Saturday, 29 January 2011

Friday - I couldn't resist the pull....

...Tonight I found myself aching to get back to hot yoga...literally, ACHING! I couldn't face my normal Friday at the Buddhist centre, not with my knees and my right hip the way they're feeling. The only thing for it, a bit of hot yoga action to sooth my aching bones.

And I wasn't disappointed... What a great class. It was led by Ma (not Mi) which I was a little disappointed to hear when I got there but I was wrong to judge Ma on just one lesson, maybe he was having an 'off-day' when I last practiced with him... Anyway, we began with breathing exercises, some uddiyana bandha, some kapalabhati, all good. Then we began with the standing sequence and he gently led us through; a few vinyasas here a few there, but not crazy... Vinaysas do feel better in hot yoga than when doing them with no heat, somehow the heat gives me a little more fluidity, a bit more energy for vinyasas which I'm missing in my ashtanga practice. I was also stood right at the front in front of the wall of mirrors and right next to Ma too, bit self conscious to say the least! I don't like the mirrors by the way, they bring a sense of self awareness of the physical body into the room which I consider should be left at the door in a yoga practice. (Although because I was wearing just a sports bra, I kept catching glimpses of my tummy in the mirror and it was sticking out and kept reminding me to engage the bandhas, so maybe it's there for that purpose..but I still didn't like it!) :o)

The practice was just right, just what I needed tonight to sooth my aches, to break free of repetative posturing (if that's a word?!). I left with my hips feeling better, no pain in my knees and feeling relaxed and calm and glad that had I decided to break from the normal routine...

Possibly the worst Thursday practice so far...

Got a lift to practice today with D in a big red shiney sports car! On the way in, both not really feeling the ashtanga energy, he gave me the option of bailing in favour of the cinema, I graciously declined...

Anyway, in fear of sounding a little extreme, I was just completely lacking energy, enthusiasm and whilst I was present in body I was not present in mind! So, suffice to say the practice was no great shakes. To make things worse I probably shouldn't have gone anyway as I've definately been overdoing it this month. Looking back at January's stats I've practiced on average every other day! Which is quite an increase in my book. My knees are suffering as a result of it and I'm gutted as I've been discharged from physio having made great progress and almost no pain left... now look at me... grating knees, aching hips, popping ankles, sacro-iliac joints and hips. My bones sound like a bowl of rice crispies!

I made it through, more or less, without any major modifications or complete misses and left feeling a little more energetic than when I went in. At least that's something. To celebrate, D and I decided to go to the cinema after all... who said you can't have a little apres yoga?! ;o)

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Sun Power Action

Keeping with the spirit of developing a more holistic approach to my yoga studies I took myself off to a Sun Power yoga class. Unfortunately, the setting's a bit questionable, the late comers having to go to the back of the room on the quite thick-piled carpet which did nothing for my balance!

I liked this class because whilst being quite dynamic and flowing it retains the feel of a beginners' class with that 'come on and have a go' ethos, which leaves it open to both absolute beginners and the improvers. However, it's not ashtanga and whilst you do a nice warm up of a variety of sun salutes, similar to the ashtanga style the sequence of postures does differ week to week and M did like her one legged balances, especially Virab 3 and different variations of utthita parsvakonasana whihcv because I'm not used to them killed me! You'd think I'd be getting used to them having been with MF all weekend punishing us with extended standing sequences!! But no.... my butt hurts now...

I liked the opening with the 3 rounds of kapalabhati and khumbaka (breath retention) and then alternative nostril breathing, which I don't get to practice anywhere else in town. I also like the 'freestyle' inversions section at the end where you can just get on with whatever level of inversions you like to do. I did a long headstand and the held legs parallel to floor for 7 breaths - my best yet - and get this, I held my bandhas and even took my legs back up towards the ceiling! I must admit that there was a dodgy minute where I thought I was going to fall (I blame the carpet) but I managed to pull it back - booya!

But the best bit about this class is being given a soft blanket to lie under in savasana at the end... now you don't get that at ashtanga!! :o)

Tuesday Rest day

Just when you thought I actually meant it...

I gave my sister a good grilling vinyasa krama style today. Unfortunately I didn't know the sequence I was teaching but had to read it off Grimmley's practice sheets (thanks Grim) and so it was a bit disjointed, but nevertheless left her panting and 'OMG I can't do that'ing, which made me happy... Well she needs to move out of her comfort zone sometime!! ;oD

Cannot wait for day 6, my 'rest day'...

Might have been overdoing it a bit of late, what with my normal classes with V, the classes at Yoga Haven, Fridays with J and then last weekend's Freestyle marathon with M... Knee hurts again and I'm sad to say it it's the pain in the back of it now too, not just the grinding sensation I have been getting... Bad news.

I was adamant due to the 5 days with no break from yoga that Monday would be a nice leisurely self-practice and after being drenched from M's torturous routines I would not sweat, not one bit! It didn't turn out like that though did it?..No.. I sweated my ass off which is unlike me on Monday and had a really strong, energetic practice.

It was a bit of a pain to go back to the 'normal' way of entering warrior 1, with the back foot flat and turned in 45-degrees as M had shown me another method where you're on the ball of your back foot and both knees facing the front of the mat; this was much better on my knee, easier to get into and easier to balance in too, overall, making it more powerful as I could drop deeper into the pose, opening the front hip. I'm going to keep practicing it like this at home, but obviously keep the traditional style for class.

My utkasanas are so much better now, I've been introduced to a new way of entering these too which makes it easier and a deeper pose; inhaling then exhaling bending to touch floor, then inhaling into Utka then exhaling into the forward bend. I could hardly bend my knees a few weeks ago in this posture, looking really pathetic, not sure why this works for me but it does!

My prasarita padd's haven't been very deep of late, not sure why, hips don't seem to want to open much in this pose, and I really have to breathe into the pose to get my head anywhere near the floor, let alone pressing it into the floor...I remember the days when I could.....:o( Utthita Hasta was good though, V talked me through pulling the hip back into the socket when holding the foot forward, which sounds awful and scary on the hips but really worked! Woo!

I can grab my wrist with my hand in front of my outstretched foot in most of my seated forward bends now, this has been developing over the past couple of weeks and feels nice - less jarring on that knee too.

Nearly forgot - very nearly grabbed the toe in trikonasana!!! OMG! What's happened here!!! Where did that come from?!

Kurmasana is quite good at the moment, I'm not having my legs at such a wide angle and it's better on my forward fold and my knees and my elbows as my legs are almost on top of my shoulders, must be a lot safer too. However, supta is still missing the bind :o( Wish my thighs would just piss off - I've lost 4 pounds this month why aren't you shrinking?!!! Grrr...

I've also noticed that being pro-active and almost adjusting myself in the konasana sequence is reaping the benefits, chest almost on floor in the forward bend, hips not so tight in seated (no pain in the left one) when I push down with my elbows although pressing down so hard makes my back curve so I keep getting adjusted in that one! Supta parsvasahita is getting better, outstretched leg less than a foot off the floor now, hips showing hints of opening finally!!! Yay!

Back bends done with almost no effort which was amazing... Still thanking the hot yoga for that little feat! No pains in the shoulders either *touches wood* and holding with scrupuluously straight arms!!!

So even though I thought I was in line for the knacker's yard, my body pulled something out of the bag! Good ol' bod (I'll try not to doubt you in future) :o)

Sunday, 23 January 2011

as if yesterday's class wasn't enough...

...I decided "wouldn't be a good idea to do M's Freestyle Yoga Project workshop today!"

I should have known how hard it was going to be from having awoken this morning and not being able to lift my legs out of bed! Seriously! No wonder my physio had me doing glute strengthening excercises, they're almost not existent! I don't think they've ever had such a work out in their lives!!! However, I battled through and whilst a couple of postures weren't so accessible, this was mainly due to knee issues i.e balancing on the knee.

It was a killer but shows how much control I need to exercise over my body if I ever want to be able to go up into handstand for instance and how much bandha control I need (I thought my bandhas were pretty good...maybe not). We did some  really nice vinyasa krama sequences, my favourite were the low arm balances, especially something along the lines of galavasana, koudinyasana  A & B, and something which felt so nice as it opened up my chest and never thought I'd ever be able to do, Viparita Dandasana (I think) (like a headstand backbend). We even did those squatting hasta pada's that Grimmly mentioned in a previous post of mine, killers and a bit harsh on the old knees, but a reminder to focus on entering and exiting the postures and being aware of the joints.

The last 2 days has been a real eye opener, I will definately have to get Matthew Sweeney's and Ramaswami's books on Vinyasa Krama and give it a go at home. I'm sooo tired now, I think I'm gonna have to leave this post and go lie down for a bit :o)

Saturday, 22 January 2011

I can't remember the last time I worked so hard..

If last night, Thursday night, Wednesday's tri-class and Tueday's hot class weren't enough, I decided it would be a good idea to (for my yogic development) try another class today. So D and I took a little trip over the the Stone Monkey Cafe in Leamington Spa to try what they call 'The Freestyle Yoga Project'.

Now what I expecting was far from what I actually experienced. To coin my father's phrase 'It's like everything else', you get a completely different perception of a person once you meet them and experience them first hand. I had spoken to people and taken in their views on M before I had met him , I had read profiles and even heard him speak in interview on YogaPeeps, but until you actually meet someone you will never gauge what someone is really like. Moreover, how their style of teaching yoga is...

I was therefore completely surprised to find that I absolutely loved the class presented to me. Non-dogmatic yet authentic, tough yet accessible, ashtanga yet hatha, non-spiritual yet with soul....

The sweat dripped from my chin, my nose, my shoulder, just like in hot yoga, yet it was my own body, my own ujjayi breath which controlled this thermostat, propelled only through the asanas presented to me and not through external heat or even any external adjustment from the teacher (the adjustments were almost imperceptible; he was there in the position for adjusting but didn't really touch).

It showed me that the full primary series of ashtanga yoga as taught be Sri K Pattabhi Jois is, not an infallible system. I can honestly say that I have worked muscles in this practice that I have probably never worked before (or possibly not since my trip to Insabina in June), there were postures which other people seemed to make look easy, like whilst in a wide legged forward bend with hand on the floor, then taking one leg out to the side! I could hardly move the leg out, let alone look convincing in the pose! Ashtanga does not work the legs enough, (controbersially might be one of the reasons why my knees couldn't take it when introduced into a different and more varied style of yoga in June). All the famous yoga teachers do not appear to have 'strong legs' although their upper bodies are buff.

So will I go again to this class? The answer is a resounding 'yes'. It takes me beyond my comfortable boundaries. Whilst I might hate it at the time 'cos it hurts, I know that it's all for the greater good and that one day the pain will go and it will feel easy (ish). There's no point working just one end of the body. You need to work the end with the legs no matter what the ashtanga vinyaysa system says!

"Freestyle Yoga Project" = Big thumbs up!

Ashtanga yoga and Raynaud's syndrome...

Almost died getting to Birmingham tonight for JC's Mysore class. Literally. Well OK, probably a slight exaggeration but my heater wasn't working in my car so it was a harsh 1hr drive over (and I forgot my gloves). I've been told that I've probably got Raynaud's Syndrome where due to the cold the ends of my fingers lose all feeling and go numb and white... However this time one even went purple by the time I got a look at it in the light! Poor D, he even had to hold my hand to try and warm it up whlst I was driving, not very safe but hey... Could've got gangrene..(that's what wikipedia says anyway..)

Due to the joke of a journey I wasn't looking forward to class. Not one bit. I sat on top of the radiator for 10 mins before we started and even then I kept my cardy and scarf on throughout the suryanamaskaras. The rolling over the toes was an absolute killer, not only was it affecting my hand but my big toes on both feet were numb and it was killing me!! I had to admit to taking a breather and just holding the toes with my then warm hands for a good 15 breaths before being able to carrying on...:o(

I rushed through the entire sequence trying to create warmth through a strong breath but less time in poses. By the end I was knackered. I had some personal triumphs despite the ill health which was a bit surprising! I got the lowest I have even got my chest to the floor in Konasana forward bend, I rocked up without falling back, my backbends felt great, not pain in the left shoulder, I even held all my inversions longer than normal as I had so much time. I managed 30 breathes in sirsanana and held for 4 breaths with legs half way down without a problem! What had all the signs of being an awful experience ended up not so bad! Hoorah, yoga prevails!

Warrior or ocean breeze?

The temperature has dropped again so Beechwood was a little chilly.. 'I' was a little chilly, My yoga mat was even worse! Had to warm it up on the radiator in class before we started, I don't care what people think!!

Not only was the heat not in the room, it wasn't created on the mat either. I was all creaky and stiff and felt like I didn't want to be there, much.... Still feeling the effects of whatever came over me at the weekend I think. I gave it a good bash though considering. Missed out one vinyasa between sides? That's not TOO bad is it? Not for a poorly person?!!

In fact I think I've relaxed on my breathing a little of late. As I've mentioned in previous posts I don't hardly sweat at all in class anymore, not at home, not even a bead on my top lip! I used to, I used to sweat like a monkey!!! (I don't know if monkeys sweat but it's the best similie I could come up with without swearing..;) I've heard my friends in class recently been told to calm down their breath so it is not so audible, so strained (but to keep the enthusiasm!); maybe I've unconsciously taken this on... Or maybe I'm now on a plane where I don't need to consciously and audiably breathe? I'm not really sure. Sometimes in some postures my breath becomes more audible, more strong, notably in the standing balancing postures, but I kinda just let it flow... But this brings me to the question; do I have to breathe like a warrior or an ocean breeze? How do I know when my ujjayi breathing doesn't have to be so 'ujjayi'?!

Hot yoga and inauthenticity...

I was cajoled into doing the last class of the £10 for 10 classes offer at Yoga Haven tonight... Due to feeling groggy Sunday and missing an adjustment workshop, and then going on to miss Monday's mysore practice, by today my body needed a good beating again so I allowed it to happen...

I loved the practice too. Luckily it was M again, with his soft yet firm tone and plethora of metaphors and similies, I let the practice wash over me "like waves over the shore" (M, I hope you're proud!)

It was only 1 hour long which is probably why I didn't feel like I wanted to die. However, the last of the classes has made me re-think the motives for doing this type of yoga. Not particulatly my own but people's motives.. do these motives follow the eight limbed path for instance? Are these people being true to themselves and and is 'hot yoga' or 'bikram' an inauthentic type of yoga in the Sartrian meaning of the term? Or am I just over-analysing it?

I say these things because I have noticed my back being a lot more 'open' than before, and all from just 5 hot yoga sessions within a 10 day period... which then made me think does the heat create an inauthentic environment for the body to work in? Should we be allowing an outside force (heat in this case) to manipulate our bodies into places they wouldn't necessarily go on their own? Which then gets me onto thinking well if we let heat guide us into unknown territory, aren't physical adjustments just a similar inauthentic manipulation of the body? All these questions and to be quite frank, I haven't got the answers (just yet)... so any ideas please?!

And whilst sat outside the shala waiting for my body to cool down enough for me to stand again, I felt sad that the 10 day challenge was up... OK, so I only made 5 classes, (well done to D for 6) However, whilst pondering whether to take up the next hot yoga offer, I kinda knew deep down that it wasn't going to be.... Goodbye 'I can't believe it's not Bikram'... see you down the road..................

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Saturday's Sauna....

Day 4 of the hot yoga challenge!!! This now means that my physical excercise this week (Sat to Sat) has been no less than 2 full primary ashtanga classes, 4 Hot yoga classes, 1 teaching class and 1 tri-class (step aerobics)! No wonder I've lost a total of 4 pounds this past week! It feels good though. "I" feel good. There's definately something in keeping physically busy, I haven't slept so well in ages; 9:30 bed times completely out of the window this week and yet I've been completely alive and on the ball!!

I should've known last night when D suggested we get another hot yoga class in before the 10 days runs out that this was craziness! I lay in bed this morning thinking 'this is my only completely relaxing day - what am I doing?!' However, I was at the station by 9am ready for the craziness! I stayed right by the door today!! Following Wed's almost passing out scenario I just couldn't risk it! I mean, where's the fun in doing yoga if all your thinking about is trying not to pass out? But again, I felt the same right in the same place in the sequence, straight after standing!! I had to have a little savasana, which luckily flowed right into the lying on the back sequence, which, funnily enough, I REALLY ENJOY!!!! lol

Mind you, I was quite focussed today and I actually watched the sweat drip from the end of my nose and my chin onto the mat, which is, although I hate to admit it, quite satisfying!! Like the washing of my drenched yoga attire is quite satisfying!!!

I was just reading The Reluctant Ashtangi's blog and it's so funny, because she has hit the nail on the head about Bikram/hot yoga classes... No-one seems to care. You don't get adjusted. You sweat and pass out and feel ill and no-one comes up to you to ask if you're OK! You are invisible as she says! You turn up, you find the coolest spot (if you're like me) and then you try and get through the practice without collapsing in a heap! The only difference with my teacher seems to be that M thanks all of his students for their energy, for their courage and committment in such hot circumstances! And it kinda makes it all worth while, knowing that (even if it is complete pretence) M actually wants to thank us for turning up....!

I like Yoga Haven. I like the welcome desk, I like the fact that the teachers sit there most of the time to welcome you in, that they're there afterwards to chat. That the people in the queue for the (1) shower talk to you. It makes a change to the ashtanga classes which apart from my friends (the other yoga teacher trainees) no one really talks to you. They just turn up and sit like they're in a doctor's surgery (as V described it the other night)! I like the sense of community at Yoga Haven, I like the burlesque style changing rooms and the way all the teachers turn up for each others classes, so as to show their support for each other! I like the shoe-free zone, the pictures on the walls, the free bumper stickers, I like the little kitchen area and the 1 loo, I like having to hang on for dear life as I commence down the spiral staircase after class!!! Once the 10 days is up these are the things I'll miss...

"Beechwood Lawn Tennis Club = Cold...."

...This was the text I got during Thursday afternoon from D, obviously wanting to ditch ashtanga and get the most out of the £10 for 10 classes as Yoga Haven! I did laugh....he's such a bad influence...

However, I went to ashtanga... but moreover, I NEEDED some ashtanga. I needed to feel my body make its own heat, to use my own breath to keep me going and not to just keep me cool! Bloody hell, the room was coooollld though...brrrrrr..... But, in saying that, the old ujjayi soon kicked in and I might have even experienced a couple of beads of sweat across my top lip at some points in the practice!!! It was also good to see the old faces again, I've missed K over the Xmas period, especially her relentless energy.

It wasn't a practice of any major feats though, I'm finding the led classes generally aren't any more, it's the Mysore self-practice or my home practice where I make the most improvement and where I don't have to rush and can try out new things :o)

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Wednesday madness!

I think the heat from the hot yoga is getting to me.....

I decided to do my step aerobics class at 5:30 today then get on the next train to Birmingham for another hot yoga session (1.5 hr). Oh dear....... My sister warned me after the step that I should be careful about not drowning myself by drinking too much water, that with all this colonic and hot yoga I'm dehydrtaing my cells then replacing the nutrients with water only, which could actually drown the cells, through the process of "osmosis", which I actually understood as it's probably the only thing I remember from science at school! Anyway, to allay her fears (and my own) she kindly bought me an isotonic drink to take to yoga :o)

Probably lucky she did as I almost collapsed in class, just after the lunging sequence and before the balancing sequence! Everything went a bit dark, and quiet, but managed to sit down and then lie down in savasana without completely passing out. Luckily I wasn't the only one, the class was busy and people were dropping like flies... I spoke to the teacher after who said that it was VERY hot, more than usual and that he must work on knowing when it's getting too much for people and to let people chill in savasana for a while. I do like the teacher M, he's kind and cares about the class and improving his own teaching!

I don't know whether the increase in ability to stretch further in hot yoga comes with more practice in the heat, but I don't feel any difference in my postures, or the ease of entering etc. However, I think the best thing I like about hot yoga is the fact I sweat... and it makes me feel good, that i've worked and that I'm detoxed throughout! I cannot meditate in this class, I cannot concentrate on the breath when it gets too full on, therefore it's a far cry from Mysore, which seems more about 'you' (the purusa) than 'you' the (prakrti).... Have I got that the right way round?!!! ;o)

Operation colon cleanse, Day 2...

I probably shouldn't have done this, but I went for my 2nd colonic today and THEN went on to do my 2nd hot yoga class. In fear of dying from dehydration I drank a large amount of water before, during and after, I didn't want to risk collapsing at yoga!

The class was an "express" class which took just an hour, but Dear God, sooo glad it was an hour today especially after practicing full primary Fri, 1.5hr Hot yoga Sunday and Mysore Monday.... Some might say I'm over doing it, but I this is January after all and we all go a little crazy, don't we;? trying to burn off those excess calories and winter warming flab!

I enjoyed the class today, sweated like crazy though... I think I'm one of those naturally sweaty people and I seemed to be sweating more than the girls next to me...but was i putting more into it than them? Or was it the strong ujjayi breath? Not sure.... What I can say about this hot yoga class is that ujjayi breathing gets you through it, and it's amazing that they don't put much focus on the ujjayi breath in this class, even though I feel that if I didn't use this method of pranayama I would die...! It actually feels as if you cannot concentrate on the yogic aspect of the postures with it being so hot, all you try to do is get through it without collasping, which for me, kinda makes it just a bit of a workout, although I can see how people could get addicted to it :o) (Yes, and I'll probably go tomorrow as well... I need to get my money out of the "£10, 10 class, 10 day" card after all!!!)

Oh, suffice to say that I didn't die from having the colonic and then the yoga class. But I wouldn't recommend it, as you are meant to completely relax after "colonic interference" as it were... as I was told by the professional :o)

Monday, 10 January 2011

Monday's moving meditation...

...well I can dream it was like that. My mind was all over the place tonight at the Mysore class. In fact it wasn't Mysore style, it was a led class this week which was a bit disappointing but nevermind.

I think I am still radiating heat from my core from yesterday's hot yoga class! Seriously, I've been hot all day. Even with frost outside I'm all pink and rosy-cheeked!! My mat was still wet from my own sweat from yesterday though, eurgh.... must wash that....

I had quite a lot of energy tonight which surprised me after yesterday's session. My chaturangas are really strong now, and the more I do them properly the more the strength grows. I wish that could be said about the backbends.... I'm told by V to feel the burn in the thighs, but I just don't feel it! Unless you feel the burn I don't think you can come up to stand from dhanurasana...maybe i'll never feel the burn....:o( I can only think there must be something not working right, some muscle not engaging in my backbends. Like why can I still not achieve a decent purvottanasana?! I sink in the middle, and at both ends! It's ridiculous and I'm embarrassed about that posture....I want to hide it away!

My forward bends are coming on strong though which is great. I can bury my head in paschi C now, although it takes me the 10 breaths in A & B to lengthen enough to achieve this!!

My twists were good today also. V assisted me in revolved triangle, which I think is the first assist I have had from him since I can put my hand outside the opposite foot, so I was able to gain the full twist and looking up to the ceiling, which felt lovely.

Remembering the 'preparation is key', my seated twists were great too, lots of length in the spine and still bound well despite the extra inches on the thighs...

I lifted with the assistance of V from headstand and looked up towards my belly. I like assists like this, it take my mind off being crap at backbends!

I have been trying a few of the padmasanas of late, as my knees appear to be getting better, trying to stretch out my ankle and side of the calf. However, lying in savasana today I had a horrible sharp pain in my left knee, so I won't be trying that again any time soon :o(

To aid 'operation colonic cleanse' I purchased some aloe vera juice today, on special offer at H&B. Unfortunately I couldn't remember the name of it when I got into the shop and had to describe it as 'a drink made out of a plant thing'....however, somehow the shop assistant knew what I was on about! Funny!

Hot Sunday!

As a bit of a variation (and because I'm curious) I decided to try out some hot yoga action at Yoga Haven in Birmingham.

It didn't feel that hot when I first entered the room, but as the class got started the room got hotter and hotter (apparently they work at 40 degrees C)! I really thought I wouldn't be able to cope as I had problems when I practiced in India in lesser degrees, however, I maintained a long ujjayi breath throughout which was my saving grace...

The routine was really nice. The teacher was fantastic and I loved his "yoga teacher voice", full of enthusiasm and drama! I really have to start thinking how my "yoga teacher voice" is going to be, not quite sure I will be able to pull off the over-enthusiastic, dramatic, analogous dialogue quite so well as M did!!!

The time did seem to stand still for the most part though..there were clear sections of the whole sequence; warm up, standing sequence, lunges, backbends, vinyasa sequence etc, however, I thought that after each set we would be finished, but to no avail... I was dripping with sweat and at the end physically panting like a downward dog, not a victorious warrior!!

I did feel as if some of the postures were easier in that heat. The body definately was up for doing more activity and it did seem to "ignite the fire within" (can't remember where I heard that one from - poss RF!) and keep me going throughout. All in all, it was a positive experience. I wouldn't say I could fully focus on the yoga part of things, and it did seem more like a workout, but nevertheless I enjoyed it, and dare say I would love to go again....even if it is only for a good workout and possibility of losing a few pounds :o)

It's a pity it's so far away... I have a 10 class pass for the bargain price of £10, but it needs to be used within a set amount of time. I think I need more days in my week for all the yoga I want to do! I really would've liked to have done the 10 day challenge! Just think - 3 colonics and 10 days of hot yoga - I don't think I couldn't be more cleansed!!!

Friday Mysore and colonic irrigation...

...but not at the same time!!!!

I feel a little uneasy about this post, but have come to the conclusion that I want to tell the world how great colonic irrigation is!!! So I had my first "colonic cleanse" last week and whilst at the time of the cleanse, all you want is to have it over and done with, afterwards you feel AMAZING! I can honestly say that it has "changed my life", and for the better! My skin is glowing and my digestion is better than ever. I look a lot less tired (don't need as much make up!) I don't have the bloating after food like I was and I'm able to eat food that I previously couldn't eat due to its horrible effects on me!!! Yay!!!! It's done so much good for me that I have booked in for the 3 sessions 'healthy kick start'! Anyway, enough about that....

I took my yogi friend D with me to the Buddhist Centre for JC's class tonight, I think he liked it and found Jc's tips helpful. Unfortunately we didn't get much assists as there was a newbie in the room, so they obviously get more attention for the first few weeks. However, I had help with my Mari sequence, my C's aren;t that great at the moment, but having read Grimmly's recent post 'it's all in the preparation' I know what he means. J made sure my warpping arm was securely in place before binding with the other and doing it this way ensures that the spine is kept nice and straight. It makes such a difference.

Unfortunately the colonic cleanse did not assist me in losing my "christmas weight"....! My supta K was appalling, it was either bind and uncross ankles or cross ankles with no bind - thighs are too big and are just getting in the way. But it's OK cos I'm back to the gym now too, so should be able to work off the excess flab at my step class in no time at all!

Headstand is obviously getting straighter as no comment from JC tonight!! Yay!

Monday, 3 January 2011

First practice of 2011 :o)

I'm a bit disappointed with myself that I did not do my first practice of 2011 until the 3rd of January! I'm no Ashtangi Angel.... ;o) Anyway, I got back t the gym yesterday morning and again this morning. Knees held up nicely albeit a couple of twinges here and there, mainly the right, but I did all my exercises with complete awareness, making sure my patellas were tracking properly and they were fine.. a big 'yay' to the knees!

But the gym just wasn't enough today. Something was amiss, my little bit of peace :o)

So after I had tidied my gardens and done some other menial tasks I got on the mat(s) (still practicing with 2) at about 3:15. I even delayed my dinner party an hour so I could do a longish practice!

I did 5 Sury As and 3 Bs. This works for me, and although I do all 10 in my mysore classes, the 8 work well at home. The energy doesn't seem to be as high at home as it does in the class, maybe in class you feed more off a collective energy in the room, I don't know, anyway...

My Surys are really coming along nicely. Surys are a part of the practice which many people consider are beginner postures, and you don't find many people commenting on them in blogs and such like. But mine are becoming a much loved part of my practice. I can now fold completely in half, chest to thighs, hands completely flat on the floor. I could never do this, not even before my knee problem (June). My reach up feels lovely, turning the palms out before taking the arms up in the style of Richard Freeman really makes a difference, makes you feels as you're "offering yourself up"  (wow that's a bit catholic!) and opening up to the energy.

Chataranga is coming along great. I think it has really made a difference now I'm throwing myself forward when I jump back so I land in chaturanga in the correct position to start and my arms have built in strength so they hold me up no problem now. Being in the correct position allows me to tilt my pelvis up a little to provide the strength to roll up into upward dog, only the tops of my feet on the floor and to roll back over the toes (without pain thanks to the double mat) into downward dog without having to adjust my hands and feet as much as I used to. My heels touch the floor much quicker lately too, this I put down to not locking my knees out (which I used to do naturally as I have hyper-extension) but keeping a micro bend and using the fronts of my lower legs to guide my deeper and not the extension of the knees. (I can't wait til I can use the proper anotomical and physiological terms for these processes!)

My Bs aren't as good but only because I find it hard to balance in Vibradrasana when flowing through the sequence which messes the breath up a bit. I have started sweeping the floor with my hands and keeping a lower squat for Utkatasana though in my last few practices, it's hard work and I don't know what I'm doing differently but I have more control of  myself, maybe it's the physio I'm doing, that's building those quads...hope so :o)

My jump to sit is coming along great, with blocks I'm still straight through, but without them I do a little hop just inbetween my hands then come through, so neeeearly there!!

Utthita Hasta Pada is being maintained at a good level. Completely straight leg now with no pain behind the knees. Still using the clasping of the toe coupled with the pulling up of the arm to enable the straight leg and to keep shoulders back. One day the legs will be completely out to the side - 2 dimensionally! I'm using the same tecnique in the lying down version of this posture, which also appears to be working...

I got completely flat in kurmasana today! I adjusted the angle of my legs so they were further towards my head than out to the side and more ontop of my shoulders than the tops of my arms. This puts less pressure on my arms which are both hyper-extensive and therefore vulnerable in this position, especially the left where I broke the elbow just over a year ago. Happy days!

I did 3 backbends, the first was great, the 2nd and 3rd I had the twinge in the left shoulder, so not as good. Need to work on that, but as I'm now doing 3 full back bends and no warm up versions anymore, I should see a difference pretty soon and be able to work out what I'm doing wrong.

New year, new sports bra! I wore this today without anything on top as my room was lovely and warm and as a result got a great shoulderstand as I had flesh for traction!!! Will always wear sports bras at home now, much less of an issue with the old shoulderstands without having clothes in the way :o)

Chakrasanas done with almost straight legs, must work on getting them completely straight and possibly entered into without having to flip myself over at speed. Saves me having to walk bat to my mat after the event! ;o)

Headstand, 25 breathes, 4 breaths with legs parallel to floor. Must work on this but a bit tired today as it's LH time.

So, there it is... 2011, starts with a generally lovely and enthusiastic practice with lots of things to consider working on! Practice in 2011 and all is coming!

That reminds me... must find 2011's yoga retreat soon!!! Need a holiday! (Xmas just isn't the same ;o)