Sorry in advance to any of the male species reading this. If you're not particularly keen hearing about the crimson way, you may want to stop reading right here. If you do go on, I promise to not get too graphic.
If you're a girl and you practice ashtanga, that special time in the month that we refer to as Lady's Holiday is either treated with much contempt or with much relief.
At home, I'm quite happy to take a break. Sleep in. Eat chocolate.
But here, where every practice is so eventful, so action packed, so full of promise, spotting can be a horrifying revelation--as if you'd given birth to twin alien babies! At least this is true for me, first thing this morning. I tried not to panic. I did the math. The general rule is that you do not practice for the 1st 3 days. Wednesday to Friday would be gone. Saturday is a rest day. Sunday is a moon day. Five days. FIVE DAYS!
After taking a couple of deep breaths, I dealt with it like any person who wanted to deny this fact to be true, I swept it under the table. I performed my morning routine as if it were business as usual. I got dressed up, I packed my mysore mat into my bag, I put on my sweater, and moments before heading out the door, I went to my new roommate hoping she would say something to support this denial of nature, perhaps she could offer me a loophole to this 3-day rule. She did not. My bravado broke down. I felt suddenly guilty, then remorseful.
I took a deep inhale, exhale, resolved to be respectful of my own body. I consoled myself by rolling up into ball and taking my butt back to bed.
I still feel sad about it. And this feeling seems wrong to me. And I'm trying to work through it.
In many ways, some of us get addicted to the practice--perhaps all of us are addicted when you think of the maniacal way we commit to it, get up in the morning, let all other activities get ruled by this 6-day a week practice. For some, missing days can have disastrous effects on our mental and emotional well-being. When ever I think of the number of days now (5) I feel an irrational tightness in my chest.
At breakfast today, someone said that it was an opportunity--to rest, to give my body a break, to be good to my system. She's right too. In truth, I know my body is happier when I take the 3-day rest. I know my body is stressed when I don't take the 3-days off, the cycle lasts longer. By a lot. It's positively epic when I don't heed the guideline.
Some may not find it necessary to take that break, but I for one am coming to grips with it. That for me, at least, it is an opportunity. It's called "Lady's Holiday," not "Lady's Punishment," so I am resolving to enjoy it, to treat it as such, a vacation from the daily grind, a happy mini-break arranged by the mechanisms of my female body.