Thursday, 30 September 2010


Today's practice was great. The room had been heated so everything seemed a little easier. Chaturangas getting much better, feel v strong lowering down from plank now, nothing but by toes and hands touching the floor; rolling over the toes without feet splaying out the sides, feels good. No knee pain tonight either which is good news after Monday's class when I had to stop at the backbend.

So my backbends were good, I even moved myself a little closer together and it worked, it didn't feel too hard or too strong, so will try that again next time as I need to start thinking about learning how to drop back and up. Which reminds me, I must buy some rope and make some adjusting apparatus to practice this at home.  I used to hate back bends and a lot of the time I just couldn't do it due to so much lower back pain by the time I got there - this must have been about 1 year ago now since I felt like that and since I upped my practice, I don't have that pain anymore, which is magic :o)

I think I've finally got Navasana cracked, it's all in the heels! Yay! I've been pointing my toes, but doing that releases all the muscles needed to straighten the legs and to hold them straight! Why has it taken me so long to realise this?! I must admit though, Brian Cooper has had a lot to do with it - was reading his Art of Adjusting Tues night and he mentions expressing the heels in there, so... I also took his tip for 'self-adjusting' in Janu A, by grabbing the outside edges of the foot with the opposite hands, which results in a twisting motion which gives you a better stretch (the proper stretch), so that felt good. Setu Bandasana is getting better but my head bloody hurts as I'm not on the hairline yet, I've noticed no-one in the class does this pose correctly, just me (ie pushing the legs away straight), albeit a bit badly ;o) Might bring this up with V (my teacher) at our next meeting...

I'm shattered now though and off to bed. My sore throat feels as if it's turning into a tickly cough - not good - I don't want to be ill for my holiday! I hope it is better by the morning!!

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Wednesday, peak of the week!

A sore throat started coming on yesterday afternoon and this morning it is still there... best get the strepsils out, I don't have time for ginger and honey this morning, I'm already later than I normally am getting to work. That's because this morning I got up at 6:15 and did my yoga practice - yay! Really didn't feel like it but after getting out of bed it felt the right thing to do. I lit a candle and did my practice facing that; the only other light on being in the hall way. I like the ambience it creates, and promotes a more meditative state.

I like the way I do not have so many thoughts going round my head in the morning practice, and that I can concentrate on how the body feels, but I don't like how I'm so stiff and my joints ache - this morning, especially my hips, ouch, had to concentrate on hip openers instead of Janu B, C & D, but that's a given recently due to the strain on the knees... Head stand was good, I'm almost half way to piking up now - it's properly 'mind over matter' stuff trying to go up with your legs straight... I read some tips re Kino McGregor's practice and she teaches to 'push the pelvis forward', so I tried to remember that, whilst remembering to keep my upper back straight , my shoulders rolled down my back, my weight in my elbows etc etc.. I'll get there, I WAS hovering for a couple of seconds, but didn't have the strength for that last push. Maybe tomorrow!! There's always tomorrow's practice... Rome wasn't built in a day, so they say :o)

Anyway, I'm off to work now, in the rain, but hey, 3 days to go til my 2 week holiday, so I cannot complain too much!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

The Spine

So today was my teacher training day, where I help out at the class. I was looking forward to someone new starting so that I could give the introduction talk, but there was no-one, so I was let off the hook. My public speaking isn't great at the best of times, so I'm a little nervous about my brain not connecting with my mouth and me just sounding ridiculous and not like I know what I'm talking about, but I think it's one of those things where if I 'just do it' then it'll be over and done with and I won't know what I was so worried about. A bit like when I first tried to describe the enforcement process at work, or the planning application and appeals process or whatever, I didn't really know what was spurting out of my mouth, but it sounded good so I just let it come out! Ha!

I'm still wary about touching people in the class, especially not knowing how to adjust properly, but I think I got involved more than last week anyway. I can see people responding to my touch, especially in terms of shoulders and upper back, drawing them away from the ears and lengthening the spine. However, a bit further down the spine is where I come unstuck; people have such different curves in their backs, I do not know what can be correct by adjustment and what cannot. And until I can feel like I know the answers to these questions I cannot feel completely comfortable with the spine. I've a couple of anatomy books, Coulter's and Kaminoff's, so I'm gonna give the spine sections a bit of a read tonight to see if any of my questions can be answered.

I'm not sure whether to do a self-practice in the morning or a led sun-power in the evening tomorrow. I'll set my alarm for early and see how it goes :o)


I was really looking forward to my full primary practice yesterday evening. Unfortunately, I think that yesterday's workshop took it's toll on my body, well, my knees and something went wrong with them and just after setu bandasana, I lost it! They both 'caught' this time, argh! Anyway, it stopped me from backbend and headstand, booo... So I didn't really feel the full benefits of the practice. I was also tired and after surys didn't do any vinyasa, just changed sides. My standing sequence if a funny one... I've noticed that if I press my big toe down when balancing in utthita hasta padangusthasana, my hip does something and I can strech my leg out more, it's like I'm propoerly squaring my hips. It feels good. It's just a bit harder, but I guess that is because by doing it I'm not taking the path of least resistance. Which is good. My right hip aches today and my knee cap feels as if it's popping out, so I'm glad I'll be teaching tonight :o)

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Dynamic Yoga Primer Workshop

So today I attended a "DYP" workshop, run by my regular teacher. We focussed on the sequence of the DYP, the vinyasa/or the linking sequence and its dynamics, and each posture in great detail. Absolutely loved it. Beginning to finally feel as if I know what I'm talking about when I talk a student through a posture, but wish I had the confidence that what I am saying is correct for their body, if you know what I mean.

Everyone is so different; have muscles in different places, curves, different lengths of parts of their bodies and limbs etc. but this is what I love, learning to realise everyone's different and have different needs and boundaries. At the same time I find it a real challenge and keep having to ask the teacher when I am adjusting, "why is this bit doing this.. and that" etc etc... It's all a learning curve I guess. But the more I do it the more I'll feel comfortable with it until one day I won't even think about it and it'll come naturally.

On one hand I cannot wait til this time comes; on the other I know that wanting it so badly is completely against the basic yogic principles, and as such, know that I need to take a step back and look at it logically... enjoy the moment while it's here, live in it, be it, basically do not wish your life away, because life's too short to live in the 'I can't wait until...'. I've done so much of that wanting and know how negative it is, I do not want to live in that way again.

So anyway, I went a bit over the top with regards to my knees, focussing on postural integrity, so I'm a bit achey now. But feel great. Actually just thinking back to today, I taught one girl to not hold her heel in Janu A (she was complaining after doing the posture that her ankle hurt) and instead to hold the ball of her foot, extend out through the heel and the ball, pulling the toes back naturally, and she felt the difference straight away, it didn't hurt her ankle it loosened off the stretch from the knee and no hurty ankle! Yay!!! Just that one tip did, thinking back on it, made my day! My Surys were good, chaturanga no problem (my triceps will kill tomorrow though cos I'm already shaking!), holding it for a while before ascending into upward dog, felt good, nice back bends.

On a completely different note, I've been listening to some music recently and have realised there are more bands than you'd think that focus on the principles of yoga in their lyrics, Arcade Fire being on of them... One of the main songs is "Kettles", which has echoes what I've just been saying...

" I am waiting, til I don't know when, 'cos I'm sure it's gonna happen then..
Time keeps creeping, through the neighbourhood;
killing old folk, waking up babies just like they knew it would..."
"They say a watched pot, will never boil,
I closed my eyes and nothing changed, just some water, getting hotter, in flames.."
"It's not a lover I want no more, and it's not heaven I'm pining for,
but there's some spirit I used to know, that's been drowned out by the radio..."

I also have this thing for 'time' and what it means to us. Damien Rice has a great song with some lovely lyrics... "Older chests reveal themselves
Like a crack in a wall
Starting small, and grow in time
And we all seem to need the help
Of someone else
To mend that shelf
of too many books
Read me your favourite line"
"Some things in life may change
And some things
They stay the same..
Like time, there's always time
On my mind
So pass me by, I'll be fine
Just give me time..."

Anyway, I think I've gone on for long enough now, I've started to depress myself! Looking forward to my practice tomorrow. Hope I don't ache too much and the pain in the back of my right knee eases in the night...


I didn't practice yesterday as I felt ill after overdosing on coriander in a aubergine curry...eurgh. I'll remember not to use the entire bunch of it next time, just for me.. But, to make up for it I'm going to an ashtanga workshop today with my teacher. I'm looking forward to it. I wonder what I will learn today?

My knees have been playing up the last 2 days, especially the left, really annoying, maybe it was the half vinyaysas I've started adding into my practice this week; I've been doing no vinyasas since they've been bad, just the ones in the Surys.. I don't know, I'll use them again today and see how I feel later.

My stomach still feels a little dodge actually, hopefully my breakfast will have gone down sufficently before embarking on any stomach squashers later ;o) ooh...

Friday, 24 September 2010

Ashtanga Vinyasa

So I started practicing Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga in the style of Shri K Pattabhi Jois (or there abouts ;o) in July 2007. My practice was gym-based to begin with, but I was immediately hooked, in particular on the energy I seemed to create and that feeling kept me coming back for more. In 2008 my friend and I spent 2 weeks in India with David Swenson and this experience just exacerbated my desire to practice. However, my practice remained class-based and 2 times a week for quite a while, trying to fit in the odd David Swenson DVD practice at the weekend.

I was practicing 3 times a week at least for about a year until last October (2009) I broke my elbow, foolishly playing netball, (teach me to try and regain my youth...I'll leave that up to headstand in the future) and something in me clicked; all of a sudden I could not do yoga, I didn't realise how much that would affect me but it did! At the same point in time, it was as if the pain that I felt with my break was transporting me right into the present - I couldn't think about the future, or the past, just the pain I was in at that exact moment! It was, to coin a bit of a wanky phrase, 'an epiphany'!! I suddenly realised the real meaning of living in the present, the here and the now, that yoga and self help books had tried to get across to me for the past 7 years!

A couple of months later (after my arm had healed) I heard that my yoga teacher was starting to take on yoga teacher trainees, I jumped at the chance to do it, to find out more, to go deeper into my practice. I started to throw myself into yoga, head first. June saw another yoga retreat, this time in Italy, Insabina, I met some amazing teachers, people and friends. The practice twice a day plus anything we could squeeze in between was amazing, I was learning so much and in such a short time. In all the practices we did I think I probably missed out 2 jump backs/throughs, I just didn't want to miss out the opportunity to practice under such stars! But I came back down to earth with a bang when upon my return I found that I could not walk - my knees had swollen up and my body started to warp around them, as if it was trying to protect them. I couldn't do anything, my body was a mess! I was devastated...Take Your Rest.........

2 months later brings us about up to date, my knees can just about handle my practice, albeit with some modifications, but after 2 months of NO practice, a little modification here and there, a towel, some blocks, some anti inflammatories and some ice, I have come to realise we can't all be David Swenson (although I heard somewhere he'd had numerous knee ops - David, if you do read this (I met you once at Purple Valley, 2009, (the girl who lost her luggage!?) is this really true?)!!!!

I have an MRI booked in for October, because the knees still 'catch' (I don't know whether anyone else has ever had these symptoms (yoga related or not) ? If so please let me know) they still feel 'loose' and sometimes feel like they need a good shake out! Anyhow, all being said, I'm back to my practice, back on the mat, props, whatever, I'm there... And I suppose that this blog, from now on, is my journey onwards... I'll keep you informed....

Day one in the Big Brother Blogosphere...

I think one of first things that your teacher advises you to do when embarking on a yoga teacher training programme is to keep a diary of your practice. Now, I've never been one for keeping a diary, don't get me wrong, I have tried, and people must look at me and think 'she looks like someone who keeps a diary',  so I have them strewn in bookshelves across my home, under my bed and in boxes under the stairs, however, they are all redundant, they all have but a few pages of the written word before being left to collect dust.

I don't know why, but I guess I've never thought what I had to say was very important and I always felt that if the entries weren't perfect or weren't good enough to entertain it wasn't worth keeping one, but Christ, who was I thinking was going to read it anyway?!!

So, here I am,  telling it how it is. The above passage probably tells a lot about me, but I am going to give this a go; My Yoga Practice, out in the open, for all to see! Hopefully keeping this blog will give me chance to let out all the 'chitta vritti' which continues to beat me up on a daily basis.... Mx