Friday, November 12, 2010


I slept in a bit this morning. This means I slept until 6:30 a.m. Kinda sad that it felt stupidly decadent to get up before 7 a.m., but that's my life and I'm not complaining! The early schedule is still working great for me. I'm getting used to being a bit sleep deprived. I tend to catch up on weekends.

I did my Primary this morning with D's DVD. I don't think I've used this DVD since *before* I went to Montreal, so it was a bit surreal. Prior to Montreal, he was just The Dude on the DVD. Now he's one of my teachers, at least in a 'long-distance-once-in-awhile' sort of way (I'm still getting my head wrapped around this, to be honest).

The DVD moves along at a slower pace than I'm used to, but felt good to slow down and bring more mindfulness into my practice. It was also a nice change for a Friday. I was able to focus on my breath and bandhas more. There are constant cues and reminders to breath evenly and engage the bandhas. It's one of the things I've always liked about this led DVD.

With the more leisurely pace, I had time to work my vinyasas and lift-ups, emphasizing strength. I took the time to come into postures more carefully, especially in the Marichyasanas.

D skips a pose in this DVD (Paravritta Parsvakonasana) and adds in others (Baddha Konasana C, Tadaga Mudra). It was fun to change things up a bit from my regular routine.

I noticed that a few of the cues are different from the ones I've heard D use in the workshops and in his Mysore room. None were contradictory, the emphasis was just different in spots. Hearing the instruction in the DVD helped reinforce some of the things I learned at the workshop. Since I'm now integrating these concepts into my teaching, it was helpful to hear how D offered them in the context of a led class.

I had a good practice. My knees is still fine *sighofrelief*. Sirsasana felt better today, backbends felt worse. Oh well!

I really enjoyed seeing the responses to my 'Lady's Holiday Survey'. The responses are still trickling in, but yesterday I hit 50 responders, so I figured I would do a tally.

Frankly, I was astounded by how many of my readers are Ashtangis. I know, I know, I shouldn't be! I guess I just thought I had a wider readership here, but I'm pretty 'niche'.

So here's the numbers:

1. Do you practise yoga asana during your monthly 'holiday'?

It appears that most of you practice during your Lady's Holiday. One person commented: "I practice if I feel good, don't practice if I feel bad. Simple logic!" That sentiment summed it up for most respondents.

2. What asana style do you practice during your 'holiday'?

In addition to the styles mention above, one person indicated that they practice Anusara.

The first day of the cycle is rough for many and it's the common 'skip day'. This was a theme in the comments. Some of you practice Yin Yoga or a gentle restorative sequence on that first day (or the heaviest days).

A few people commented that 'daily yoga' is important, even if it's not Astanga. I was very surprised by how many people keep on with their Astanga practice even during the Lady's Holiday.

There seems to be a strong culture of daily practice amongst Ashtangis which transcends physical discomfort and traditional views.

Put simply, I think many of us get in a routine and we're loathe to change it up, lest we lose momentum. Also, going back to a daily Astanga practice even after only a few days off can be stiff and unwieldy. Many try to avoid that by carrying on.

3. Do you practice inversions at this time of month?

Again, many people take the first day off, but continue 'the practice as usual' on subsequent days.

In the comments, most indicated that they do Sirsasana and Sarvangasana, but hold for shorter durations (10 breaths).

One person noted that Urdhva Dhanurasana feels good for her back during Lady's Holiday (I concur - backbends are one thing I don't skimp on during my 'holiday').

To be honest, this statistic was the one that amazed me the most. Most yoga texts and YTTs drill it in: no inversions during the menstrual cycle. Dire consequences are predicted for those how break this rule. But obviously, many of you are doing inversions with no ill effect.

4. If you abstain from asana practice, what influenced your decision?

This question was for those people who abstain from practice during the 'holiday'.

To be honest, I was being a bit tongue-in-cheek when I added the option about Nancy G. So I was genuinely tickled when I noticed that " 'Cause Nancy Gilgoff said so" came in a close third after "Advice from my Teachers" and the big winner: "Physical discomfort."

'Feeling like shit' seemed to be a good reason for most of you to skip practice. It's kinda hard to do the Suryas when you're doubled over in pain.

Four of you indicated that you *do* sometimes get The Lazy. One person even admitted:"Sometimes I use it as an excuse..." (Yeah, I do that too!)

There were a couple of interesting comments regarding the importance of the Bandhas:

"It's impossible to engage bandhas and so I don't feel like I'm practising ashtanga or at least not practising in a safe and healthy way."

"If I happen to be suffering from cramps, I don't practice intermediate because I need my bandhas to be intact to keep me from hurting myself. Plus, it feels like shit."

5. If you choose to practice during your 'holiday', what factors influenced your decision?

This question was for those of you who *do* choose to practice. I was curious about your reasons (health related, practical or more philosophical).

Most of you are practical. Practice feels fine, so why not do practice? Several of you, like me, go a batshitcrazy without some kind of practice or you find that practice actually alleviates the discomfort of your menstrual cycle.

Only 3 of you practice during your Lady's specifically on the advice of your teachers.

And 16 of you are resisting the Patriarchy *fistpump*

Many thanks to all of you who participated in the survey. That was so much fun, I may do another one someday.

Be sure to read the comments from the survey post for additional views on the topic.

Finally, a photo for Princess Fur Friday. This is one of my favourites. Sleeping schnauzer, furry paw!


Loo said...

So interesting! I'm amazed at how many practice straight thru but of course, if you can, you should.
Thanks for doing the poll, very fun.

Ragdoll said...

Interesting poll results, thanks for doing that. I was thinking in led last night that I'm never aware of women skipping inversions, but maybe it's happening around me and I just don't spot it (inversions being one of the rare times when my gaze isn't drifting!).

Loving the photo today. What is it about pets' paws that's so endearing?! Cats paw pads are unbearably cute to me.