Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I had a better practice today. The Shala was very busy. I imagine there must be cycles for this sort of thing, times of the month when just about everyone shows up, and other times when no one does. It’s kind of interesting to observe the ebb and flow.

Teacher R was in charge for most of my practice. She’s very detail-oriented:
-My elbows are angled too wide when I have my hands on the waist in Prasarita Padottanasana B. I think bringing the elbows together stretches the shoulder and preps the body for Prasarita C.
-Why, why, why does it seem *harder* to hold my big toe in Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana if the thumb is on the big toe? Am I getting more leverage with just the two fingers? Anyway...I need to work on this because I’m STILL doing it.
-Lots of Driste Penalities today! I lost count and I don’t tend to have a wandering gaze at all (mostly because I can’t see much without my glasses). Teacher R has an eagle eye for the flickering eyeball. She doesn’t miss a thing!
-Backbends were tough because my quads still hurt, but I worked hard to root down through my heels.

I managed to bind Supta Kurmasana on my own today, with crossed ankles and everything! Teacher R has a knack for getting me into this pose. Yesterday, she tied me up like a package and helped me lift up. I was able to stay there and exit (very, very sloppily) on my own.

The Battle of Chakrasana continues.... I’ve regressed; I’m back to not being able to do it at all without assistance. I think I need to push up through the arms, but I can never seem to remember to do that when the moment comes. My brain malfunctions when I’m upside down! It forgets to think!


I was feeling absolutely atrocious all day yesterday. I had a mild headache, fatigue and an overall sense of yuckiness. I struggled through my classes, came home and went to bed early. The extra hour of sleep did help, but this really got me wondering about my diet.

Some of you may remember that a few years ago, I was practising Calorie Restriction Optimal Nutrition (CRON) very seriously. I carefully tracked my diet each day, logging everything I ate in order to ensure that all my nutritional needs were met. I kept my calories levels lower than average, which helped me manage my weight. Although it was sometimes challenging to avoid junk food, I was never ‘in the dark’ about my nutrition and my diet was never better! I felt great when I was on CRON and my weight was ideal.

Then a bunch of things happened: I was very sick, briefly hospitalized (from a super-bug I picked up doing temp work in a hospital) and I was put on bed rest. I also started a relationship right around this time. For a few months, my diet and my yoga practice were put on the back burner. The yoga came back, but the diet kind of stayed in limbo. I made some noise about going back to CRON a few times, but never really followed through. It’s challenging to maintain a strict diet while in a relationship.

Recently, I dusted off COM (the diet tracking software I used to use) and I started logging my foods again. I was surprised to find that my diet isn’t bad overall - that is, when I manage to avoid the junk food! I’ve been a vegetarian since my early 20s. Although I flirted with eating fish for a short time last year (the girlfriend liked salmon), I quickly went back to a vegetarian diet and I’ve stuck with that since.

I’ve made a few changes. I’ve added a green smoothie with Whey Protein Isolate in the evenings to boost my protein level. This is a great solution to the ‘supper problem’, a dilemma I was usually ‘solving’ with Clif Bars. I teach every night so it’s not possible for me to eat a meal (I eat my main meal at lunch). The smoothie works great as a meal-on-the-run and it doesn’t affect my practice the next morning.

I noticed that my teachers add ‘Emergen-C’ packets to their water bottles at the Shala. I purchased a box and I’ve been adding a packet to my post-practice water every day. It has electrolytes and various vitamins.

And one more thing: I’m avoiding sugar. It’s hard. I LOVE SUGAR. But I’m avoiding it. Pray for me.


Finally, there’s an interesting discussion going on over at Autumn Lotus Yoga, spurred by a question I left in her comments the other day:

How to Get Thrown Out of a Yoga Studio: What would *you* do if you were attending a class that was poorly taught, to the extent that students’ physical limits were ignored and injuries could occur?

There’s much food for thought here, in terms of teaching, Ahimsa and swallowing your bile when you see another teacher instructing students in a way that invites harm.


Emma said...

i'd probably leave quietly without making a fuss. what doesnt work for me might work for the regular students. i never want to assume i know the back story.

Kaivalya said...

I might do the same, if I could. But in Autumn Lotus' case, the teacher asked her very directly why she was leaving.

So what then? Do you make up an excuse ("I forgot an appointment" Uh, oh! Satya violation!), try to gloss it over ("I'm sorry - I'm finding that this style of yoga doesn't suit me.") or be brutally honest ("You're a bad teacher")

This is hard! I honestly don't know what I would do in that situation!

Emma said...

yeah.. good point (i read her post, too). i would say that "it isnt working for me" thank her, and get the heck outta dodge.

Tara said...

I love the image of getting tied up like a package in supta kurmasana. I just got that pose a couple of weeks ago and it's become one of my favorites. I always laugh a little to myself when my teacher comes over and "ties me up" in that pose. I'm always amazed at the things my body is capable of doing (BTW, I'm one of Elizabeth's friends, that's how I found your page).

Christine said...

I know the feeling when it comes to SUGAR!...I have a long-standing love/hate relationship with sugar. Wishing you luck!

Christine said...

I know the feeling when it comes to SUGAR!...I have a long-standing love/hate relationship with sugar. Wishing you luck!

Claudia said...

I like that new picture... is that a bagel? or a donut? I also have trouble with sugar, try to limit it too... and my goodness that post about the woman in a NYC studio!, how sad!

Kaivalya said...

The wee ones in my Children's Yoga Class call Supta K 'little guy pose', I guess because it looks like a person all scrunched up! I never used to enjoy it, but I'm starting to grow fond. I just wish I could nail the exit!

I love the way you wrote 'sugar' in ALL CAPS. That's exactly how the stuff makes me feel (and maybe that's why I love it so much).


That's a donut! It was time to switch photos and I liked the idea of a SUGAR/backbending theme. Maybe if I cut the SUGAR out of my diet, I'll be able to stand up from a backbend!