monarch butterfly
New-born monarch butterfly at my house. Click on the pic to see it better.

I went to the Yoga Center of Stuart today to participate in only my second Iyengar-specific class.

Boy, did I feel it.

The focus was on the arms, but the asanas we did also felt like they re-aligned my spine — in a positive way!

I truly have little or no back pain any more, just residual neck stiffness.

I had suffered from debilitating neck and upper back pain for the last seven months, ever since I carried around the heavy suitcase I took to Tavira, Portugal in October.

Now, after determining to lead a healthier lifestyle three weeks ago,  I no longer need Aleve PM or Cyclobenzaprene to be able to sleep.

No more Tramadol, no more Diclofenac Sodium (an NSAID), both of which made me feel dopey and gave me diarrhea, or maybe that was the Cyclo.

back muscles
Source: medicalartlibrary.com

I still use Voltaren Emulgelex, a miraculous non-prescription gel that costs 20 euros in Portugal, which helps relieve my mild arthritis as well as the muscle knots in the trapezius muscle between my upper scapula.  Here the equivalent (at the same 2 per cent strength) medication is prescription-only, and costs, get this, over a thousand dollars a tube.  That is not a typo.

Before the class, I noticed that Carol — our Iyengar-certified teacher and owner of the place — had only pictures of the master himself, B. K. S. Iyuengar, and his daughter and granddaughter, that one sees as you come in by the entrance.

Prashant Iyengar
Prashant Iyengar as a young man

I asked what about Prashant, Iyengar’s cerebral son, and Carol’s answer was that she has not yet found a good enough picture of Prashant that was worthy of placing on this important shelf.  This son — who is roughly my age — intrigues me, and I intend to read some of his brainy books, which one can purchase here.

Carol made us hold the positions a bit longer than last time, and she went around the room correcting various students, including me.  They say the mark of a good yoga teacher is one who does exactly this, instead of only encouraging his or her students to follow the teacher’s movements in the mirror. In fact, there are no mirrors in this studio:  Carol’s instructional techniques rely on first demonstrating an asana, then going around and guiding everyone who needs it through every aspect of the position by talking and also with minor little noodges.

Some yogi were unable to tackle a few of the more demanding asanas, so Carol provided them with easier alternatives. At least two people were having real trouble, and there was a brief discussion as to whether this was a Level 1 or Level 2 class. Carol’s answer was that she did not really think in terms of levels.  I shall no doubt here more about this philosophy in future  sessions.

One thing I did notice — and I do not want my ego to start getting involved here — is that I felt that I was more bendy than much of the rest of the group.  The stretching and other yoga classes I am taking at the rehab center are certainly starting to pay off, as are the innumerable stretches I do at home.

Despite their absence at her studio, at one point, Carol stressed the importance of practicing at home in front of a mirror, in order to self-correct posture — not as a form of vanity, although I am sure that plays into it eventually.

In July, there is going to be a summer deal where for $100 you can take advantage of all the classes the center has to offer.  I think I will be doing that, as by that time, I hope my weight to be around 240 lbs, and thus will be more able to push myself both further and farther (as in literally) on this rigorous journey toward a healthier state of mind and body.

monarch butterfly

While I was gone, my wife took pictures of a monarch butterfly that hatched from under the roof of our house. So planting that milkweed did finally pay off, though I was sad that the other pod turned black and the chrysalis obviously died from something, probably some insect attacking the cocoon.

After I returned home at noon, I felt pleasantly exhausted, and proceeded to take a magnificent three-hour nap after a light lunch of home made chili that I had prepared myself earlier in the week.

Heaven, that nap felt like.

When I awoke, I had to write this. And having done so, I am now off from a stretching out swim in my HOA’s large pool — which is usually empty this time of year.

Yippee!

 

leaving america

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