cleansing realizations

I started a juice fast/cleanse this past monday. I basically have only been doing organic green/veg/fruit juices and small amounts of fruit since then (though I had a spinach salad for lunch today). I've done many cleanses/fasts in the past (check out the cleanse tab in the labels!), so I'm no stranger to not eating for a few days. I will admit that one of my main goals (always) is to shed some pounds. I'd be lying if I denied that! but I will say that this time around, while I was hoping to lose at least 5 lbs (only lost 3ish), I was really looking to do some serious detoxing. I've had some ups and downs as the week has gone by and I thought I'd share a few thoughts/realizations that I had.

* before I started the cleanse I was feeling very heavy - not like fat (though that too!) but like heavy in my body - weighed down, sluggish, and truly just gross. I was having a lot of headaches and every time I ate I felt just not good - what to speak of my overall mood, which, as you probably read, was not very good. my hope was that through the fast I would gain some lightness and clarity. my first three days were super yukkie - I actually felt somewhat worse in the sense that I had massive headaches and all of the other things that go along with detoxing. but these are normal and expected. but what I can say is that as I woke up today, on day 5, is that I feel pretty fabulous all around. my head is clear and sharp and my body feels lighter and less bogged down/sluggish, despite this very seasonal kapha weather! if for no other reason than this, this whole cleanse was worth it!

* I've read where people say they don't get hungry while they cleanse. I guess this could be true for some (who am I to say?) but I won't lie and say that's me. yes, I was hungry from time to time. but what I noticed most often was that when I wanted to eat I usually wasn't hungry at all - at least physically. most of the times I wanted to eat I noticed I was either stressed or bored. I know this isn't a huge revelation in terms of being an emo eater. but I guess I never really actually thought about it in the moments when it would happen to me in the past. I use food a lot to fill the empty spaces - it's honestly one of my only vices. well, except this other one...

* so I will admit that even though I noticed that I fill those places in myself where I could be more thoughtful and mindful with food, I have also realized that I fill them with things, aka I shop the blues away. and so even though I wasn't consuming food, I ended up consuming this, this, this, this, this, this, this, and this (I also bought some haiku books from amazon, but they don't really count because they're for work and I'm not actually paying for them...). yea, that's a lot of stuff. and a lot of money I don't have. I ended up sending my husband a text profusely apologizing for these purchases, though he wasn't even aware of them at the time. the only explanation is that I am trying to fill the emptiness with things. more this, this, this. sigh. I don't know.

my intelligence understands all of this, but my emotions don't. or maybe they do but they don't want to claim ownership, and perhaps that's why I keep eating and buying. stuffing myself with stuff I don't need - whether it be food or saris (though c'mon, those saris/tops are fab!). so I don't have any deep answers or solutions... just these thoughts. it's a start, I suppose....?


are you there yoga? it's me, kadamba mala dd...

when I started my 200 hour yoga teacher training in 2012, I was on a long upward climb from a very low point in my life. I went to the training to try to save myself – to give myself space, to learn how to be with myself, to heal. and in a lot of ways, that’s what happened. I’ve said many times that yoga saved my life. I loved my training for so many reasons: I was practicing often – I was focused on learning and discovering and developing. but my intention going into the training wasn’t to teach. the teaching after I was done happened in a very natural way – I could do it and I didn’t mind doing it. I enjoyed it. and so for about a year after I graduated from my 200 hour course I taught at the studio where I had learned.

I was happy with where I was, in a sense, but if you know me then you know that I have a problem with being too idle. hmm, actually, maybe idle isn’t the best word – because if you know me then you know I’m hardly ever idle. I work. a lot. I work a lot. but there’s something else in me that always wants to be learning and advancing. maybe it’s an ego thing – I don’t know. that’s another topic for another day, I guess. what I’m getting at is that I was feeling that learning itch. I was feeling ├╝ber restless, and so the idea of doing a 500 hour training was never far from my brain. I had considered a few different trainings – but many of them were inconvenient for one reason or another… distance, timing, cost, etc. and, in earnest, I had always shied away from the idea of doing the 500 training at the studio where I did my 200 because of a seva requirement that is attached to it - basically a big number of hours dedicated to community service outside of the classroom time, which isn’t bad in-and-of-itself but seemed very impractical for me because I am so busy in general, and also working with the unknown gives me anxiety.

but I digress. so anyway, the itch wouldn’t go away… and so (after a long discussion with my asana guru) I decided to do the training at my home studio where I taught and learned so much already.
that all sounds great. so why don’t I feel that same sense of relief with this training as I felt in my 200? why don’t I feel like I’m being saved anymore? why do I feel hopeless and lost?
the only thing I can come up with is this: I teach, I am training… but I don’t practice. I am a yoga teacher who isn’t actually practicing yoga. and by not practicing I mean I don’t have a daily asana practice – of course, in many ways I practice yoga in my everyday life. but that’s not what I’m talking about here. I mean that physical movement that brings me peace. and I’m not doing it. there is something different about being in this 500 then when I was in the 200 – maybe I am not exploring asana as much – maybe that’s good, maybe it’s not – I don’t know. but I can see what’s not working and it’s me and my practice.

and so I’ve decided that I need to do something. like, literally do something. I can’t have a physical asana practice with the way my life is now. and I need it so very desperately. with that I think I’m going to stop teaching for a while once my 500 hour training is complete and focus on my own practice – more importantly, making/creating/holding the space for my own practice.
this makes me sad on one level – I have so many ideas for classes and workshops and whatnot, and I do actually like teaching. but on another level it’s a bit of a relief. it’s one less obligation, one less job. and yoga was never meant to be a job or obligation for me.

with all of that said, my prayer is that I will be able to find my practice again soon… to be able to reunite with this old friend. 

a vision board I did pre-500 training.

a vision board I did this past weekend. just see the difference in need and intention.


frustrated with being frustrated

one of the more (not really) fabulous things that comes along with my depression is becoming easily frustrated and impatient. in general, as a person, I have a tendency towards being an LFT, or having a low frustration tolerance. I get easily aggravated by long lines, bad drivers, and just incompetence in general. but when I go deep into my depressive state, my LFT is heightened. the tiniest things rub my nerves raw - people talking too loudly, repetitive sounds, eating/drinking sounds... my children doing pretty much anything... and when it gets too intense I just want to sit down and cry. but I don't, because that would be ridiculous. so I just kind of stuff it all in, and it builds. and I feel like I just want to give everyone and everything the middle finger.
mostly, though, I'm just frustrated with feeling frustrated and on edge. like I just want to chill out and feel not so sensitive. I don't quite know how to do that, so I'm just trying to wait it out. this too shall pass, right? right??

this is from december, but somehow captures a lot of feelings.


one step forward from three hundred and one steps back

yesterday I felt better. I even feel better today. I’d say it progressed on monday afternoon from being down-at-the-bottom depressed to monday evening feeling half angst-y and half numb. I want to say yesterday I felt better; I think I did. but I also feel like I wasn’t feeling anything at all. I think that’s something that maybe is sometimes hard to explain, or maybe hard for some people to see/understand. “feeling better” doesn’t mean happy or healed or cured. it’s a qualitative thing – meaning better but not best -  better than wanting to evaporate into nothingness, but not dancing in a field of wildflowers.

I read this article on mindbodygreen yesterday and so much of it hit home. granted, I don’t take medication anymore and I hope I never have to or do again, but I understand what is behind all of that. like even when I’m “doing ok”, the depression is still there. It is always there, hiding, lingering, being. I’m not knocking taking medication – please don’t misunderstand that – but for me, personally, there is no amount of medication that will take that away. my experience was that the medication just put a blanket over it… pushed it under the couch, so to speak. it was still there. I think – no, I know – it will always be there.

so I live with it. I guess…if that’s what this is. it doesn’t always feel like living though. that’s hard.

what’s harder – maybe – is being bipolar, or manic-depressive. whatever. being extreme. that’s what’s really hard. I often think that it would be easier to just be depressed. because when the mania, or the “up” comes inevitably the “down” will follow. it took me a while to realize this – that while the “up” feels good, the “down” feels even worse. it makes sense, when you compare it to substance abuse, why people get hooked on drugs. you know, they want to maintain the high. because the down is so painful – but only after knowing the up. if there’s no up, there’s no point of reference. and the more up I feel, the worse the down feels. almost like the difference in dropping something from different heights. like if you drop a pebbled just from your hand to the ground, it’s not such a big deal. but if you drop a brick off a ten-story building, it’s going to hit the ground hard. it’s kind of like that.

so, anyway, I kind of feel even right now. like the road is flat. no hills. but there might be some potholes. you know it was just winter. and winter always leaves potholes in the pavement.

a few years ago I taught 'six word stories' to my residents. this was my personal example.


do not be alarmed freewrite

sometimes I imagine it like being in a tiny row boat in the middle of the ocean. maybe with oars – maybe without. it actually doesn’t matter, because it’s the middle of the ocean, and it’s choppy and full of giant waves, so what would oars do anyway? I fall out of the boat and the sea is so aggressive that it feels like I’ve fallen into something like a whirl pool. I must have a life jacket on because I won’t sink. but I’ve been trying to stay afloat for so long that my whole body is exhausted. It can’t fight against the current anymore. but the life vest won’t let me go under. I want to go under, because I can’t swim anymore. but the damn flotation device won’t let me.
part of me imagines getting back into the boat somehow. maybe the storm calms. maybe the water becomes placid and peaceful. maybe the sun comes out and I reach the shore.
or maybe, in the midst of the storm, I unclasp the life jacket and take it off. and maybe the sinking is slow and peaceful and quiet. maybe the sinking goes on forever.

he says that the negative talk in my head is too loud. he says that it’s all I hear. so he doesn’t say anything. in reality, he has given up the way I have given up. he won’t say it though. but I will say it. because I know it.

the thing is, I would never kill myself. my fear of death is too big for that. I don’t want to die; I want to not exist anymore. I want to vaporize, or melt with the snow and seep into the ground. I want to wither and petrify. I want to disappear in the magician’s box. but I don’t want to die. dying is a different thing. dying is a scary thing. I won’t kill myself. just know that much.

here is what is so inconvenient about all of this: even the simplest, dumbest things will send me over the edge. for example: I am spending the week administering standardized tests. this means my normal schedule is not normal – so when someone in charge doesn’t remember that I have to have a break for lunch, it makes my whole face go hot. it makes me want to throw things. it makes me want to burst into tears. because why are people so dumb and incompetent? why don’t they think about ME? why don’t I matter? what is my worth? all of that because people are human, and I can’t even forgive that most of the time.


these are all of the things I want to say but not talk about. talking implies conversation. conversation means back-and-forth discussion. if I talk people will try to solve. I don’t want solutions. I want relief. I want release. relief, release. a deep, full, complete exhale. no in, just out.

image detail from no matter the wreckage


free write release

I feel like a failure at everything. and when I am in moments like this one, where everything is dark, I believe that there is nothing else in the world other than my failures. the logical part of me understands that I most likely feel this way because of hormones, but the emotional part of me – the part that is actually feeling things, doesn’t care. I think a lot about moving to a holy place – like mayapura or vrndavan. I think about it with a sense of deep longing – as if perhaps that would somehow take away a chunk of my suffering, as if it would give me some relief. I tell you this because this morning I was wondering to myself whether or not people in india – like very spiritual places, where Krishna is their center – whether they suffer emotionally the way I feel like I do. like, are they depressed? do they feel sadness like this? or are they always blissful and happy and just loving Krishna 24/7? of course, once this thought left me, I realized how silly it was. because I understand that we all suffer to some degree or another in our own ways – because this is the material world, and it is full of suffering. because this is the material world, and as long as you have a mind then you cannot escape its constant chatter and whims.

but this isn’t about all of those practical principles. this is about all of the weight I feel on me. the changes that happen that shift me. and ultimately, it is about the things I cannot control…and I control nothing. I control nothing other than these things I am thinking, feeling, expressing right here, right now. I so badly want to feel nothing. to be so numb that these thoughts do not exist. these feelings will no longer be. I want darkness and silence and warmth and nothingness. I want peace. total peace. but I have no hope for it. no energy left. everything feels heavy. too heavy.

these are my feet, which are at the bottom of my legs, which are (pictured here) up the wall.

***I wrote this earlier in the day. it's now several hours later, and after a good cry and a talk with a co-worker, I actually feel a bit better. it's amazing how things change moment to moment. oh, these moments...