Confessions of a Yoga Teacher – Dirty Chai

Dirty Chai

by LS Harteveld

I stopped drinking coffee last week.
At 4-6 Latte Machiatos a day, the caffeine had been feeding my work addiction, and the milk had been a substitute for food.
I had no idea when I was hungry or sleepy.
With my work being omnipresent in my life – teaching yoga, making videos, writing columns and publishing my books – I was basically drinking myself into a burn out.
I had a choice between getting sane with my coffee and my working hours or quitting the coffee and still work whenever I wanted to.
I chose the second.

After a few days I even found an escape to make it more bearable. It is called Dirty Chai; black Indian Chai tea with espresso. You can buy it at some coffee shops (though it’s rare) but they use fresh espresso.
I can’t have that.
But Dirty Chai also comes in a bag from Celestial Seasons. It has 10% espresso in it. Ground or something, I don’t know. The tea doesn’t turn into coffee, and you don’t actually taste it either.
But it does have a caffeine warning on it. Dirty Chai from Celestial Seasons is my cheating option, to kick the coffee habit.

Yesterday I didn’t make a video. I thought I would do it! I even prepped the series during breakfast. But then I lost my entire morning to stalling it, doing the laundry, cleaning up after Max the eternal babykitten.
I did notice my knees and lower legs felt like I was rheumatic from the waist down.
At lunch I had to go out for an appointment, and still had not made a video. When I came back I went behind my desk and worked till midnight. Emailing all students individually, making them an offer for next season. On zero Dirty Chai. I didn’t want to work past my physical limitations.

I wondered:
Why didn’t I have enough energy to do my yoga video, when I did have the stamina to work for seven hours straight?
What was it that made yoga, or in this case the video, so easy to skip?
The answer was: yoga didn’t have Dirty Chai.
I didn’t have an alternative, for when my willpower failed.

Because when I woke up yesterday, after making ashtanga yoga videos for four days, my whole body was in pain. Some aches were okay. My arms and glutes were okay as long as I didn’t move. But my knees and lower legs actually got more painful, as soon as I laid down to rest.
I knew this response from my body.
It was a combination of muscle pain, and let’s call it Energetic Poisoning. I first had it when we practiced a knee massage at yoga training, and I had to take painkillers the next day.
I repeated the massage though, because I figured it was apparently “working”. But it only got worse.
I later found that my body is so toxic, that if you start to mess things up, the toxins can’t leave the body. The meridians, or whatever physical or energetic canal they use, get all clogged up. My body is best off left alone.

And then the morning went to waste, the way I have lost whole days or weeks to NOT doing yoga.
By ignoring the fact that I really don’t want to do it.
By not properly analyzing why I don’t want to do it.
By not coming up with an alternative that I CAN do.
It has to be a specific sequence, a particular video, or whatever. And I should be able to do it on willpower. And that’s how I end up wasting time procrastinating. Time that I could have used to analyze my resistance instead, and come up with an alternative.

If I had realized that morning that my body was blocked by toxins released by ashtanga yoga, I could have created a sequence of restorative yoga.
Something I will still do today, since the pain is still here.

Restorative, relaxing yoga is the Dirty Chai of yoga;
it offers deep satisfaction and comfort, without asking much in return.
Only that you sit down, and realize this isn’t the time to be hard on yourself.

An unexamined life is not worth living

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