Day 24 - Women's Class Abhijata
I’m having a little trouble controlling my Diabetes at the moment. The blood sugar should be kept constantly at a level of between 4 and 7 mmol. Any lower and you have an attack of hypoglaecemia (weakness, shakiness and if not treated with some sugar to bring the level up – coma) and levels higher than this mean little in the way of immediate side effects (thirst, frequent urination, increased infections) but long term high blood sugars are what really causes the serious problems – peripheral nerve damage causing loss of sensation and blindness, gangrene, heart disease, kidney failure etc and as with hypoglaecemia, ultimately if the high blood sugar is left untreated coma and death.
So last night going to bed my sugar was at 18.6 – far too high. I took a little insulin to bring it down – for me 1 unit of insulin should bring my sugar level down by about 2 points, I took 2.5 units of insulin – a little conservative but I have learnt to be cautious taking a corrective dose at bedtime because a night time hypo is definitely to be avoided. Bedtime was late because of many jobs that I needed to do and then 4 hours later I was wide awake, glued to the sheets with sweat, heart pounding as (thankfully) my body woke me up from the deepest depths of sleep to let me know that I was severely hypo. I always keep Lucozade by my bed in case this should happen and I must have chugged my way through at least half a bottle as wave after wave of hypo hit me.
Sadly no more sleep for me, so I got out of bed feeling less than my usual self. Looking in the mirror - you know when you get those computer generated programmes to age you fifty years to see what you will look like? Well it was like that – I looked like my own, very dishevelled grandmother.
I headed off to class feeling a bit broken and upon settling down in the practice hall, Gulnaz took to the stage. However she reassured us that she was just getting the class started and Abhi would be along shortly to take over. It was yet another absolutely outstanding class. It occurred to me when she was teaching that Guruji, Geetaji and Prasantji have amazing knowledge and experience, but what Abhi has is an incredible gift for communicating that knowledge – succinctly and coherently. I come out of her classes feeling that I have understood pretty much every word.
Perhaps my favourite part of the class was a story about teaching a big class in front of Guruji as he practiced in the corner. She was teaching uttanasana with the intention of entwining the mind to the body, and was firing instructions to the group to keep the mind engaged. Guruji held his hand in the air, which was his signal for her to stop and asked her what she was doing? Then he instructed the class to go down into uttansasna as if the pose was ‘a flower falling from a tree’. Upon reflection she understood how the pose becomes distorted when the legs have the ego of holding on to the trunk, or the trunk has the ego of trying to leave the legs. When a tree drops a flower it does not ‘push’ it away. When a tree drops a flower, the flower itself does not try to force itself away from the tree. This is another fabric of doing in Iyengar Yoga and because it is not one we often explore, we have much to discover.
There was a LOT of learning contained within and I didn’t manage to get any notes from observers or have anyone to brainstorm notes with, so I’m afraid it’s just the snippets I remember. I’m reliably informed that the pranayama was the best bit, but with only four hours sleep you can guess what happened …. so you’ll only see the first few minutes before I (sadly) zoned out. Do feel free to share your notes on the bits I missed!
In the evening Jenny and I headed out to Phadke Haud for the incense shop. We had one of those disastrous rickshaw experiences, where you think the driver has understood your destination, but in fact he hasn’t got the faintest idea where he’s going. Ten minutes and 50 rupees in, we were just passing pretty much where we’d got in. Jenny had google maps on the ipad so she started directing him and he eventually dropped us a couple of streets from where we meant to be. Ten minutes of walking later, the ipad conked out and nothing was looking at all familiar, so we decided to try our luck with a new rickshaw. He quoted us an extortionate price, but by this point we were getting desperate and he really did seem to know where we were going, so we jumped in. He hared off the wrong way down a one way street (nothing especially unusual there) but there was a great, big burly traffic cop at the other end who pulled him over, so we were stuck in the back while he had to produce his licence and deal with the legalities.
We finally arrived at the incense shop an hour and a half after leaving, for what should have taken 15 minutes and missed our dinner date with our friend Annie. The moral of the story, is don’t bother getting in a rickshaw if the driver is at all hesitant about where you are going.
It's a tough life if you're a kitten here!