A few days ago I accidentally slept through the morning practice. When I sauntered out, unbeknownst to me, at 10am, I saw my practice mates and mentioned that I might not be going to practice. Feeling sick. I thought they hadn’t gone yet. Oh well. I took the day as a rest day to make sure I was over the coughing that, at one time another, plagued us all, to varying degrees, except for Nicole, who hasn’t been sick at all. To my memory, I mostly read that day.
The next day, we all had off. I elected to follow the suggestions of our new housemate Gerhard, who has been practicing Kalari for 9 years and has been to Kerala many, many times. He said to fast. Drink only water for one day. So I did that. Well, water and dasmoola, this sweet, somewhat fungas-y paste that is good for the health of the throat. Right on, ayurveda. I’d been fingering jars of the stuff for seven days now and have really grown up a taste for it. Every half an hour I scoop a finger tip of it out of the jar and eat it down. So — fasting. Whewwww. Never had I done this before — not eating for an entire day. I know many of the readers of the Flow Yoga blog will maybe think this is silly. Maybe not. But I have never fasted. Botched attempts at purging with quack (sp) tea — yes. We will not get into that now. For much of the day, I obsessed about food — other people eating it, the varieties of food and their tastiness. Thoughts of specific foods jumped in my head when I passed a banana, or the box of cereal I brought as filler in my under-stuffed suitcase. Or the jar of whey protein I brought for the same reason. Or any of the absolutely delightful foods that our house cook, Laksmitaji (sp), prepares for us. Mmmmm, so much of it looked good. I noticed how often, even when not eating, the conversation among us turns to food. What we ate, what we’re going to be eating, what we enjoy eating for snacks, tasty deserts, places to eat in Salt Lake (a favorite subject of mine, by the way), and the list goes on. The hunger came in waves. I am told that for experienced fasters (say, people who fast one day a month or something), this phenomenon of craving is greatly lessened. And for fasters who fast, say, once a year for seven days, that the hard days are the first three. After that, allegedly you have great energy and strength. They told me that my digestive fires are some of the strongest energy I have in my body, and that when I give them a break from working on food, that they can go about the business of attacking illness more vigorously, and can generally sweep the body, scrubbing out toxins and repairing tissues. Much of my head did not believe much of what I was being told. But a better part of me know that everything is worth a try, and that SO OFTEN in life, the best thing to do is give up and follow advice from someone who has experience, and has some qualities that you admire. This is the case with Gerhard, and many of my fellow students. So I listened.
The next day — I thought I’d be feeling woozy, too much so to practice. But I awoke refreshed. Hungry for sure. But that banana tasted great! And I got to go to practice feeling spry and invigorated. The sick feeling was was out of my body. And I hope it’ll stay that way.
For the morning practice today, we worked on Southern style — two forms. Both are very rapid, very quick blocking, kicking, striking and turning. They are some of my favorite new forms we’ve done. We also tackled the Fire form of Shiva (I think that’s the one and often confuse the names of Shiva and Shakti).
For evening practice, a major highlight was going with Rajeef, one of our instructors and a very happy, very fun person to be around, to the Kalari on back of his motorcycle. And the ride back was amazing. Smiling, waving, and hanging my arms off the back and sides of the motorcycle, I felt like a good will ambassador for all, receiving loads of healthy smiles and head-wobbles from the people we passed on the streets. The ride came to a wonderful conclusion as we turned down a side street on the way home. We turned right square into the setting sun, falling over the ocean. It doesn’t get old. From there, we turned left, and speeded down the road along the sea — the Arabian Sea — as the sun set, I smiled, extended my arms out, and waved like the sick, sane, wild and little child I am.