Friday, 31 December 2010

Last practice of 2010....

Well, here it is, the last day of another year.... where has that gone?!

I wanted 2010 to go out with a bang, so I got up and hit the mat at 9am. I'd watched Richard Freeman's primary series dvd last night, as one would watch a film, from start to finish and so I let Richard talk me through my full series this morning (in my head I may add), remembereing that lovely voice of his! And I had a lovely, calming practice, I even broke a sweat which I don't usually at home, show's I was really going for it!

Anyway, I didn't really want to go in depth into today's practice but just the share my 'ups' of 2010's Astanga Yoga Practice, I list them below and will sart from December as it is quiet pertinent...

  • December - Recovered from a broken elbow after 2 months of no practice.
      • Read 'The Power of Now' (Eckhart Tolle) and realised I could be happy and that yoga was the way!!! Yay!
  • March - Joined V's Ashtanga Yoga Primer teacher training course
  • June - Visited Insabina Yoga Retreat meeting amazing teachers and found Mysore Style yoga
      • Damaged both knees at said retreat! (Not exactly an 'up')
  • September - Re-established my practice with more awareness but with very tight hamstrings!!!
      • Found out about the amazing Grimmly and starting blogging!
  • Oct-Nov - practice almost back to normal!!
      • Accepted on Paul Fox's Yoga Teacher Training Course 2011
  • December - met JC another great teacher! Started Mysore class at Buddhist Centre
      • practicing 4 times a week and knees feeling better! Yay!
This year has been the best one for me since, well I can't pinpoint it, but probably about 6 years. The whole of 2010 I have been happy and have not needed anything or anyone for me to achieve that happiness. And I can only, truthfully and sincerely put that happiness down to my yoga practice and living with more awareness.

So I'd just to like to thank Eckhart Tolle, EM, my friends and family, and God for their help in 2010!


Sunday, 26 December 2010

Christmas and Boxing Day practice!

I just couldn't bring myself to go out yesterday until I had done at least some practice... So I got on my mat and did some really lovely, long surynamaskaras. Unfortunately that was all I had time to do, but they were nice and surprisingly full of energy!

I was also surprised that after all that food and drink yesterday I DID feel like a good long practice today. I decided to invite David Swenson to lead me, as I've missed his lovely calming voice! However, today he put me off a little by just not listening to my breath ;o). So I found myself way ahead of him.

My shoulder and upper arm is hurting, that niggle last week is getting worse. I think I may have pulled something, so the chaturangas and dogs weren't great. Utthita Hasta Panagustasana was good though, again pulling up on the toes really helps in straightening the leg and offers a strengthening excercise for the upper arm too. I used the blocks for lifting up which I found for the first time I managed to lift my bottom and feet off the ground, very exciting. So I CAN do it! Need to work on doing it without big blocks. I might have to buy some smaller ones.

Unfortunately, my friend skyped me in the middle of the dvd, so had to answer him for a while which split the practice. But when I did get back, I finished the seated postures and went straight into finishing, as I wasn't quite back there...Nevermind. This happens...

I'm just relaxing for the rest of the day now, well, until I have another family xmas get together later anyway! Cheers! :o)

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Ashtanga Vinyasa Primer with blocks...

I don't know what's wrong with me but I am feeling exhausted.... I had a headache all day and booked the rest of the week off to give me a full week off work over xmas. I need it.

I got home after what felt like cramming 1 weeks worth of work into 1 day and just wanted to crash...But I logged on to Grimmley's Blog and as usual it was enough to get me motivated to do some yoga practice. So I hit the mat....

I did a few things differently today; I used 2 mats and I used blocks for all my jump backs and jump throughs. I even tried the blocks for utplutih but it didn't work so well...;o) Using blocks for the lift up from seated then swung my legs through behind and tried to land in chaturanga in one smooth movement! Sometimes it was, sometimes it wasn't so smooth, but U gotta take the rough with the smooth ;o) The upward dog and downward dog still with blocks which felt lovely on the back, and then the jump through to sit, I was flying through my arms!!! I definately 2 inch longer arms!!!

Unfortunately, but concentrating on the props, I forgot my parsvak, prasarita pado sequence and supta parsvasohita, woops! Nevermind, some yoga better than no yoga :o)

I did some nice backbends but couldn't stay up too long as I have a niggle in my left shoulder (which has been playing me up for a week or so now, clicking a lot).. So that was a shame cos they are getting better. My konasana series was very good, getting so close to the floor with my supta now and in baddha I spent a little longer and really pushed my knees into the floor trying to breathe longer and trying to open my feet more, which seemed to work!! My setu bandhasana was great, legs almost straight and I put that down to using 2 mats - less hard on the forehead and therefore less strain on the neck, so I could concentrate getting legs straight - genius! Why did I not think of that before? Rolling over the toes - less painful - again - 2 mats.. headstand - brilliant - 2 mats! I see a pattern emerging here!! I even stayed with legs parallel to floor for 7 breaths - record time! Yay!

So, the moral of the story is, even if you feel like doing absolutely no yoga and that all you wanna do is sleep, do some anyway, just hit the mat! At least do SOMETHING, it's always worth it...

And, on a final note - I LOVE MYSORE STYLE YOGA - the best invention in the world!!!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Wednesday 15th December

I really thought my practice today would be great as I was dying for it... unfortunately, it started good then got considerably worse as my energy drained from faster than water through a sieve :o(

I think I'm coming down with something. Last night I went out for dinner and by 9pm I was yawning like a good'un and had to go home and literally straight to bed, where I stayed until 6:45am. But even then I couldn't get up, I felt terrible... Work was OK, but now I feel awful once again.

I managed to get through to the mari sequence, but then had to cut the jump backs out completely and literally go straight through the finishing sequence. My mind was all over the place, so much so I even gave up my rest early as I wasn't benefitting from it.

Everything felt a bit dodgy. I forgot to say earlier this week that my utthita hasta padangustansana was getting much better, leg much straighter and I felt that by pulling up on the toe made so much difference and made balancing easier too. Not tonight though, I just didn't have the strength...

In fact I don't want to talk about it, I just want to go to bed and wake up tomorrow feeling better :o(

Monday's practice is just too short!

When did my practice go from feeling like the longest thing in the world to feeling like it's just too short?!!!

I remember when I first got David Swenson's full primary series DVD and thinking 'god, i'm going to have to set half a day by to be able to practice this!'... Now, it just flies by, even tonight, when normally I struggle through the sury bs, they flew by, in fact I think I may have even mis-counted and done 6!!! lol

Since my knee injury almost 6 months ago now, and not being able to practice for what seemed like an eternity, it's  taken me no time at all to get back to doing all jump backs and throughs etc between each posture, and yet now they don't even feel enough! It's like yoga chikitsa's swallowing me whole, I'm completely consumed by it, I go to bed thinking about it, I wake up in the night practicing in my head and it's the first thing I think of in the morning! I practice it, I teach it, I read it, I talk it, I draw it, I paint it.....Aaaargh!!!!

Anyway......even though this is happening and there's no better place to be than my mat at the moment, I know that more than once a day would kill me, in fact, I know that 7 days a week (full primary) would finish me off...and they talk of the paradox of yoga....

Thursday 9th December, although a bit late ;o)

I'm behind on writing my blog!! Aaargh! I hate xmas, too much to do, not enough time, especially when all I want to do is hibernate!!!

Anyway...Thursday, full primary led by V, and assisted by K, a fellow 'vinyogini' praticing for the first time her adjustments! K did extremely well, and with unfloundering confidence, well done K :o)

My practice was great. I was all fired up and ready to go! But found myself not being able to keep up with the led class flow, Surys were veeerrry fast, and I found myself needing to take a breath in between the Bs, which didn't really happen! So this is making me think now, is it time for me to break free of the led class situation? Move into Mysore-style full time? I read my post back from Tuesday, such a great practice, on my own, in my house, to my own breath and at my own pace.. This appears to be where my progress lies and led seems to be just another practice... Or is it too premature? (I'm not talking giving up my assisted self-practices btw - love them) 3 years of practice now, hmmm... not sure, give me your thoughts! Reading Grimmley's blog is just so inspiring, and it's all his own work, amazing... Kai's 365 day yoga-practice-challenge, also inspiring, maybe I should try this in 2011?? So many yogis, so much inspiration!!!!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Teaching my sister

Teaching my sister was always going to be a challenge, because she always has to be right!!! But she's actually taking me teaching her on a wednesday really well, even though we're only on the 2nd week! It was nice of her to tell me that my talk through was ropey last week and that this week it was loads better. It flowed more, and I tried to think about how I practice and how the sequence flows through my head when I'm practicing and it worked much better. It helped that S wasn't butting in every five minutes talking about the state of her feet and how she needs a pedicure etc etc!!! lol

The sequence is very much modified due to her ACL transplant... She finds the seated sequence hard to do, especially bending and twisting the leg as in padmasana and even the Janusirsasana sequence...although Janu A today was done with a pillow beneath her poorly knee which helped a lot... Makes me think her hips aren't open enough and it's pulling on the outer ligaments and her transpalnted one in particular...

S's physio guy says she should carry on with the yoga, with the modifications and lean into her boundaries, whihc is what we teach people anyway! So that's good.

I really liked the teaching practice today, my analogies need some working on, S says I should tape myself and listen back, but I'm sure I'd be rolling around on the floor laughing at how I sound!!! lol Looking forward to next week :o)

PS - S is ALREADY adjusting herself as soon as I come anywhere near her - 2 weeks!! Brilliant!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Tuesday's practice at home

The weather is disgusting, far too cold, I spent this afternoon doing site visits at work driving round in a car without any heating, de-icing the inside of the windows and was just freezing. My gloves were even so cold I had to take them off to warm my hands up! Wierd!! Anyway, I was so cold that when I came back home I decided to practice in the comfort of my own house, to my own timescale and stay nice and warm. So I did!

What a practice I had! I started by watching a few videos of jump backs on, just to get my motivated. I thought that I would really focus on jump backs today and take my time with them. I like the way Sadie Nardini teaches them, with a few little hops to get your arms used to holding weight, then on about then 3rd I jumped back. Haven't got a clue how it looks, but it felt good! I missed a couple out towards the end of the stead sequence but that was it.

Everything felt good in fact... I think it was because I practicing at my own pace, not rushing it to go anywhere or do anything. Just set aside time for yoga and made the most of it. In then end, I spent 2 hours practicing and 30 mins watching videos. It's now 8:15 and I haven't even eaten yet! Might make a butternut squash curry, mmmmm.....

Anyway, my sury As felt great, I turned my palms up to the sky and really stretched and it made a real difference. My Bs weren't bad either, I needed to take some extra breaths in between them but I think that was because I was going for it with the jump backs. I did hurt my big toe though doing rolling over the toes, need to perfect the lift of the hip in rolling back that J tried to get me to do as he said it'll take the pressure off my toes, I need to though cos it kills! I also tried swinging through with blocks, that's cool and you kinda get the feeling of what you're meant to do. I swung through to sit with the block too, now that was funny... I flew through at, what felt like 100 miles an hour! I think the blocks were a little too high! I wish my arms were just 1 inch longer - i think that'd be perfect!! lol

Ooh, almost forgot, I did ardha baddha padmottanasana for the first time in over 7 months....maybe more, I really concentrated on closing the knee tight, to track my patella correctly, then istead of twisting the knee, let the hip and knee fall out slowly, then twisted the foot and ankle and gently placed it on the top of my thigh. It worked! No pain! No forward bend though, not yet! I also did it seated :o)

Anyway, enough for now, a good practice, I deserve some food and a good night's sleep :o)

Monday, 6 December 2010

Monday Mysore at home

The festive season is upon us, as are xmas parties which can only mean taking up my yoga nights! But I shouldn't moan, it's only once a year...thank god!

Anyway, I'm off out tonight so can't attend my normal Mysore class. Luckily though I did have some time before I have to head off so decided to do some at home instead. I have had an awful pain in my left shoulder all day which seems to just be getting worse and did not shift with any pain relief. Whilst the shoulder's a little clicky still, the yoga has done the trick and taken the pain away, yay! I also had a bit of a moment earlier when I realised my payment paid yesterday to my credit card hadn't gone through today, so after 2 phone calls with no help whatsoever, I nearly lost the plot. But yoga came and saved me from myself yet again... thank you ashtanga, I love you!!!

It's so cold here at the moment, today ridiculously so... and I'd left my mats in the car, and was too lazy to go and get them so decided to practice on the wooden floor of my dining room. I know I've said this a couple of times before, but what is it about practicing on a natural material that makes it work better?! I instantly felt more groundly, less wobbly and could the apana working a treat! I might give up on mats all together...apart from the 'rock and roll' bit, I don't want to be black and blue!!!

My normally really dodgy warriors, all wobbly and uneven, were really good tonight, and I'm putting it down to the wooden floor. In fact my whole standing sequence was much more grounded and controlled, which makes such a difference.

My first back bend was terrible, really stiff, but I moved hands further from my head and the second was much better, got arms really straight and stayed up comfortably with a nice even breath for a lot longer than normal. My forward bends are so great now, the pain has totally gone from the back of my knee *Michelle touches wooden floor* and especially in the standing ones I'm 'folded' in two, face touching shins which has never happend before! Feels great. I will put that down to better knees but definately better understanding of bandhas and the fact that my bandhas are now 'joined up' when before they were completely two seperate entities, ie. when I engage my mulabandha my uddiyana bandha follows, or 'flies up' as the case may be!!!

Anyway. whilst I didn't do the full sequence tonight, I did the DYP sequence, some yoga is better than no yoga as they say and I feel, as always, better now... Now that I don't want to shoot any Lloyds TSB call centre operators.... ;o)

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Thursday full series..

My practice today was not bad, considering I feel like a complete bloater.

My stomach felt as if it was getting in the way of every other part of my body today, squashed between my armpit and my thigh in utthita parsvakonasana, almost touching my face in the sarvangasana sequence (shoulderstand) and generally being a bit of a pest. I need to lost some weight.... I always put on weight in winter though, a layer of fat to protect me from the cold nights! I can't let this happen! Maybe cutting out the wheat will help, I'll get some spelt bread from the health shop tomorrow and start eating for my blood type properly. I'm also going to get a colonic cleanse. I've decided. I've read really good things about it and tbh, I don't care anymore, I need to do something to sort my stomach out, it's appalling. And quite frankly, ruining my life!

Anyway.... today my trikonasanas were good, I'm not so anal about getting my hand down to my foot now, I have better postural integrity with it further up the shin (I have long legs!), so that's where it can stay for the time being...until my spine grows (or my legs shrink)!! My back bends were not too bad believe it or not, did the warm up 2 then two full, my arms felt stronger today too so I held up for a little longer than normal.

Couldn't get my hands low enough in shoulderstand, so it felt all out of balance and hard work, didn't enjoy it this week... Head stand was better, I've decided that to get my back straight, without that arch I'm used to having, is to concentrate on it before I go up, then keep my bandhas really engaged as I'm going up and somehow it feels like it works. Obviously I can't see it so I will have to ask.  J should be able to tell me tomorrow, seeing as he's the one who pointed it out...

My forward bends all in all are coming on a treat. The pain behind my knee is almost completely gone, my hips feel more open bending forward and the difference in just 2 weeks is amazing. Chest to the thigh no problem in most of the forward bends now. (Although my left hip is more open that my right ;o)

One things that was terrible today was my mind. Completely unstill. All over the place. Even resting, I could not come inside of myself. My head felt as if it was buzzing and literally shaking. Not nice and not something I've experienced before and I don't know why it happended! Not as if I'd drank too much caffiene or anything... hmm..

Anyway, hopefullt it will be better tomorrow! We'll see..

Wednesday yoga with Sister and knees...

My sister hasn't done any yoga since she did her knee in, in I can't remember which posture, 2 years ago... The ended up a year later having ACL knee reconstruction by way of a tendon transplant (from a dead person and everthing!), that was 7 months ago and her progress and healing is going well. For my sister who has always had a battle with her weight, a mixture of working out at the gym and ashtanga was the best combination for her to lose weight, so she's been looking forward to reconvening a yoga practice for some time.

So I decided to give her a lesson! (And to practice my teaching!) Albeit, a bit 'vinyasa kramary' to suit the needs of the knee. She has very good movement in the knee, but some of the postures she found hurt. I brought along a large bolster for the Triang Mukha, as I'd read that this posture (but done with both legs back at the same time) was a great one for ACL recovery. The ones which hurt were the ones which involved twisting the knee as well as flexing it, namely padmasaana.. mind you, even simply crossing the legs in a seated position was making her yelp in pain.

Now, I've read somewhere that padmasana is a posture which should only really be attempted if your hips are open or else it'll be too much of a strain on the knee. In ashtanga padmasana is there in a few different forms, as if there is no problem with the posture even for beginners. Knowing what I know about the knee, my own injuries, taking to other ashtangis about padmasana, I've come to the conclusion (and my own opinion) that padmasana should not be attempted by beginners unless you can demonstrate that your knees can touch the floor in a posture such as baddha konasana, or even just when seated cross leg, your knees aren't pointing towards the ceiling!! But that's my opinion... siddhasana is a much kinder posture to the knees and, in my opinion, looks nicer too :o)

Anyway, twinges aside, and 2 hours 20 mins later, we finished and she loved it! I did the DYP sequence with her which was enough. However, in terms of my own teaching practice, the feedback was that I sounded completely forced! lol! Well, what do you expect, it was either that or sound like my own teacher!!! lol. And tbh when it came down to it, I couldn't even remember how V describes the postures! What a teacher I will make!! ;o)