Thursday, 4 September 2014

Blog the Dog – Gone Astray-L’ya!

With blog irregularity ever increasing, I thought it best to get A into G and give a little update on the Dinosaur Jnr , Marvin Gaye and Guns and Roses. I.e. Where You Been, What’s Goin’ On Where Do We Go Now – Sing it Axl

It’s the tune we move to that matters, not the dance!

After the tropical treats of India and Thailand we touched down in Sydney without a hitch but damn was it cold. Acclimatisation will not be fun but for anyone out there travelling to Sydney international anytime soon, you’ll be pleased to know they’ve actually got those automatic customs lanes to work effectively and efficiently and getting in was a breeze (Heathrow take note!).

Heading straight down to the sunny but cold shores of the Illarwara Escarpment and staying with one of my closest and dearest’s of almost 30 years. We quickly settled into a balanced lifestyle of booze, food, vinyl records, birthday drinks, hangovers, kids school drops and pick-ups, yoga, guitars, world status debates and the occasional reminisce followed by the laughs of disbelief that we ever made it this far. 39 years young and not a day matured past 12 except for the single malt we’ve been drinking.
2 weeks later Matt and Hayley leant us their trusty Hyundai to head 900km up the coast and back, with the instruction that if it breaks down, just leave it where it lays but also with the assurance that this car is as reliable as the sun coming up in the morning and going down at night. Enough said!
On the day we set off. We did the usual checks. Oil, water, tyres, lights etc, only to find the oil was not even touching the dip stick. Quick trip to the local garage, we topped that up and we were off. 5 minutes later, heading up the escarpment toward the highway the engine light came on. Surely not this soon??? A gentle rub of the dash mixed with some kind words, that light went out to the tune of Freddy belting out “Don’t stop me now, I’m having such a good time, I’m having a ball”. Not really but as they say in ‘Strayl’ya. “She’ll be right!” Off again!
Instead of driving the whole 10 hours (and to be fair, Sherren was doing all the driving at this stage as I had a wee hangover) we stopped for the night at a place called Forster. The locals pronounce it Foster and no they do not sell that beer here. In fact they don’t seem to sell it anywhere in ‘Strayl’ya. It’s a sleepy little ocean side town designed with pensioners in mind and we were told not to expect to see anyone out about town after 8pm. So we sought out the local curry house, chowed down a bad boy vegan version and promptly turned in by 9.
Now with the steering wheel held firmly in my grip, blowing a few raspberries with the image of Toad of Toad Hall in mind (Boop boop, brmm) it was my turn to drive. Look out suckers!!!
For the most part driving these highways, even though they do pass through most the small settlements, can be a little boring and devoid of scenery. Except of course if you’re driving through a back burning forest fire with flames licking over the road and the hazed out red glow of the sun above. That I’d have to say is a first and is quite a sight. And with that being the highlight of the day along with over zealous truck drivers high on methamphetamine riding your back bumper we pulled into Maclean to the sight of Phil in all his glory, sporting his winter bushman’s beard.

Hugs, hellos, beer? Yes please. Welcome to Ilarwill.
Now this part of Skippy’s wonderland is lovely. It’s rural, not too far from civilisation, there’s a real community scene and spirit and a burgeoning artistic scene. The kind of place I we could see ourselves living if only it was a financially viable option. Either way, something to consider once the travel fund has run dry.
A couple of days of catch ups and again we hit the road for a yoga bound trip to Byron Bay. We stopped in at Dena Kinsburg’s studio. Unfortunately Dena and Jack were on tour however we did a couple of fantastic mysore classes with Christian. Definitely a place I’d like to practice again. And with a few nice adjustments under our belts we were back to the serenity of Ilarwill for a few more days. Practicing out in the sun on the deck with Penni and Phil turning up for a few classes.

Needless to say Blue Lightning (the little Hyundai) got us back  to ‘The Gong’ in one piece without any issues at all. A bit more vinyl & wine under the belt and we leave this ‘Land of Sunshine’ for Aotearoa aka Land of The Long White Cloud. And the obligatory family introductions for Sherren.

So where’s the asana practice at?

Since leaving India where we lived and breathed yoga. The diet has deteriorated a little. Combined with the re-introduction of booze, the waistline has taken a wee hit. This in turn has made Marichyasana D and Garbha Pindasana binding somewhat challenging. But aside from that my biggest concern was practicing in the cold weather as central heating does not exist in the temperate climate of New Zealand even though it’s only 5ºc when we wake. However much to my surprise, once the initial bout of stiffness passed I’ve found cold weather practice has opened me up even more. Every day I’m feeling more relaxed in the hips and flexibility in general seems to be improving all the time. I’m actually really looking forward to warm weather yoga again to experience the effect of an alternating climate practice.

Acceptance and where I’m at: When I started my ashtanga practice, I didn’t think I would ever feel comfortable practicing the full primary series. Now I do but further more I feel I’m in no rush to progress to the intermediate series, it will happen not only when I feel ready but when my teacher says I’m ready too. And if this never happens that’s fine too because I have so many unchartered corners of the primary series to keep me occupied for many moons to come. The biggest lesson has been, every time you progress in a pose you find there is always more to it. So what’s the rush.

I would second everything Glen says above, my practice is about my body and no one else’s and that moment I am moving it.  I have no desire to get anywhere, that doesn’t mean I’m lazy about it, I try just without an end in sight.

8 months in to this trip. The fun stuff is now over and it’s time for the adventure to really begin….. I beg to differ, the fun stuff is just around the corner!

Te Araroa Trail – Here we come!!! - Stay Tuned.................

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