Right from the start I'm going to have to ask you to hang in there with me on this one.
I've been thinking about skunks...and yoga.
Why skunks? Well, because of that face down there. Last month, Cali was skunked for the first time in her nine years. That was her resulting skunk face.
Cali Stink-Face Zipin. Not a big deal right? Googling will lead you to mix a combination of dish soap, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide and claim this will cure the noxious fumes.
1. True. Mostly. It took 4 outdoor showers to get to "tolerable, you can come in the house."
2. What they don't tell you is that FIVE WEEKS LATER, when wet- your dog will still smell freshly skunked. Its like the water activates the stink factor and in our house that means we appropriately call you, Stink-Face Zipin again.
Yesterday...after a trip to Fresh Pond for a Labor Day swim- Dan and I were back on Google. This time, we searched "My dog still smells like skunk," as our search phrase. It took effort not to begin the search with 'WTF.'
Here's the learning...kindergarten style.
Skunk meets dog.
Skunk sprays dog with a combination of seven stink chemicals.
Chemical Stink 1 and Chemical Stink 2.
Chemical Stink 1 binds right onto skin and fur, hangs on for dear life and is repugnant. Chemical Stink 2 actually smells less bad BUT when Chemical stink 2 gets in contact with water, it changes into Chemical Stink 1.
Water converts it to REPUGNANT stink. That's BS if you ask me. Trying to wash my dog and actually making her scientifically proven to stink MORE! COME ON. Cali and I say, "Wahhhhhhh to that!"
So here's the skunk-yoga thing...
The body always remembers. Stink is stink and its not going away unless we break it down. Fists to the air!
You have to find the source if you're going to get rid of the stink. And you need to do it thoroughly. Otherwise every time you try to go for a swim, or get unexpectedly caught in a rain storm or even mindfully try to wash all the stink away- it just reactivates. You have to understand the make-up and its effect on you.
Lucky for Cali, dish detergent supposedly unleashes the hold of Stink Chemical 1 and a combination of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda oxidizes Chemical Stink 1 into an odorless compound. So if we wash her enough with this knowledge, we should get rid of all Stink 1, not allow Stink 2 to become Stink 1 AND convert all of her vanilla and oatmeal. (Stay tuned.)
I'm not sure humans are as lucky. Our stink can be sticky. And activated by all sorts of "rain."
But we have yoga. And when done mindfully, yoga can hit the source.
Our body remembers. (It also Keeps Score.) Our chemicals change. Our anatomy changes. Our physiology changes. Our brain changes. Our nervous system changes. It doesn't so much matter if you were "skunked" in 1984, 1999, 2004 or 2013. If we want to breakdown the stink and (re)find the ease and joy of raindrops- we have to find our own anti-stink mix.
It may evolve from a strong and sweaty vinyasa practice to a restorative practice. It may be a yin practice that increases the breath. It may be the structure of Ashtanga. It may be a combination. But overtime, yoga can break down those yucky ingrained off-the-mat patterns and turn down the nervous system, minimize input, slow our reactions, offer responses, curb the stress response and help our stink, well...stink a little bit less.
You need to know what to look for.
You need to know how to treat it.
You need to know that the origin matters.
You may have to try multiple times.
But if you use the right combination of tools- you might that during or after yoga the world is just a little more aromatic.