Thursday, April 8, 2010

Astanga

When people talk about how Mysore-style Astanga Yoga has changed their lives, they never seem to mention the laundry. But I’m going to remedy that right now.

True confession: Since I started going to the Shala, my underwear drawer runneth over!

I never run out of underwear. NEVER. Or socks. Because I’m ALWAYS washing *something*, be it my yoga clothes or my eQua towel or my headband. I’ve become the Handwashing Queen. I even have a system in place for moving through this daily task quickly. I don’t need a humidifier in my tiny apartment because there’s always something drying on a rack in the bathtub. And once a week, the whole lot goes into a washing machine for yet another wash.

Not only that, but this week, I bought some white vinegar and followed EcoYogini’s instructions for mixing up a mat cleaner. If you haven’t done this yet, you should give it a try. My poor Manduka was greatly neglected when I practised at home because it never seemed important to clean it. Now that I’m in a public space, I clean the ‘Duke daily and I’m basking in the fringe benefit: my mat is grippy again!

I’m pretty sure my general level of Sauca has bumped up a notch or two, and I’m a pretty finicky clean person to begin with!

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I started my practice at 7:15 this morning and once again, I had a very nice practice with some input and help from both teachers.

I’ve noticed that the assistance I receive in Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana is becoming ‘lighter’ and today I discovered that I can come much deeper into the pose on my own. I used to avoid bringing my chin to my shin, but there’s no getting around that in the Shala. I’m becoming proficient at it! My legs are much stronger.

Last night, I couldn’t sleep so instead, I laid in bed eating Cadbury MiniEggs and Googling: ‘chakrasana tips ashtanga’. I found this old post on the Astanga message board. It’s chock with good advice and definitely worth a read if you’re working on this transition. This led me to Tim Miller’s Yoga Journal article. The two big tips I gained from my googling were:
- Lift your legs BACK (past your head)
- Driste is the navel - this will protect the neck

Teacher P helped me with my first Chakrasana today and I rolled, but I rolled onto my forearms. I needed to straighten my arms as I came over, so I tried to remember this on my next roll and I got it! For me, the key was moving the legs BACK instead of UP. Teacher P mentioned this and I remembered the tip (push the legs past your head) and I everything came together. I rolled the other three Chakrasanas without assistance and on the last one, I even straightened my arms all the way so I basically ended up in Adho Mukha Svanasana.

My neck feels no worse for all of this. It’s still a bit stiff, but it’s slowly getting better. I’m not convinced that this is the end of my Chakrasana saga. I’ll believe it when I have a week of successful rolling behind me. Someone on the message board said that this is like riding a bike and I disagree. This is MUCH harder and once you ‘get it’, it doesn’t always ‘sitck.’

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It’s Referrer Thursday!

I kind of dropped the ball on this last week, but this week I’d like to point you in the direction of Arkie Yogini’s. Arkie has maintained a home Astanga Yoga practice for the past almost-four-years and she has some interesting posts about the challenges of home practice.

She also just finished a week-long workshop with Kino MacGregor and documented her experience with some great posts and videos.

Of all her writing, this post most deeply resonated with me because it reminded me of the day I quit my soul-destroying corporate job and said ‘Enough!’ (I’ve never looked back).

6 comments:

The Misanthropic Yogini said...

"The 'Duke." LOL! Very appropriate... it certainly is the John Wayne of yoga mats. I can just hear mine sternly drawling at me now, "You better get your butt on the mat, pilgrim, I'll put it there for you..."

Grimmly said...

These days I never shower or bathe alone. Chuck my shorts and headband in the shower and tread them like grapes while showering, rinse them out and hang em in the shower door. Those Nike pro's are always dry by the evening. Bath time is shared with my equa towel, again hang it on the shower door and it's dry by morning.

Grimmly said...

Oh I meant to ask, did you see my couple of posts on chakrasana from way back? I had a hell of a time getting it. There are four posts with video's on the link below. Trying it after shoulder stand helped me early on but it was the jalahandra lock that was key, really really tight. I find some days different than others, some days I'm straight over light as you like no effort involved at all, other days I need to give a little push but I'm convinced it's timing and coordination rather than effort. He's the link
http://grimmly2007.blogspot.com/search/label/chakrasana

Emma said...

shiny yoga* blog just wrote a post about yoga and doing the laundry,too!

that is a funny coincidence :)

FrenchToast said...

ha! so happy hear about all the clothes drying on your tub..i am forever washing clothes and headbands and towels and what not..need to check out that mat cleaner recipe, too. mine is probably pretty foul..thanks!

Claudia said...

good one, I am always washing something too, but I have solved the underwear problem by buying tons of it... it helps... :-)