Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Day 265

NOTE: Ladies Holiday kicked in on the 29th. I will very likely not post again until Monday (taking a nice, long rest because I truly need it).

Today is a milestone of sorts: only 100 days until I reach my goal! I find it rather unbelievable that I've done this practice 265 times. That's a lot of yoga, but the days have flown by. Looking back on old entries in this blog, I'm astounded the progress I've made.

Yesterday, Alfia was joking that I'm 'so ready' for the intermediate series ( were joking, right Alfia? lol!). I'm pretty sure I'm nowhere close to being ready to start second, but who knows what the next 100 days will bring (me? I'm hoping for effortless jump-throughs *grin*). At the moment, I'm hearing so many horror stories about second series that the thought makes me more than a little bit anxious, particularly with my antipathy toward backbending.

I guess I'll know when I'm ready.

I practised early today, right after waking. My hamstrings were tight and my lower back was stiff. I particularly felt this in Supta Konasana.

In Urdhva Dhanurasana, I've been noticing more and more how much arm and shoulder strength contributes to stability in holding the pose. I thought I was reasonably strong, but the practice keeps proving me wrong. I struggle to hold Urdhva Dhanurasana for the five counts and I *know* the problem isn't with inflexibility in my spine or lack of strength in my legs.

I'm finding Uth Pluthi particularly challenging. I can only hold it for 4 or 5 counts, so that's what I'm doing this week. Next week, it will be for six counts. The next, seven counts...

I've heard of other practitioners holding this pose for as many as 25 breaths. I believe this has as much to do with strength of the mind as with strength of the body. I aspire to both.

If I keep working on these poses with determination, I know I'll become stronger.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Day 264

My practice routine has been a little bit dodgy these past few weeks, mainly because I don't seem to be getting up at 5 a.m. anymore - or feeling a burning need for yoga when I do. Instead, I've been eating a small breakfast (fibre & protein & veg juice; about 200 calories), going for a long walk and doing some work. These days, I often do my practice right before lunch (with the proverbial carrot dangling in front of me enticingly; I love lunch).

Today, I made it to the mat a bit earlier and had a good practice (the carrot this time was my mid-morning snack, a bowl of sliced grapefruit).

I know I keep saying that: “I had a good practice” But what does that mean exactly?

I think I've settled into another 'Groundhog Day' phase of my yoga practice, where every day feels pretty much the same. After the rush of little breakthroughs last week, I'm back into the routine of Just Doing It. Just Doing It feels might good! It's deeply satisfying to finally have a steady and consistent experience of the primary series that doesn't feel rushed or difficult or overwhelming.

At this point, I can *do* all the poses (even Setu Bandhasana, though I typically skip it, replace it with bridge). The vinyasa transitions are another story. I'm not sure I will ever do Chakrasana - for the same reason I skip Setu (I'm cautious of anything that will put a strain on my cervical spine).

I've taken a new approach to some of the other vinyasas - it's 'baby steps' again. Right now, after Bujipadasana and the Kurmasanas, I'm simply working on getting into Bakasana. At the moment, it's such a sloppy Bakasana that I can't jump back (properly set up, the jump-back is easy for me). So I'm just doing what I can, every day, without fail, figuring that in time, it will get easier (because it always seems to).

I reinserted handstands back into my practice in my favourite little interval: immediately before backbends. Works for me. Handstands are going well. No Chewbaka appearances lately.

Backbends: I'm still using the CD and Sharath counts sooooooo slooooooowly. Geez. My arms and my armpits hurt after the third backbend. This can only be good for me, right? I'm going to keep at it.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Day 263

Using the Sharath CD, I'm noticing that the holds on some poses are much, much longer. For example, in Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana, I've already noticed that I have more stability in the pose from just a few days practice of holding it longer. The same with headstand - I'm sweating by the time I've held it for 15 counts, plus 10 in half-bend.

Navasana is repeated five times and this is just too many times for me at the moment. So I'm taking it with baby-steps. First Navasana: my knees are bent, calves parallel to the floor. Second Navasana: raise the legs just a bit higher...and so on. Fifth Navasna: completely straight legs. I find that in Ashtanga, taking things in increments really works.

I was reading back in my archives from last year and noticed that when the Chaturangas were too much for me, I started doing them with my knees on the floor. When I could do all of them in this modified fashion, I upped the ante and did every other one with straight legs. Now, Chaturanga is easy for me because I've built the strength.

I believe this principle also applies to life: sometimes baby-steps are the best steps to take.

I had a good practice today. I was cold when I started and sun salutations didn't seem to do a lot to warm me up. But once I moved into the seated poses, I broke into a sweat. I'm finding a better breath-focus this week. Although it's hard to get on my mat - it takes some self-will, I'm finding practice very soothing once I get going.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Day 262

Today, I used Sharath's CD from start to finish. I absolutely love it! I love the count, I love the how unembellished and simple it is, I love the pace. It's also a very quick practice - just over an hour. There's no messing around, no fussing or pausing. Each pose is held for an exact duration. It's like the guy has a metronome in his head. Lovely.

And there's another layer: I find his teaching very calming and matter-of-fact. Sharath takes all the drama out of my practice. There simple isn't room for my hang-ups and story-lines. There's simply no time!

So I had a good practice. Back to binding to fingers in Marichyasana D - the wrist bind comes and goes. Feeling stronger than ever in headstand. Didn't do handstand (need to find a way to bring that into my practice when I'm using the CD).

Friday, May 23, 2008

Day 261

On my walk this morning, I found myself caught in a downward emotional spiral and by the time I got home, I was simultaneously frantic and despairing. I'm often guilty of 'thinking too much' and when I do, I can get into these states.

I couldn't coax myself to the mat. As I vacillated, caught up in my own drama and storylines, I started chanting a Sankrit lullaby softly to myself. This made me feel better. So I settled onto my zafu and chanted some favourite verses from the Bhagavad Gita then read Chapter 2 of the Gita for good measure.

And I felt better. I'm such a Gita Geek!

“My will is paralyzed and I am utterly confused. Tell me which is the better path for me. Let me be your disciple. I have fallen at your feet; give me instruction. What can overcome a sorrow that saps all my vitality?”
-Bhagavad Gita 2:7-8, Easwaran translation

I totally hear ya, Arjuna. I'm in the same headspace, my friend.

Anyways...I meditated for a while, then I got on with my practice and my day.

Practice was full of surprises. I was cranking along on my own, through the suryas and the standing poses. Just as I was moving through Janu Sirsasana, I heard a welcome 'kathunk' through the mail slot. It was the package I had been expecting and hoping for: the Sharath CD.

Here's the back-story: I bought the Sharath CD on Ebay, in a sparsely attended auction (read: I was the only bidder) that I stumbled across quite accidentally while doing a search for places to buy this CD online. Basically, I got very,very lucky! I won the auction and bought the CD for .99 cents, plus $3 shipping. Four bucks! And this was my first ever experience with Ebay! I have to admit, I'm hooked (and quite certain that had it been another, more popular item, I would have been forced to bid up).

I didn't tell you guys about it because I didn't want any competition! ;-)

I popped the CD into my computer, found Janu Sirsasana and let Sharath lead me through the rest of the practice. I'm totally loving this CD! It's definitely not adequate for a beginner, but for someone who has been doing this practice for almost a year, the pacing and the detail of instruction was absolutely perfect. It's simple and straightforward and I love the length of the holds on the poses (especially the more difficult poses like Sirsasana). I'm looking forward to fine-tuning my understanding of the Primary Series vinyasa counts.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Day 260

This has been a breakthrough week of sorts. First, it was getting into Garba Pindasana without the Garba Juice (spray bottle) and add to that, rolling with my hands on my head. Whoa!

Beryl Bender Birch sneaks Bakasana into the Primary Series on her DVD, so I practice it somewhat regularly. This week, I managed to set up in that pose by bringing my knees into my armpits. I can come up higher than I did before (legs on triceps) *And* I now have a smooth, effortless jumpback into Chaturanga, which feels a bit like flying.

In my Wednesday evening Hatha class, I decided to teach Bujipadasana for fun. I did a demonstration of the pose first - and warned the class not to be alarmed when my forehead slammed into the floor (”Brain damage is part of the learning process - don't try this at home, kids!”). Imagine my surprise when, smoothly and with great control, I lowered my head to the floor. I was so surprised I nearly keeled over. When I admitted that this was a first, my students applauded! *blush*

Then I did it again this morning.

I also bound to wrist in Marichyasana D on both sides, easy as pie.

And my backbends feel significantly deeper this week.

All is coming, and sometimes it's coming all at once.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Day 259

I felt very tired this morning and did a quick, efficient practice. I'm not as focused on my breathing as I was last week - in fact, at times my breath felt blocked. Despite my lethargy, I had a really great headstand and my backbends were particularly juicy and good.

I have a breakthrough to report! Not only am I able to successfully navigate those Invisible Arm Holes in Padmasana for Garba Pindasana, I'm no longer using my spray bottle! I'm able to slip my arms through without props or assistance and this has made a huge difference in the arm balance at the end. I’m able to get more height in that balance.

Also (and this is a small thing), it feels like less work, not having to stop and spray my arms. I'm able to keep the flow going; my momentum isn't broken.

And I feel like a rockstar! ;-)

My computer is in for repairs this morning (I'm writing this on paper, to be transferred to my computer tomorrow). I don't think I fully realised what a distraction the computer is. Several times as I was practising, I noticed my attention drifting before a challenging pose: “Email?”

Something to think about...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Day 258

I had a very comfortable, flowing practice sans DVD this morning. It's good that I'm feeling easy about not using a DVD this week because, as of tonight, I will be computer-less for two days. My MacBook, Sitatara, is going in for some repairs. I've been frantically catching up on computer-related tasks in preparation for this.

My transition back to a regular diet after the fast has been smooth. I relaunched my diet at a lower calorie level geared toward weight-loss. But to be honest, I'm nearly back to my regular weight. After I've stabilised my weight, I'm going to add some healthy carbohydrates back into my diet. I'm trying mightily not to fall back into that same unhealthy pattern that got me in this fix to begin with.

The other day, Annabella posted a link to this wonderful article by Pema Chodron. It couldn't have been more timely (Thanks Ann!). The idea of 'shenpa' deeply resonated with me on so many levels.

Lately, I've been feeling and struggling to identify this emotion. Shenpa is a tightening, tensing and shutting down/out that arises when we're faced with change or insecurity of any kind. This feeling of unease causes us to seek comfort in anything that can cloak the feeling of painful restlessness. Chodron says that “we're in the habit of associating whatever we're doing with relief from our own discomfort.” Avoidance of difficult emotions becomes a pattern, a habit.

I recognise shenpa as the feeling that causes me to eat to fill the void, surf the Internet for no reason, obsessively check email, pace the apartment, project, create imaginary scenarios in my mind and generally go into emotional overdrive. I also think shenpa causes me to avoid meditation and yoga practice.

Chodron recommends the 'four Rs' for working with shenpa as a spiritual practice:

The ideal place to recognize shenpa is in meditation. Each time it came up for me yesterday, I raced to the zafu and sat with it. What a horrible, squirmy feeling it is! It wasn't comfortable, but with practise, the feeling eventually dissipated as I brought myself back into the present moment. By facing the feeling head-on, I was able to refrain from my habitual response and relax into it.

Relaxing into the feeling can lead to its resolution. With practice, prajna kicks in. According to Chodron, prajna is “wisdom found in basic goodness, openness, equanimity—which cuts through self-absorption” With prajna, it's possible to open up the empty space instead of trying to fill it, finding the essential wholeness of the moment.

In the coming week, I'm going to work on each of the 'Four Rs' in my meditation practice and daily life. I'll keep you all updated on my experience with this.

Please note: I will be offline until Thursday or Friday but will try to update via borrowed computer sometime on Thursday.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Day 257

I honoured the Moon Day yesterday because I was taking a gentle two-day fast over the weekend. I do this periodically to reset my dietary equilibrium. During the past month, I've established some negative eating patterns (I'm prone to emotional eating and boredom eating) and gained some unwanted weight. I wanted to bring myself back on-track before it got any worse.

When I fast, I follow the all-you-can-eat-leek-plan (from one of my favourite books, 'French Women Don't Get Fat '), along with lots of water, herbal tea and the occasional V8 juice. The first day went fine (it always does) and the second day was difficult (it always is). I broke the fast on Sunday evening with a light supper of low-fat protein, veggies and fruit. Today, I've been following pre-set plan of six small meals.

In the coming month, my goals are to avoid sugar and processed foods entirely and become more mindful in my eating. This is a big challenge for me for myriad reasons. For one, it's a busy month for my teaching. The evening hours when I'm not in class (and get bored) or get home late from class (triggering exhaustion binge eating) are particular danger zones. Also, being in a new relationship has brought added emotional complexity into my life. I'm not used to this and I've been eating in response; to make myself feel better.

I set a small goal for this week - mindful eating. My goal is to only eat at the table like a civilized person, to put the fork down and savour each bite (no shoveling!) and alternate between all the items in front of me, including water/tea. Ideally, consuming my meal will take a half-hour or more (it takes 20 minutes for your brain to realise that your belly is full).

Eating slowly is a big challenge for the solitary eater like myself. To be honest, I think that eating by myself is just lonely and I eat fast to avoid that feeling. Sad, eh?


Practice was good this morning - it felt good to get back on the mat and I actually enjoyed myself. The tightness in my erector spinae seems to have dissipated over my two-day break, but I still modified Kurmasana and Supta Kurmasana and skipped backbends just to be on the safe side.

I'm *this* close to binding to wrist in Marichyasana D.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Day 256

Thursdays are often difficult for me because of my busy teaching schedule on Wednesday (5 classes, I really need to reschedule some of these, yikes). But yesterday, while difficult, was nothing compared to today. After waking and doing a few miscellaneous chores, I unrolled the mat practised as best I could because I'm absolutely sure that if I waited until later, I would not have done it at all.

I'm tired. Very tired.

I'm sore. Yesterday in my youth class, I was messing around in Yoga Nidrasana and parts of my body do not like that pose at all - mainly my right trapezius muscle and my left lumbar erector muscles. Ouch.

Did I mention I'm tired?

I'm distracted. Very distracted.

So I did a heavily modified practice, even skipping vinyasa a few times between sides. I completely skipped Bujipindasana/Kurmasana/Supta Kurmasana/Garba Pindasana and I modified with bent knees in all of the forward bends. I skipped the backbends.

For closing, I did Viparita Karani. As illustrated below, with Miniature Schnauzer prop!


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Day 255

It was very, very difficult to motivate myself to the mat today. I didn't feel strong today. I felt tired. A DVD was involved - I wouldn't have made it through without a gentle voice urging me forward.

Even then, I found my mind wandering, meandering, navigating the past (”Did I sound stupid? Do I talk too much? I don't think I made any sense...”) and the future (”Should I say what's on my mind? What if I'm tongue-tied? Should I...?”).

I was everywhere but the present moment and when I step outside the present moment, my perspective vanishes. I feel a bit lost.

Note to self: This is what it is. It is enough. I am who I am. I say my truth. I do my best. Now, now, now.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Day 254

I didn't practise with the DVD today, though I was listening to Beth Orton's magnificent CD 'Trailer Park' throughout. *swoon*

I had a good, solid practice. I skipped Navasana, but added it back in before I did Garba Pindasana.

I'm feeling comfortable binding in the Marichyasanas again and Marichyasana C is feeling better and better. I've been coming into these binding poses different lately. I used to kind of mosey into them, squiggling and scrunching myself. Now, I come into the twist first, then completely stretch and straighten the wrapping arm and wrap with gusto - as if I was going to plan my knee into my arm pit. I find that I'm able to come deep this way and the bind is stronger. For some reason, I feel like I have more leverage with this entry, especially in Mari C ( I can keep the foot of the bent knee on the floor and it's easier to maintain a long spine).

Another interesting epiphany: Last year in Teacher M's Anusara class, he kept verbally adjusting my Parsvakonasana, telling me to lift my top arm higher. I can easily bring my arm along my ear in this pose, so his direction really confused me. However, this morning, I kept my arm high as I came into the pose and noticed that with the arm raised and deeply extended, I could bring a deeper upward rotation to the torso. I practised this way on both side and found that even on my left side, I was able rotate more deeply.

Teacher H was probably trying to tell me the same thing through a physical adjustment she made in the same posture back in March. On my left side, she physically lifted my arm, then reached under my lower rib cage and lifted, rotating me upward.

I'm feeling very frustrated with Prasarita Padottanasana C right now. Will my hands ever reach the floor? Is this do-able, something I can work on? Any tips?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Day 253

Another good, breath-focused practice this morning. I seem to be on a roll these days and although getting out of bed was difficult, getting on the mat was not.

I seem to be adjusting to the various changes in my life. Part of this means clearing time for the new priorities demanded by my new relationship, but a lot of it is just re-centering and coming back into myself. At times, I feel so fragmented and scattered. Other times, I feel afraid.

It has been a very different experience, going through these budding emotions against the backdrop of this intense daily practice. Yoga has been part of my life for 13 years, but never with this all-encompassing intensity. I'm finding that both yoga and meditation are helping to keep me anchored, but I also sense that my practice could easily fly away from me. Never has my discipline seemed so, well...disciplined.

So things are going well. The weather is warming, flowers are blooming, spring is a wonderful time to slowly and steadily and blissfully fall in love.

And I finally, really got jumpthroughs. It wasn't a 'eureka' moment for me as much as a gradual discovery that “Yes, I can do this!” If I really work at it, I can do them really well too. But here's the biggest surprise (and maybe it shouldn't be): I don't always feel like working that hard and sometimes I cheat, I'm sloppy and I just don't try.

But I'm getting stronger. And all is coming, right?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Day 252

Great practice this morning. After days of sleep deprivation, I finally got a good, long night of sleep. I woke refreshed, but not ready to do yoga, so I didn't. Instead, I ate breakfast, cleaned the apartment and ran errands. I finally hit the mat around lunchtime and had an amazing practice.

I know this won't be news to most people who read this blog, but vinyasa is breath-synchronized movement.

So today, I synchronized my breath with my movement. I know this sounds very simple, but it's not - for me, at least. I tend to get caught up in everything that is not breath. Like what the dog is doing or the state of my cuticles or the speck of lint on my Mysore rug or the bird that just flew by past my window.

When I finally get around to checking back in, I realise that five minutes has gone by with me sitting there, on my mat, not doing yoga. The DVDs help me focus, but I”ll admit that they're a crutch.

One thing I really liked about the Darby DVD I used yesterday was its emphasis on what the body is doing on each breath (I understand that Sharath's CD is even richer in this regard and I have it on order...). I didn't use a DVD today. Instead, I challenged myself to do the entire practice, start to finish, focusing on linking every single movement with breath, including all the transitions and those little in-between parts. No stopping, except for holds (for five breaths!)

It was difficult. In fact, it was so difficult that I had to take a few little breaks from being so deeply focused. Because my brain was tired.

As I'm getting better at the Primary Series, I'm finding that motivating my tired, distracted little brain is the greatest challenge, the final frontier. I can do this whole thing from start to finish. I can do the poses. But can I do them while linking every single movement with breath, engaging my bandhas and not thinking about what's for lunch?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Day 251

One of my birthday gifts was an Ashtanga DVD by Mark Darby and Nicole Bordeleau, called “Ashtanga Yoga”. It arrived the day before my Ladies' Holiday and because I wasn't in the mood for any more 'newness' this week, so I put it aside. Today, lazy Sunday, seemed like a good day to try it out.

The DVD was produced in Quebec so French is offered as the first choice in the language selection, though there is English too. The whole thing has a bit of an artsty-fartsy look to it with lamps and dark colours (reds and blacks), matching outfits and quasi-synchronised yoga - very Montreal. There are three programme selections: a full 90 minute Primary Series practice (and it really does last 90 minutes), a Primary Series Short Form and a short practice comprised of the sun salutations only. Each programme is proceeded by the opening invocation. I thought this was a nice touch.

The instruction on this DVD is very detailed and clear and, as far as I can tell, it follows the standard vinyasa sequence of traditional Ashtanga. I didn't like the sun salutations - they were paced much too slowly and methodicaly for my taste (though this might actually be an asset for a beginner to the practice). There were also not as many as I am used to - 3 and 3 as opposed to 5 and 5.

I liked the instruction for the postures, but in a few instances the poses were held far too long. There was too much Navasana! Navasana is a favourite of mine, but after five repetitions, even I was saying “Enough Navasana already!”. The holds in Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana, on the other hand, were far too short (a complaint I also have about the Bender Beryl Birch's 'Power Yoga' DVD). I found that the voices of the teachers - particularly with their accents, began to grate on my nerves after awhile. Because they alternated the instruction it was sometimes jarring.

I very much liked the presentation of modified versions of the poses and the emphasis on alignment in this DVD. I specifically enjoyed the timing of the hold in Sirsasana - I felt challenged. Ditto for Urdhva Dhanurasana. I also quite enjoyed the quiet yoga-y music in Savasana and the absence of annoying commentary.

Overall, I think this is a good DVD, particularly for anyone brand-new to Ashtanga. Advanced practitioners may find it a tad ponderous.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Day 250

I practised in the morning, though not early. I was up until late last night, teaching out in the west end and didn't get to sleep until after 11. I slept until 7 a.m. (hard to sleep in more than that because of the construction). I'm always exhausted this time of week because I teach so many classes in the course of the two days. I thought it would be a really difficult practice, but it was fine. Not great, not mind-blowing, but fine. I've been very focused lately.

Handstands were second-nature. I'm beginning to balance on my own more and more. The wall is there, but I'm not using it except to come up. Handstand is a power pose for me - when I'm doing it well, I feel like I can take on anything. Urdhva Dhanurasana has been feeling the same way - I feel very strong pushing up into it.

I bound in Marichyasana D for the first time in about a week. I've backed off from binding in that pose because I felt like I was suffocating in it. This morning, I felt okay - a bit of fear as I first came in, but that dissipated. I found breathing easier in the pose than it has been lately.

I realised this morning that I haven't been drinking enough water. Need to stay on top of that.

The weekend is a big black hole of uncertainty for me. The theme of my life these days seems to be 'let go' - of expectations, of controlling outcomes. I'm trying.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Day 249

The last thing in the world I wanted to do this morning was practise, but practise I did. I just put one foot in front of the other, took it one breath at a time: Unroll the mat, put in the DVD (I wouldn't have made it past the first sun salutation without that DVD), step onto the mat, begin.

I was hyper-aware of two things today in my practice: my breath and my strength. When nothing else seems to be going right and I'm on the edge of panic, breath is my life-line. Not Ujjayi breath, but ordinary, honest-to-goodness breathing. Breathing in and breathing out. My whole morning was about pranayama, so it makes sense that it carried into my practice.

Often, when I'm feeling low energy or overwhelmed, I feel weak. Not today. Today, my mind obediently followed along with the Primary Series, almost on autopilot and I sort of felt like an observer of my own flow - a yoga out-of-body-experience. And I was astonished at my own strength. The postures were an ebb and flow of strength (jumps, vinyasa) and softness (breathing steadily through the postures).

I thought it would be a really horrible practice, but you know what? It was one of my best ever. And not because I made any great breakthroughs or broke new ground. It was a great practice simply because I was present throughout.

Today, my practice sustained me.

Om, shanti, shanti, shanti.

Thank you.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Day 248

Better practice this morning! I used a DVD to help keep me on track. I seem to be in the headspace for led practice right now. I focus and breath better when I'm being 'led.' A few months ago, I couldn't stand the thought of using the DVD. My practice was less utilitarian and more contemplative I go through phases.

Sometimes, it's easier to let go of thoughts when someone else is doing the counting for me. My mind has been very busy lately and during this morning's practice, I actually found a space of silence during Janu Sirsasana. I really needed that.

I'm trying to go off of refined sugar again and I'm finding it very challenging. I managed to get through three days without it and then I was hit with a horrible cravings. So I bought a small bag of yogurt-covered malt balls at the health food store on my way home from teaching a class last night. I ate them on an empty stomach and literally made myself sick. I had to lay down for about 30 minutes until it passed - waves of nausea and a near-vertigo from the sugar rush.

Next time, I'll opt for dried fruit. I love eating sugary things, but I hate the way I feel afterward. Eventually, my mind will absorb this lesson and I won't crave them anymore (I hope!) That's the way it was with alcohol: I've come to a point where I don't like to drink it because it makes me feel icky - during and afterward.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Day 247

I came *this* close to not honouring the Moon Day yesterday, but decided that I should take the break even though I really wanted to practice. Predictably, I totally didn't feel like practising this morning.

I was so distracted! Fussing with my mat, my clothes, the computer, getting up to use the washroom, petting the dog, sitting on my mat and daydreaming. I probably should have used a DVD for my practice this morning and I probably will tomorrow. But sheesh! What's up with me, anyway?

And no, it's not what you're thinking. :-D I was just plain, garden-variety distracted.

I narrowly managed to get through the Primary poses. It took me two hours with all of my foolishness mixed in. I skipped closing and took a long Savasana.

Handstands were great this morning and my wrist feels fine!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Day 246

Today was a wonderful, full, exciting day! I travelled outside the city for a brief (6 hour) jaunt. It was a perfect day - blue skies, sunshine. We drove out to a cute town, walked along the sparkling blue river and talked and talked and talked. There were flowering trees everywhere - it was so beautiful. The time flew by far too quickly and before I knew it, I was on the bus back to the city.

Alas, back to reality.

It was nice to get back to the mat this morning after a four-day holiday. Whenever I come off a period of not practising, it always feels a bit odd to unroll the mat and set up. But as soon as I start the first sun salutation, it's like coming home.

I set my alarm and got up to practise early, before I went to the bus station. By prioritizing my practice in this way, I felt like I was making an important statement to myself: I have a new person in my life, but yoga and making this time for myself is still a priority. In the past, I've often been side-tracked by people/work/new routines and allowed my yoga practice to slide. In the past year, I've worked hard to create a place of refuge for myself in my yoga and meditation practice. I've integrated it into my life is a very real, conscious way.

I didn't do the Primary Series during my Ladies' Holiday, but I did dabble a bit. ;-) One morning, I did a 20 minute 'wake-up' practice I found on the Yoga Journal website. I did my usual spontaneous forward bends and some down dogs here and there and I know I did more demos than I will typically do when teaching my classes, just because my body was hungry for some yoga.

Yesterday (my day off), I spent the afternoon reading and doing handstands. I would read for a awhile, then do a few handstands. Read, more handstands. I'm feeling more and more like I'm 'lifting up' into the handstand, rather than kicking up. It's a very strong, powerful feeling! I've also discovered something: In that moment after I've lifted up, but before I straightened my legs, I can actually hover and balance there for a few seconds. Exciting!

Except, my wrist was sore this morning in Urdhva Mukha Svanasana. Need to be careful not to overdo it!