Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Practice on Moon Day?

Traditionally, ashtanga practitioners should not practice on moon days.

Today is a moon day, and I just finished my practice.
I wrestled with whether or not to get on my mat for most of the day.

My body has been asking for practice.
These past few weeks have had their share of events and my attention was most definitely needed elsewhere so I climbed onto my mat and snuck away to the shala whenever I could, but that wasn't as often as my body is used to. As I parked my car and walked into my empty house this afternoon my inner-self was literally crying for the calming effect of my breath and the fluidity of the asanas.

My dogs, all THREE of them, found a corner of the room from which to quietly watch and didn't make a sound the entire time I was on the mat. As I rested in Savasana each of them, one at a time, stooped in close to nuzzle my hands and face and took rest with me.

A nice peace settled in as I rolled up my mat.
There are at least 37 (hundred) things I could've done with the time I spent taking practice today, some are things I reserve specifically for a moon day, but none would have been as restorative or as encouraging as allowing myself to take my practice.

The core of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra is an eight-limbed path that forms the structural framework for yoga practice. Upon practicing all eight limbs of the path it becomes self-evident that no one element is elevated over another in a hierarchical order. Each is part of a holistic focus which eventually brings completeness to the individual as they find their connectivity to the divine. Because we are all uniquely individual a person can emphasize one branch and then move on to another as they round out their understanding. (source)
Like Asana and Pranayama, the Yamas and Niyamas are limbs of this framework. These can be looked at as universal morality and personal observances. While my decision to take practice on a moon day could be seen as a breaking of a "rule" or tradition, my experience resonates more with the idea of Tapas - the 3rd Niyama or rule prescribed for personal observance.

Tapas – Disciplined use of our energy 
Tapas refers to the activity of keeping the body fit or to confront and handle the inner urges without outer show. Literally it means to heat the body and, by so doing, to cleanse it. Behind the notion of tapas lies the idea we can direct our energy to enthusiastically engage life and achieve our ultimate goal of creating union with the Divine. Tapas helps us burn up all the desires that stand in our way of this goal.
My body, feeling disconnected from it's soulful self, directed a disciplined use of energy to remind me that in the midst of all my responsibilities and roles, staying true and connected to myself is an important responsibility and the most important role as well.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Week ending 10/27

Sunday (led class at the shala)
Such a wonderful feeling to be in a class full of other prana :)
This was also a teacher training class so there was lots of adjusting going on!
A former student of mine came with me to class too...I love sharing the shala :)

Monday (ladies' holiday)
Tuesday (ladies' holiday)

Wednesday (home)
practiced in the afternoon, felt nice to get back on my mat after 2 days off

Thursday (shala)
so nice to be back in the shala
Mari series worked up a lot of emotion today, flooding of feelings/memories from distant and not so distant past. That didn't feel good :( The twist in Mari C felt light and lifted during adjustment, but the release literally made me feel queasy for a minute or two. Spent the rest of the day slightly agitated.

Friday (home)
short practice through standing series
so many other things on my mind
I'm in a state of "have to do" so on one hand I'm frustrated with the length of my practice, the other hand is patting me on the back for pulling my mat out in the first place.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

DaDaDadaDadaDaDa AGRO

If you are patient in a moment of anger, you will escape one hundred days of sorrow. ~Chinese Proverb

I've never seen Madagascar 3, but the silly AfroCircus song is in my head with one slight modification....
As in aggravated!

Today I am most definitely on edge, annoyed, aggravated, irritable, bothered, buggered, rankled, disturbed, perturbed and awnry.

I think my psoas is storing sordid sour suggestions that are being squeezed out during my practice.
I particularly notice said squeezing during the Marichyasanas; my body feels as though I'm releasing such disgusting emotional stuff that I'm actually queasy afterwards. It starts a bit earlier with the Janu series, when the psoas gets a good wringing out, that just paves the way for anger, fear and nausea once I make it through my second side of Mari B. Today I stuck with Mari C for 7 repetitions and got an adjustment on my last round. Krista picked me up and made me feel light and tall in my upper body, making it easier to twist around my spine. It also made it easier for that uck to climb right up into my heart. I unwound and literally felt dizzy and thought I might be sick. I could SENSE the sour ooze seeping out.

And seep it did
I slimed a neighbor in traffic
I mentally slimed someone at the office
I even slimed myself

I recognized all of this, as it was happening, and for that I am thankful.
For a moment I wanted it to go away, and then I remembered that is exactly what is happening, in a refiner's fire sort of way. I've turned up the heat and the uglies are bubbling to the top.
THIS is why things I haven't thought of in months or even years are sitting right behind my eyes!
Thankfully, they're on their way out
For now I'll just picture myself a clown-wig-wearing zebra and sit with my AgroCircus, my aching hips, and breathe.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Week ending 10/20/12

Monday (moon day)

Tuesday (shala)
Stomach issues stopped my practice short
Practiced through  Parshvottanasana
Spent the rest of the day home close to the bathroom :(

Wednesday (no practice)
My practice time was traded in for a trip to the doctor
Referred to a gasteroenterologist, maybe a new development in my intolerance
Maybe it's just routine while you pass the sun for the 40th time :)

Thursday (shala)
Practice was a treat this morning
Just the right amount of stretch and work
But I made it through closing sequence and remembered I was supposed to start working on Sirsasana
Good thing there is always tomorrow :)

Friday (home)
so distracted during today's practice
I'm glad I took practice today though...distraction less irksome once I was finished

Friday, October 19, 2012

My practice makes me practice focusing on my practice.

This morning I decided to climb back in bed and cuddle with the hub. It's not often we get a morning to do that as I'm usually up and out to the Shala early then off to work but today there was no "off to work" part afterwards so my brain ran through all the other options to take practice and decided under the covers was a good place to be. And it was, snuggling on a cool, fall morning can be just as restorative as time on my mat.

This afternoon my mini me had plans to shop for a Halloween costume with a friend which left me with 3 hours alone in the house a.k.a living room = yoga shala.

I did well keeping my mind clear most of the morning and just enjoying the time at home.
My monkey brain was the size of MoJo JoJo!
Then something struck me as rude, right before I transformed the living room, and try as I might each time I inhaled through my Surya Namaskaras, my mind wandered to that rudeness.

I like my get-up-at-4:20am-to-the-mat-by-5:15am routine. There's not much time to let any other thoughts in. Get up, get clean, get dressed, pour coffee. Drive, park, scan my key fob, roll out mat, practice. Admittedly, it is easier to keep my mind on my practice in a room full of ujjayi but the lack of intellectual stimuli that early in the morning has to be a factor.

Inhale - ugh is it just me or was that rude
Exhale - where is your drishti
Inhale - oh yeah right, drishti
Exhale - no it's not just you, if you did a facebook poll people would agree with you
Inhale - I would never put anything like that on facebook
Exhale - you're not on facebook, you're on your mat
Inhale - right mula bandha

and so it went for another 20 or so minutes

Inhale - heh, maybe this situation happened so I'd have to force myself to practice clearing my mind
Exhale - how's that working out for ya?
Inhale - I can't hear you, I'm focusing on my practice

Somewhere after my standing series I settled into the zone
Purvottanasana was amazing
Urdhva Dhanurasana felt really strong too

Practice is over now, and while I remember what it was that irked me
I'm no longer irked

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Week ending Oct 13

Monday 10/8 (home practice)
practiced through ardha baddha padma paschimottanasana, closing series
going up in urdhva dhanurasana felt great, staying there not so much
rolled out of halasana
could not lift in utpluthih, arms were jelly
oil bath residual?

Tuesday 10/9 (shala)
Smooth transitions from Chaturanga to Urdhva Mukha Svanasana several without resting my legs. When I was able to do this, I felt more supported in my upper body and hands felt more grounded. Worked on recreating that grounded feeling whether or not my legs rested during transition
Marichyasana C adjustment today was the most 'ease' I have ever felt in that positon. Working on opposition of forces in my legs, internally rotating thigh while pushing the foot outwards.
Entire closing series felt strong
LIFTED in utpluthih, jelly arms are gone :)

Wednesday, 10/10 (shala)
I really took my time in practice this morning. I was up and out of the house earlier which put me at the shala earlier...leaving me a sense of no need to be rushed, so nice.
During Surya Namaskaras, I focused deeply on one breath/one movement and drishti. At onte point, I felt like it took me forever to get through all 10 and for a second or two concerned myself with it, but only a second or two :)
Did an additional series of Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana, working to drop my knee and reach my toe.
Virabhadrasana II felt exceptionally strong today. I didn't adjust my feet when moving from I to II and felt very grounded and could feel the "work" happening.
Focusing on the internal rotation of my thigh of the straight leg in forward folds as given me a new found groundedness through the hip helpful in all the forward folding postures.
Working on lotus in closing series

Thursday, 10/11 (shala)
practiced on only my sticky mat today, no rug what a difference in urdhva dhanurasana
sticking with the repetitions of Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana and Marichyasana B
thought a lot about drishti today, especially in  Urdhva Mukha Svanasana shifting my gaze from the nose to the third eye just sorta happened so I went with it :)
Again, urdhva dhanurasana felt fantastic today, no slipping of the hands and no tension in my back

Friday, 10/12 (no practice)

Saturday, 10/13 (shala)
Today is Yoga-versary! The Shala is 3 years old and we celebrated with led primary series class with Krista.
Yes, my inner T-Rex is still working on Marichyasana C
The droplets of sweat that danced on my mat were beautiful and I felt as thought I practiced with a smile through my entire series. The unison breath of 30+ people all taking practice together was so energizing and I even started Sirsasana, Krista says we'll make that our focus this week :) The most amazing part was the awareness I had over the muscle groups in my back as she talked me into my prep pose: "engage your lats," and I felt them engage," lengthen your traps towards your waist," and I FELT them do that as she said "yes, just like that." My practice has definitely brought a heightened sense of awareness to the way that I move and why.

Looking forward to my oil-bath day.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

I lost count...

One, Two, Three Surya Namaskara, ah ah ah!
Opening Mantra
Settling Breath
Surya Namaskara A 5x
Surya Namaskara B 3x or was that 4?
In the end, 3 won because if it WAS 4, I wasn't paying attention so it didn't count anyway.

This mini-debate over counts reminded me of this post from my recovery blog. While looking for the post, I skimmed over several months worth of writing, there's some good stuff there and BOY, am I a long way from where I was then.  At that point in time, I was so fed up with counting I never wanted to do it again. Come to think of it, I was struggling with present moment awareness then as I ducked and dodged Joan at every turn so it's not a stretch to understand why counting (aka being present) was such a bother for me.

I'm not sure how long the counting dialogue took place in my head. Long enough for me to picture Count von Count and come to the conclusion that one more Surya Namaskara wasn't going to hurt anyway so I may have done 6 but I was only aware of 5 and in the end it brought me back to my practice and kept me focused which is the point, isn't it?

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Oil-bath day

Several times over the past week, in several different scenarios with different people from different walks of life (getting the point here?)...the practice of oil-baths came up. The final mention was with my chiropractor who is still helping me calm down my sciatic nerve (which, by the way, is doing swimmingly and I only took one day off from practice because of it).

So I've read blogs
I've watched videos
I've spoken with a teacher at my shala
and today is oil-bath day.

I took care to purchase organic, odorless castor oil, added a few drops of my favorite essential oil, pulled out a mat and some towels to donate to the process and gave myself alone time while the hub and the mini me are working on a school project.

I started by warming my oil in a sink full of warm water as I spread my mat out in the bathroom and got ready. With intention on the crown of my head, I poured the warm oil onto my scalp then massaged it all over my head. It was a bit thicker than I expected so next time I may warm the oil longer.
My timer was set for 5 minutes and as I waited with the oil on my head, I took a body brush to my body giving extra time to areas where I am sore. The timer sang and it was time to apply the oil to the rest of my body. I had a bit of trouble reaching all parts of my back but within just a few minutes I was covered and my timer was set for an additional 10 minutes. By this time, I felt my scalp begin to get warmer and I noticed some warmth in my body as well. I rested in savasana on my mat and simply focused on my breath.

Once again the timer sang and it was time for my shower. I set the water as hot as I could and proceeded to rinse, giving an extra massage to my shoulders and my right hip. I followed up with a citrus castille soap which did the job of washing the oil from my body and hair quite nicely.

I'm now resting in comfortable clothes and all but melting into the couch.
My fears of oily residue were quelled and whether it was the oil bath, or the time spent in the hot shower that has me feeling so relaxed really doesn't is a ritual I can see adding to my week with no problem and actually one I will indeed look forward to.

Om Shanti.

Week Ending 10/6

Monday: 10/1(practice)

Tuesday: 10 /2 (shala)
Shanna is back from Mysore!
I've been working on Marichyasana C since late spring, early summer. It's become easier to deal with since I gave up my desire to bind (funny how things work that way) Shanna put me in a new position this morning, placing my left hand under my right foot as I twist to the right (and vice versa on the opposite side). This constricted my breathing a bit again as it deepened my twist.
All is coming

Wednesday: 10/3 (shala)
totally forgot my balancing poses!
Didn't realize it until I was into my seated postures
Am I supposed to go back?
Marichyasana C with the new foot hold definitely sends an ache into my hip flexors. I mentioned this to Shanna and she clapped and said "goody"
okay, at least it's not a "bad" ache :)

Thursday: 10/4 (home practice)
video taped this practice
Mark this day in history as a day I saw my body and liked what I saw :)

Friday: 10/5 (shala)
Not in a hurry today, no place to be after practice so I wasn't worried about time
Talked to Shanna about missing my balancing postures on Wednesday, not to worry, it happens, it won't be a habit.
Marichyasana C 2nd side, my fingers touched (with help)!
Woo :)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Practice with my pup

I took practice at home today and Snoopy, our dog (who also happens to be deaf) was right there along side of me rooting me on.
I decided to let the video camera roll to capture where I am so far in my practice and watching the playback did a few nice things for me.
I gained a real appreciation for my body. I personally hold an image in my head that is much less capable and pleasing to me than the one I see pictured here.
I gained an appreciation for my breath during my practice. There is music playing throughout the video but I can still hear the steady beat of my breath in the back ground.
And finally, I can see where I still have yet to go, but more importantly I can see how far I've come :)

Om Shanti

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

One track mind

Several months ago I wandered into the Shala while there was a weekend lecture in progress. While browsing the boutique offerings, I overheard Krista speak on the importance of commiting to one practice.
One style, one place. I didn't hover long as I wasn't a paid participant in the lecture, and I'm paraphrasing here but the basic premise I took away that day says practice one style, so you can allow the style to work on/for you and practice in one place because your teachers know you, what you can and cannot do, what you can do that you think you cannot, and how to help you move forward in your practice and when.

I'm not quite sure how I felt about that idea as I drove away but flash forward 6 months and I find myself in that exact spot, one style, one place. This is the first week of my practice where I am no longer teaching and by default only practicing in one place.

I'm not sure what to expect...but I thought it good to make a note so I could track any observations.

Interesting, while proofreading my post, I noticed several variations of the phrase "I'm not sure," to which my brain immediately answered, "do your practice, all is coming"

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Week ending 9/29/12 Govinda Kai

Monday  9/24 (no practice)
Woke up with horrible pain in my right hip and down right leg, nauseous and dizzy
I just returned from the Chiropractor and this is what he says...
Sacroiliac Subluxation on the right side causing piriformis to pinch the sciatic nerve
recommendation: Ice, Aleve, Rest, another adjustment chiropractic adjustment mid week
contraindications: forward folding, back bending, standing twists, seated twists
:( he took away my entire practice and on the week of Govinda Kai! I'm not even sure whether or not to come for lectures as I have such a hard time sitting, standing or being still for any length of time at all without discomfort and an upset stomach due to that discomfort.
Do I take rest? Do I practice gently? Do I cry...because I've done a little bit of that already :)
Tuesday 9/25 (shala)
practice was so wonderful this morning! Govinda said it must have been a miracle :)
External rotation of my thigh is still quite sore, I've chosen to stand at work rather than sit since sitting causes a great deal of discomfort to my lower glute and hamstring but I'm walking without hitting the floor or crying and that is great progress :)
Wednesday 9/25
"would you like to bind?"
Govinda asked me this question as I worked on my 3rd repetition of Marichyasana C
"every day" is what I silently said in my head but my response was something along the lines of "we can try"
and so we did :)
Thursday 9/27
Assisted drop backs out of the blue
good thing too because it happened too fast for me to be scared
Friday 9/28
Practice all week has been later than I usually practice. Starting at 8:30 means it is warmer in the room and the sun is up shining through the windows...both lead to more sweat. It also means I've had my morning cup of coffee. I read somewhere that Sharath has a cup of coffee each morning before practice as well, "no coffee, no prana." So I'm not sure which of the 3 factors are contributing to the added sweat but I likey :)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Week ending 9/15/12

Th Sept 6 (shala)
Right hamstring prevents full extentsion on right side parivritta trikonasana
adjustment in utthita parshvakonasana 2nd side: the slight pulling back of my right hip sent a sensation up the right side of my body and I immediately felt it in my right shoulder
hard time balancing again in the Utthita Hasta postures
Super strong feeling in purvottanasana again, feels like flying
Right hip sore in utthita parshvasahita and ardha badha padma paschimottanasana
Right hamstring not happy in Janu Shrirshasana B
2nd Side Marichyasana B struggle to bind again
5 x Marichyasana C, breathing more easily, feeling the twist more deeply. slight soreness under kidneys after the release, mula bandha engaged?
Urdhva Dhanurasana, feeling much stronger here, feet feel square neck feels comfortable
Karna Pidasana - deepest I've ever felt in this posture, felt my neck get fuller extension, heard little pops but did not feel pain possibly between c3 - c6, the noise did startle me

Sat Sept 8 (hotel practice)
spent 8 hrs in car on 8/31, definitely needed this practice
had to stop after first Surya Namaskara B for bm
practiced through Purvattonasana then closing sequence no shoulder stands
breathing very even through practice
I do not like practicing in the A/C

Sun Sept 9 (home practice)
spent 8 hrs in car today
short practice through opening/basic and closing sequence

Mon Sept 10 (no practice)
Right wrist, elbow and shoulder sore

Tue Sept 11 (shala)
Right wrist sore
Right hamstring prevents full extentsion on right side parivritta trikonasana
able to balance again in the Utthita Hasta postures but cannot take full extension of Right leg due to tight hamstring
paschimottanasana B - right wrist sore sore when reaching for the bind
ardha badha padma paschimottanasana felt so good today on BOTH sides. took my time getting into the pose and waited to be settled before counting my breath. Right hip was warm and comfortable
Right hamstring sore in Janu Shrirshasana B forward fold, adjustment helped. Remember to be mindful of folding forward and avoid leaning to the left side
4 x Marichyasana C, definitely feeling more comfortable here since I let go of the "need to bind", find I'm more focused on evening out my breath in the twist, traps tight
Urdhva Dhanurasana could only do one. could NOT put pressure down on right wrist, searing/very hot feeling up the right forearm
Finished with closing sequence (no shoulder stands, had to leave for work)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Yoga is like Sex

In my late 20's I worked as an educational interpreter in a public High School. I provided Sign Language services for 2 students during their freshman year.
Algebra, Creative Writing, World History, Intro to Computers, P.E., Reading and Biology.
I have many vivid memories of that year. It was the year of the Columbine shooting so people, emotions and events are etched into my brain. I'll never forget the role of mitochondrion thanks to 4th period Biology lessons on the parts of a cell and this catchy little earrworm.

Intro to Computers was my favorite class, not because of the subject matter but because of the teacher and the way he presented the material. His stature and presence reminded me of a late 1960's Burl Ives and he taught these kids, and me, far more than how to type.

The first 3 weeks for these kids was excruciating! Imagine sitting each day at a desk in front of a monitor and keyboard and NOT being able to touch it. First they learned about the machine, then they learned about the processes they would be mastering during the year. They spent time on theory and did some quizzes (with pencil and paper). There wasn't a whole lot to interpret during these first few weeks, mostly busy work for the kids so the teacher and I got to know each other. He and his wife were in the process of purchasing a new SUV, a shiny new Lincoln Navigator with all the bells and whistles. Everything I know about buying a car I learned from this man and I've been told...I'm quite a shrewd car shopper. This guy knows his stuff....he knew what he was doing making his kids wait to use those computers too!

The day finally came.
Oh the joy and exclamations that rose from the class when they got to push the power button!
"See how excited you are?  Sometimes it's good to wait...remember that" he said with a wink.
"Everything worth having or doing is worth waiting for, everything."

A few chuckles, embarassed eyes and whispers later and they were all focused on the task at hand utterly ecstatic to be typing  a s d f j k l ;

My week on the mat has been like the keys on a Qwerty keyboard. Each day I've been working to move past Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana and each day I've gotten a bit further.
Yesterday I was able to bind both sides with assistance from my teacher, this morning I reached the fullest expression of the pose on my right side without help but my left side toes are just past the reach of my left hand.
In Ashtanga, when you are learning the series in the Mysore method, you work on a posture by repeating it 4 or 5 times.

This is ONE vinyasa

Stop and take that in for a second... after Surya Namaskar A and B, the basic sequence, the primary series standing postures and moving into the seated postures (all with a vinyasa sprinkled in between to keep you warm) you work on the current pose 4 or 5 times. Let me expand on that notion...once you get to the seated postures you do a vinyasa between each side of each pose. That's a whollotta chaturanga!

So back to this morning's practice. Since I cannot yet bind on both sides and take the fullest expression of the.pose.affectionately.called.stuck ...I did it 5 times.
The right side came relatively easily and put a grin in the corners of my eyes. Three times and 6 vinyasas later...and I touched my left big toe with my left finger for the very first time! I SWEAR I heard the opening riff to a Madonna tune! I wriggled and reached and even poked my bottom lip out...I can't grasp yet...but I TOUCHED it and that touch.was.awesome! It was so worth the smile spread from the corners of my eyes to every inch of my face. My teacher says I'm close, I may even have it tomorrow...but I'm not thinking about tomorrow when there is so much to revel in today.

So the lesson
Don't rush
if it's worth doing
it's worth the wait
and it's sooo much better when you finally get there

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I do not like to be stuck

With Bandha, Drishti and Ujjayi your body becomes a temple when breathing and asana, tension and concentration come together into one unit. So with Ujjayi, Bandha and Drishti you create the foundation of your practice, and the spiritual dimension of Ashtanga Yoga develops. (source)

The spiritual dimension of Ashtanga has taught me that...
I don't like to feel stuck

movement: V handshape to the throat

Funny, because the ASL sign for the concept "stuck" is also one of my least favorite signs...only because it means so much more than the English word "stuck" but people still say the word rather than the idea...but I digress.

We started our 3rd week of Ashtanga practice yesterday. We've been progessing swimmingly through the poses and have moved into the seated postures of the primary series. We left off with Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana on Friday of last week so we fully expected to be moving on when we returned.

Nope. Keep working on this one until you get it.
Grr, I don't want to, I want to learn the next one
I "get" this one, my hips just don't allow the fullest expression yet....
Hubs was even MORE aggravated about it.
He's looking forward to some of the quad stretches and grumbled about being stuck.

Admittedly, I did too. On my way to work I grumbled
After each grumble, I reminded myself to let my ego just step aside because this is a practice.
It worked, by the time I made it to work I was appreciative and looking forward to the extra time it will take to truly experience the benefits of this pose. I mean, I've been practicing downward facing dog for 11 years and the nuances I've found in the past 3 weeks have made a huge difference in my practice.

photo credit

Monday was a grumbly day for my mini me too.
And I, as a mom, was stuck.
My hands were tied.
There was nothing I could do.
I was caught between a scylla and charybdis.
Ardha Baddha Padma Paschimottanasana
(HA, next time I see that sign I'm gonna voice THAT!)

This morning we worked through our practice and stopped at the last pose we learned, the one I affectionately call stuck. It was a great practice, I felt strong, worked up a good sweat and waited for today's teacher to tell us what to do next.
"On Tuesdays, we take it easy. Once you've moved through the standing poses and get to the seated postures of the primary series, we don't teach anything new on Tuesdays. Krista (my fave yoga teacher of all time and the owner of the shala) doesn't teach new postures on Tuesdays, neither does her this is an opportunity for you to work where you are..."

So we did, I went back through my seated postures because I had forgotten one the first time.
I did my back bends and closing postures...and had an AHmazing Savasana.
Hubs even said so...we joked about being grumbly yesterday and today being just fine.
We did not move further into the series...but we did progress!

It really wasn't any different than yesterday
but it was
I'm still in the same place
but I'm not stuck

My mini me got up this morning, dressed herself up in a snazzy outfit and faced the day...with whatever it may bring. She knows it's okay to be sad...but I don't think she'll let herself be stuck.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Fundamentals First

Today is day 3 of Ashtanga for the hub and I.

We've learned our poses through the fundamental asanas (standing series).

Whoo whee...I could feel my feet towards the end of our session! Definitely time to invest in a new pair of my favorite sandals.

So my memorization trick for the day to get me through what I know so far

That could be a nursery rhyme for baby yogis :)

Suryanamaskar A
Suryanamaskar B
2 forward folds
2 triangles
2 side angles
Wide Stanced Forward Bend:
hands to the floor, hands on hips, hands clasped shoulder stretch, big toe peace fingers :)
Pyramid (which make me think of 'walk like an egyptian')

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

When I practice, I am strong

Practice, Practice, Practice
All is coming ~K. Pattabhi Jois

Day 2 of our Ashtanga journey

Today we moved into the first few standing postures of the series after going through Surya Namasakar A and B 5 times each on our own. Just flowing through the salutations that many times, conscious of my drishti and my breath, was work. Half way through I realized while I have come to the understanding of engaging mula bandha...I'm not always sure about when to disengage. :/

I did find some new found freedom in my downward facing dog simply by remembering my drishti. My head knew I should be looking at my navel but I don't always remember that!

We worked through triangle, revolved triangle, side angle and revolved side angle... we worked through them a lot.
I felt invigorated, I felt strong, I felt focused...

That focused feeling lasted ALL day.
I worked a 9 hour shift at work and managed to do so with energy and a positive attitude all day long. I don't care who you are...9 hours is a LONG day stuck in a was a good day :)

My finishing sequence this morning included wheel ...the braid worked :) Utplutih
I've always had trouble with Utplutih but I'll get there with practice, practice practice.

Monday, January 30, 2012

AHHH Ashtanga

Typically February has me taking a peek to see what new challenge Christine has for us. In addition to that, this month the hub and I have signed up for a month-long beginner's course in Ashtanga yoga at the Yoga Shala. I have practiced Ashtanga before and have the great fortune of having studied under some amazing teachers so when I noticed one of my favorite mentors and teachers actually owns the studio, we were there!
Today, day 1
6:30am at the Shala
Yoga Shala teaches traditional Ashtanga in the Mysore method and it was absoluely awesome walking into the studio where other yogis were moving through their individual practice flowing with inhale and exhale. Mysore encourages each person to go at his or her own pace, you learn the poses one at a time, as your teacher deems you ready. You progress at your own pace and develop a personal practice.
So Awesome.

We were up at 5:10am (admittedly, I was up before the alarm...excited to go!)
This morning's lesson took us through Surya Namaskar A and B series, bridge, pony-tail got in the way :(

Tomorrow we add some call and return, standing poses ...and I wear my hair in a braid!