Sunday, July 8, 2007

Day 21

The medication I'm on has an array of side effects. I've been lucky enough to have avoided most of them, but I am experiencing some joint pain. Perhaps because I'm very body aware, I notice the pain very specifically, in context to specific joints (my sacro-illiac joint and I have become quite intimate as of late...) and because I'm very active during the day, I feel achy mostly at night. I've tried various strategies to combat this pain (sometimes so intense that I can't sleep), including resorting to Tylenol before bed.

Last night, I spontaneously decided to go for a long walk in the evening and since yoga after my walk is a habit, I practised an additional half-hour of gentle yoga right before bed. I slept like a baby! And as an additional bonus, my morning ashtanga practice was incredible. My back hasn't felt this healthy in a month! Of course, it could be a fluke, but I'm going to repeat the experiment tonight. What do I have to lose?

I spend Sunday mornings volunteering at the soup kitchen and since this afternoon was supposed to be very hot and muggy, I was up very early to walk and do my yoga practice. When the alarm went off at 5 a.m., it took tremendous will power to get out of bed, but the beautiful, cool morning won me over - complete with a glorious sunrise and a waning crescent moon. I enjoyed every moment of my walk.

I started my practise at 6:30, but felt none of my usual early-morning stiffness. The first two sun salutations were rough (I had fleeting thoughts of 'Why am I doing this thing?!'), but the heat kicked in during Surya Namaskara B and I started to feel good. I had some moments where I completely lost my focus and a few times I actually became disoriented, but for the most part, the practice just flowed.

I'm coming to a point where I'm curious about my alignment in some of these poses. I'm familiar with the alignments from the traditions I teach and study (Hatha and Anusara), but I understand that Ashtanga is different. For example, I'm finally putting my foot flat on the floor in Parivritta Parsvakonasana (previously, I was on the ball of the foot). I feel more stable, but I can't come into as deep of a twist. I'm not sure how far the shoulder should be in front of the knee and I also seem to be hyperextending my elbow which just doesn't feel healthy to me. I'm thinking that it may be time for me to visit a led class down at the shala, in order to get some guidance and have some of my questions answered.

I tried Garba Pindasana today. Hilarity ensued.

Backbends felt good. I've been using blocks against the wall to come into Urdhva Danurasana for the first two repetitions of the pose (then without the blocks the third time). Today, I tried not using the blocks at all and found it rough going. I could get up, but the backbend wasn't as deep. I'm amazed by how much those props support and deepen the pose.

Meditation was great, but a bit unusual. This weekend is the 'Grand Prix' and I can hear the sound of the cars all the way in my neighbourhood. I tried putting on my noise reduction headphones, but I could still hear (and be distracted) by the unearthly whine. Finally plugged the headphones into iTunes and listen to an ocean soundtrack and had a fabulous, serene meditation. At least I could pretend that I was sitting on a beach!

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