Tuesday 6:30 pm with Libby
Four days in a row off. Yikes. I don't have a real excuse, except for a persistent runny nose that has been interfering with my breathing. But, that's pretty much a phony excuse.
Libby's class was interesting. She's changed something in her delivery recently, I think. Mostly, the pranayama seems to take forever, and with my breathing difficulty, it seemed like double forever. In the second set, I felt like I was going to pass out a couple of times. She has a thing she does now on some breaths where she counts one to six, and gives an instruction between each of the counted instructions. And this time, it felt like "One ... The Gettysburg Address ...Two.. The first chapter of War and Peace ... Three ... etc..."
Then, the other thing that seems to have changed since her vacation is the timing in the standing series. The postures and sets come immediately after one another. I don't have any problem at all with this style. It's very demanding, and that's just fine. But it does feel different to me, and I haven't yet asked her whether there was a deliberate change. If not, is she aware of some change or am I just imagining things (always a strong possibility).
Once pranayama was done, things actually went pretty well. I got a nice compliment in the first part of awkward, and then in final stretching of all things. I also got some good corrections: elbows again in first backbend, then chin to shoulder in Standing Bow.
And I also got a "Duffy, what did you eat today?" during back strengthening. The reflux problems are not going away yet. And this class wasn't even that bad. I had to sit up twice in back strengthening, but briefly, and I only skipped one set of Locust. I've had much worse days, but it was bad enough to get that comment. And the answer was "A turkey sandwich" and nothing else, and that was over six hours before class. I think I may need to ask my doctor about whether the medication might be causing it, and if so, to try to explore some other alternative.
Now, the dog bite. I have two lovely and very active Samoyeds. I take them to a nearby dog park almost every day. Yesterday, within a minute of getting to the park my boy got into a squabble with a Pit Bull. I didn't see it start, but saw the dogs lunge after each other at least twice before I got there. By then, my dog had grabbed and locked onto the loose skin on the top of the Pit Bull's neck (the area where mother dogs pick up their puppies). I grabbed my dog by the chest under the shoulders, but he wouldn't let go of his grip.
Almost everyone around is freaking out, especially the Pit Bull's owner, who keeps yelling "He's tearing up my dog." I reached around with my right hand to try to pry open Papa's mouth. The Pit Bull got my hand, hard. Then he bit my foot, almost through my sneaker. He bit my friend three times. He kept trying to bite my dogs throat, but Papa's grip on his neck made it impossible for him to grab Papa.
The Pit's owner is now screaming "He's getting defensive." As if to explain the bites. But was doing nothing to help. Eventually, a smart woman poured water down Papa's nose, and Papa let go to breathe. And, as I expected, at this point there were no visible wounds on the Pit Bull's neck or on my dog.
Two seconds later, for reasons I can't even begin to fathom, the Pit Bull owner let go of his dog. I was still on ground holding papa, and the dog tackled me. This time he bit through my leather jacket and into my forearm. (I could feel the sharp bite, but didn't know that he had punctured my arm until after I got home.) In this second, short squabble, my dog bit the pit bull on the top of the head and drew some blood. In return, my dog got bites on his mouth and one leg, but they were very minor.
The police and animal control arrived. Most of the witnesses had left. The Pit Bull owner and his friends said that my dog started the fight, and this might be true. They also said that my dog was the one who bit both me and my friend. I asked the police how my dog could have bitten us when the problem was trying to get his jaws unlocked from the other dog. The officer went back to them and then came back and told us that it was my other dog who bit us, even though she wasn't at all involved. When we said we knew who bit us, the policeman said we were interested in the outcome and that we were lying.
What does all of this have to do with yoga (or my yoga)? Well, two out of the three bites were no big deal. I've got some nice holes in my forearm, but they don't bother me that much. The problem is with my index finger. The bite there runs ragged for about a half inch, and it goes to the bone. The doctor won't stitch it because it increases the chance of infection. No bandage will last through a yoga class. And I can't interlock my fingers or do anything at all with my right index finger (typing seems to be an exception today, which is a big improvement over last night). That means I will be taking a break from yoga practice, probably until the wound closes up enough that I can do an approximation of the basic Bikram grips without re-opening it.
In the meantime, I think I will try to focus on the Gate's meditations on a daily basis. I'm skipping the meditation that would ordinarily have gone with this post because I think this has gone on long enough.
And if you are interested, the upshot of the squabble in the park is that my dog got put into quarantine today for nine days! His rabies tag had expired a little while back. And even though he didn't bite anyone, animal control decided and arguing with them can only make things worse. (One year rabies vaccines last for at least five years. The only point of a quarantine is because rabies can only be passed on through saliva for about 6 days before a dog dies, so if a dog stays healthy for 10 days after it bites a person, the person can't get rabies. But the incubation period for rabies can be as long as six months. So if the Papa were not immune to rabies, then the reasonable quarantine period is not 10 days, but six months -- and I wasn't about to make that argument to animal control for obvious reasons. So, no matter how you look at it, this quarantine is pointless and is basically being done to punish me, as if the pain from the bites I got are not punishment enough.) And if you are wondering, no action was taken at all against either the Pit Bull or its owner.