I had coffee before my practice for the first time today.
For some unknown reason, I felt like I was violating an unwritten law for doing so, despite the no coffee, no prana practices Guruji started that are now a morning routine for many Ashtangis. If Guruji said so, if hundreds of Ashtangis live by it, even a study that showed that caffeine can boost physical performance, what was I feeling guilty of?
To me, coffee is a treat I give myself when I go on those breakfast dates post-practice with my yoga lovers. It’s a delicious way to start my day after a relaxing Friday primary or an energized Sunday practice, accompanied by delightful yogi company. Otherwise, I rarely grab a cup of joe, unless I am really in a slump that day.
And today was one of those days.
I think the reason why I feel guilty of drinking coffee before practice is because I believe that practicing Ashtanga first thing in the morning is supposed to be the caffeine of your day, in a natural way, of course. And it’s a double-shot espresso if I have time for pranayama in the morning too. I even expressed my thoughts on Facebook one time: “who needs coffee in the morning when you got pranayama?” Needing external caffeine means that my body is out of balance, and I should find a natural, uncaffeinated way to restore the balance.
Ashtangis are crazy. When my friends ask me what time I wake up, I’d tell them that they wouldn’t want to know. It’s a crazy o’clock, especially when some who are unemployed at the current moment wake up 6 or 7 hours after I do.Usually I don’t think too much about it, but this morning was one of those mornings when I dragged my body out of bed at the sound of my alarm feeling like the craziest person alive to be awake at that hour. I stumbled to the bathroom, my body still sore from practicing Intermediate the past couple days after 1.5 weeks of Primary only. I saw a lunatic with droopy eyes and disheveled in the mirror. I somehow managed to get myself out the door, into the chilly and wet morning, and onto the bus.
And then I had coffee, en route to the yoga studio and between bus and MRT subway transfers.
I noticed the difference immediately when I did my first sun salutation. I felt really light (the coffee did wonders to my bowel movement), and my mind alert to my breathing. Suddenly, the soreness in my back was gone (which I presumed was because the prana was flowing after the coffee, if speaking in Guruji terms). Even kapotasana was more of a piece of cake than yesterday, and dropbacks were great. Guruji was up to something when he said the famous “no coffee, no prana.”
Will I do this again tomorrow morning? Don’t think so. I blame the morning slump on too much baking the past few days due to mile-high orders, and getting less than 7 hours of sleep for 4 consecutive days.
This is also one of those weeks when I am counting down the days till Friday, but I think that is because I will be here for some warm sun, loving yogis, nourishing food, and, duh, some yoga and pranayama.