Thursday, June 26, 2008

Day 282

I had a plan for yesterday: after meeting my lunch date, I would let the food settle a bit, then take my mat out to the park again and do yoga in the sunshine. Except...lunch date wanted to hang out. We ended up going for a walk and I didn't get home until supper time. Then I met up with another date for drinks after supper. This what happens to the best laid yoga for me yesterday.

It serves as a gentle reminder to me to plan my practices a bit better - preferably, practice in the morning. Of course, that's easy if I'm all fired up and enthusiastic about my yoga practice. If I'm feeling a bit lacklustre and 'blah' about it, it becomes far too easy to feel around for an excuse.

This morning I tackled every single item on my to-do list before finally coaxing myself to the mat for a completely unremarkable practice. But at least I did it. And at least I manage to get some stuff done. I'm counting down the days until July, when I'll very likely be working in an office someplace and wistfully reminiscing about this month, when I had 'so much time.'

But the truth is, I'm a bit bored and feeling at loose ends. It will be good to get back into a solid work routine. You're totally allowed to tease me about this post next month when I'm feeling overburdened! ;-)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Day 281

This afternoon, I headed out to the park with a cheap red yoga mat, mysore rug and the dog. I had Sharath loaded onto my iPod Shuffle (he's a flexible guy). I laid out my mat in a quiet shady spot and did the Primary Series while my dog chewed on sticks and the world buzzed around me. It was fantastic! I have no qualms about doing my practice in a public place - in fact, there's a nice energy to it.

During every surya, my left hand brushed the low-hanging branches of a pine tree. Each time I looked up, I saw leaves, then sky. During headstand, I watched the upside-down cars roll by and thought about how all cars look pretty much the same when you're upside down. The temperature was perfect - not too hot, not too cold. Blissful. I can't believe I hadn't done an outdoor practice yet this summer. Need to do a lot more of it!

As I was practising, three children rode up on scooters. I was in the midst of Ardha Padma Padmottanasana and they were ooo-ing and ahhh-ing over it. So I turned Sharath off and said hello to them - they ended up doing most of the practice with me. They also gathered sticks for the dog to chew and eventually started piling handfuls of grass on my mat to 'make it softer'.

Then their nanny called and they went home for cookies. I turned Sharath back on and did my finishing poses. Afterward, I lolled around on my mat, reading a book. Perfectly content.

All summer days should be exactly like this. Really. No attachment here, no siree! ;-)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Day 280

I'm trying to get back in the habit of morning practice using the Sharath CD to do the full Primary Series. Mixed results so far. I seem to be deeply entrenched in the 'lazy mentality' that comes with a slow work schedule. I've been keeping a very busy social schedule!

I was up until 1 a.m. last night after spending a great evening with friends, so the early thing just didn't happen this morning. I did use the CD but ran out of steam by the time I got to the closing sequence. My closing sequence consisted of one pose: Savasana. But tomorrow is another day...

More observations on dating (right now, dating is pretty much my full-time job, so I think about it a lot):

- The more self-aware someone is, the more aware (and compassionate and tolerant) they seem to be of other people. Those who are not self-aware seem to be naval-gazing and unfocused. I'm starting to realise just how important self-awareness is to me. In fact, it may even be a deal-breaker.

- People are frequently dishonest when dating. The lie tally so far includes: location (claimed to live nearby, actually lives far away), weight (claimed to be slender but is actually quite heavy), employment (no job, unemployed for years), orientation (claimed to be gay, but is straight and experimenting).

- People are really quite fascinating and weaving conversations out of common experiences can be very soul-satisfying. I'm greatly enjoying this aspect of the dating process.

It's been a lot of fun following Krista's reports from Mysore, particularly her synopses of Sharath's conferences. In the latest installment, I learned that I have been binding correctly in Marichyasana A and B. The wrapping arm is the grabbing arm. I've also been exciting Padangustasana incorrectly. I'm very appreciative of Krista's generous efforts to put this information up on her blog - it's very beneficial to Ashtanga practitioners who don't have the resources to go to India.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Day 279

Friday turned out to be a big day for yoga. In the evening, I attended a Solstice party on a beach. With a view to the west over the water, we celebrated sunset of the longest day of the year with great food and interesting conversation. But before the other guests arrived, my friend (a personal trainer) and I did our respective workouts on the beach.

She did loads of push ups and crunches and body-work that isolated muscle groups. I did the Swenson short form of the Ashtanga Primary Series with some of my favourite poses thrown in for good measure. It was interesting for me to try some of the exercises she was doing. I found some of them hard and some quite easy. I was frankly surprised by some of the things she found very difficult: holding Navasana for any length of time, Urdhva Dhanurasana. I think my overall physical strength surprised her more than my flexibility (it surprised me too, to be honest).

We also had some fun doing cartwheels and handstands on the beach!

Observing her practice as I did my own was really interesting to me - not in the sense of making a judgment or comparison, but in the different skills and benefits found in each. She has great abs (a perfectly flat belly). I can do headstand. She can do many pushups. I can hold Navasna for several mintues (this was news to me, actually!).

My sense is, that Ashtanga provides more of an integrated strength - the different parts of the body are both stronger and more harmonious in their function with one another.

I also believe (and this is judgment) that I enjoyed my practice more. She grunted and moaned and transitioned abruptly from one thing to another, seemingly randomly. I just breathed. And flowed. This practice makes sense to me; to each their own!

Doing Ashtanga on the beach near sunset was absolutely marvellous! The weather was great, temperature was perfect. Doing a headstand with the lake as a drishte is trippy! I enjoyed the sound of the waves lapping up on the sand as I laid in Savasana.

I enjoyed a great day off on Saturday - all the usual, with trips to the market, wandering a street festival, napping. This morning, I was up bright and early at 5 a.m. to practice. I haven't done an early morning practice in a while and I enjoyed it.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Day 278

I jumped back on the taking-my-practice seriously wagon today and did a full, non-nonsense practice using the Sharath CD. Sheesh, he counts slllloooowwwwly! In some ways, it's just easier to listen to Sharath and do everything without fuss (I'm guessing that this is even more true if you're actually in Mysore listening to Sharath). At least, it felt that way today.

This month is speeding by! I can't believe that it's already the Solstice. Tonight, I'm attending a Solstice party on the beach. The coming weekend is jam-packed, with friends, festivals, outdoor plays, and dates.

Yes, I've been dating in a big way. Two dates per week, though this week will probably be off the charts, since I already had two dates over the weekend (both on Sunday, and another cancelled or it would have been three). Who goes on a date at 9:30 on a Sunday morning? Apparently, me! Then I went to a Quaker Meeting, came home for lunch and headed back out to the very same Café for another date. The staff there must think I'm a player! ;-)

The tally is up to 7 dates so far this month and I have a few others I still need to schedule in. I'm learning some interesting things from this process:

- There's a lot of suffering out there (of course I knew that, but some of my worst dates really confirm it); many people do not know how to be happy. Many people are ruled by their pain and cannot see the good things in front of them because they're too busy looking backward. There are some deep lessons in this for me, as I move forward.

- By the time the time our 40s roll around, nearly everyone has some weird, dramatic piece of 'baggage' they're carrying around, whether it's a nervous breakdown, an ill-thought-out marriage (*raises hand*), a stalker ex-girlfriend, unhinged relatives, the ten-year relationship that fell apart, the mental illness, health problems, a partner's suicide...the list goes on. The question is: do you put this stuff on the table on the first date? Apparently, you do...*cringe*

- Chemistry is hard to gauge. I'm a great first date (I also rock job interviews) because I'm warm, engaging and able to carry a conversation with almost anybody (and believe me, on some of my dates, this skill was a real lifesaver!). But it often takes me a long while to really warm up to people. And it takes me even longer to figure out if there's any real chemistry. This can be a disadvantage for online dating because there seems to be an expectation that things will be snappy.

I suspect the last item is the biggest issue for me. It took me 15 months to figure out that I was actually attracted to my last love interest. Emotionally, I'm sometimes a slow learner.

However (as one of my friend is fond of saying), I'll never meet anyone if I don't get out there. So off I go...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Day 277

I ended up taking the Moon Day after all. As my day unfolded, a practice simply didn't manifest and I was fine with that.

As it was, I had a great Moon Day! The morning was lazy. In the afternoon, I met up with fellow CRONista and blogger April. We enjoyed a fabulous CRON-friendly meal at one of my favourite neighbourhood restaurants and did some shopping (in between rain showers). We even wandered through Honest Ed's! Then we took the subway to the west end of the city and walked in High Park, stopping by the Labyrinth and ending up at the Grenadier Café with green tea and great conversation (lots of talk about CR, yoga and our spiritual pursuits). When I delivered April back to the hotel, her partner MR came down to chat with me!

Great conversation with like minded, bright people always makes me really excited and happy! And now I'm all the more eager to attend a CR convention.

Practice today, alas, was sluggish and slow. I've been meeting up with friends all week and eating foods that I'm unaccustomed too. For example, I normally don't eat very much salt and I think the amount I've been consuming lately has caused me to retain water and bloat. My body feels bruised and swollen. I'm considering fasting tomorrow to re-introduce some equilibrium back into my system.

I think my body is also still affected by the cold I had on Monday. I'm nearly back to 100% (just a mild sniffle remains), but occasionally I feel sapped out.

My practice ebbs and flows - right now it's ebbing. Soon it will flow again.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Day 276

Today's practice was quick and perfunctory. I put it off all day and finally unrolled the mat in the late afternoon, before heading off to teach a class.

Lately, I've been skipping poses, particularly backbends. For some reason, I'm feeling very resistant to backbends and it's not a physical block. I just don't want to do them. So I don't. And I know it's not good for me, but I don't seem to care.

It's easy to use my cold as an excuse (I'm mainly over it now). But that's not it either. I'm in a strange headspace right now. There's something about this time of year, when so many of my classes are heading into hiatus for a couple of months, and the weather is changeable and I'm putting more energy into relationships with people in my life (not that this is a bad thing, but it can be energy-depleting).

I'm feeling all stirred up.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Day 275

I went on a group bike ride this afternoon and rode over 30 kilometres - not a vast distance, but enough to sap me out. And I'm battling a cold - it started last night with a sore throat and blossomed by this evening into a full-fledged sniffle/head cold.

However, I did practice. I followed the Swenson 'short form' this evening as a concession to my body's exhaustion. Forward bends aren't fun when your head is stuffy!

Today is the one year anniversary of this blog. Though I'm only on Day 275 of my 365 Days of Primary Series practice, it was on June 15th of last year that I practised the Primary Series for the first time (Day 1). This time last year, I was quite sore from 'all of those Chaturangas'!

Hard to believe a whole year has passed - time flies! When I started this blog, it was really as a personal record to mark my own progress. I wasn't sure I would even continue on past a month. And I never imagined the wonderful people I would connect with and the sense of community I would find in this 'cyber shala.' I also never imagined the changes that would come to my life (something I'll reflect on more as I come closer to the 365 day mark).

So, Happy Blogiversary to me, and a big thank you to my readers and friends!

Moon Day is on Wednesday, but I'm taking my own personal day off tomorrow to rest from this cold and will return on Tuesday.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Day 274

Practice was quick and perfunctory today. I was running late so I rushed through the closing sequence at the end. I'm feeling a bit lethargic and unmotivated today. Whenever I get to feeling this way, I remind myself of where I was at this time last year: frustrated, heavy, somewhat directionless and floundering.

This is a very different year and I'm in a much better place in terms of my yoga and meditation practice. More and more, I'm finding that my sadhana (generic catch-all sanskrit term for personal yoga/meditaiton practice) has given me a strong foundation to make positive changes in other areas of my life. It has also given me the strength to weather life's storms with greater equanimity. For all that I've been frustrated and sad lately, I haven't been weepy. In fact, I don't think I cried once.

There has never been any doubt in my mind that this practice has also made me stronger, but yesterday, I put my theory to the test: I cycled out to the west end for the first time since last summer.

This route has a number of really atrocious hills. Last summer, these hills had me begging for mercy every single week. It took me months to get to the point where I could ride up all of them without stopping to walk my bike. I was ridiculously proud of this achievement. All the same, the very thought of those hills filled me with dread. It was a mental challenge as well as a physical one.

This year? I approached the hills with the same dread, but I flew up every single one with no effort at all! I started to wonder, illogically, if someone had 'flattened' the hills or something because they didn't even *look* as scary. I also made it to my destination in record time! I guess my legs really are stronger and it doesn't hurt that I'm about 40 lbs lighter (thank you, CRON)

I really am surprised by my new cardiovascular endurance though - I had expected to be out-of-breath and I wasn't. I can't believe that yoga did this!

All is coming. And it's riding a bicycle! ;-)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Day 273

I ditched the Sharath CD today and did my practice in the sweet silence (or as silent as it gets in the city, with construction going on next door). I surprised myself by whipping through practice in just over an hour. I didn't skip anything, I was just quick and no-nonsense about it. Backbends were particularly good and handstands are getting stronger and stronger.

I'm now so comfortable lifting up into handstand that I'm trying to do it without my heels pounding into the wall when I straighten my legs. Next time I go to see Teacher M, I would love to demo my new handstand Mad Skillz, but in order to do this in the middle of the room with someone spotting, I need to be able to come up with control. So there's a new goal for me to work towards!

I had fully intended to listen to the new Alanis Morissette album as I was practising today but didn't get around to pushing 'play' (but that's okay, since it's literally been on constant rotation since I downloaded it from iTunes). To say that I'm a huge Alanis fan is an understatement - I was greatly looking forward to this album release.

I wasn't sure what to expect from this one, but I have to say, it's really excellent; I've been completely absorbed in the songs and the lyrics. The album is unique in that every song is very unique. The songs all draw upon different styles - ranging from lyrical to electronica - but they also complement each other in the way they are sequenced. There's a harmony inherent in the album as a whole (to the extent that the 'bonus songs' at the end are a bit of a distraction). The lyrics speak to me on so many different levels.

This is a complex album with a lot of depth. I've listened to it many times and I'm *still* unpacking the layers. Alanis is such an amazing artist. This may actually be her best work yet. It's really a work of art. *steps off fangirl soapbox*

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Day 272

Good practice today, though a bit rushed. I wasted too much time on the computer this morning and ended up with a very small window of time to walk the dog and do my practice. Then I taught classes all afternoon.

I'm faithfully doing my pick-ups with every vinyasa and I'm definitely getting stronger. Sometimes, I can even lift myself up and stay there for a second!

Lately, it's been difficult to get to the mat, but I'm happy to be there once I begin.

I've been going deep into my meditation lately, really connecting with something rich and sustaining. I guess I'm going through some spooky philosophical phase of my grieving process - make that 'grief lite' since I don't truly have anything to grieve over.

I already have two dates planned for this coming weekend, plus I'm going dancing, attending a party and participating in a group bike ride. I'm either ambitious or totally over-scheduled - or maybe a little bit of both. But at least I'm keeping myself busy!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Day 271

Well, I finally broke my 'Ashtanga streak'.

Since January 1, I hadn't taken a single 'extra' day off from practice. I had completed the entire Primary Series every applicable day, breaking only for Saturdays, Moon Days and my Ladies' Holiday. I'm actually pretty proud of myself for carrying on this long!

As some of you know, I'm going through an oddly difficult break-up. Odd, because the relationship never became very serious and difficult because despite mutual attraction and great compatibility, we failed to make it work. I willingly take on my share of responsibility for this; I'm still sorting through what I might have done differently

I have good days and bad days. But for some reason, the sorrow and futility of it all came crashing down on my shoulders particularly hard yesterday. I just couldn't face myself on the mat. I couldn't face myself, period. I needed a break, a chance to back off and reconsider my options. I needed a reason to go on.

So I took the day off and vowed that I would get a fresh start in the morning. Today, I took a few moments before practice to centre myself and connect with what sustains me, then I did my practice.

It wasn't a great practice, but it was a complete one - in so many ways beyond the physical aspects.

And I'm moving forward. There's someone out there for everybody - I truly believe that. My time is coming - I believe that too. I'm keeping my heart open (oh, those backbends were arduous this morning!!!) and trusting that everything will unfold as it should. Grace is everywhere, including on my mat.

All is coming.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Day 270

Hot, sweaty, humid practices are back! On Friday, the weather took a sharp turn towards summer. The weekend was warm and damp, sort of like taking a warm bath - except the *entire city* was a warm bath.

If you can't tell, I'm a great fan of summer. I'm so glad it's finally here! While I don't always love the heat (by August, it's starting to get old), I do enjoy sweating buckets during my yoga practice and that's exactly what I did this morning. Fabulous! Yoga on five hours of sleep wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, but I think I was running on my second wind! (I attended two parties last night and stayed out until 3 a.m. - waaaay past my bedtime).

Three of my favourite summer festivals took place this weekend: Woofstock (festival for dogs), the Muhtadi Drum Festival and my own neighbourhood street fest. Woofstock was fun, overwhelming and very commercial. The neighbourhood street festival was disappointing - small and poorly planned. It has been on the decline in recent years. Still, it was fun to wander down the main street (car free!) and look around.

With all these festivities, I abandoned CRON completely and spent the weekend enjoying new food. I had lunch at the Drum festival today. I always try to eat something new and different there - they have a wide selection of interesting ethnic foods vendors. This year I got a Malaysian dumpling called a Murtabak (spicy!) and for dessert, I had a Jamaican coconut-ginger cake. Both were delicious!

I stayed and watched the Ragin' Asian Women Taiko drummers and a steel-pan band. I didn't bring my own drum along this year, but I do plan to return to the drum circles this summer.

Then I came home and napped ( and completely slept through a pretty spectacular thunderstorm!)

Yay! Summer!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Day 269

Veering off topic a bit today into the realm of Calorie Restriction.

I just finished the book 'The CR Way' by Paul McGlothin and Meredith Averill, two big names in the Calorie Restriction community.

I bought my own copy of the book because it has recipes! (the thought of all of those CR-friendly recipes really quickened my pulse!). It's a terrific book, very readable, although I think it's better suited for someone who has already read The Longevity Diet by Delaney/Walford (in order to learn the basics about Calorie Restriction). My one quibble with this book is also the thing I like about it: the emphasis on a particular approach to CR and glucose control. This emphasis can lead the reader to believe that CR is impossible for normal folks (it's not; there are many, many ways to do CR), but as someone who's been dabbling in CR for over a year, it's very compelling.

As part of my 'bootcamp approach' to alleviate my post-heartache-blues, I've been getting up at 5 a.m. again and, per the CR Way, eating a 'teaser meal' before my asana practice. My teaser meal is 50 grams of lightly steamed carrots and a half-teaspoon of cod liver oil, along with a cup of hot water w/ lemon juice.

Okay, I know some of you out there are rolling your eyes, but keep in mind: I don't normally eat sugar, so carrots taste like a dessert these days and I actually like the cod liver oil (it's lemon flavoured!).

I think this has made a real difference in my morning yoga practice. The teaser meal is not a lot of food, but just enough to give me a boost and keep me from feeling famished. The glucose in the meal is supposed to jumpstart the body's metabolism and cause the insulin response to kick in. By doing light exercise afterward, the glucose levels are coaxed down again, but the body is 'warmed up', so to speak, for breakfast, which I eat afterward.

The hardest part about incorporating glucose control into CR is the evening fast, which sounds like such a great idea in theory but it's tough to do. I'm already accustomed to eating supper in the mid-afternoon because I so often teach classes in the evening, but I'm also used to snacks. The CR Way recommends that you eat your supper early (as early as 1 p.m.) and eat nothing else until the next morning. This is a 16 -18 hour fast. I never seem to make it - I almost always cave in and eat a snack in the early evening.

I think I will eventually arrive at a compromise that is suitable to my lifestyle. I like the idea of the fast, but because I'm very active, I think my body needs some calories in the evening - maybe some dried fruits and a few nuts.

Interestingly, this approach to diet is very similar to that of Ashtanga teacher Kino McGregor, who limits her evening food intake in preparation for early morning practice (per this excellent summary from Arturo).

On a related note, I'm continuing to cut sugar out of my diet. My sugar consumption is now limited to one day per week (a few cookies on Sunday). I eat small amounts of fruit-sweetened foods and sugar-free hard candies and I'm gradually cutting back on these. I'm investigating stevia for sweetening my herbal tea. I do have cravings, but I find that I'm able to control them by eating dried fruit a couple times a day. The cravings are most unbearable, of course, during my monthly Ladies' Holiday. ;-) I'm not sure how to handle that!

Practice was great today. I felt strong and clear-headed. The pick-ups are coming along nicely. Every so often, I'll pick up and feel like I'm really strong. Some of the soreness in my triceps is dissipating. Backbends were not great today, but Sirsasana felt good and strong. I held Uth Plutih for 5 solid counts.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Day 268

Today was a better day. Backbends were good, hamstrings were open, arms were VERY tired but I was able to get my feet off the ground on my pick ups nearly every time.

I'm actually pleased to feel the soreness in my arms. It's the feeling of progress!

So, I drink green tea every morning. This may not sound likes it's related to Ashtanga, but it *is* related to the meme I've been tagged on, by the lovely YogaMum. I usually don't do memes but I'm feeling at a bit of a loss today about what to write, so the timing is good.

And all of you will get a rare glimpse into my elusive personal life (yes! I do have one!)

I'm not going to post the rules of the meme because I hate pointless rules. There are no rules.

What were you doing five years ago?
I was training my puppy and working in a friend's new art gallery in a fancy schmancy historic district of the city. I had just left my corporate job and was doing daily yoga study with my teachers at a wonderful neighbourhood studio (which is now gone, run into the ground by a careless owner). I had already applied to and been accepted into a very well-regarded and competitive Yoga Teacher Training, which would start in the fall.

What are five things on your to-do list for today?
1) Laundry (didn't do)
2) Groom/clip/bath dog (didn't do)
3) Class prep for Friday youth class (done!)
4) Catch up on email (done!)
5) Ask cute redhead out on date (done!)

What are five snacks you enjoy?
1) Yogurt covered almonds
2) Carob covered almonds
3) Honey dates
4) Dried apricots
5) Walnuts (especially in combination with any type of dried fruit)

What are five things you would do if you were a billionaire?
1) Put enough money into savings and investments that I would never need to worry about money again.
2) Buy a house in my uber-expensive neighbourhood here in the city.
3) Create educational funds for all of my nieces and nephews
4) Create a scholarship fund for my youth yoga students
5) Open up a yoga studio

What are five of your bad habits?
1) Worrying about things that are completely outside my control
2) Chewing on my fingers when I'm nervous
3) Giving in to sugar cravings
4) Spending too much time on my computer
5) Procrastinating

What are five places where you have lived?
(Note: there are FAR more than 5)
1) Illinois
2) Colorado
3) California
4) Hawaii
5) Ontario

What are five jobs you’ve had?
1) Band Instrument Repair Technician (dent-work was my specialty!)
2) Jazz Musician (electric bass guitar - no joke!)
3) Professional Field Archaeologist (I have an MA in archaeology)
4) National IT Manager for a Big Evil Transnational Corporation (great money, but soul-sucking as hell)
5) Yoga Teacher/small business owner

Five people I tag (I hate tagging specific people too, so instead...):
1) Anyone who listens to Maddona
2) Anyone who likes to eat figs
3) Anyone who sleeps in the buff
4) Anyone who thinks that Celine Dion may actually be the anti-christ
5) Anyone whose middle name is 'Ann'

If you do the meme, please leave a comment and I'll go to your blog and read it. Because it's all about the sharing, ya know?! ;-)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Day 267

And life goes on.

In my last post, I was too busy naval-gazing and feeling sorry for myself to mention my newest project: pick-ups.

No, no! Not pick-up lines! (though I'm working on those too - nothing like dating to keep the ol' mad skillz fresh).

I mean pick ups as in rooting my little hands into the floor and lifting my body up off of it. Pick-ups as in eventually swinging my legs back into a true, honest-to-goodness jump back.

I'm SO not there yet.

I was totally inspired by this post about jump-throughs from the amazing Elise (of Mysore Musings), who makes it look so easy. I'm such a sucker for a good Yoga YouTube moment. I watched her video of 'life ups' (Part III, in her post) over and over again. Then I tried to do what she was doing. Over and over again. Thanks, Elise! Now my triceps hurt. ;-)

Seriously! My triceps *hurt*. This is great news!!! I haven't had this intensity of arm-and-shoulder-OMG-what-did-you-do-to-me pain since last year when I first started this whole Ashtanga project (and did multiple Chaturangas for the first time).

Ouch. That means that whatever it is I'm doing, it's making me stronger. All is coming, baby! ;-)

So here's my plan (because if you've been reading me for very long, you know I'm a planner).

Phase 1 (started on Monday): Baby pick ups in every applicable vinyasa, folding knees to chest and just trying to get my feet off the floor (I can actually do this about 75% of the time). Uth Plutih for 5 counts. When I can lift my feet each time and feel strong, move on to Phase 2...

Phase 2: Pick ups and swing back and forth a bit in every applicable vinyasa. Gradually work my way up to Uth Plutih for 10 counts.

Phase 3: Pick ups and swing back, knees to the floor at first into a modified jump back. Gradually work my way up to Uth Plutih for 15 counts.

Phase 4: Pick ups, swing back into a real jump back.

Isn't this a great plan? Well, I think it is. It's a great plan because I really need a good project to distract me from the sad reality of how very, very tamas I'm feeling these days. Also, it's June, right? Why is it so cold? And backbends were terrible today. My arms were tired in Sirsasana...and...

Whine, whine, whine...

Monday, June 2, 2008

Day 266

I really, really needed those four days off.

It was a rollercoaster weekend, filled with many long walks, some fun times with friends, a tonne of heartbreak and more chocolate than is probably good for me.

I came back to the mat this morning full of gratitude for this practice. It fills me, it sustains me. It reminds me of why I'm here, why I hope, why I keep my heart open when every instinct tells me to shut down.

After Savasana, I wiped away my tears, gathered the broken pieces of my heart together and stood up to move on.

One foot in front of the other. Baby steps.

Tomorrow: Moon Day. Time to rest. After that, more practice. All is coming.