Thursday, August 28, 2008

Day 317

Okay, I'm back. Ladies Holiday hit me like a tonne of bricks this month. I was out of commission for a full three days and needed one day extra to recover (that never happens). I hit the mat at 5:30 this morning and it felt good to stretch.

I'm still doing the short form. My Grand Plan to do a longer practice this week never materialised. Maybe this weekend...or maybe not. I have a feeling I'll get my full practice back when I leave this job.

Just three more weeks...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Day 316

I had an interesting practice today - I didn't practice at the apartment. Instead, I practised at my partner's house. I can't remember the last time I practised in a different space. It might have been on the beach during my camping trip last year.
I woke on my own at 5:30 a.m., tottered sleepily down the hall to the front room, where my old Maha mat was already unrolled. With minimal fuss, I did my practice (at that time of morning, I'm generally too sleepy to stall). I like to face east, so I found a way to do that and I found a wall to steady myself against for Utthita Hasta Padangustasana and Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana (since my balance is still wonky). The room was warm, but there's a door I can open if I need some air.
As I was finishing up, I happened to glance out the door where I could see the dog on a step, waiting for me to finish. I invited her in as I did my last few poses, then I 'took rest' while cuddling with the dog.
I'm housesitting for the next week, so I'll be practising in this yoga space for the next several days. I've never had a separate yoga space to practise in, so it should be interesting. I'm also hoping to start expanding my practise back into the full primary series. I figure this is a nice opportunity to focus on my practice, since work is slow-er.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Day 315

I rolled out of bed at 5:30 a.m. into a very enjoyable practice. Sweaty, calming, lit by a pink sky. I wasn't sure if I would actually do my practice - my life is shifting and expanding. I'm seeing someone and that someone stayed over last night. But somehow, it just felt right. So I got up, quietly unrolled my mat and did it.

And it was fine. One more puzzle piece gently settling into place in this new routine. I was worried that in my new life of 'we' and 'us' there might not be space for my yoga practice, but there is, and it feels better than ever.

This is turning out to be my best year, my best summer!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Day 314

Yesterday morning, practice simply didn't happen. When I awoke, I realised that it just wasn't practical, so I let it go.
I had a wonderful weekend with my new friend. :-) We happily spent our days awash in a happy daze of domesticity: walking the dog, talking to neighbours, preparing meals together, going out for brunch (and savouring a fabulous mushroom risotto at a sidewalk cafe in Little Italy).
We made a terrific team mowing the lawn and doing yardwork. Two people can accomplish four times as much as one - and it was so much fun because we really enjoy each other's company.
This morning, it was really and truly back to reality. I rolled out of bed onto my mat at 5:30 a.m. and did my practice. Practice is easy when it's routine - it's when it's not routine that it all falls apart.
I think I need to start forming new routines - ones that incorporate this new life I'm building. All of the (mostly positive) changes I've experienced this summer are forcing me to fit my practice into brand new contexts. The shoulder injury continues to demand that I modify my sequence. My two-month contract introduced a time-squeeze. My new relationship is pulling my energies in different directions.
I believe this change is all normal and wonderful and it's a brilliant segue into my last 50 days of the Primary Series, as I begin to explore how Ashtanga will be part of my life moving forward.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Day 313

I had an ordinary, kind of wonderful practice this morning and that's saying a lot, considering that it was 4:00 a.m. when I stepped on the mat.
I did the short form, but I added Mari B just because I miss it and I did Urdhva Dhanurasana because I sometimes feel like I'm not 'pushing my edge' enough in my practice and backbends always do that for me.
My shoulder felt just a tiny bit tender.
Yes, I know it's a moon day but I really wanted to take the weekend off, so that's what I'm going to do: no yoga until Monday. I'm ready to be a sloth!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Day 312

I've developed a fabulous skill over these busy weeks: I can roll right out of bed and onto the mat and start my practice. From stillness to buzzing activity in less than 30 seconds. And it doesn't stop for the rest of the day. Last night after a full day at my office job, I taught an evening yoga class, biked home, briefly phoned the Girlfriend and went to sleep. I got 9.5 hours of rest and I really, really needed it.

Of course, now that I'm caught up on sleep, I'm behind on everything else. I've stumbled upon a great new CR strategy: It's called "Too tired and busy to eat supper". My lunches and snacks have been very strong on the nutrition side so I can get away with this. And if I'm sleeping, I'm not mindlessly snacking. Not preparing an elaborate supper frees up time to catch up on other things. I make up for my culinary laziness on Tuesdays, when the Girlfriend comes over for supper. This week, we had sushi.

Life is Beautiful

Practice this morning was the short form. I know, I know, I said I was going back to a full practice, but for now, this is what I can do. Yoga isn't the only part of my life that is being neglected. The apartment hasn't been cleaned, the laundry needs to be done, the fridge needs to be cleaned out.

I only have the energy to feel guilty about one thing at a time and today it was this blog - I've fallen behind on my entries. Rest assured, I'm still practising, albeit abbreviated and distracted and often exhausted.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Day 311

I reluctantly rolled out of bed at 5:30 and onto the mat this morning. I did the short form again and again, my shoulder is feeling sore. It still bothers me at night and first thing in the morning. Yoga does help and this morning, I laid on top of two tennis balls. It felt simultaneously horrible and terrific. I could feel the muscles along my spine twitching as they released. My poor erector muscles...I have no idea what I did to them.

I ate a healthy lunch and supper yesterday, but I wasn't hungry for either. I felt like a snake who had swallowed a mouse and was waiting for it to digest. Today, I finally got my appetite back, though I wasn't famished. The Buddha Belly is receeding. I really, really don't like feeling so swollen and I could observe the impact this has on my energy levels. This is a great inspiration to avoid the junk food. I had an opportunity to grab some yoghurt-covered almonds while I was at the store this evening and I happily passed them right by. I'm really feeling keen for my greens and other healthy fare.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Day 310

I felt overstuffed and very round today in my practice. It didn't feel very good, but at least I practised.

Last night, we capped off our weekend of decadence with a trip to my favourite low-brow Mexican restaurant, Sneaky Dee's. There was guacomole, chips and a humungous veggie burrito to plow through. This is one of my favourite things to eat in the city (their veggie fajitas are also good). Afterward, we shared a strawberry-and-vanilla-ice-cream crepe at the Sicilian Sidewalk Cafe in Little Italy.

Then I rolled home in the wee hours.

I really, really need to get back to CR and my healthy eating habits this coming week. Although I greatly enjoyed my weekend of excessive dining and sloth, I'm not feeling very good today.

I don't think this Buddha Belly is going to make me any more Buddha-like in my outlook ;-)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Day 309

I was a bad Ashtangi yesterday and skipped my practice. I was out late the night before attending a film festival in a nearby city with my girlfriend. It was lots of fun (the reception was fabulous - two words: sushi. buffet). Since I didn't get to sleep until after 1, I ended up with less than four hours of sleep.

I numbly stumbled through my day and fell into a deep, dreamful sleep on the shuttle ride home. Then I slept some more on the subway. Then some more at home, nearly sleeping through our 8:30 dinner reservation at Bangkok Garden, a poncy Thai place downtown. A friend from San Francisco was in town visiting and we had a fun night.

The food was absolutely spectacular! We ordered a variety of appetizers and entrees. The vegetable soup was just mediocre, but everything else was fresh, flavourful and decadent. Eggplant stirfry, red thai curry, tradional pad thai and a wonderful tofu dish. There was coconut ice cream for dessert and to decadent to the decadence, we went to a cafe in my neighbourhood for tea and chocolate mousse cake. A CR night, it was not. But it was lovely!

True confession: I think I've mentioned this before, but I'm technically a pescatarian these days; I take cod liver oil as a supplement and occasionally eat fish and seafood. I've gradually started adding more fish to my diet - often putting wild-caught smoked salmon in my maki rolls. But I adore scallops and last night, I ate them for the first time in 17 years. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.

Practice this morning was heavy. I practised at the gym, after teaching a class. I did the short form because my shoulder is bothering me again. And also because my life feels too full these days. I'm struggling not to react with stress to all of the various demands being placed on me by the new roles in my life.

I'm absolutely not complaining, though. Life is good!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Day 308

This morning, I did the Primary Series up to Navasana without skipping any poses. I think I'll be stopping at this point for a few days, as my body adjusts to a more intense practice. It felt good. I can't bind to wrist in Mari D anymore, but everything else was the same. Halasana and shoulderstand were dodgy. The muscles in my back feel very short these days. I hope I'm able to get this part of my practice back - it's frustrating!

My girlfriend listened patiently while I yammered on about my yoga practice last night - afterward, I realised that most of it probably went over her head. But she's very supportive of my practice.

All of the quirks that I thought might difficult in the context of a relationship have turned out to be non-issues. She's not bothered by my yoga or my practice of CRON. She appreciates that I can be flexible with both. So far, I've managed to maintain CR, even with our frequent meals out at restaurants. Earlier in the week, she came over for supper and I served a vegetarian, CR friendly meal. (she's astounded by the amount of food that I consume; I wasn't aware my salads are so huge!). I guess I'm not so weird after all!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Day 307

I skipped practise this morning in favour of sleeping in, but promised myself that I would spend some time on my mat in the evening, after teaching a class, walking the dog, making my lunch for tomorrow and the kazillion other things I need to do. But I did it and it was fantastic!

My shoulder has been feeling better and tonight, I added a bunch of 'problem poses' back into the short form, including UD, shoulderstand and headstand. It felt magical to do backbends again! (I'm sure I'll get over it...) I even did a handstand. I'm relieved that I haven't lost my abilities in these poses. My backbend probably needs some work, but I was able to hop/push up into handstand, lift my legs into headstand. I've lost Urdhva Padmasana, though.

It's been so long since I did the Primary Series proper that I'm actually hungry for it. I wonder how much of my lethargy and weight gain is due to not doing a proper practice. All I know is that I haven't felt 'right' since I stopped.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Day 306

Although I'm grateful for the opportunity to work this summer, I'm feeling a bit overscheduled. Last night I went to bed late, so I slept in a bit this morning to compensate. As a result, I didn't have time to go for a long walk and I just barely squeezed in my practice. Breakfast was rushed. I hate feeling rushed.

I have a lot on my plate these days. I'm still teaching three classes each week and the commute to this contract makes for a long workday. My social life has blossomed, both with dating and spending time with good friends.

My shoulder felt crampy and weird this morning. For days, I'll feel better then I'll wake up in the morning and it suddenly feels worse. No rhyme or reason. I don't get it.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Day 305

I enjoyed a quiet morning around home, took time for a leisurely practice then ate my breakfast on the balcony and took the dog out for a long walk. Today is the 'civic holiday' here in Canada. In Ontario, it's Simcoe Day, named after Lord Simcoe. I'm very grateful to Lord Simcoe for the day off!

In the afternoon, I met up with my new sweetheart for a picnic in my favourite park (it's her favourite park too!) and a lot of lazing around. I'm feeling deeply relaxed and totally not ready for the week to start tomorrow.

I'm still doing the short form and I'm really beginning to miss the full primary series, especially the inversions. I nicked a couple of tennis balls from a club I work at and I've been laying over those in Savasana, gradually rolling the balls down my back on either side of my spine to massage the erector muscles, which I suspect are the root cause of my ongoing 'shoulder problem.'

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Day 304

I got a quick practise in this morning before heading off to the market and then teaching my Saturday class. I really didn't feel like doing yoga today, but I suspect that I won't be practising tomorrow morning because I'll likely be out late tonight (enjoying a sushi dinner with the sweet woman I'm seeing - yes, it's going well).

I felt very aware of my breath during my practice and it made me realise how many things I've let slide since my shoulder problems and switching to the short form. I haven't been very focused on Ujjayi breathing, haven't been engaging the bandhas and it really shows in my practice. Everything feels floppy and unfocused. I need to change this.
No practice tomorrow morning. I'm heading out to 'the country' with friends for a beach picnic, swimming and kayaking. It's a holiday weekend here. I'm all giddy with joy because I don't have to go to work on Monday.