Sunday, December 16, 2007

Day 136

Got a nose full!

I'm back! And I'm full of news!

I was on lady's holiday for the past two days. It started on Friday, so I rested. Saturday was an extraordinarily busy day for me - it's probably a good thing I didn't need to make time for practice. A couple of good friends of mine put on a big, fancy, formal holiday shindig every year - it was on Saturday night. In the morning, I pulled out my little black cocktail dress and tried it on. And I discovered that it's like a tent on me - at least 4 sizes too big. It was always a little bit big, but it didn't even look right anymore. I needed to go buy a new dress.

So I headed over to the mall after teaching my morning class and the adventure began. I'm not crazy about clothes shopping. I've gone down a couple sizes this year - this was expected. What I didn't expect was how my weight loss, combined with all of the yoga I've been doing would affect the way clothes fit me. My upper half and lower half no longer match! I've lost inches in my thighs, bum and mid-section, but I've gained muscle tone in my arms and shoulders.

I think someone needs to start a fashion line especially for Ashtangis (gymnasts and swimmers might benefit from this as well). These clothes would be a bit roomier in the arms and shoulders, but still slender at the waist. I must have tried on 10 dresses before I found one I liked. I had to get the next size up in order to fit my top half. The dress was a tad bit too big for my bottom half, but the style of the dress compensated. Success!

Then I went home and made cookies for the party. Here's a new victory for self-control: I didn't eat any of the cookie dough (I'm a sucker for cookie dough!) and I didn't eat the finished product (although I did treat myself to a few of the cookies at the party later on). The party was fun. I had some compliments on the dress. Getting to and from the party was a nightmare though.

We've been having some weather here in Canada - snowy weather. It snowed most of Saturday, probably about 10 cm and that was just the precursor. By this morning, a big snow storm had moved in from the States (complete with thunder and lightening - creepy!). Another 25 cm of snow fell today. I slogged through the drifts to work at the soup kitchen in the morning, but I've been indoors ever since. I've been going stir crazy!

By 5 o'clock, I couldn't take it anymore and decided to do my practice. I didn't have to - I usually take three days off for lady's holiday, plus it's my usual day off. But I was missing my practice so much and that's all I wanted to do, so I unrolled my mat and did it.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself! I really missed my practice over these past two days. It just felt like something was missing.

I had a great practice and, even better, I had a couple of notable breakthroughs:

The long search is over!
That is, the search for those mysterious little holes in my legs where my arms are supposed to go in Garba Pindasana. I found them! I couldn't believe it at first (and I'm not holding my head in the pose yet, but baby steps...). I tried to roll. I can roll around like a pro holding on to my knees in full lotus, but my balance was completely thrown off by this new configuration. Instead of rolling, I just slowly fell over with a 'thump.'. I laid there and laughed and laughed and laughed. I haven't laughed that hard in ages. I managed to free myself, then tried again. The same thing - I fell over and laughed. Finally, I managed some semblance of 9 rolls and magic: I came up into Kukkutasana for the first time. Now my calves hurt. They're sore like I climbed too many stairs. But I found the holes!! I've been looking for them for months. Small victories are sometimes the sweetest.

Isn't this supposed to hurt?
I didn't work on dropbacks today. Instead, I decided to really spend some time in Urdhva Dhanurasana. Inspired by Arturo, who mentioned a few days ago that he holds Urdhva Dhanurasana for 30 breaths, I decided to try to hold my backbends for five breaths. To be honest, I feel oppressed if I hold Urdhva Dhanurasana for three. I practised a bit differently today. I was too lazy to take up my Mysore rug (I usually like to have a stickier surface to work with). I just did my backbends on the rug. This forced me to really claw the floor with my fingers and root down through my feet because otherwise I would slip. But strangely, that felt okay. I held each backbend for five breaths and I didn't feel panicked or angsty in it. My arms felt really, really strong and my back didn't ache. I have no idea where this ease came from, but I did a bunch of backbends, holding them each time. At one point, I even started enjoying myself!

Of course, I could wake up tomorrow and this will all go away, but I thought it was interesting. I'm really looking forward to my practice this week. I think the next few weeks are really going to be productive and satisfying.


Michelle said...

Congratulations on your successes. Sounds like you may no longer be a Reluctant Ashtangi.

Yogamum said...

I'm with you on the ashtangi fashion line! I find that I often have to go a size larger in shirts just because of my shoulders/arms. It's annoying.

Kaivalya said...

Michelle: You're right! I've turned into an Eager Beaver Ashtangi, haven't I? There's a reason for the name of the blog, and perhaps I should write about it sometime, because it's funny how much can change in six months.

Yogamum: I'm so glad I'm not the only one!! I felt a tad bit silly writing about this, but I know I'm not imagining it. I went through my closet yesterday and put aside a bunch of clothes that are too big, and among them are a couple of shirts that no longer fit me because they're too small around the armpit area. It really is annoying!

Arturo said...

Hi! Thanks for your comments. What I learned from Tim Miller is that one should at least do 2 sets of three Urdvha Danurasanas, holding each for five breaths. And it doesn't hurt to do bridge before as a way to prepare for it about 1 set of 3. Lately I've modified that to holding the pelvis with the hands for about 20 breaths, because it feels good and because I learned the warmup from Kino MacGreggor, although she didn't instruct to do that many breaths.

Kaivalya said...

Hi Arturo - Thanks for the clarification and advice. Urdhva Dhanurasana is my nemesis, so I'm grateful for any tips for the pose. I find that I tend to breath very shallowly in Urdhva Dhanurasana and bail out of the pose when I'm feeling 'out of breath'. Holding the bridge for 20 breaths may help me get in the habit of breathing more deeply - I'll let you know how it goes.

Also, I've particularly enjoyed your CRON posts recently (the one with the CoM screenshot had me nodding sympathetically). I started CRON this spring and I'm still at it.