Monday, 18 April 2011

"Welcome to Mari D!"

This past weeks yoga classes have been varied and lovely. I was taught Sivananda by my close friend K on Sunday at her home, it invloved her chanting prayers to begin then a real delicate practice, beginning with inversions but then carrying on working with all the different posture groups in turn, a bit like the BWY classes I'm used to. Really enjoyed it and great being taught by a friend too :)

I did my normal teaching practice on Monday but adjusting my fellow TT, which worked out nicely and I'm beginning to feel more comfortable being a bit more physical and it was nice to get some good constructive feedback. I followed this with a great energetic Mysore practice albeit with minimal revelation!

I practiced some hot yoga Wed and Friday, taking a break from Thursday's led ashtanga class to catch up with friends, nice break. Sat was my BWY course day, learning about basic breathing technicques - sounds tedious but actually very interesting!

But the best bit about my weekend was a trip to see a recently authorised ashtanga teacher, Shelley Osman, based in Essex. She's a buddhist too and a healer and just an amazing lady. There were just 6 of us in a room in her home, but it was lovely and really worked as a yoga space and very intimate. She teaches in the style of the old yogis where you are given postures when she feels you are ready, so no one in the room completed the series, but most got to Mari d then into finishing. Due to my knee issues I've stayed away from attempting any padmasana work since June last year. When I got to the seated postures I asked her advice and told her the problem and she asked I wanted to look at the postures together. She showed me a different way of getting my leg into padmasana which didn't involve the knee at all. What a difference it made. She had me binding in ardha baddha, mari b and believe it or not mari d was almost there too!

I was shocked that there was no pain in the knee and I kinda had a bit of an out of body experience being twisted completely into postures I have NEVER attempted before due to perceived knee issues. I was scared to death that my knee would just break in these bound postures, but just by breathing through it I relaxed, the fear disappeared and I managed to get through them. I'm not saying there was no pain elsewhere mind you, my ankles were bloody killing me!! I don't think I've ever had that much pain in my ankle before, (and I could hardly do a jump back after) but it was worth it! She had me do up to navasana then into finishing (thank god - i was shattered by this point). It still took 1.5 hrs. But Shelley explained that I needed to work on the maris, esp the padmasana ones and that should be my focus so my hips are open enough to do the rest of the practice. Even though I couldn't bind on one side in mari d she showed me a tip where you should hold your knee and let it fall in towards the other and just hug the knee whilst twisting as much as you can. But the most lovely tip Shelley gave me was that I just need to give my body "time and love"...

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Jiva Mukti Experience

I have practiced 4 out of 6 days this week so far and one teaching class. My self practice was great on Monday, had lots of energy and sweat going on, vinyasas smooth and flowing. Generally, I'm working on supta K and managing to bind hands and feet, or hands and no feet or feet and no hands... depending on which way the wind is blowing! Also the back bends, these are becoming really strong; straight arms and straight legs...I've also started dropping back using the wall and coming back up which feels great. You can also use the wall as a measure to open the front of the body and upper back which feels awesome and completely different from the overarching effect I usually get in UD, from my hyperextended lumbar spine.
The only issue I do seem to have at the moment is straightening my left leg in upa konasana and kurmasana cos of my left hamstring.

Wednesday I had my normal hot yoga class, but it was so hot it was uncomfortable and I was so close to leaving the room, but chose to lie in it instead and missed out the whole of the cobra backbending sequence. I got home and realised I had given myslef THE biggest self-inflicted migraine, I was sick and everything, eurgh.... Kinda made me think twice about renewing my class pass. Or try to work out a new pre-post re-hydrating scheme!

Friday I had a half day from work and took at trip to London to visit some friends and to re-ignite my yoga tourism by visiting the Jiva Mukti Centre. I took a class with a teacher from the US who had taught in NY who was fantastic! The class was like a slo-flow, lots of lunges, warriors and hip openers. We chanted god knows what for about 15 minutes to begin the class then the music kicked in for the rest. The first sequence was opended by none other than Richard Ashcroft himself, with the Verve's Bitter Sweet Symphony - not the type of yoga music I'm used to but hey, I kinda liked it!

I was looking forward to receiving what my friend K has gone on about for ages - an inappropriate application of a lotion on the base of your spine - but it was not forthcoming!!! I think I was the teacher out the corner of my eye applying the lotion to ther pupils, but not me!!! WHY?! I felt a bit left out!! Anyway, the inappropriate lotion aside, I loved the class and can't wait for another one. I'm also interested about the use of music in asana practice and will read up more on that...