Monday, July 28, 2008

Day 303

I did a quick practice this morning, fully aware of the internal churning that always precedes my Ladies' Holiday. A few hours later, it started.

This is actually great timing; an Ashtanga vacation. I'll have three days off, then the Moon Day (which I'm observing on Friday), then the Saturday. I intend to do some gentle Hatha Yoga during this time to continue to stretch my shoulder. It has been feeling much better over the past few days.

I'm really looking forward to sleeping in for a few days!

I'll be back on Sunday.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Day 302

So much for taking Saturdays off instead of Sundays. I just didn’t feel like practising yesterday. To do so would have put a rush on my weekly trip to the farmer's market and after a week of rushing around, I was craving downtime. So I practised this morning (Sunday) instead.

I had a good practice - very slowly and mindfully meandered through the short form. Today's theme was breath. I felt very light and soft.

I went out on a fabulous date on Friday - this was one that I actually looked forward to, since it was with someone I had met in 'real life', rather than online. She treated me to a scrumptious meal at this incredible café, we took a walk down through the city, then caught funky art film. It was a great night. She doesn't seem fazed by my early-morning Ashtanga schedule (though she was curious what past girlfriends thought of it) or my practice of CR.

We're meeting up again today for bicycling and the beach.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Day 301

Yesterday evening was less than optimal.
I decided to walk home from the shuttle-drop, stopped by Whole Food$, was treated rudely by a cashier, then insult was added to injury when the skies opened up as soon as I continued my walk home. I was drenched.  The protein bars I bought on sale turned out to have deceptive packaging: I bought them because they were touted to have150 calories per serving, but one bar actually constitutes *three* servings (making them next to useless for someone on CR). I'd take them back, except I had already opened them to split them in half for my snacks next week.  They're now in the freezer, to be eaten 'someday' or foisted on my Non-CR friends (they're actually quite yummy, the bars, not my friends :D ).
Deterred by dark skies and torrential rains, I sent out an email to cancel the yoga class I teach in the park.  30 minutes later, it *completely* cleared up, sunny, beautiful, sparkly, despite a forecast for rain all evening. *headdesk* This compounded my feelings of overwhelmed frustration and I didn't even enjoy my 'time off'.  Instead, I phoned Whole Food$ to complain about the rude cashier (they promised to investigate and offered me a gift card).  Then Bell Canada phoned about a rate hike on my DSL. *argh*  I spent the next half-hour doing battle with Customer Service.  Then I cut my hair (yes, I cut my own hair) so I'd have a feeling of accomplishing *something* positive.  And I went to bed early.
Even glass-half-full people have the occasional rough day.
And that concludes the kvetch portion of this post.  Now for the yoga installment:
Mornings are so much easier when I get enough sleep.  That's my goal for next week: Enough sleep.
I think it's debatable whether my practice lately even qualifies as 'Ashtanga'.  I still do the sun salutations and vinyasa between poses, but this week, I dropped all jumps from my vinyasas.  This is a ploy to rest my shoulder and I think it's working. I'm also doing a routine of neck, shoulder and upper back stretches that I put together for myself, based on my knowledge of anatomy and similar problems I've seen with my students.  Results so far?  My shoulder is feeling much better. Nights are usually the worst when everything tightens up, but I really didn't notice it very much last night so I'm optimistic.
I'm also enjoying my practices a lot more.  Perhaps it's the sleep, perhaps it's the lack of expectation, but something has shifted.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Day 300

Woo hoo! It's Day 300!

I didn't practice yesterday. The sad truth is, I haven't been getting enough sleep. With my existing sleep deficit from the camping trip last weekend, I was growing deeply exhausted as the week progressed. Yesterday, I woke up at my usual time and realised that I just couldn't do it. I went back to sleep.

So last night, I went to bed early. Since I already go to bed early by most people's standards, it felt silly turning in even earlier (it was still light out). But I managed to get to sleep, then I woke up in the middle of the night thinking it was time to get up (because I had been sleeping for about 5 hours already). But I had a good night of sleep and I'm feeling better this morning.

I had a low key practice this morning. I've scaled back to the original 'short form' and added a series of neck and shoulder stretches to my routine. They really seemed to help . I'll do this for a few days and see how it works for me.

I'm struggling to maintain my CR while working this office contract. While I made a vow to only eat food I bring (and not to spend a penny at the variety of junk food vendors on site), there's something about sitting at a desk for hours on end that makes me *hungry*, actually physically famished. I know it's not the tremendous energy expenditure (though perhaps it is, just from the stress. ug.).

In reviewing my food diary over the past week, I discovered that I had forgotten to add my lunchtime samosa into my calculations *oops*, so I was eating about 200 more calories than I thought. I know this doesn't sound like a lot, but it does explain why I've *gained* weight this week when I was hoping to shed a couple of pounds.

For the next week, I'll try to stick to a weight loss level of CR. My goal for the moment is to lose 2lbs. Then I'll re-evaluate and see how I feel.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Day 299

My shoulder is still bothering me. I can do plow and a very weak shoulderstand, but usually not in the morning. I don't know if my shoulderstand is crooked because I'm out of practice or because of the tightness in my shoulder. It's all a big mystery and one that will not likely be solved by traditional medicine, but rather by a trip to the chiro or an osteopath. I want my massage therapist to have a look and nudge me in the right direction.

I hate body-drama.

The new contract is okay. It certainly is different. I've been thrown to the sharks and they're not lawyers: I'm working in health care rather than legal. Surprisingly, I'm doing fine with the terminology. It's the procedures that are driving me nuts. No civil procedure here, kids. It's all about different coloured papers, files with funny names and letters written in illegible longhand full of arcane terminology that has me scrambling for Google. And no one bothered to train me. I forgot to mention that part: I've been flying by the seat of my pants. When I'm nervous, I chew my fingers to bits. Ugly.

On the other hand, I'm making happy fistfuls of money which I will eventually put in my savings account. After I've finished buying clothes and DVDs, that is! ;-)

Anyways, I woke up at 4 a.m. like a good little ashtangi and did my modified practice. I love the way I sweat buckets even in the cool morning air. I love the candles on my altar. I love the way the practice flows and there is nothing to distract me from it at that early hour. I just hate getting up for it.

This evening, I taught a class and it was such a relief to get back to teaching yoga: Greeting the students, reading the room, breathing, counting, adjusting, suggesting, soothing. Afterward, I felt better.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Day 298

The camping trip was really a mixed bag. By Thursday night I was freaking out because nothing was packed, I need to go grocery shopping and I hadn't prepared any food. I woke up in the wee hours on Friday to pack and shop for food. On a whim, I headed to Canadian Tire (it's like an 'everything store') to buy a new tent and a fancy schmancy air mattress (the latter item absolutely *transformed* my camping experience; I've never slept so well in a tent). Yes, the era of the 1-man 'pup tent' has ended. I knew that the pup tent wasn't waterproof and rain was forecast.

Sure enough, Friday afternoon, we arrived in a rainstorm. I managed to get my new (roomy! fabulous!) dome tent up in a lull before the torrential downpour resumed. In another lull, we put a tarp up and that's where we ate supper: under the tarp. But Saturday dawned sunny and fabulous and stayed that way all day, despite an 80% forecast of rain. I went for a long hike, swung in my hammock and visited with friends.

Saturday night? Rain. Sunday morning? More rain. Breaking down camp in the downpour was less than fun and we left early, missing out on a full day of potential outdoor activity (hiking! canoeing! hammock-swinging!), had the weather been better.

Sunday night, my balcony was covered - in fact, it's still covered - with soaking wet, muddy camping equipment. And now I have no time to pack it up. Egad. I may get to it on Wednesday.

As for yoga, Friday was a moon day, Saturday was my day off. Sunday? An army of Ashtanga Enforcers could not have dragged me to my mat yesterday. I was numb with exhaustion and slept all afternoon and into the evening.

This morning, I was on the mat by 4:15, doing the short form - the very short form since I scaled back this morning. I'm unhappy with my shoulder, with my practice, with my weight (I've put on at least 5 lbs).

Alas, I really have no time to do anything about it. So I'm doing what I can.

My new mantra: “I will do my best”

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Day 297

Woke up to pouring rain and thunder this morning. The dog whining outside the door of the closet to be 'let in' so she could hide away. Practice was slow, sluggish and I didn't go for my walk. I ended up leaving for work a bit early, which was handy, since I now have permission to shift to a slightly earlier schedule. I still teach in the evenings, so this gives me a bit of breathing room.

I took the dog for a quick walk around the neighbourhood before heading off to teach a class. I noticed that my favourite used bookstore is shut down. The owner was a small, strange man with a great love of the Harry Potter books. I bought all of mine from his store, including the very last book, last summer. I stopped by prior to my camping trip to see if he would cut me a break and give it to me a day early, but he was true to the hype: he made me wait until the book was officially released.

This is a photo of his cat, Emma, lounging in the window of his first store. I'll miss him, the cat, the memories and the musty, fusty atmosphere of this disorganised but beloved store.

Emma and The Bookman

Tomorrow: Moonday
This weekend: The annual camping trip in the Kawarthas. Rain is forecast - fooey! Send some drysunnyweather energy my way!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Day 296 careful what you wish for.

Last week, I was twiddling my thumbs and bored out of my mind. This week, I'm in full freak-out mode because everything is happening at once. I feel like one of those cartoon characters on a speeding treadmill that I can't get off of.

Today, the grim reality of this camping trip that I have done absolutely nothing to plan for struck me full force. Then my ride up to the campground decided that she's too sick to go. Had to arrange another ride. And did I mention that I still haven't bought rope for the hammock and the tarp? Need to go to Canadian Tire for that. The MEC store phoned to let me know that the items I had on order had come in.

Finally, feeling overwhelmed, I left work early and headed downtown to run my errands. And it was fine. Got the rope. Picked up the stuff. Came home and sorted it out. My menu is planned and I have a packing list for the trip. I can do the grocery shopping on Friday morning (we don't leave until the afternoon).


Yoga: Bright and early at 4:30 a.m., I did the short form. This morning was special because I actually got enough sleep for a change. I collapsed in an exhausted heap at 8:30 last night - it finally caught up with me, I guess.

Funny how there's no procrastinating or stalling at this godawfulearly hour. If I dawdle, I'll be late, so I just DO the practice and it's SO not a big deal. It amazes me that it used to be such a drama getting on the mat. No drama these days! I practice and it's done and I go for a walk and it's done and then there's breakfast and I watch Joe climb up the tower into his Crane Pod and then I'm off to work. I actually leave for work earlier than I used to get up.

I guess I just needed a fire lit under my asana.

Prasarita Padottanasana B rejoined the morning line-up. I'll see how that goes, then add another pose back in next week.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Day 295

Yesterday, I overslept a bit because I just couldn't peel myself out of bed. As a result, I was in a rush and I hate being rushed. That thought was enough to get me out of bed this morning quickly and without complaint - I value my morning routine. Right now, my wake-up call is 4:30 a.m. This gives me time to practice, take the dog for a long walk, get cleaned up, eat a leisurely breakfast and get out the door in plenty of time to bike to the pick-up point for the express shuttle.

I'm working at a location north of the city, but there's a shuttle bus that picks up from a downtown satellite office. They have bike racks in a secure area - important because bikes are often stolen in my city. It's a 15 minutes ride to the pick-up point and another 20 on the shuttle. Not too bad, and I can read (or sleep) on the way. I wonder how I'll feel about it in two months?

Practice has been good - really good, considering the big life adjustment I'm making right now. The apartment is dark at that hour of the morning, so I practice by candlelight. I'm gradually adding poses back into the short form I'm working on. A few days ago, I added the revolved standing poses. My balance is really lousy before dawn! ;-) Tomorrow, Prasarita Padottanasana B will reappear. Slowly, but surely.

I need to get more sleep, though. I'm falling asleep at the keyboard and it's only 7:21 p.m.!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Day 294

Up early. Peeled myself reluctantly from my comfy bed. Dark apartment, lit candles and did my practice. Walked the dog. Breakfast eaten while watching Joe The Crane Operator carefully climb up five levels of ladders to his control pod. Public transit to my new job assignment because I didn't yet have an I.D. for the shuttle. Hot, crowded.

New assignment: I was told that I would be floater and start training on reception. But I wasn't there three hours before I was promoted to a higher level administrative position. By the end of the day, I had my own large office with a beautiful view of a nature preserve and a quiet, unpretentious gentleman as my new boss. Wonders never cease. I don't know how I luck out like this, but I do. I wish this synchronicity would carry over into my love life.

Going from all-the-time-in-the-world to no-time-to-think will be an interesting adjustment. The time crunch is tremendous!

But I'm liking it so far.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Day 293

So what's up with all the sore left shoulders in the Cyber Shala these days? I have one. Alfia has one and so does Chitta Vritti. I did a search for 'shoulder injury' on the EZBoard and a bunch of relevant posts came up. Is it all the Chaturanga Dandasana we do?

I didn't take the muscle relaxants last night and woke up in quite a bit of pain. It immediately diminished after I did a few simple stretches. Now, it feels absolutely fine. I guess my shoulder tightens up overnight - I will probably take the muscle relaxants for a while longer, just so my sleep isn't affected.

After I picked up my weekly supply of Samosas at the farmer's market this morning, I went to the studio early and did my own practice before my students arrived. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed practising in this environment - I really love the energy it brought to the room for my class afterward. I did the short form and played around with headstand. I can come up with no problem and hold the pose, but half-bend puts too much pressure on my shoulder. I decided not to do shoulderstand at all today.

I know it's not traditional, but I'm seriously considering moving my 'day off' to Sunday. Since I teach on Saturday, it makes a lot of sense for me to do my practice on this day. Sunday is my routine 'day of rest' in every other respect and it would be nice to have a full day off free of all commitments, yoga included.

After class today, I did something very fun and, for me, out of the ordinary: I went shopping for clothes. I lost quite a bit of weight last year and had to replace my 'casual' winter wardrobe. Thanks to a 'skinny phase' I went through a couple of summers ago, I had some shorts and skirts that fit me (well, they're a little too big, but they look okay) for casual wear this summer. But I no longer own any 'work clothes' to wear for my upcoming contract.

So I went to Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), a Canadian outdoor and travel store. The work environment I will be in starting Monday is 'business casual' and I was hoping to find some comfortable, tailored travel clothing. MEC didn't disappoint! I found two pairs of stretchy, breathable slacks, and four shirts.

To round out my summer wardrobe, I bought a new pair of 'camp pants' (Patagonia pants with zip-off legs to create shorts) for my upcoming camping trip. My old camp pants no longer fit me, but I don't have the heart to give them away (I love those pants), so they're stashed away in the closet. I also bought a pair of much-coveted Keen sandals. I've been admiring these all summer and I'm thrilled to finally have a pair!

So I'm all fluttery with the excitement of New! Clothes! and enjoying a quiet afternoon out on the balcony, reading and hanging out with my dog. Perfect weekend so far!


Friday, July 11, 2008

Day 292

If I titled these posts, this one would be called “Manifest”.

All that good energy I sent yesterday apparently found its way to my agency because within hours of 'dedicating my practice' to the agency ladies, one of them phoned me with a possible assignment. It was confirmed this afternoon and I'm now booked to work a two-and-a-half month administrative contract. It's potentially interesting work, pays well and I can bike to the office. I start on Monday. Helllooooo 5:00 a.m. yoga practices. Good-bye free time.

I'm really excited!

I spent the day finishing up the items on my to-do list. cleaning, grocery shopping and prepping food for next week. I was so busy being busy that I actually forgot that I hadn't practised yet. It finally occurred to me as I was doing the dishes. So I took my mat out on the balcony and did my sweet little Short Form. I spontaneously added the Parivritta Trikonasana and Parivritta Parsvakonasana which is a good sign. And I was able to do shoulderstand for the first time this month. Clearly I'm feeling better!

Today, I dedicated my practice to winning the lottery.

Just kidding. But I did keep all of the fruits of my practice for myself, dedicating them to success in my new gig and for good things to manifest over the balance of the summer. I really could use some good mojo.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Day 291

As I practised today, I could definitely feel an energy shift - away from self-judgment and self-pity and towards a more positive focus. As one commenter pointed out, at least I *have* my practice. For all that it's scaled back, I'm still doing far more than I was at this time last year, when I was first starting out in Ashtanga. It's all relative.

And although I'm sticking with my practice, I *am* being cautious and listening to my body. I had 5 days off when this problem first manifested and I found that the break from yoga actually made it much, much worse (which is why I did a light practice last Saturday and will likely do so again tomorrow).

Today, I felt a significant improvement. The pain is less cloying and more like an ordinary soreness. I don't notice it at all unless I turn my head a certain way. I really feel like I'm doing the right thing by working the area gently and maintaining my regular activity levels.

Yesterday I ran errands, today I worked on my to-do list of projects. I cleaned and tidied my clothes closet as I was doing laundry. I also tackled the storage closet, resolving to just do the shelf that needed the most attention. Turns out, it was the only shelf that needed attention. Everything else seems to be in good order.

I did some inner-reorganising as well. At the end of Savasana, when I dedicated the fruits of my practice, I turned the focus back on my own situation. I sent my positive energy and the fruits of my practice to hardworking ladies at my agency, who are working on finding a fabulous placement for me (Yes, Cody, I did this in my underwear! Shhhh! Don't tell them!).

I resolved to have faith that everything will unfold as it should.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Day 290

Today, I didn't even entertain the thought of doing Full Primary. Instead, I resolved to do a slightly beefed-up version of the Swenson short form and to still the voice of my inner-critic. I focused on working very hard at the poses I *am* able to do, while engaging the bandhas and breathing. As a result, it was the best practice I've had in ages and, more importantly, I felt really good about it.

I think on some level, I felt like I was avoiding my practice by opting out of parts of Primary. For now, until this shoulder pain clears up, I think the short form is precisely my speed and exactly what I need to be doing.

I even did a *very* modified version of shoulderstand at the end (the one I teach to my raw beginners in Ashtanga Intro classes) and a long Savasana.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Day 289

Hot, sweaty afternoon practice today and boy, I wasn't happy about it. I slept in this morning, so the afternoon was my only option. It's almost, but not quite, motivation for me to get up earlier. Unfortunately, for various reasons, dawn practices haven't been in the cards this week.

I didn't do the full Primary Series today. To be honest, I haven't really done a truly 'full' Primary Series since the shoulder pain kicked in. For the past few days, the pain has kind of plateaued. I'm not sure what I should do about this. If I go to a doctor I can predict the answer: don't do yoga. But I found that taking a break from my practice only made this worse. I think it's important that I continue to move my body and stretch the area without overdoing it.

Just for today, I did the Swenson short form. I'll see how I feel tonight and re-evaluate tomorrow.

I'm not sure if it's due to my modified practice, or the fact that my work schedule has dwindled, but I've been feeling very frustrated and melancholy lately; a low-energy sort of ennui. This has made if very difficult to get to the mat, though I seem to do it every day, nonetheless. I'm sure a portion of it is related to the unhappy conclusion of my last love interest. I think I'm also feeling (as predicted) 'at loose ends' during my slow months for teaching. While growing up, my father pounded a stringent Protestant work ethic into me, so I just don't feel content sitting around.

And there are some other things - it all seems to accumulate. It's just been an odd month so far, an odd summer. Summer is usually my favourite season, so it's a shame, but I'm hopeful things will turn around soon.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Day 288

Uh oh. *Somebody* woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. I just couldn't coax myself awake; excessive use of the snooze button. I did the full Primary with my many, many modifications. But I did do the Kurmasanas and even took a stab at Garba Pindasana.

My back is feeling much better. I have regained full range of motion in my neck, but something still feels 'blocked' in my left-upper-back, like a sob that is stuck deep in the chest. I just it is to release. It's like my back needs to have an orgasm. Sorry, I know that's definitely a weird analogy, but that's exactly what it feels like.

In Savasana, I fell fast asleep. I *never* do that. Usually, I have trouble settling down in Savasana. I wonder what's up with that?

I was cranky all day. And moody. I felt out of sorts for the rest of the morning, took a long nap in the afternoon (I had too - I literally could not stay awake). Now I still feel groggy but I have things to do so I really need to rally. The whole day just slipped away from me. Time for supper, but I can't conjure up the motivation for it. I wonder if my body is fighting that bug that's going around and the slow-down is a way of forcing me to rest?

This body is such a mystery to me.


The Big Construction Project going on next door to my building has proven to be vastly entertaining during these long, lazy summer days. In the morning, after practice, I eat my breakfast and I watch the crane operator gingerly climb up 5 levels of ladders to the tiny operators booth at the top. His booth has a small air conditioner, but after he gets up there, he strips off his shirt and shoes. I call him Shoeless Joe.

All day, I watch Joe working. Today, as most days, his crane lifts big bowls of wet concrete over to the construction site where other workers carefully spread and dry it.

Right now (as I write this, out on my balcony), I can see that Joe is winding down. He spent the past ten minutes fixing something on his crane. Maybe by the time I get my supper, he'll be gratefully climbing down his five levels of stops to the earth and going home to eat his own supper.

Full circle, or something like that.

Shoeless Joe, the Crane Operator

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Day 287

I woke up early this morning all excited about my day: I had plans with a group of friends to drive out to a conservation area for a beach picnic, kayaking and hiking. But instead, I checked my email and discovered a message from the organiser canceling the entire excursion because she woke up in the night with a sore throat.

So instead of practising yoga, I spent my time on the phone, making sure the friend I had invited didn't get on the subway to travel to my place so we could rendezvous with the carpool.

Seriously, who cancels a relaxing excursion to the country because of a sore throat? And just a few hours before the departure? Six people were suddenly stuck with potluck food and no plans for the day. Yes, I feel bad for my friend, but she often overreacts to small things and I'm certain that this was one of those times.

I finally did my practice - quickly breezed through the Swenson short form with little enthusiasm. By that point, it was later in the morning and I was hungry for breakfast. I felt like my routine had been usurped by all the confusion and I was in a mood. I just didn't engaged with my practice.

In the afternoon, Umbrella Girl and I carried out Plan B: we rode the ferry to the island and hiked around, had a picnic under a big tree and laid around on the beach. In the end, it was good day. Any day that includes rhubarb tarts is a good day. :-D

Shoulder is feeling a few degrees better. I skipped shoulderstand and headstand again. I'm finding that supine twists are soothing and use them to replace problem poses in the series.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Day 286

I did a 'crim' Saturday practice today because I really felt like my body was crying out for it. I woke up this morning in a bit of pain, but practice smoothed out the rough edges and I was actually feeling good by the time I got through the series.

I made all the modifications from yesterday, plus skipped the Kurmasanas and didn't do any kind of closing - just Savasana. No backbends at all.

By the end of practice, I could look over the right and left shoulders without pain, and pain was significantly reduced when looking at my belly-button (as I'm sure you can imagine, this shoulder Snafu has greatly limited my tendency toward naval-gazing...ha, ha, ha! Oh, never mind...).

All in all, I feel better today.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Day 285

I was up early like a good little Ashtanga trooper and on the mat by 5:30 a.m. After practice, I went for my walk. It was novel to have all of my 'essentials' covered by 8 a.m. It's nice - gave me the rest of the day to be a lazy beast. I spent the day on the beach, sunning myself, and riding my bike. Don't have a job yet so might as well live it up.

My upper back/shoulder area is still bugging me. Certain movements cause a dull ache in the area around my left shoulderblade. The mobility in my neck is very limited. There's some pain in axial rotation, a bit when I look to the right, but a lot when I look to the left. Still, it feels at least 60% better than it did yesterday. I'm trying to limit my time on the computer be mindful of the tension in my shoulders.

I'm loathe to admit this bit of personal weirdness in a public forum, but it's likely the cause of my current 'injury'. Here it is: I like to sleep on the couch. I grew up on a sailboat and frequently slept in spaces that were not beds - couches, benches, v-berths and the like. I like to 'lean' into a wall as I sleep and I find limited space comforting. Last month, when I was struggling with some insomnia, I started sleeping on the futon folded up as a couch. It was the only way I could sooth myself to sleep.

Alas, I think this may have triggered the current problems with my back. So I'm sleeping on my futon like a normal person again. I'm massaging heat-rub into my upper back and taking muscle relaxants before I sleep.

I went easy on myself during practice this morning, making modifications in spots. Supta Konasana and Sarvangasana are out of the question, so I sit those out. I've also been modifying the entrance into Ubhaya Padangusthasana and Urdhva Muka Paschimottanasana, then skipping the bridge that I usually do as a substitute for Setu (a modification for my modification, oh my!).

I did backbends and they felt okay, but very shallow.

This can only get better, right?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Days 283 & 284

I don't know what happened to Day 283 - I know that I *did* practice on Friday and I seem to remember that it was lacklustre and uninspiring, as were most of my practices last week. Apparently, Day 283 just wasn't interesting enough to blog about. More obviously, I needed a break.

Fortunately, fate felt my pain and offered me a yoga vacation. Due to a coincidental combination of a Saturday (day off), 'Ladies' Holiday' (three days off) and a Moon Day (yesterday), I had five whole days of rest! This break coincided very serendipitously with Gay Pride celebrations in my city, so I felt free to par-tay, stay out until the wee hours, sleep in every day (and nap in the afternoons) and eat a horrifying array of non-CR-friendly foods. In short, I had a ball.

Funnel Cake is not CR-Friendly
OMG Funnel Cake III

Now it's back to reality, and confronting the consequences of my life of excess. I'm six pounds heavier than I was a month ago (no joke!). I feel weak and awkward in the sun salutations. That little upper back/left shoulderblade problem that was plaguing me a few months ago is back with a fury. My back and neck were so uncomfortable this morning that I couldn’t do Supta Konasana or Shoulderstand. And the plantar facitis in my left foot flared up over the weekend. Good times.

But I'm determined to get back up on the Ashtanga wagon this month. I need to. This slip of self-discipline in my asana practice is seeping into other areas of my life (diet, meditation). So this morning, I was up at 4 - yes, 4 a.m. and I stumbled through the full Primary Series with Sharath's voice leading the way. I went for a walk (I haven't been walking in order to rest my foot). And, as of Monday, I went back on strict Calorie Restriction, a bit scaled back for weight loss (basically, I've cut out all nuts, wheat and sugar for the time being).

After my horrible, absolutely miserable practice this morning, I booked an appointment with Mr. Beefy Hands, my massage therapist. For 45 minutes, he applied his considerable muscle to my wonky upper back. It was pretty ropey. I just crawled out of an epsom salt bath and I'm now sitting out on the balcony and steaming. The massage was fabulous, but my back is still wonky. Only time will tell if this resolves the issue.

For the month of July, early morning practices are the rule. Let's see if I can stick with it.