Saturday, January 31, 2009


Well, sort of the finale - since I actually plan to do this for the rest of the year, it's just a start. I capped off WoYoPracMo (Day 31!) today with a light yoga practice, the little sequence I do when I'm pressed for time.

Today was busy - we spent the morning doing chores around the house, the afternoon brunching with friends and running errands (I'm a bag addict, I bought a new knapsack. I'm stupidly excited about this).

By the time we got home and had supper, I was wiped. I selected one of the many yoga mats that cover the floors of the house. I did 3 Surya Namakara A's, 1 Surya Namaskara B, Utthita Trikonasana, Parsvakonasana, Virabhadrasana I and Virabhadrasana II, then some seated forward bends. This abbreviated yoga practice takes about 15 minutes and covers all the bases.

My experience of WoYoPracMo was much different this year from last. Last year, I was in the midst of doing 365 days of Astanga yoga, so I was very focused on that practice. I did the full Primary Series every day in January and it was a considerable challenge. Last year was all about Tapas, Tapas and focus.

This year was more about fitting the practice into my life in a sustainable way, changing my routine to fit different circumstances. When I'm feeling unwell, I do restorative yoga, when I'm overflowing with energy, I do an Astanga practice. If I'm busy, I do what I can.

Last year, I was genuinely relieved when WoYoPracMo ended. I felt like I needed a break from the intensity. This time around, I feel comfortable with having a yoga-shaped-hole in my day, no matter how large or small. The practice is as much a part of my life as brushing my teeth. I find ways to fit it in, even when I don't feel like I have 'extra time'.

I plan to practice yoga (at least 10-15 minutes, but often longer) every day in Feburary. I'm taking this one month at a time!

Friday, January 30, 2009


WoYoPracMo, Day 30.

The Rodney Yee tape can be done as two separate practices, but it doesn't feel like enough that way. I think doing both practices back-to-back would feel like a Rodney Overload. So today, I did the sun salutations and standing poses in full, then started the tape for Part II. It created a solid 45 minute practice and felt really good. I started my laundry before I started, moving it to the dryer at the half-way point. So I'm productive AND flexible. ;-)

I liked the second part of the practice a lot better than the first (although holding downward dog for 2 minutes yesterday was quite novel). I could do without the props in shoulderstand. Yeah, yeah, I know, I used to honestly believe my head would roll off if I wasn't using a blanket in that pose, but Astanga cured me of that. I like my shoulderstands bareback now.

Still, when Rodney asked me to get out my blanket and strap, I shrugged and said “Okay, dude. I'll play.” Honestly? The blanket just felt wrong. Wrong for my back, wrong for my neck. And the chair for Halasana was just annoying. But the strap really got me thinking. I liked how my arms were anchored in place, in the *right* place. So I may integrate that into my practice - time will tell.

I love all standing balances. Love doing them, love teaching them, so Ardha Chandrasana and Virabhadrasana III were a treat. Bakasana is the only pose I really remembered on this tape (from long, long ago, when I first tried it. I was living in the States, so it's definitely ancient history). I remember Bakasana because I couldn't do it. I couldn't even start to do it, or imagine doing it. So it was pretty wild to do Bakasana relatively easily, hold it with Rodney and release to child's pose with a sigh.

'Scales pose'
with blocks: interesting and potentially useful for my Astanga practice. This was done with the feet tucked back, ankles crossed, instead of the feet crossed in front. Both versions would be helpful for jumpbacks.

Overall? Not bad! I would do this one again. It was sufficiently interesting and challenging.

When I finished, it looked like a hurricane had ripped through my apartment. Props everywhere = Iyengar.

Thursday, January 29, 2009


WoYoPracMo, Day 29.

Once again, I've dug deep into the archives of my old Gaim/Living Arts VHS Tape collection, this time stumbling across an old Rodney Yee favourite: Yoga Practice for Strength. Same 90s vibe, same cheesy Zen-ish music in the background, same Iyengar slant. Boy, he looks young! I think this was definitely shot pre-Colleen, back in the Golden Days of Rodney, before infidelity, accusations of diddling with students and the egomania took over.

I never noticed this before, but he talks like his mouth is full of marbles.


Part I (30 minutes) revolved around vinyasa, executed very, very slllloooowly. After so much Astanga practice, this felt like I was practising yoga in a tub of jello. Even the Patricia Walden video moved a bit more briskly. Two standing poses were interspersed in the third vinyasa sequence: Utthita Trikonasana and Parsvakonasana. The holds were very long on these, 10+ breaths on each side. I can see why it's called Yoga Practice for Strength - these long holds definitely worked the muscles in the legs.

I found this practice very, very easy. I have high hopes for Part II, which covers some inversions and arm balances (I clearly remember having an eye-rolling moment when I tried this tape in the early days of my yoga practice). Should be fun!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


WoYoPracMo, Day 28.

I spent most of the day in front of my computer, updating my professional website with a new logo and new layout. I'm pretty excited about it! It was a good day to stay inside, since it was snowing heaveily for most of the afternoon. I half-expected my evening class to cancel, but it didn't. Only two students showed up to my Youth and Hatha classes, but all 10 registrants showed up to my Astanga class. They're diehards!

Before I battled the elements, I did a very quick yoga practice at home. Just a few sun salutations, standing poses and seated forward bends - 15 minutes. Pre-warmed up for the weather, I put on my jacket, my down coat, my extra-thick toque, my thinsulate-enhanced ski gloves, Sorrels and a thick, long blue scarf and headed out into the storm.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


WoYoPracMo, Day 27.

This was one of those days when I simply had to unroll the mat and force myself to do the first few sun salutations. I did a slightly truncated (45 minute) version of the 'healthy back' class I'll be teaching all week. I wanted to have one more go of it so I would have some good pointers to pass on to students in class.

I really worked Shalabasana, focusing on setting the foundation in the pose (ouch, my pelvic heads). If the foundation is set first (root the pelvis into the floor) the lift in the chest flows very naturally from the belly button to the sternum. The arms are the last thing to float up, very lightly with little effort. Then the legs can come up using the strength of the back.

This is a tricky pose because I want to strengthen the back without straining it. I never hold for more than five breaths. After a brief rest in Crocodile pose, I repeat it.

I also worked on Bekasana. I've never noticed this before, but I can bring my heels closer to the floor when my chest is closer to the floor (not lifted). This makes sense. For an advanced practitioner who is already very open in the quadraceps, this would probably be a safe means to deepen the stretch. I'm not there yet.

Monday, January 26, 2009


WoYoPracMo, Day 26.

I went skating today on the natural rink in my neighbourhood park. I don't remember using the park rink much last year. The weather was very wonky, with periods of warmish weather and rain and I guess the ice never took. This year, we've been 'blessed' with a long stretch of much colder weather.

The rink was flooded for the first time last week, but I didn't get around to skating on it until this past weekend. It's really nice to have a rink nearby and even better to be able to skate with my stick and puck. It gives me the chance to practice stick handling while skating. It was such a gorgeous day to be outside. It was very cold (-10C), but bright and sunny. I soaked up the sunshine and fresh air and felt a little less stir-crazy after.

It's been a few days since I did anything Astanga, so this evening I did the Swenson short form of the primary series. I have to admit, the short form is starting to feel too easy. I should really be doing a half-primary instead and I'll probably opt to do that next time. I really love that short form, though. It's compact and flowing and it hits all the bases.

Sunday, January 25, 2009


WoYoPracMo, Day 25.

There's always one day each week when my practice gets delayed and delayed again until I find myself on a yoga mat in my pyjamas. This was one of those days.

I slept in (Saturday was a late night with two 40th birthday parties to attend - my friends are getting OLD!) and ended up lazing around under the covers until early afternoon. In the afternoon, I headed to the rink for a skate.

The evening was spent watching documentaries, munching on a big salad, eating pizza.

By that time, it was already 10 p.m., and I thought “Uh oh. Yoga”.

So I did a simple restorative practice of forward bends and hip openers. It was short and sweet.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


WoYoPracMo, Day 24.

Today, I decided to do something I haven't had the opportunity to do in the past year (due to the Astanga thing): I went through one of my own sequences from start to finish. I used to do this regularly, just to check out the poses and make sure the flow was working as it should.

This summer, I completely restructured my fall/winter/spring session plans, creating 26 brand new sequences. These classes are Classical Hatha Yoga, so each class is different, based on a theme. This coming week, the theme is 'Building a Better Back, Part II'. The class includes sun salutations, a long vinyasa stretch of standing poses and then some floor poses that picked up the 'back' theme, including Navasana, Shalabasana, Bekasana and Setu Bandha Sarvangasana along with some back releasing postures like Parighasana and a supine twist.

I went through my class and the whole thing took me just under an hour (the sequence is written for an hour-and-a-half; I modify it for shorter classes). I was delighted to note that my own vinyasa sequence had me sweating up a storm! Everything flowed well and I genuinely enjoyed the class. It was really fun. I'll probably try to do it once more before I start teaching it next week.

Friday, January 23, 2009


WoYoPracMo, Day 23.

I decided to finish up the 'Yoga for Flexibility' video today. The second practice on the tape is 30 minutes of forward bends. The first part of the practice is vinyasa. I tried not to get too excited about this because, after all, it's Iyengar and vinyasa probably meant long holds. Well, I was wrong. The vinyasa portion of the practice was a joy. No pose was held for more than a couple breaths. The vinyasa even repeated which gave me a chance to flow more smoothly through it, once familiar with the sequence.

The forward bends were typical: Janu Sirsasana, Paschimottanasana, Krounchasana and Supta Padangustasana. Still, that's a lot of forward bending with the long holds and nothing else on the menu. I wish I was more warmed up to really benefit from the hamstring lengthening (the vinyasa just didn't do it for me in terms of a warm up). Maybe a few sun salutations and standing poses would have lit my fires a bit more.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


WoYoPracMo, Day 22.

One of the things I love about Astanga is that it just is what it is - it's a sequence. When I don't feel like messing around with a video or DVD, or figuring out what I want to do on the mat, Astanga comes through for me. I know the Primary Series by heart - all I need to do is unroll a mat and get to it.

So that's what I did today. I had 40 minutes to spare in the afternoon (busy teaching day, I was between classes). So I unrolled the mat and jumped right into sun salutations. Sometimes doing a daily yoga practice reminds me of jumping in a cold lake. You can't just put your toe in and test things out because you'll never get in. Best to just jump all at once.

I had a good practice. After the backbending practice I did yesterday, my legs felt very tired, but I didn't notice anything else out of the ordinary. Today, though, I noticed that my shoulders were a lot more open in the Mari's. That might be due to the 6+ Urdhva Dhanurasanas I did, which I held for approximately 10 years each! *eye roll*

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


WoYoPracMo, Day 21.

Last night, I dug out all of my old Iyengar VHS videos from storage. After a year and a half of doing Astanga, Astanga and nothing-but-Astanga, I was really eager for a change. I bought these videos years ago, when I first started yoga practice in the early 90s. After doing Iyengar teacher Patricia Walden's 'Yoga for Beginners' for a few months, I thought I might be ready to graduate to 'Yoga for Strength' or 'Yoga for Flexibility'. I was wrong. The poses were far too difficult for me. I remember sitting on my mat, watching the backbends sequence and just shaking my head.

I'm still shaking my head a bit, but I was able to do the backbending video with no trouble. Those long holds caused some eye-rolling though. These Iyengar people and their infinite holds! (with all due respect to Patricia, but GEEZ!) I don't mind holding Downward Facing Dog for a few centuries, or even a standing pose likeTriangle, but I draw the line with Urdhva Dhanurasana - five breaths in that one and I'm through!

The video (the first part of 'Yoga for Flexibility' was amusing. The opening advert was for Yoga Journal, back in the good old days before it turned into a fluff magazine. Back then, it was a serious 'journal' and featured Gurus on the front cover. Patricia Walden, a noted Iyengar instructor, led the practice. The whole atmosphere of the tape - set, music, even the unitard Patricia Walden was wearing - screamed 90s! 90s! 90s! Big nostalgia trip!

But it was an enjoyable practice all the same. The backbends went on for about 40 minutes. I was feeling a bit stiff, so I did some sun salutations before I started and peppered a few Surya Namaskara A's throughout the practice. This was easy because there was so much *space* between poses. The standing poses felt good and though the Urdhva Dhanurasanas were plentiful and loooooonnnnnnng, it's really good to focus on backbends.

And change? Change is fun!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Day 365

WoYoPracMo, Day 20.

And it's also Day 365 of my Astanga yoga practice. :-)

To be honest, the day sort of snuck up on me. The original premise of this blog was to practice 365 days of Astanga yoga as an experiment. I didn't like Astanga yoga and had always avoided it. I figured that by doing something I didn't like for 365 days, I would experience some sort of exponential personal growth. I was curious to see if the practice would grow on me (it grew) and if I could make some discernible progress in the series (I definitely progressed).

In the past year-and-a-half, I've been through so many lows, highs, and obstacles. That first summer, I worked hard to build strength and struggled with my tight hips and hamstrings. In the fall, I started to fall in love with the practice and became very dedicated to the full Primary Series as my practice. The hips and hamstrings started to open up. I did the full Primary Series every day in January for WoYoPracMo and felt stronger than ever before. In the spring and summer, I reached a pinnacle of sorts and made huge leaps in my practice, discovering a depth in the poses that I never imagined I would find.

Then it all fell to pieces. An illness in the early fall took the wind out of my sails and decimated my practice. I was on bed rest for a month, and struggled to even do a modified Primary Series when I finally returned to Astanga. I took long breaks between practices and never quite returned to my six-day practice. When I started my practice in earnest again, it felt like I was starting over.

Since then, I've been working my back to a full Primary Series slowly and this month, WoYoPracMo gave me a reason to start practising regularly again. Gradually, the practice has come back to me. I've lost a few poses, but for the most part, I feel strong.

For my 365th day, I was curious to compare my present experience of Astanga to my experience when I first started. So I unrolled my mat, popped the Beryl Bender Birch 'Power Yoga' DVD into the player and did the full Primary with Beryl for old time's sake.

As I moved through the practice, I thought about my first few weeks of Astanga and realised how far I've come. It's a completely different practice for me now. I'm definitely stronger, more flexible and I can do every pose in the series (well, the bind is gone in Supta K, for now, but I'll get it back). Backbends are so much better, even in their current state. My headstand is transformed. The pace of the Beryl DVD, which seemed incredibly rushed when I first started, now seems easy and leisurely!

So...have I made the progress that I thought I would after 365 days? Probably not. But this project stopped being about the 'destination' a long time ago. There is no destination. Every single day is a unique struggle and journey. My Astanga practice has helped me establish a strong daily yoga practice, which may be its greatest gift.

For those of you who are wondering, I will be continuing with Astanga yoga, though I'll definitely take the opportunity to explore other yoga systems during the course of my daily practice. I'm really looking forward to adding some variety.

New goal: After the conclusion of WoYoPracMo, I would like to maintain a daily practice for the rest of 2009.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Day 364

WoYoPracMo, Day 19.

Today had it's own agenda, completely different from *my* agenda.

When I woke up this morning, I had great hopes of getting substantial work over the course of the day, but the hours got away from me. I slept in, then went out for a sushi lunch.

By the time I got home, it was already close to 4. The wind went right out of my sails at this point and instead of doing the financial stuff and errands that I had planned, I messed around on the Internet, wrote emails and goofed around in iTunes for a couple of hours.

It had snowed off and on all day and the temperature dropped. I decided to ditch my ice hockey game.

I did, however, make it to the mat. I had every intention of doing the full Primary Series today, but I only made it to to Supta Kurmasana. Because I fell asleep. Apparently, I needed a nap! Okay, I wasn't actually *in* a pose when I drifted off. I was laying on my back trying to persuade myself that a vinyasa would be a *good* thing. Then I woke up.

I don't know if a sleep deficit is the culprit here or if I'm being struck with the mid-winter blues. I just know I felt out-of-sorts and unmotivated today.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Day 363

WoYoPracMo, Day 18.

Back to the coal mines again, or at least a more vigourous practice! Lady's Holiday is fully over and today I felt ready to dive back into my Astanga practice. I did the short form this morning. It felt like such a relief to be on the mat - I could literally feel my body unwind as I moved through the sun salutations.

When life sucks, Astanga becomes my vacation from life and it's a relief to practice. I need to remember this the next time I'm feeling unmotivated.

Life kind of sucks right now because I'm working on a nasty little contract. It's simple (or it sounded like it would be when I agreed to do it): I'm installing two web applications on a server. Of course, it's *never* simple. I hate troubleshooting PHP scripts and this one in particular is giving me endless problems. I wouldn't have picked up this contract, except I have some bills from December to pay off and it just seemed like really good timing.

Ah yes, the lure of of money...

I'm still at the apartment right now. Last night, I worked until the wee hours and it was so cold and snowy that it didn't make sense to travel. I'm tying up a few loose ends right now, then I'll be heading over to the house for dinner. I have to admit, though, it's been nice to spend the weekend at my own place and practice here for a change. I wonder if MB Buddha is feeling lonely without me?

Saturday, January 17, 2009


WoYoPracMo, Day 17.

Busy day! I went down to the National Ballet to have coffee with a friend and watch her daughter dance. Unfortunately, the dance class was being held in a closed space, so we couldn't observe. Instead, we had coffee at a nearby café (the one that has my favourite brownies!).

Afterward we had brunch at a really wonderful restaurant at the food of Church Street. My plate had a HUGE veggie omelette, multi-grain toast, hashbrowns and two hotcakes with real maple syrup. This was definitely not a CR meal! ;-)

I didn't make time for practice until the evening and by the time I did, was already exhausted. With all the excitement of the past few days, I haven't been getting adequate sleep. So I did another restorative practice. I used teacher H's CD to do a series of supported poses against the wall. It's my favourite part of this CD and I really enjoyed it.

I could totally sleep in Viparita Karani. ;-)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Restorative Yoga

WoYoPracMo, Day 16.

Last night, as I was riding the subway home from my late, late Thursday night class, the lights on the train flickered off, then on, then off, then on again. In the next station, half the lights were off. As we proceeded cautiously from station to station, I grew concerned. Was it a Transit related problem? A power outage? A 'medical emergency'? (the common transit euphemism for 'someone jumped in front of a train').

Finally, the operator offered an update: it was a power outage. I didn't realise the extent of the outage until I got home. Fortunately, my apartment building was one block east of the affected area. From my high balcony, I could see a dark hole in the city, where the lights usually shine.

Today, I did a restorative practice that was a combination of Astanga floor poses without the vinyasa and some of the twists I did on Wednesday. I think I was on the mat for about a half hour this morning. Then I went down to Kensington Market (where there was full power) for lunch and a bit of shopping (sometime soon, I'll be posting an exciting entry about my new sprout grower!).

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Restorative Yoga

WoYoPracMo, Day 15.

I'm halfway through World Yoga Practice Month! Hooray for me! :-)

For day two of my restorative yoga practice, I warmed up with sun salutations, stretched out my very sore abs with a long hold in Bujangasana, then did the magic neck sequence to work out some of the kinks. My neck is feeling so much better today - the soreness is gradually fading.

I set up my bolster to practice two supine backbends with very long (8+ minute) holds. I really needed this today. I started the week feeling really great, but I've felt cranky and low-energy over the past couple of days. Plus, I didn't go to sleep until very late last night and was up early this morning serving breakfast at the soup kitchen. The restorative practice helped 'revive' me.

I was also feeling a bit head-achy, so I used the beautiful eye pillow Christel sent me for my WoYoPracMo prize last year. Thanks again, Christel, for that lovely gift!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Restorative Yoga, Twists and Hips

WoYoPracMo, Day 14.

Lady's holiday started yesterday evening, so I'm opting for restorative yoga for the next few days. My teacher H put together a lovely restorative yoga CD last year. I bought it and even added a black bolster to my collection of yoga gear, then I proceeded to never use it again. That's really a shame because it's a total bliss-out experience. Post-365, I'd like to integrate more restorative yoga into my daily yoga practice.

Today, I did the twists and hip-opening portion of the programme, along with a few sun salutations and a gentle neck sequence for my hockey injury. In total, I was on the mat for a little over a half-hour.

I generally don't feel like I'm over-exerting myself when I'm practising restorative, but today it was painful to lay down because of the soreness in my neck and abs - I kind of lowered myself to the floor and rolled over into position. Once I was there, it was delightful and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Day 362

Last night at my hockey game, I had a little accident. I fell over backwards and thonked my head on the ice.

I would love to tell you a great story about how I was on a breakaway and my heroic glide to glory abruptly ended when I was steamrolled by a burly right defence who was about the size of a sumo wrestler and she plowed into me at the very moment that I was skilfully lifting the puck into the right corner of the net, past the goalie's glove, thus breaking the tie and winning the game for my team.

But that's not how it happened.

No, this is what happened: The game hadn't even started yet. I was skating up the ice to the net to join my team for our pregame 'cheer'. As I joined my teammates at the net, my feet mysteriously flew out from under me and I literally went airborne for an instant before crashing to the ice, on my back, with a resounding thud that was shortly followed by the sharp 'thwack' of my helmet hitting the ice with force. Then I sat up and said, “Well, that was stupid” while my teammates looked on in horror.

That's right, folks, I'm THAT talented.

Then I stood up and played a great game, got some terrific shots on net, even got an assist. I'm nothing if not resilient. But there was a price to pay. This morning, I woke up and I could feel Every. Single. Muscle. that had tensed up in order to break that fall.

Let's review them:

I can't sit up or lay down without pain. Turn my head to look over my shoulder? Pain. Tuck my chin to my chest? Pain. Look up at my right hand in Utthita Trikonasana? Pain.

You get the idea. So, of course, this was the perfect day to hop right out of bed in the morning and do the Primary Series. The whole burrito. Seriously!

It was actually good - I surprised myself. I made it through the full series, with some modifications, but I did more than I've done in months. It was a pretty good practice, even with my various aches and pains. It was the best Primary Series I've done in a while.

I've retained more of my practice than I initially thought. Of course, I've totally lost the bind in Supta Kurmasana, but I can still do Garba Pindasana (I guess once you find those invisible holes in your legs, it's just like riding a bicycle - it doesn't go away). If my abs weren't on fire, I probably could have lifted up into Kukutasana too. Given the state of my neck, there were a few poses I didn't even try (Setu Bandhasana fell into that category), but overall, I was delighted.

I even did Urdhva Dhanurasana.

Obviously, I've built some strength back up because it didn't feel impossible. I kind of enjoyed it, acutally. I'm back on the wagon!

Just in time too: my Lady's Holiday starts tomorrow. Argh.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Day 361

I headed home to my tiny, but perfectly lovely apartment this morning and spent the day working on my to-do list and getting caught up on the various loose ends of my life. I was really happy to be home and felt very motivated to get things done. I think I had an acute case of 'post holiday blues' last week. I couldn't get myself motivated to accomplish anything. I can already tell this week will be different.

I did the grocery shopping and bought a week's worth of healthy, CR-friendly foods. Yup, I'm back to CR. And starting today, I'm back to food logging. I've been more-or-less on a CR menu for the past two weeks, but this week I wanted to make it official and start optimizing my nutrition. I've been so lax over the past couple of months. I can really feel it in my body, particularly my skin. My skin is yucky.

I did my yoga practice in the afternoon, a half-primary. A skipped a few poses to move things along. I was distracted and tired today. My sleep last night was erratic because I kept waking myself up with coughing fits. I'm pretty sure I'm on the tail end of this cold, but it's departing reluctantly.

Everything felt very tight today - hamstrings, hips, shoulders. In fact, it felt a lot like a 'morning practice' even though I was doing it in the late afternoon. My Lady's Holiday is upcoming, so that may also be a factor.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


WoYoPracMo, Day 11.

It's sort of a Moon Day today. Okay, it really *is* a Moon Day today, or at least my calendar is telling me it is. Under normal cirucmstances, I wouldn't be practising at all, but in the midst of WoYoPracMo, I needed to do something, so I did a gentle restorative yoga practice.

I started with a long hold in downward dog, then did child's pose, followed by some seated forward bends. Then I did some supine poses with long holds.

It was too relaxing to be a real yoga practice. Even meditation is much harder than this. I felt like I was cheating.

Worse, I did this gentle restorative practice as I was watching the Golden Globes in the living room. Slumdog Millionaire won at least two awards while I was in Supta Baddha Konasana.

I'm developing a Television Yoga habit. I'm not sure if I should concerned about this. ;-)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Day 359

WoYoPracMo, Day 10.

The floors the house are shiny, soft wood. This has been an ongoing problem for me when I'm staying on the weekend because the dog slides around on the floor, scrambling for traction. A couple months passed before I was struck with the most obvious solution: I'm a yoga teacher and I own piles of yoga mats. I brought some of these mats to the house and literally covered the floors with them.

They're sticky, so they don't slide around and the dog gets plenty of traction. The floors are protected. Everyone's happy!

As an added bonus, this means I can do yoga anywhere, anytime I want to because there's literally a yoga mat available to me at all times.

Last night, it was freezing cold outside, -25 with the windchill. The wind snuck in through every nook and crack in the house, and most rooms were chilly but the kitchen was warm. I moved MB Buddha into the kitchen and practised yoga while the rice cooked. I had a nice, toasty practice, occasionally using the fridge the steady myself. I did half-primary. I cooked dinner.

An by the time I was finished, I felt toasty warm.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Day 358

WoYoPracMo, Day 9.

I did a morning practice today, my first in a long time. I just haven't had the energy in the mornings lately to make it to the mat and I usually put off my practice until the afternoon.

Today, I had a particularly good motivation. I'm looking forward to a noon sushi lunch, then going to see the movie 'Slumdog Millionaire'. I can't wait! I've heard great things about this film. It will be fun to wander around the city on a pretty day. It's very cold out, but at least it's sunny!

So, this morning I did a solid half-primary (for me, this means practising up to Navasana) and I felt strong. This is new - I think I'm finally building up some endurance in my practice (it only took a week!). The best thing about doing a morning yoga practice is you get to carry that post-practice-happy-feeling throughout the day. I just felt fabulous every time I thought about it.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Day 357

WoYoPracMo, Day 8.

I taught four classes today so I didn't have much energy left over for practice. Teaching three classes never seems to phase me, but four totally wipes me out, or maybe it's because I taught three the night before. Or maybe I've been really lazy in December and just need to get with the programme! ;-)

At any rate, I didn't have it in me to do a full practice so I did the sun salutations, standing poses and called it a day. Finis.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Day 356

Today was busy, with classes to teach and errands to run, so I did the short form. I can speed through it in about a half-hour if I'm focused. I'm starting to notice a huge difference between the short form and half-primary. The latter warms me up more effectively and is definitely more challenging. When I do the short form, my hamstrings are stiff throughout the practice. Half-primary really opens things up.

When I relaunched my ashtanga practice, I started with the short form to build up strength but I think I'm past that now. I'm going to try to start doing half-primary, even if time limitations force me to cut the practice short some days. In the long run, I think I'll continue to build my strength up more effectively this way (and eventually adding poses back in).

By the way, I still have that cold and I'm really afraid it's moved into my chest. I'm loath to admit it, but it's feeling a lot like the sinusitis/bronchitis I had in November. That said, I *am* feeling a bit better and just trying to get a lot of rest this week.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Day 355

WoYoPracMo, Day 6.

I was feeling extra motivated this afternoon, so I decided to attempt the full Primary Series. I took a stab at everything, but I've definitely lost a few poses here and there, especially after Navasana. I moved through everything at a leisurely pace.

I had a major distraction. The MacWorld Keynote was being delivered and between poses, I would occasionally stop to check a live-blogging feed (MacRumours got hacked, so I was watching Gizmodo). During the seated poses, I brought my laptop on the floor beside the mat so I could check in periodically.

It went like this: yoga pose...vinyasa...face recognition in pose...vinyasa...GPS tagging in iPhoto...and so on...

Apparently, it's possible to me a MacGeek and an ashtangi at the same time!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Day 354

WoYoPracMo, Day 5.

I'm back at home again, this time for the week. That's right, happy fun lazy time is officially over - I'm back to work this week with my full teaching schedule.

It's actually quite lovely to be back in my own space. I rearranged the furniture on New Year's Day - the futon is now on the west wall. I'm now facing the window, south, during my practice and I'm enjoying it (previously, I faced east, towards my altar). I used the construction crane outside as my drishte during Utthita Hasta Padangustasana.

I did the short form of Primary today. I worked up a good sweat during my practice. I'm not sure if this is due to my higher-than-normal body temperature or the humidifier. I seem to be over the cold I had last week, but my throat has been a bit scratchy over the last 24 hours and I suspect I'm fighting something off. I'm determined to get over this because the last thing I need this week is laryngitis.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Day 353

WoYoPracMo, Day 4.

Every day so far, I've managed to do the entire short form of the Primary Series. Today, it just didn't happen. I was running errands all day. I came home with just enough time to practise before heading to the house. And then my mother called. A half-hour instantly evapourated into the ether. Argh.

This left me with just 15 minutes on the mat. I did make the best of it by doing the sun salutations and the standing poses before rushing out the door. This is far better than my normal response, which would have been saying 'screw it' and not practising at all. I seem to stick with daily practice much better when I know that skipping is absolutely not an option.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Day 352

WoYoPracMo, Day 3.

I'm feeling a bit better today. I had another great practice in the front room. Santa gifted me with a brass Buddha. I've dubbed him the Man Boobs Buddha because, well, you know... Anyway, MB Buddha now has a place of honour on the sideboard beside some photographs and tchotchkes. He keeps me company as I practice.

I did the short form Primary Series today. During headstand, I asked my partner to come in and spot for me. I've been nervous about doing headstand in the front room because I'm afraid I'll crash and break something (not me - the coffee table).

Friday, January 2, 2009

Day 351

WoYoPracMo, Day 2.

I really am sick - I can't believe this. I can't seem to stay well this winter. It's just a head cold, but still...

I spent most of the morning in bed. I ran errands in the afternoon, but I was so exhausted by the time we got home that I fell into bed and passed out for over an hour. We ate supper early and watched a movie, then it occurred to me: I hadn't done yoga yet.

So I unrolled the mat and did my practice, still clad in my flannel pyjamas.

True yoga confessions: I did some of the seated poses while watching some of the special features on a DVD. ;-)

I'm sure my yoga practice will get more routine and contemplative when I return home on Monday. For now (I'm still staying at my gf's house), I'm happy with getting to the mat in any form.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Day 350

I took the day off yesterday. I figured since I was going to be practising every day for the month of January, I would take a break while I could.

Today was the first day of WoYoPracMo, let me set the scene:
I had four hours of sleep because we were out late for New Year's Eve. Then I was up early to volunteer at the soup kitchen. Late morning, I took down my Christmas tree and decorations. I met up with friends in the afternoon for shinny (pick-up ice hockey) at the neighbourhood ice rink.

When I got home, I felt achy and congested. Within hours, I had a full-blown cold.

And I unrolled my mat and did the short form of the Primary Series. I didn't skimp - I did everything. It wasn't as bad as I thought.