sounds like 1963 but for now it sounds like heaven / by vanessa

Once in Saul David Raye's class he reminded us ever so sweetly (because that's the way everything he says sounds in his drippingly melodic accent): The only mistake you can make in yoga is thinking that you're good at it. Everyone laughed, of course, but more than being funny, it's true. It's stuck with me and I think of it now every time I practice and each time I teach. I love that it's not about false humility or even boo-hoo-I'm-such-a-loser-I-can't-do-anything-right. Rather, it holds these qualities of pure possibility and this expansive not-knowing. And I love that when I think of it I feel s p a c e, as if I have some breathing room and the whole world is finally open and all it took was a simple exhale.


I got some new kicks, folks. Can't say they're pretty but boy I sure can run fast in 'em!

Today was one of those absolutely perfect LA days -- the temperature was just right and the traffic, bearable. Dre came with me this morning and took my class and then we hung out at the pool afterwards. So I practiced swimming. About a month ago at my company's quarterly meeting we had a guest speaker come in and talk to us about training for a triathlon. He's done the Ironman or something equally horrendous like about 130 times. (He's REALLY old. Just kidding.) Anyway... so he gave us a benchmark for each event. He said for swimming, best case scenario, a half mile in the ocean is 9 minutes and worst case is 27. Which was magic to my ears because I thought "27 minutes?! I can do ANYTHING for 27 minutes!" And I set out to prove to myself how easy this would be when I went to Mexico last week. I waded out in the water, set my chronometer, and started swimming. First I swam east, then I hooked north, then pulled a U-y and turned back south. It felt like I had been paddling for at least a good 8 or so minutes, which by my calculations would put me in great position for the rest of my training. Exhausted, I looked down at my watch... 53 SECONDS. I thought I read it wrong. Sadly, I had not. Holy shit. Not good.

So today I figured I should probably start training. My friend Denean gave me some great tips that I'm using, and also I'm trying to swim for time so I set my watch and swam until I was tired. Five minutes. Okay, so this is progress. Granted, it's a pool and not the ocean, but what I noticed most importantly is that when I pulled my belly in (in yoga we call this uddhyana bandha, which, loosely translated means, "pretend like you didn't eat your weight in nachos in Mexico"), my body became much more efficient. Duh, right?! At least now I'm inspired to keep swimming. I totally wish I could get someone else to do it for me, but I committed so I'm gonna have to just man up.

After swimming and grocery shopping, I went for a run. How I love the Pacific. How I hate the 4th Street Stairs, but they're good for me so I did 'em anyway. I could only do 4 sets, or about 12 million stairs, which I'm sure will keep giving tomorrow. As I ran, I thought about a statistic that I'd recently read: 1/4th of the world's population does not have access to clean drinking water. 1/4TH!!!! That is staggering. I drink about a gallon of it a day without a second thought. And here I am, thousands of miles away, spending a leisurely Sunday afternoon swimming and running and worrying if I look fat. Seriously??! I know it's cliche, but I'll say it anyway -- it puts things in perspective.