Thursday, January 31, 2008

Day 180

Last day of WoYoPracMo 2008! I woke up very, very early and did the full Primary Series, zipping through in an hour and 20 minutes. The early start gave me time for a leisurely shower and breakfast before doing my Karma Yoga, volunteering at the soup kitchen. Musical Sirsasana was Sean Paul's 'Punkie [Español]' (3 min, 45 sec).

I successfully met the two goals I set for the month of January:
1) The full Primary Series every day
2) Daily meditation

I learned many things about myself and my yoga practice over the course of this month. I already had a six-day practice when I started, so for me, WoYoPracMo was more about the discipline, re-establishing a meditation practice and fine-tuning my routine. Here are a few of the things that stood out for me during the month:

I really value my days off:
I missed my yoga-less Saturdays. I missed my celebratory Moon Days. And I really, really, really missed having time off for my Lady's Holiday. It was miserable and difficult practising during my monthly cycle. It was certainly educational to try it once, but I would never do that again on a regular basis. I'm all for practising through discomfort, but that was *misery*.

Early morning practice:
I tend to practice in the early morning in summer, but in the winter I let this slide; my practices sometimes started in late morning and I would feel like half my day was gone. This month, I found my routine again and started getting up early and loving in. I'm hoping that I'll be able to carry on with early practices for the rest of the year.

I love my morning breakfasts. 'Slow' breakfast (rather than grabbing a quick yoghurt on the way out the door) is something I started this month and I've come to treasure this relaxing morning ritual. I find that I have a better day if I take time for myself in the morning. In general, I find that I practise better on a completely empty stomach so the prospect of a hearty breakfast becomes the carrot dangling at the end of my mat!

Asana stuff:
This month, I was finally able to bind to wrist on both sides in Marichyasana C. I found myself binding for the first time in Supta Kurmasana. My headstand improved incrementally and it's now one of my strongest poses. I started holding headstand for minutes instead of breaths (and I discovered that it's easier to hold headstand for a duration if I time it to a song on my iPod). I'm able to kick up to handstand lightly, with control and even balancing on my own a bit. I hadn't yet mentioned this, but I've pretty much nailed jumpthroughs. They're not pretty some of the time, but I can do them. Garba Pindasana is becoming easier - sometimes it even looks good! I can put my hands on my head in the pose and I think I'll be keeping them there for the rolls in the coming month. To sum up, my practice is coming along.

This is a big one. My meditation practice was dormant at the beginning of January. I decided to start gently, with five minutes a day. Week by week, I increased the time: 10 minutes, then 15, then 20. It was rough going at first and it took me half the month just to get my stride. In the past week or so, meditation has become blissful and nourishing. Most days, I meditate for 20 minutes in the evening before bed and I love it. It makes my day feel like a yoga sandwich: Asana in the morning, meditation at night, teaching, volunteer work, reading in between.

Yogamum has challenged members of the WoYoPracMo Sangha to choose a new goal for February. Here's mine:

The fifth Niyama, Swadhyaya (self-education):
I would like to start doing daily inspirational reading during breakfast. I think this will be a nice addition to my mornings. I'm going to start with Swami Satchidananda's commentaries of the Yoga Sutras (which has been sitting on my shelf for months, waiting for me to make time to read it). There also may be some Rumi in there too. And other scriptures where appropriate.

My asana practice will go back to a six-day schedule, with a break on Saturdays, Moon Days and the 3-day Lady's Holiday. However, I would like to continue to practice the full Primary Series (rather than occasionally substituting a modified or truncated version) for six days a week. I have set daily meditation as one of my New Year's Resolutions, so will be continuing it as a daily practice.


Michelle said...

Wow, what a post! You learned so much about yourself. Obviously all that hard work was worth it. Congratulations.
Your goals are so wonderful and getting to know you a bit these last months, I know you WILL achieve them all.

bindifry said...

do your practice...all coming
so rewarding. i like that translation of the sutras, too. you can never read that enough.
congratulations-inspiring post

rand(om) bites said...

Seriously well done on completing WoYoPracMo hon. I loved that you made goals, stuck to them and came through with it being a really positive experience. Love the idea of a yoga sandwich too. You've inspired me to incorporate more meditation into my practice. Thanks for sharing!