half a dollar”. What a lovely way of describing 50 cents.
6. It was so gorgeous; in our course there is a lovely Chinese lady called Monita, who’d be in her mid 60s or so. When she arrived her body was as unyielding as a set concrete building, and the improvement in her flexibility has been phenomenal.
When it came time to make dates for our exams she said she didn’t want to teach. She came here to deepen her own practice and learn to just take her friends, she said. Not do it as a job. But we convinced her to give it a go; why not put all learnt over the five-point-two- five weeks thus far to show?
So last night was her time to shine – and she had no idea what she was doing. All her kramas didn’t flow, her salutation abruptly ended halfway through, she had the alignment of it all so warped and wrong. But she was so beautiful; she would say, “Please put your hand on the floor”, and thanked us throughout for following her instruction. When she got to her standing sequence and was blustering through it, I started hustling her whispered instructions which she repeated to the class.
When her thirty minutes were up, all of us burst into applause – even Martinet. Monita made her way straight over to me and thanked me for guiding her through, polite to the very end.
7. I was looking through my photos from going to see Govind, Anil and co the other night, and it struck me how sombre and serious they all were in the pics. In person, they’d been beaming and radiating, well, radiance, but as soon as the camera came out they seem to have become stone faced.
Apparently it’s an Indian thing, holding a somewhat serious stance when it comes to being photographed. I assure you, my presence wasn’t as bad as their faces suggest.
8. It’s just been a few days of nailing things. Honestly, as soon as you relinquish the desperation to conquer a posture, it seems to happen. Today saw me hold a half seven handstand balance in the middle of the room for 12 seconds. Although my eight-angle arm balance needs a few technical touches, I’ve well and truly got it pretty down.
I can’t believe I used to avoid such things because I was worried my arms would get big.
9. Martinet seems to have become quite complimentary towards me. Yesterday she walked by and told me my ardha swastikasana line was “beautiful”. Today my handstand was, “very, very good”. And in theory she told us our self practice had been very productive, then looked right at me and said, “Especially some of you are definitely ready to teach EH”.
The first few weeks I craved a mentor who would give me some molly-coddling and tell me I was fabulous. Instead I had this bolshy French-cum-adopted-Chinese-culture woman who issued no compliments my way in any form whatsoever. I never thought I would say it, but I am so grateful she is how she is; her small imparts of praise hold so much more value, I know they are veritable and I can trust them to be true.
And just three things further on this lesson-giving lady.
Firstly, we had another test on the Sanskrit terms we had to learn. For those who got any wrong, they had to write each out 50 times and present her with the rote-learnt passage. I found it so brilliantly old school; these 30 and 40-year-olds write reciting a word again and again and again.
(Me? 100 per cent mate).
Second: one of the girls said how the Chinese were so “skinny”. “Not skinny,” Martinet fired up. “Skinny has connotations of ill health and sickness. They are slender, not skinny.”
I don’t know why, but I really rated that.
And thirdly; today in class Martinet made comment how life coaches earn lots of money. “I need to change my job,” she said. “I should be giving life advice instead of teaching trikonasana. Then again, I’m not so diplomatic as you may have noticed.” And she gave us the most mischievous grin.
Can it be that she’s well aware that she is quite the bitch? Ups to her for owning it.
10. Priyanka and I have started watching lots of documentaries on food and plant-based diets. You know, such as Cowspiracy, What The Health, Forks Over Knives. While I always know to keep a shield out for selective editing and bias presented as whole truth (thank you, three years of media communication studies at Uni), the material these movie makers put across is astounding.
While my somewhat veganism did stem from an ill place (what is a better cover for anorexia and not eating things than being a vegan?) the more I look into it, the more I actually believe a plant-based diet is best. I’m not ever going to be one of those people that tries to sway others to my ways, but seriously – hearing some of these truths hammers it well home. There’s also a lot of talk about Western medicine ways too, and how “treating” disease and ailment is approached through manipulation of symptoms, rather than dealing with underlying causes.
Makes for some mind exploding stuff mate.
11. Last night I hung out with my friend Rajesh. He swung by the hotel on his motorbike and picked me up, and after I clambered on we gunned it to his favourite cafe for a coffee (him) and lemon nana (kind of like a frozen lemon juice slushy for me).
It was cool; as expected, the conversation mainly surrounded yoga. And I found I was so knowledgable; all the terms he threw at me and sequences he asked about I just knew. It was quite surprising for me to note, Mate! I think I actually do know what I’m doing.
For class tonight we are doing Rocket Yoga. While Vinyasa is flow, Rocket is more nonstop rapid. Two hours of full force – bring it on.
I hope there’s a half seven handstand chucked in there. Rapidly coming out of a posture is definitely something I can do.