Saturday, January 31, 2009

Month's End

I didn't do asanas today because I've definitely got some kind of inflammation in my right shoulder. Guess I have to go to the doctor. Sheesh!

That's what I get for walking up to the store in the snow to get cigarettes. I think it happened on December 27. It was a nasty fall, and for a time I thought I got away with it, but no such luck.

Despite not doing the regular asana routine, I did do pranayama and it was great. No coughing, breath came easy, good concentration. There's a bit of an oxygen deficit that develops with that two-beat hold after exhalation.

Also did the usual chant (about two minutes worth) and some forward bends. I'll see how that shoulder feels tomorrow.

I probably won't practice on Ground Hog Day because I'm driving down to Woodburn to play guitar, and take my Gibson to David for reap pears.


Friday, January 30, 2009

Chugga Chugga

Since this is primarily a yoga journal, I'll start by mentioning that I had a really excellent practice yesterday, especially keen concentration during pranayama, and that yesterday's session followed up an equally auspicious practice on the 28th.

This morning's session was not quite as good. Breathing was interrupted by frequent coughing and one full-on emphysema attack complete with sneezing before I actually started. But I got through it with only slightly compromised attention to the attention.

Nicotine might have had something to do with it. The 15-milligram patches weren't doing it for me, so I got up this morning and slapped on a 21, and within a few minutes was staggering around like somebody who'd just inhaled a Marlboro Red 100. I was a little lightheaded for a while -- hands and feet got cold -- the works. As I'm writing this three hours later my heartbeat is still rapid and breathing rate elevated.

It's really a powerful drug.

I've finally begun developing some lingering resentments against Rose. For the longest time I was still so madly in love that she remained atop her little pedestal, my saint and angel, despite what she'd done. But now I can see that part of Rose's self-esteem is dependent on her thinking of herself as Venus -- the woman all men find irresistible all the time.

A year ago early January, before I bought the manufactured house, she was over at the tin shack for dinner, and as she was leaving wanted a hug, which evolved into heavy mashing. My emotions got the better of me, and I ended up pleading with her to take me back. She was having none of that, of course, but she'd gotten her payoff. Two weeks ago when I was in and out of Desert Hot Springs in fewer than 24 (because I couldn't stand being there) she insisted I stop by and see her, even though I didn't want to.

She'll get no more fuel for the eternal flame on her little ego altar from me.

I've been reading Desikachar, and I like him better than anyone I've read on the subject so far. He's a gentle and open-hearted soul -- it shows in his writing.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


This morning's pranayama was the best yet. The mind was clean except for attention on the breathing technique and count for long periods.

Paradoxically, emphysema seems worse now that I've quit cigarettes (again). I may have to give up marijuana, which would be really tough because a) I don't want to, and b) it helps me stay away from cigarettes.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sweetheart of the Rodeo

Musical kind of day.

Morning practice was OK except for coughing, with lots of phlegm. Could be a hangover from smoking, with lots of stuff happening now that I'm quits, or maybe that vaporizer's doing it.

Managed 23 breaths with frequent interruptions.

Either the shoulder's better or I'm working through the pain; I can't tell.


Monday, January 26, 2009

Back to Basics

After two days of not practicing and two packs of Marlboro Light 100's in four days of smoking, it felt really good to return to the routine today and be able to breathe again.

Depression undermines all my work. I need to take steps to avoid depression. Traveling to Desert Hot Springs a week and a half ago was my worst idea in a long time.

My class starts in less than two weeks, and I want to be physically and mentally ready to begin.

Breath rate was slightly elevated this morning (27 in 10:33) but refreshing and trouble-free. Asanas felt really wonderful, with lots of joint and spine popping (especially during trikonasana) and a good burn in the muscles. My shoulder is still hurting, but I added one of Chris Hamilton's frozen shoulder exercises to the routine and I'll try just working through the pain.

On arising this morning I got two sternum pops by raising my arms overhead and bending back slightly. Sternum pops are the best.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Speed Bump

Breath came with difficulty during practice yesterday, due to smoking. Fewer than 24 hours on cigarettes (and less than half a pack at that point) and inhalation was already severely compromised. This obviously can't and won't continue.

A know a lot of people give no credence to such things, but my yearly horrorscope says change is in the works on this and related fronts.

In contrast to a difficult, almost impossible pranayama, asana practice went very well, with lots of joint pops and releases. I'm a lot more flexible than I was four years ago, that's for sure. The shoulder seems to be slowly -- very slowly -- improving, but it still hurts.

I'll take a day away from practice today, and might make that a Sunday routine. I have a lot of work to do finishing up the paper roadblocks that are keeping us from finalizing mom's estate, and I'm determined to get them all behind me today, with my sister's help. Poor Chris has so little time, so when I ask her for some I don't want to squander any of it.



Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hope and Hopelessness

My prospects are not good. I appear to be hopelessly addicted to coffee and cigarettes. But I'm determined to move on in spite of it all.

I once appeared to be hopelessly addicted to alcohol too, so I guess there is hope.

Practice was difficult this morning, and concentration all but impossible. The main problem is shaking of the hands during pranayama. The tremor is getting worse, and it's very distracting.

Asana practice went pretty well. The shoulder is still giving me trouble, however, although the back seems almost completely better. It gave me just a little trouble during savasana, but it's much improved.

All progress seems incremental, halting, and irregular. It's constantly two forward and one back. Nothing to do but keep going.

I had some philosophical disagreements with Mr. Mohan. Mr. Desikachar looks more promising, and I'll start reading him tomorrow.

Got on the phone and got all my problems with BECU ironed out. That's a big get, and a load off the mind.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

It's Big, It's Heavy, It's Wood

Better day today. Stuff is happening on the estate front. The demon's not around as much.

Still nothing to write home about, and anyway I'm home already.

Lots of trouble with phlegm and throat-clearing during pranayama today. Still in all, a good pranayama with very good concentration. During asanas the back seemed much better, and the shoulder somewhat better also.

Concentration was not that good during asanas. Skipped a couple postures in the routine and had to go back and get them out of sequence.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Day II

Day 2 of yoga and preparation for class. Started reading AG Mohan's "Yoga for Body, Breath, and Mind."

Pranayama was slightly different because I introduced a brief hold after exhale, and had a llttle trouble toward the end with coughing. The count is now 4 in, hold 2, 6 out, hold 2. Still experiencing moderate amounts of oxygen debt with the controlled breathing. Concentration has been good (there's a lot to concentrate on).

Asanas are going well. Shoulder and back are both somewhat better, especially the back. The shoulder still hurts when I do some movements that are part of ardha matsyendranasana and trikonasana.

See also this entry at the other blog.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Perfect Yoga

Yoga this morning was about as perfect as it gets, and it felt great after ten days of not practicing. This is the beginning of something new and difficult, but promising.

Pranayama was a 24 count with mostly good concentration, and asanas went smoothly despite a sore shoulder and slightly sore back. I seem to be none the worse for wear after nine days on the road. For the time being I'll be doing the Utthita Trikonasana instead of the Parivrtti version because of the shoulder.

It's a beautiful day here -- very clear and not too cold since the sun is shining. It's kind of tough not smoking, but I should be patient (something new!) because after all, it's only been four days. I need to start seeing some real recovery in my life, as opposed to staying stuck in a past life that seemed trouble-free. It seemed I was getting something for nothing every day; with no effort, I had the love of a beautiful woman and cigarettes in the twilight. I began to believe there were no consequences and never a price to be paid.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Perpetual Motion

Covered 400 miles today; got 300 tomorrow and I'll be finished with this road trip, God willing.

Eighth day without yoga; seven of them spent mostly driving. Back hurts, shoulders hurt, neck hurts; I'm tired.

Acceptance. Acceptance. Acceptance is the key. That and concentrating on the task(s) at hand. Actually, there are two: wrapping up mom's life, and committing to the new discipline. Both will yield immediate results.

The other task at hand is the blogs; they have and continue to yield results.

illustration found at

Friday, January 16, 2009


Friday, 1/9, was the last day I did yoga.

I've been on the road since the morning of the tenth, and I've driven every day except Monday. My back is sore.


Friday, January 09, 2009

New Leaves

Feels like springtime.

Yoga today for the first time in what? Three days? felt good, along with smoking cessation for what will be the last time until death do us part. Not much trouble breathing (29 breaths -- a little rapid), but the usual concentration problems just won't go away.

Returned to the old asana routine; shoulder and back both are better but not yet good. I'm unsure which version of trikonasana I should be using.

I'll probably head for California tomorrow, as the DOT expects to re-open the flooded freeway some time today. Then it's back here in two weeks or so to prepare for teacher training.

There's still a lot of detail stuff to work out, and not just on mom's affairs. For example, I need to tell Eloise I've moved and apply for medicare plus make arrangements to buy supplemental insurance.

Life goes on.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


I think I did yoga on the sixth, but I really don't remember. I might not have. I think that was the day I went to Seattle and got stiffed at the yoga studio.

None today nor yesterday neither.

Smoking and working.

Today I worked the Vanguard accounts, with success. Yesterday -- was it yesterday I went to Seattle and Townsend?

Despite the memory lapses and frustrations, I've been getting the job done.

Also took all the yarn to Townsend today.

Monday, January 05, 2009


Got a lot done today. The estate is taking shape, with bank account, insurance forms completed, all interested parties notified, etc. Shoes to the thrift store, jeans are next. This may not be as hard as I thought.

Good yoga today because breathing is better now, although pranayama is still interrupted by coughing sometimes. Slower this morning -- 24 counts -- and some difficulty with asanas because of joint and back pain. Had to give up Gary's version of Trikonasana and go back to the regular one, which Ellen taught me.

Tonight to Chris's to get papers signed. Tomorrow to the yoga studio to buy books, and also there are necessary errands in Port Townsend, so a lot of driving next 36 hours or so. Then on Wednesday, to the car dealer for a little spruce, then probably on to Californie.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Crunch Time

To smoke or not to smoke.

A few cigarettes a day and I stop shaking. But if I smoke one too many, my lungs hurt.

We'll see. I keep recalling how "many of us tried to control and enjoy our drinking."

Can I still do yoga if I smoke? Asana for sure, but what about pranayama?

No yoga yesterday, and I have an appointment with Chris this morning. But we'll see this afternoon.

Recycling and trash dumping kind of day.

Sue is taking mama's old car. We're making a little progress, finally.


Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year

Started the new year with 27-1/2 breaths and a slightly revamped asana practice. No more Utrasana, because I think it hurts my back. Also, I'm combining Dvipada Pitham with a couple nameless frozen shoulder therapeutic exercises I learned from Dr. Chris Hamilton.

Although I don't write by hand any more, I'll try writing up the revised asana sequence in the red book.