Uncategorized

Deelfontein Farm 12km

img_0978

Last weekend the Mindful Runner and I set off on a recce mission to Deelfontein Farm, a potential location for our Trail Running/Yoga Retreat weekend. Gerhard, the owner, happened to be running an informal trail run and we were game to try out the trails and take in the scenery around Vredefort Dome near Parys. Mindful Runner chose the 20km (with ~7 others), I opted for the 12km (with 2 others), there was 1 brave 35km runner, and 3 5km runners. There was no time keeping (except our own watches), no prizes (except for a plunge in the pool when we returned), and we were provided with a map to assist in navigation over, around, and through the farm. The trails were all runnable (with some being positively gnarly) and clearly marked (yellow blazes), but we still all got turned around a few times. In fact, the father and son team hoping to make a quick run around the 5km loop ended up being out for about 4-5 hours and ambling over 18km. I ended up being first lady, first female vet, but still placed last overall in the 12km with a time of 3:17 (with my gimp knee in tow). At the final water point I decided to forgo the rest of the trail (I had completed my 12km afterall) and take the dirt road back to the lapa for a dip in the lovely pool.

deelfonteinmap

The map: follow the dots for your distance and you’ll be fine!

Did I mention last weekend saw some record high temperatures in South Africa, and it was well into the 30s by the time I finished (around 10:30am)? The heat coming off the ground (and the surrounding sandstone rock) was intense. Honestly, I had been dreaming (hallucinating?) about the pool since kilometer 6, and I couldn’t wait to get to the end of the line. I think everyone came back with a sunburn and were more than a little dehydrated. That pool, and the ice cold water, powerade, coconut water, beer, water, lemonade, beer, ice water really hit the spot! The Mindful Runner and I stuck around chatting with Gerhard about the development and design of the trails (very eco-friendly and beautifully planned) and checking out the facilities, chowing down veggie burgers, and waiting for the other runners to return. When we left around 2pm there were still 3 people out on the trails.

deel12topo

deel12profileThe trail covered several different terrain types, from sand/gravel trail, through grassy pasture, some riverbed sections, and over the tops of quartzite and cobble hilltops. There wasn’t a lot of shade so we all tried to run/lope in the open and take breaks under the scrubby trees (until the flies caught up with me and I had to start moving again). I was really amazed that a trail could feel as if it were always going uphill. My profile proves otherwise, but it did feel like I was slowly, and constantly hiking up and up and up. But it was worth it- the views from the peaks were amazing!

So we’ll be back there for the Trail Running and Yoga retreat from 2-4 December and you’re welcome to join us! We’ll be exploring the trails, practicing trail running techniques, doing some yoga pool-side, and drinking lots of ice-cold beer water.

img_0989

 

Why I’m leveling up to “Extreme”

I sat my Biostats III exam this past Friday. It was very thorough. As study preparation, I took a squizz through the Run the Berg data from the last three years. Doing biostats while studying for biostats isn’t procrastinating, is it? And I did run a Poisson regression, and I did construct a Kaplan Meier curve. And even though I’ve mostly run descriptive statistics, it got me thinking about my next Run the Berg, and about my training in general going forward.

I downloaded Excel spreadsheets for each year (2014, 2015, and 2016) from Elite Timing for both the Challenge (15km/day) and Extreme (25km/day) distances. I then read them into STATA 14.1, and appended them into one dataset.

The first thing that stood out was the gender breakdown. Over all three years, in total, there is an equal split between men and women, on average 48.3% men, and 51.7% women. As you know, that gender split is representative of the general population. However, when you look at the gender split by race distance, a very interesting picture emerges:

distancexgender

These pie charts show the total number of entrants from 2014-2016 (N=1465), with male entries evenly distributed between the Extreme and Challenge distances. But three quarters of female runners chose the Challenge. This difference is strongly significant (p=0.000), meaning that the relationship between gender and race distance is not by chance. Why are 75% of women entrants choosing the shorter distance?

Run the Berg is a staged race, so I defined “finishing” as completing either both Extreme stages, or both Challenge stages. I was curious if there was a gender difference between those who completed both races, and those who only ran one. The answer is, marginally (p=0.096), yes, there is some evidence to suggest that females tend to complete both races. By the numbers: 14.4% of males only complete one stage, compared to 11.5% of females completing only one race. Note that possible reasons for not running both stages have nothing to do with gender; someone could have: 1) run the Extreme one day and the Challenge the other, 2) not been available for one day, 3) become injured (or bailed) on the second day (perfect example- me at the Busted Bunny). By the numbers: there were 189 people over the 3 years who only completed one stage, 165 completed stage 1 only, and 24 people completed stage 2 only. Also note: there is no difference between distance and finishing both races, 12.1% did not finish two Extreme stages, and 13.3% did not complete two Challenge stages.

Another difference appeared when looking at total times (stage 1 time + stage 2 time), women group more closely with regard to combined time in both distances. Take a look at these totally cool ‘box and whisker’ plots:

exxgend

chxgend

These plots show that male times appear to vary more widely than female times. For the Extreme, men ranged from 4:00-13:18 (that’s a 9 hour spread) with a mean of 7:23. Women running the Extreme grouped more closely with a range of 5:09-11:26 (6 hour spread) with a mean of 8:02. Men in the Challenge had a range of 2:08-6:57 (an almost 5-hour spread) and a mean of 04:00. Women in the Challenge had a range of 2:52-10:15 (a 7-ish hour spread) and a mean of 04:32. Too many numbers? Just look at the graphs. Women did have quite a few stragglers on the Challenge though…I guess my point is, ladies, stop straggling! You aren’t that far behind men in terms of times, and when you commit to something- you’re unstoppable!

To sum up, there are fewer women doing the ‘Extreme’, but more women finish both stages, and their times cluster more closely together (this could be what I refer to as the ‘two-to-the-loo’ effect- women don’t go anywhere alone). For my training this means that if I plan ahead, and train accordingly, I won’t be an outlier (i.e. come in last). In fact, I might actually be competitive (for my gender, within my age group). Though these data only represent a fraction of trail racing, I think that women are selling themselves short. I think that with proper planning and training (as the more OCD among us do), more women should consider ‘extreme’ distances, the numbers are behind you! So I’ll be signing up for the ‘Extreme’ distance when entries open for Run the Berg on 1 November. And I’ve already asked the Mindful Runner for a training plan, but there’s a year of tough running and conditioning ahead. I’ll see you all on 30 Sep-1 Oct, 2017, unless you’re behind me, in which case I’ll cheer you on at the finish. I hope I get another training rock!

Oh, and here’s that Poisson regression:

poiss_rtb

Buster Bunny Bush Hike (Stage Race 10km x 2)

I had been planning for the Buster Bunny since January. In fact, I registered twice: once in late January and once in late April, because I was so excited to do my first stage race. 2016 has been rough with work and getting my MSc, and I was looking forward to a relaxing weekend of trail running, and drinking with trail running friends. I was wary of that nasty knee/ITB thing that cropped up during Forest Run and my training had fallen off a cliff due to sitting in classes, and exams, and being under a landslide of work, but I was looking forward to the challenge of two days of running and generally just being outdoors.

So on a Friday I drove 3 hours to Waterval Boven, Mpumalanga to stay at the Protea Hotel Malaga (no I’m not linking to it, it sucked- see below). Upon arrival I rolled out my yoga mat and had a wonderful practice, working out the kinks from the long drive. Needing dinner, I phoned room service and was told that there was only buffet. I told them that they should then put some vegetarian pasta from that buffet on a plate and bring it to my room, and within 20 minutes I had what I wanted.

It was so nice to wake up at a reasonable hour on race morning and the weather looked fantastic! I prepared my instant flavored oatmeal (my race-day standard) in a teacup in my room along with a cup of coffee. I put on my race outfit and headed down to the start. The first stage was 12km and we were reminded to be very careful of our footing out on the trail. And then we were off. About 1.5km later my knee started hurting, but it was fine- we were on a nice gravel road headed into the hills around Waterval Boven. And then at about 4km we started climbing, but it was fine, my knee doesn’t hurt that much when I’m climbing. This is the terrain we were moving through during the first half. Don’t worry if you can’t see any discernible trail- there wasn’t one, just orange tape.

IMG_0736  IMG_0737

Somewhere during the shaded kilometer (below) I made a video (which I shared with my family on What’sApp) that showed me laughing maniacally about how far I had to go yet. I have another video later telling my phone that I had finally reached the top (6.63km in) and 2:09 into the race. And then I started heading down, in agony because my ITB had had enough of bushwhacking through tussock grass and cobble-rock. The second half of the race (5km), which should have been pretty easy as it was downhill, took almost three hours.

BBTH

I’ve indicated a few memories on the profile for reference:

  1. It’s getting a bit warm, I should get down of this mountain, it’s only 5km- so about an hour.
  2. That’s where I puked oatmeal and rush bar. And bile. And I had a sit down.
  3. Maybe a helicopter could land here. Yay, immediate evac!
  4. It’s only 3 more kms- so about an hour.
  5. Is there was a shorter way off this thrice blasted mountain?
  6. I need to get off this fucking mountain.
  7. Ah, the ignominy of sliding down the side of a mountain on my ass grabbing at thorn bush to slow my descent.

For comparison, here are two pictures, my feet after Adventure Lisa on the left (16km, 3:37:00) and my feet after Busted Bunny on the right (12km,  4:53:01), which one would you rather see after a race?

IMG_0692

16 km

IMG_0749

12 km

With my busy schedule I haven’t been able to train. And honestly, I’m a new 8-15km runner who’s really just looking for a weekend getaway and some fun trail running and drinking with friends. I am woefully out of shape for the My Road Less Traveled/Bunny Events. So I’m opting out of future Rabbit Runs. I didn’t finish the staged race (8km of easy running on the 2nd day) and I didn’t collect my trophy.  And unfortunately, I also had to pull out of Num-Num due to it being in the the middle of Biostatistics III and an ITB issue that I can’t really afford to get therapy for. So that’s my sad, sad story of my last Rabbit Run for this year.

But I’m still signed up for Run the Berg (and I finally found accomodation), so I’ll be blogging that race in October!

Addendum: Just to add re: Protea Malaga, because it’s unfair to say something sucked and not justify it. Here’s why I think so (and it has nothing to do with the event itself):

  1. I authorized R1100 to be charged to my credit card to reserve the room. When I checked out they had charged R2700 to my card with no justification for the expenses or who did it. That reeks of fraud. They were able to revers the charge at check out.
  2. I think if you’re going to pull people to a fairly remote location, you need to have food available during reasonable times. Shutting down room service because there is a buffet isn’t fair to those who aren’t part of whatever is being hosted that weekend. And telling me to go to reception to get a bag of chips for R35 to tide me over until dinner is just rude (remember I had puked up my breakfast and slept through lunch).
  3. It took 30 minutes (and 2-3 reminders) for the waiter to get a glass of wine for me at the bar, saying “there was a queue”. There shouldn’t be a queue for a waiter.
  4. The massage therapist told me they never get tips that are added onto the bill at the time of check out. Admittedly, it could be because they’re not fabulous massage therapists, or perhaps someone else pockets that tip.

Adventure Lisa Forest Run (16km)

IMG_0683

Look, LOOK!

A quick blurb about the Adventure Lisa Forest Run that I ran on 21 May in and around the Vredefort Dome near Parys. I was looking for a race that I could ghost- just disappear for the day, rock up, run, and leave. Sixteen kilometers is more than I’ve ever run, but I’ve known Lisa for years and I had heard that the route would be smart and accessible for someone with my limited experience. I figured if she can get through one of my Saturday morning Ashtanga classes, I can get through her ‘short course’ forest run. And I needed to see if I could actually go for 16km with Run the Berg appearing on the horizon in October.

And for the most part the run was amazing: I had the right shoes, the right pack, the right food, the right amount of water. The terrain was varied, from gravel road to jeep track to forest single track, to picking through some rough and rocky steep terrain. But at around 3-5km I started to get a nagging pain in my knee. A new pain that didn’t get better as I warmed up to the run, just a nagging freezing/locking sensation. Several times I stopped to stretch- hip openers, quad lengtheners, nothing worked. So I walked. I walked through sections I could have run, I walked through sections I wanted to run. I walked up that scorpion hill and when I started down the other side I had the most exquisite pain in my knee that several times took my breath away. And then I walk-jogged, or rather walk-slogged to the finish. Official time: 3:37:00, 41st place (yes, at the back of the pack). And honestly, despite my frustration at having to walk when I had the energy to run, I’m not too sad with that time for my first 16km. I was more just angry with a new ‘injury’ that I was going to have to deal with in my training for my next stage race (see Buster Bunny post next).

forestrun

Lisa runs an awesome race! It was the little details in the organisation that really counted, the personalized bib, the contour map (in a baggie, with extra pins!), the trail fairies along the way offering lots of encouragement, the regular water stations with great snacks, and the veggie burger option at the end of the trail (this was very much appreciated)! And above all, the trail was runnable and enjoyable. I wasn’t so shattered when I got to the Trig Beacon (where there was a ukulele player serenading the runners) that I couldn’t enjoy the walk/run and the terrain I was moving through. I will definitely be back for another forest run! Adventure-Lisa- you ROCK!

IMG_0688

Fresh-faced at Trig Beacon (insert ukulele music).

 

2016 Training Goals

I accepted a challenge from another runner, to run every day over the December holidays. He actually challenged me to run every day for a month, but I only had 2 weeks off so I made the challenge to run 6 days a week between 17 December and 3 January. The 6 day/week practice is not unknown to me- it’s the goal of ashtanga vinyasa yoga. And there have been times when I’ve consistently practiced 6 days/week- when I was in Mysore practicing at the KPJAYI. Over those 18 days I ran 12, missing 3 days of running (if I had been practicing, 2 of those missed days could have been claimed as “ladies holiday”, just saying) . Overall, it was a positive experience and has jump started my 2016 training. Here’s what I learned:

  1. A run is a run is a run, no matter how far or how fast.
  2. I kept wanting to chop and change, swap out a running session for a cycling session, or a do yoga instead. That’s called bargaining. Instead, I went running.
  3. I really, really missed yoga.
  4. My feet took a pounding. I realized if I’m going to increase my mileage I’m going to need shoes with more padding. (More on that later.)
  5. Once your body (and mind) is used to doing something it will keep wanting to do it.
  6. All my injuries and problems rose to the surface…and then solved themselves. I started realizing the root causes of some of these issues and am now seeking help to correct them. (More on that later too.)
  7. There is no such thing as a good run or a bad run, there is only a run. As R. Sharath (current guru of ashtanga vinyasa yoga) said recently:

“You should not be practicing to have a “good” practice, but instead to keep steadiness within yourself. Practice happily regardless of whether it is “good” or not. Sometimes some postures will not be possible, but when you accept the good and the bad and everything becomes equal for you, that is yoga.” -R. Sharath

Last year was all about getting out and running, I wanted to have a solid 5km. I was entering races as often as possible, and really enjoyed getting out into the bush every weekend and making new friends. But I often used a weekend race as my only training that week- and my body and mind suffered. I got slow, and ultimately I think it was the cause of some of my injuries.

2016 is all about creating a sustainable training program that will enable me to stay fit and ready for the specific races I’ve planned for this year. This training “program” is a combination of yoga and meditation to keep the body and mind supple, and cardio training (HIIT, running and cycling) to keep the body capable. It is meant to have variety and flexibility so that I can swap out one session for another. This is especially important because I will soon be adding the requirements of a master’s degree to my 40-hour/week work schedule.

So what’s the training schedule? And what are the special races? Stay tuned!

2015 By the Numbers

I started running one year ago today; I ran 1.8 kms and it took me 20 minutes. Here’s my first year of running and yoga in numbers:

  • 88 runs totaling 488.1 kms
  • more than 6079 m of elevation gain
  • over 66 hrs and 45 min of running
  • 20 races ranging from 4.1 kms to 11.8 kms (see below)
    • fastest 1 km: 5:44 (Captain Carrot)
    • fastest 5 km: 34:44 (Rosemary Hill)
    • fastest 10 km: 1:17:42 (Nogwaja Ezemvelo)
  • 64 yoga practices (this is waaaay down, but still averaging about once/week)
    • 70 Yoga for Runners classes taught
  • 3 bike rides, which is up 300% from the last 10 years

My absolute favorite race this year was the My Road Less Travelled Nogwaja Ezemvelo where I learned I could run further than 8km as long as I wasn’t aware of it ahead of time. Also the stunning views and the pictures from that race were uniquely African, and reinforced my dedication to trail running over road running. Honorable mention goes to the Spring Break run, nice trail, but very bad time keeping. Worst race: the Merrell Day Run through the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens. Never again. I was so sick that day. I will also never do Hedianga again (Beast and Rhino Run), nastiest trails ever.

Date Race Distance Time Pace
18-Jan-15 Biogen Resolution Run 5.9 52:56 8:52
25-Jan-15 Leafy Greens 5.3 42:22 7:53
22-Feb-15 WildTrailSA Hedianga Beast 4.9 45:27 9:13
01-Mar-15 MRLT Vivobarefoot Run 8.5 1:04:40 7:34
12-Mar-15 Merrell Night Run 5 39:39 7:51
14-Mar-15 Merrell Day Run 5.4 1:09:14 12:38
19-Apr-15 WildTrailSA Rosemary Hill 6.4 45:42 7:06
05-May-15 Southern Trails Klipriviersberg 4.1 32:25 7:50
10-May-15 MRLT Nogwaja Ezemvelo 11.2 1:29:10 7:56
17-May-15 Biogen Chase the Sun 6.6 54:25 8:12
14-Jun-15 Spur #1 B’Sorah 6.7 52:53 7:51
21-Jun-15 Spur #2 Hennops 4.5 42:59 9:10
05-Jul-15 Spur #4 Leeuwenkloof 8.8 1:27:47 9:44
19-Jul-15 MRLT Captain Carrot 7.2 1:08:35 9:33
23-Aug-15 MRLT Scrub Hare 8.6 1:26:11 9:57
13-Sep-15 Action Gear Spring Break 11.8 1:44:38 8:48
20-Sep-15 Rhino Run 10 1:54:45 10:36
11-Oct-15 MRLT Rock Rabbit Run 9.5 1:44:33 10:57
18-Oct-15 Southern Trails Klipriviersberg 10.5 1:52:28 10:59
20-Dec-15 Mindful Runner Summer Spruit Charge 11.3 1:44:56 9:15

On to 2016.

Red Wine Season

Every Sunday for the past two weeks Webyogi and I have woken up (albeit a little later than usual), put on our running clothes, and competed in a Winter Spur Trail Series event. Every Sunday when I pick up Webyogi we agree that we were insane to have signed up for these races at all, what were we thinking, and we’d really rather be gaming and drinking red wine, both in large quantities. Because winter.

redwine

Sweet, sweet nectar!

For those of you who think South Africa experiences a perpetual summer (because it is on the continent of Africa?), think again. It hovers around 0oC at night in the highveld, and is only getting up to almost 10oC by the time we hit the trail running on a Sunday. (For those of you in America that’s 32oF at night and into the mid-40s during the day.) To add to that, June, July and August might get one day of rain each. Essentially, it’s hat and mitten weather these days. So it is difficult to stand in your running tights and short sleeves waiting for your batch to leave, we all jockey for a patch of sun in the line up.

To compensate, South Africa makes the best red wine on the planet, which is what I’ve been doing lately- compensating. In large quantities. And I feel pretty good about it because I have spent the last six months getting off my butt and running. So for these three frigid months, I’m going to enjoy my winter drink and not worry about where I’m placing these days in the series.

And by the way, the Spur Trail Series is very well organized and I’m loving the new terrain we’re running through every Sunday. So I’ll overlook the fact (for now) that Spur is a meat-based semi-fast food chain with few vegetarian options. I will however suggest/beg that they make their soya burger available at these events along with the beef burgers they’re serving up because when I finish running I am super hungry but the smell of charred meat really puts me off.

Two more trail events and I’m done with this series. I’m curious to see where I place as they are giving out prizes to the veterans for a change, but it doesn’t make me want to put down the wine glass at all.

parkourlive.net

A very cool free-running friend of mine built this site, it’s a new social media network that links traceurs and freerunners from around the globe and it’s awesome!

So if you’re still following me because of my pk links please join and spread the word. They’ve even written a very helpful article for beginners and those new to parkour and free-running: What is Parkour?

Check it out!

Renewing my practice, my 5 values:

I’m blogging again. Shocking I know, after such a long hiatus. But it’s time. I’m embarking on a 12-week mission to renew my practice and reclaim my inner yoga space. Don’t worry, I won’t bore you with a long dark night of the soul kind of story, that’s not what it was. But needless to say we all lose our internal compass sometimes. We allow life’s burdens to build up rather than fall away. So I’m getting a little help from Jo at kalavati.org and looking forward to strengthening myself, body, mind, and spirit. And what better tool than yoga for the reawakening?

I’m not a self-help or life coaching kinda girl. As you all know I’m a goal setter, a list maker, a DOER. But somewhere along the way the goals stopped being interesting and I updated my New Year’s Resolutions this year out of habit rather than out of a true contemplation of where I really wanted to be.

Enter Jo! After a priorities check-in, Jo had me identify my values, so here they are:

  1. INTEGRITY: the closest yoga concept is satya or truthfulness, essentially I must live my truth, aligning my actions with my beliefs.
  2. PASSION: my favourite niyama, tapas, the internal fire that drives us to act.
  3. ACTION: karma, or affecting change in the world, I’m not the kind of person that just sits back and let’s it all pass by.
  4. GENEROSITY: complain as I might about having no money, I still offer my skills and whatever else I have to those in need. This niyama (roughly translated) is dama.
  5. CONTENTMENT: santosha is being happy where you are. Happy people don’t complain. I hate people who complain! I hate complaining!

What are your 5 values, those concepts that you come back to as fundamental to your being, the good habits that you practice and repeat, even if they’re not exactly self-serving?

Things that have made me happy this week:
MC Yogi released a new album: Mantras, Beats & Meditations! Rock the block party, manipulate the body!

Along the same lines, some old parkour/freerunning friends of mine were recently in a very visually interesting Skrillex video “Ragga Bomb”. For my friends and family abroad, this is what normal daily life is like in Joburg.

the beginning of the Ekam Yoga YTT blogs

i’ve been in a bit of a rough patch lately, family deaths, work overload, travel, illness, mammograms, starting a new business, restarting an old one. that kind of thing.

but i’m really super excited for the upcoming Ekam Yoga Practitioner Training starting 1 july, which i’ll be teaching with my colleague 8LimbYogi. i’ve been hauling out all the books i haven’t read and re-reading the ones i know and love. and i know, deep down, that this is going to be a great experience for the practitioners and for me. but…

‘the practitioner will succeed, the non-practitioner will not. success in yoga is not achieved by merely reading books.’ -hatha yoga pradipika

the hatha yoga pradipika then goes on to say: ‘success is achieved neither by wearing lululemon nor by talking shit. only getting off your ass brings success. this is the truth, without a doubt.’ you can google that: chapter 1, verses 65-66.

one of the requirements of the training is that practitioners blog, tweet, write, journal, etc. their experience, and i’ll be joining them- blogging here about my experiences in delivering a quality yoga practitioner training. in one of my many journeys down the wikipedia rabbit hole i discovered that this is an important part of experiential learning. essentially: experiencing, reflecting, analyzing, decision making/problem solving and continuing on in the cycle. and i realized how fundamental this process is to an ashtanga yoga practice (or any yoga practice, or any practice). that is, the time and place to have the experience and to experiment with one’s experience, to reflect, analyze, try new things, make mistakes, change viewpoints, and then move on with the knowledge learned and apply it to the next experience. this thought process is very important in developing critical thinking.

the (western) yoga community these days is up in arms over injuries, scandals, and the complaint that a 200-hour teacher training just isn’t enough anymore (pssst: it never was). i think this is because of a lack of emphasis on providing an intellectual scaffolding within which to have an experience and a lack of interest in deepening a practitioner’s personal experience by allowing them to do the interpreting. and how can a (western) yoga teacher really provide that scaffolding when they themselves are trying to sell yoga mats and yoga towels and yoga socks to pay rent?

yes, many yoga teachers out there, for many reasons, are focused on selling their brand of yoga. someday i’ll tell you why. caught up in the practical workings of yoga, sometimes we forget to reinforce a student’s individual experience and encourage them to reflect on what it means to them. for example a student complains that their back hurts; a yoga teacher might respond: ‘it’s an opening, embrace it!’ and in that moment we’ve closed the door to critical thinking and experiential learning by solving the problem for them. in addition, we’ve limited ourselves and our own reflective practice as teachers. we could have asked so many questions: is this a new experience? was it a positive pain or a negative pain? does it remind you of anything? did anything else hurt? was it a physical pain or an emotional pain? let me know tomorrow if it’s still there… so much could have been discovered on both sides.

but yoga teachers are under a lot of pressure these days, to promote their brand, be competitive in the marketplace without selling their soul, avoid scandal, try not to get injured or injure someone else. we’re under pressure to have answers. logical, western answers to questions brought about by eastern practices, sometimes very much outside our cultural framework. yoga teachers are challenged with providing interpretations for personal experiences that perhaps would better be left to the person having the experience. after all, many of us have spent a lot of time on our own mats trying to assimilate our own experiences, shouldn’t we allow others to have the same pleasure? dear yogis, i can provide the space for your experience (when we open again), and i can even provide a philosophical framework for you to hang your experience on. but as for your experiences…they’re for you to reflect upon.