Saturday, 5 April 2014

Blog! What Blog? What is a Blog Anyway?

I had to Google it. ‘A truncation of the expression Web Log’ (Wikipedia). There I was thinking it meant ‘Big Log’. We all know how much yogi’s love to talk about those. Whew! Now I can sleep easy.

We’re coming to the end of week 7 here and I guess the main reason I haven’t blogged is it seems I’ve settled into that routine of every day life and have acclimatised to the point where nothing seems new or out of place anymore. Hence, I have nothing to say. What’s Sherren’s excuse?

Having to stop and wait for a 6 foot snake to cross the road before making our way to the shala in the morning – Normal! Sherren Googled the snake, they eat rats and are non threatening. Though the little fella did cast me a glance that said “I got right of way mate! So back off.

Monkey climbing in your window while you’re watching UFC on the PC and steeling your Chana Dhal – Normal. They’re not as silly as you’d think. It passed up on the mandarins and bananas. Seems he must have heard about his cuzzy bro’s in the zoo getting type 2 diabetes from eating too much fruit they’re not evolved to eat (Monkeys and evolution, don't get me started!)

Slum children playing with matches (As you do. When I was young petrol would have also been involved) set fire to a neighbouring property full of dried palm trees. Fire brigade had to put the blaze out. No property damaged and no-one hurt (well maybe someone got a good kick up the ass a bit later) – Normal (Note: For the record I didn’t burn anything down till I was an adult and that involved gin and cooking oil, not petrol).

Weaving amongst cows, motobikes and buses to get across the road – Normal. I would actually recommend crossing where there are cows. It’s the only time motorist don’t sit on their horns constantly. Sometimes when you’re tired and the heat is getting to you, the only thing standing between your calm self and a murderous psychopath is having a 200 decibel horn blast in your ear.

Laying about all day (literally flat on our backs) because we’re too tired to do much else – Normal. Yes yoga is one hell of a workout but we’re done by 7:30am. When we arrived it was 32 degrees and 10% humidity every day. Now it’s spring and summer is arriving fast with 39 degrees and 35% humidity every day with humidity set to rise. I feel comfortable enough but surely it’s contributing to the lack of energy. Sherren is feeling it a bit more than me. The other contributing factor would be, we’re both trying to shed those winter bellies and as a result are only eating 2 full meals a day (It’s also not wise to eat much for dinner as it only hinders your early practice. Therefore we eat a large lunch at about 14:00 to 15:00 and have a light snack before bed)

When your wife cooks you a lovely lunch with crunchy chana dhal lentils in it, you question the crunchy dhal lentils and are told “It’s not like you’ll break a tooth”. 30 seconds later, broken tooth! – Normal. The unwritten deal was I would cook 5 days a week, we’d eat out once and Sherren would cook once. In return Sherren would do the laundry. I am now cooking 6 days a week.

Paying £14.50 to have you tooth repaired – Normal. I was sure I would need a crown done as I’d had this tooth repaired in England and the dentist (German national and trained) said this tooth is so badly damaged you’ll need a crown (thanks to the New Zealand dental slash butchery industry I was exposed to as a child) - £600 please. Well It’s been on the list of things to do. You don’t just get a crown and a root canal for fun now do you? But after an x-ray and a chat with the dentist here. I’m told “we wouldn’t dream of crowning a tooth this healthy”. No decay and the NZ butchers filling isn’t too deep. Who would you believe? I’ve had some very competitive quotes for non essential work since and am considering on my next trip.

Trouble in Yoga – Normal. I’ve always struggled with full lotus (Padmasana). I’m tight in the hips and that in turn puts stress on my knees. Now every one knows you’ll never get through the primary series unless you conquer lotus (not the right word I know but this is my big log!) and it seems no matter how easy I take it. I finally get there to only get a niggle in the knee (always the right side) and have to rest and start the process all over again. Time to see a professional for fear of being stuck in this loop for the rest of my days.
We were recommended a physiotherapist locally and promptly made appointments. Akash of Advanced Physical Therapy specialises in myofascial trigger point release therapy. For the laymen or budding masochist, this means he beats your muscles and tendons up till you cry. You pay him and thank him for this service.
Within moments of describing my predicament, Akash had me standing on one leg like a trained chimp. Poked at me here and there before giving me the rundown. Basically, that habit of standing on one leg during all those pointless Friday team meetings at work has caused my left side quadtraus lumborum to shorten, in turn pulling my tail bone left of centre and tightening my gluteus medius, in turn preventing my hips from opening outward.
I.e. I have a tight ass! Solution, a good dose of the afore mentioned manipulation and a prescription of strectches.
I ask when I should come back for a return visit and am sternly informed “If I have done my job properly, you will not need to come back”!
Cost of visit £10.
I never have trusted the dentistry and medical professionals of the world. I’ve mostly found them to be gold digging charlatans and frauds. But out here I think I’ve found the honest few capable of restoring integrity to the quackery I’ve come to know. Although I’m sure their western counterparts would be quick to discredit their credentials. So for the record both the dentist and the physio qualified in Germany. Perhaps the only difference is they are less tolerant of dishonesty here.
Thus far I feel I’m opening up in the hips but am taking it as slow and easy as I can. Do it once and do it right!

Yoga moment thus far – Getting into Supta Kurmasana fully bound with my legs behind my head (with assistance of course). Although when doing the closing sequence I started cramping in my left calf and now have a golf ball size knot in there. Putting off a visit to Akash for now as it hurts like a mo fo and quite frankly I’m too much of a pussy. Lets hope it releases soon. I couldn’t figure out what I’d done till the next day when my left foot was sitting by my right ear and that knot was sat firmly against my left shoulder. Ouch!
Getting my hands through in Garba  Pindasana (all by myself too) is a close second (Thanks to Kino McGregor for her ‘getting the hands through the space that isn’t there’ tutorial on Youtube).

Yoga non moment – Being so wiped out by the time the weekend led class comes, I have to sit out half of it. I’m not the only one though. Safety in numbers.
Being told off by Saraswathi for not waiting for assistance is a close second. It won’t happen again!


Recognising that this blog may be read by others stumbling on it, in the hope of providing some useful information I have included some web addresses, names and prices.

My experience of Akash …
I have discovered I am less Angelina Jolie and more like that pathetic blond woman in Indiana Jones (if you don’t remember she just screams a lot!).
I am sure that Akash is a fantastic therapist, he gives an air of authority and has lots of gucci massive TV screens where he shows you images of the body and muscles and explains what’s going on (I was sold on his expertise at this point).  That said once all the flaws he highlighted sunk in I'm not so sure about the whole experience.  I too had knee problems in lotus.
On my visit one of two, my knees where explained by extremely tight minor muscles & and ligaments of the upper leg working super hard due to my lack of Quadriceps! Then I thought I'd mention some upper back pain to be told I have Upper cross syndrome, back to that later. Akash did some myofascial release work on my legs which wasn’t painful and sent me away with leg exercises and the promise of in 3 weeks it will be better. We are now that three weeks later and I definitely am growing quads, no real improvement in lotus but legs are definitely stronger, slowly slowly. On visit two (one week later) for the upper cross syndrome he addressed my neck, rhomboids and traps, I cried through the whole thing, tears streaming down my face .... IT HURT!  This is what Glen was talking about!  I was sent away with stretches. His website for anyone who may need him

My primary series,  I now have the go ahead for the whole series, sometimes I have to modify for my left knee but Saraswathi doesn’t seem to mind.  With most new postures I seem to get a new bruise,  and I currently am sporting two lovely big bruises just above the elbow on the outside of my arms, I think these match up with the ones I have on the outside of my feet for Garba Pindasana.  Small bruises on my hip bones also match up with the bruises on the outside of my feet from lotus.  And lastly a few bruises behind my knees which I haven’t worked out yet … I’m a peach!

Visit to the hairdresser & beauty parlor, I have worked out that everyone here puts henna on their hair, and that’s why they all have the same black hair, no greys, even the men.  Given that black is not my colour I took the plunge and went to the salon this week.  I chose a salon called cutncolour which is in 4th main,  the lady owner spoke good English and helped me select a shade and I was shown into a room at the front of the salon, all the other customers were in a room at the back.  They spent ages smiling and applying the dye with such care before leaving me to entertain myself before returning to wash off and voila done with no issues and it only cost 650Rs.  Not going to risk a cut though!
The beauty parlor for waxing bits was equally uneventful – thankfully as you really don’t want this to go wrong, Iona (opposite the main shala road) 250Rs.

Some  observations …
Glen blogged before about how conservative the culture here is .... Today next to the tills in the Reliance supermarket, (kaladisa rd, junction gokulam rd, just in case) chocolate flavored condoms, and for 100 Rs (£1) you can buy a packet of i-pill (the 72h emergency contraceptive pill) ... Still don't get why I can't wear shorts!
All fruit and veg waste goes on the street corner and is eaten by the animals, I choose to tip it out of the carrier bag which I take home with me, the locals don't bother.

We have avoided all sightseeing, rides in auto-rickshaws and using a scooter – not bad eh?

Street Lamp Halos Light Our Way
Down Dog and the Gates Before Dawn

Feeling Supersonic!
A Coconut to replace those 'Electrolytes'
Incidentally, I looked up the nutritional value of coconut water (being the geek that I am) and it turns out it is comparative to mineral water regarding it's macronutrients (Ever the pessimist)! It does taste nice though.

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