The one reliable factor is change. My new word for this is "transition," which is a super-helpful way to say that I've left my full-time job to focus on yoga, but it will be all right. That reassurance is as much for me as for the person I'm talking with, as in a conversation with one of my teachers, who was asking how I planned to satisfy requirements to study anatomy and physiology or turn in a literature review for my research project: "I'm in transition right now, but I plan to complete the course this summer and send you a reading list by the end of May."
I overheard one of my students chatting with another student yesterday before sutra class started, and she was telling him that she was in transition. Hmmm, does William Safire have a Sunday Times column on this word yet? And when we went around the room, introducing ourselves to the group, at least 30% of the group was in "transition." Try it: it works. It has a sound of assurance and authority with absolutely no content behind it, but no one seems to notice, especially if you look the person straight in the eyes and maintain good posture.
What this means for me is that I'm taking the next few months to concentrate on developing yoga as my work. Instead of having a day job, I'll be studying, completing requirements for some material not covered in the regular program, teaching yoga, and working on developing a practice in yoga therapy, where I'll see students on an individual basis in order to develop a practice suited to their needs. The training that I just completed, which was led by the doctor who is the director of yoga therapy at the center in India, has been fascinating; the work that they do in healing people with physical, emotional or physiological conditions is truly amazing. It gives an entirely different perspective to yoga than what we see so often in the states.
I'll be traveling to India during the winter to spend a month at the center, interning and observing the teachers there at work with students and patients. And I'll be working on a research project that examines yoga as a therapeutic tool for paraplegics - so if you or anyone you know is interested in participating and lives in the Chicago area, please let me know and I will provide more detailed information on the nature and scope of the study. (You can email me at email@example.com.)
I haven't figured out how my knitting will fit into all of this. My last splurge was yarn, needles and the Norah Gaughan pattern book with Ellis in it while I was roaming Manhattan last week. My daughter worked during the morning, and I took the subway from Brooklyn into the city. The weather was gorgeous - blue skies, gentle air, just right for walking. In between Central Park, going to the Met (dang it - closed on Mondays and I wanted to see the superhero exhibit), the Jewish Museum (great Abstract Expressionist exhibit and ten minutes' visit with a friend from grad school who is in administration there), and walking through Central Park, I found a lovely yarn store.
I could have back in Illinois. Women sitting around a big work table, knitting, gabbing, eating lunch. I splurged on the pattern book, which I've been eyeing at home, as well as some Katia linen cotton and Berroco Linen Jeans. And then, I had a true New York moment. After three or four rows of swatching the Berroco yarn, I pulled it off the needle and asked if there was a ruler that I could use to measure the gauge. The woman across the table from me looked up in horror, put her head in her hands, and said "I can't watch! I always tell my students to work at least four inches before they measure, and look at her, she's measuring after a few rows!" Then she stood up, walked to the other end of the shop, and continued to mutter "I just can't watch!" I later reassured her that 1. I know that you need to work more than three rows to get gauge but that 2. I didn't like the feel of the yarn and 3. I could already tell that I was way off the called-for gauge. It's all good, I told her. But I don't think she believed me, which also seemed somewhat not mid-Western to me.
In any case, the project is stalled at the moment. I'm not even allowing myself to go into the yarn store to ask for help on adding a button band to my Snap Cardigan (no, there are no snaps on it, that's why I added the band). I'm afraid that I'll swoon at the sight of all that yarn. If you know of a good deal on Berroco Suede or Linen Jeans, which I do like after washing and drying the swatch (I ended up with a size 5 needle to get guage, after starting with a 7), pass the info along. In the meantime, I'm trying to limit my knitting to working through my stash.