Archive for March, 2008

Sunday practice

March 31, 2008

Took a detour to the “Walk-in” backrub place in Covent Garden on the way to practice to try and get my neck crick sorted. I only paid for 10 minutes, but the guy took much longer, he says there is a vertebrate slightly out of line which is also beginning to bring tension into my back muscles. He did bring some release, allowing me to go to practice, but I think I am going to have to see Cristina for a long session sometime soon.

Practice with C. was really good yesterday, the room was really warm, I was soaked after the Surya’s. Adjusted in Prasarita P C, the only real adjustment in the standing sequence, though she has taken to re-aligning my hands and fingers, which was ok until she couldnt make my left thumb work, she asked me if I had broken my hand, the large 30 year old scar is very vivid, she got a surprise when I told her I never broke it,but was born with an extra thumb, which had been amputated twice!

Seated is where the action happens, lots of adjustment beginning with Triang Mukha, which felt easeful as I got lower and lower, I used to hate this pose.  Being nice and warm meant I actually managed Marichyasana B, the advantage of mysore, having time to get into it. The real surprise came in Mari D, the first side doesnt happen with my knee, but I had managed to get myself into half lotus on the second side and twist with the right elbow outside the knee, C. appeared and asked if I wanted to try an adjustment, my knee wasnt in agony so I said go for it and wow suddenly I was fully bound in Mari D for the frist time in 9 months, once there I could hold the bind and stay, that was a real unexpected bonus. The now usual adjustment in Kurmasana and Supta Kurmasana, she has added inches to my hamstrings this last few weeks, “further,further, a little bit more“, they feel on the verge of snapping, then suddenly I find my fingers can bind, she has added phase 3 now, crossing my ankles over my head, I am still in wonder that my body is able to do that, even if it is with help. Supta K takes so much out of me, I have to sit and wait for equilibrium and any kind of breath, never mind ujayi to return before the vinyasa. My neck just about coped with Setu Bandhasana, though I didnt stay for 5 .

Closing I managed to sneak in ;-)  an Ustrasana to open up, then did 3 ok Urdva Dhanurasanas. Another adjustment in Salamba, before the easy Halasana sequence. I forgot Sirsasana after Matsyasana, but C. noticed (she misses nothing!) and up I went, had to have 2 goes, went over the top on the first attempt. Worth coming back to Sirsasana though for the neck/back manipulation C. gives in Childs pose.

Well I still didnt find my Ujayi, I asked C. after if she had heard it at all, I could see from the look on her face what the answer was! But it was a great practice, my body is finding spaces to move into under C.s guidance, though practice is much more physically challenging now, I feel I have moved up a level, after practice I am reminded of when I first set out on this road, I would leave the Shala soaked in sweat, physically tired, but mentally zinging. With C.s adjustments that has returned, I can feel my hamstrings asking what the hell is going on all of a sudden.

Another bonus yesterday was meeting AC, who comments occassionally on this blog, another face to a name, though I am sure we have practised together before over the river.

Spam does work!

March 29, 2008

After the incident the other Sunday at 5.30am when the rail replacement bus drove past us I complained by phone, by e-mail and after complaining at the station by post after being given a load of free post complaint forms. I thought I am going to cost them in postage and aggravation as much as it cost me. A couple of days ago I got a reply saying they were looking into the complaint. Today the postman delivered their apologies, yes multiple apologies, ie the left and right hand all replying to each individual complaint I sent in and all enclosing £17 rail vouchers. I cant wait for Monday’s post. But at least my trip to Norwich for the workshop next weekend will now be free!

Well Friday night got frittered away, no ujayi’s for sale on ebay so will have to go on trying to locate my own.

7pm what do I do now?

March 28, 2008

Escaped from work at 4pm, straight home, made some tea and then onto my mat at 4.22. I thought I had better do it while I had the energy and motivation. After yesterdays abysmal attempt at a practice todays was ok, not bad in fact. Standing are getting noticably quicker, Utita Hasata Pandangusthasana is fairly stable when I do it at home, though I don’t get anywhere near as far over in Prasarita Padot C as I do in the nice warm Shala.

I was soon into the seated sequence, everything up to Marichyasana A, B & D are still not possible with my knees current state, they are just so frustratingly fickle. Bhujapidasana into Titibhasana was interesting, I managed to lift up withou having the sensation that I was going to fall back, though I didnt get my legs very straight. Supta K was a finger touch job again, but at least this now has the feeling that I am going in the right direction. My neck crick has been very uncomfortable today, so left out Setu Bandhasana, settling for a few Ustrasanas before Urdva Dhanurasana, which despite a day off, I lifted into first go. Rest of closing, but missed out Matsyasana and Sirsasana for my necks sake. I have been trying to cultivate that elusive Ujayi breath, S.s e-mail and reading some yoga books hopefully will help me find it, I’m sure I do sometimes, but I really wont know until C. says I have.

How 2 days can be so different with regard to practice is astonishing, yesterday I had no energy, enthusiasm or motivation. Today I had a strong practice at home alone, what gives?

Next Friday I will be on my way to Norfolk for the weekend workshop, a whole weekend of vinyasa flow yoga.

 Well now its 7pm on a Friday night, the first Friday night in 2 years that I have eaten a meal, as usually I have been doing the counted practice and got home way too late to eat. But tonight I have practised and eaten, now what do I do, I know, go on ebay and see if anyone has an ujayi for sale

Bubble burst

March 27, 2008

It’s been a bit of a downward spiral with practice, my energy and motivation have ebbed away this week. From the high of Supta Kurmasana on Monday morning to then being told about my non existant Ujayi breath, I have practised the last 2 days, but tonight after the Surya’s and some seated postures I stopped, I had no energy or enthusiasm to carry on. Its a while since my mind has said this is a waste of time. I think C.’s comment has dampened down the yogic high of the last couple of weeks. I have been doing more practice at home since starting the Mysore class too, maybe I have done too much and burned all the Prana.

It feels like things are catching up with me, doing too much extra yoga seems to leave little time for much else, I havnt read or watched TV, it seems to be work, yoga,eating and sleeping. Work hit a new low this week, someone sent back a repiar, they are supposed to autoclave them clean before shipping, this one was covered in blood and the debris bag was full of ”debris”, gross, at least 2 people threw up.

Friday tomorrow and no counted practice, I hope my energy and motivation come back  as I will have to practice at home, then wonder what to do with myself, for over 2 years I have practised every Friday night. I can see I will not only end up wishing the week away, but also the weekends as my practice is now sunday afternoons, practice at a Shala with a great teacher will still be the highlight of my week.

I just need to get my bubble reinflated or to find that elusive ujayi breath.

Ujayi issue-failing

March 24, 2008

I got up while it was still dark, the bus turned up and I got into London for the mysore practice. Practice in the heat of a shala makes a lot of difference, I just read in the paper that sweaty exercise keeps the muscles fluid and maleable, which must be the reason my asanas are far deeper at the shala, as opposed to at home.

Actually arrived early so had time to warm up a little before getting down to business. C.s first words being to tell me to find that elusive breath. I tried, I really did, but I end up trying too hard and losing the breath, which turns to a wheeze as the air tries to get in and out. Standing postures had space, helped by having time, I confess on quite a few today I took more than 5 breaths as I found spaces to move into beginning with Padahastasana. Great adjustmnet in Prasarita Padot. C, I have no idea how far over she got me, but I can safely say its further than I have been before. I now remove my glasses before I start practice, but my mat seems to have gravitated nearer the windows to compensate, this resulted in managing to balance Utita Hasta Padangusthasana today, with just a white screen in front, I had the focus to do the posture, yay!

Seated are where the hard work begins, especially as my knees dont want to play this game at the minute. In both Janusirsasana A & B I took about 10 breaths as my knees settled down and the hips relaxed more. That has been one of the great things about changing to a mysore class, having the time to let the body get there and once there being able to go further in the pose without the 5 and outta there concept. A super adjustment in Marichyasana A, though as I type my back is really aching. Adjusted in Mari C as well, I thought grabbing the wrist was good enough, but oh no C. carefully gets my hand on my thigh, another little refinement. It had to come, as I squidged myself into Kurmasana, could sense the adjustment arriving for Supta Kurmasana, I was flat on the floor, being encouraged to stretch my legs a little further and some more and a little bit further. I used to think hamstrings were passengers in this pose, shit was I misinformed! With the adjustment I easily bound my hands, but today we carried on as my ankles were crossed and I was lifted, she is taking me a little further each time. I got my hands back around to lift but then fell back, oh well. I have been adjusted in this pose more in the last 2 weeks than in the preceeding 6 years. As C. gets to know my body I can feel that the adjustments are becoming stronger, my body loves it is all I can say.

Nice backbends today, I get away with using a block between my feet, I wonder how long this will happen for, at some point she’s gonna take it away! Adjusted in Salamba Sarvangasana, my concept of straight seems to be way different to C.’s interpretation, though got a nice rest in Halasana, I do like that pose. Sirsasana was good and it felt like I had earned the little neck/back manipulation she gives in Childs pose after.

Practice took the whole 2 hours alloted on the timetable, its nice not to rush. Afterwards C. talked about my lack of Ujayi on the inhale. She said its a major failing considering how far my practice has come, that I can do Kurmasana and Urdva Dhanurasana, yet cannot inhale properly. I can sense what should happen, but am unable to do it, its a mental block. She asked me if any teacher had brought it up before, the answer is no. Teachers often say “I want to hear the breath“, so pupils just breathe more deeply/loudly. Probably the amount of practice I have done with teachers compared to home alone practice has a lot to do with it. With hindsight I can see that I should have bitten the bullet and done mysore style classes long ago, the difference in just 3 weeks is fantastic. But not having learned something as fundamental as the ujayi pranayama in 7 years of practice is a flaw, failure on my part, though in all that time, having done workshops and classes with some great teachers, none has put so much emphasis on it as C. is doing at the minute and its rare for a teacher to try and teach it. I dont want to get fixated on it, I fear its one of those things that the more you try the less chance of it happening, but I don’t want it to be an issue with C. either, she is a brilliant ashtanga teacher, in so short a time she has made so much difference, I dont want to go back to the beginners class just to breathe.

Its so cold!

March 23, 2008

Amazed to wake to a white world out here in the sticks, a centimetre of snow and it was still coming down, headed to the CH switch to hit the override button. The snow didnt last but its been a cold, dreary, boring bank holiday Sunday.

I practised this morning, even with the heating on I barely generated any beads of sweat. Decent practice, much more open than yesterday, back and hamstrings came to the party, though both knees are a pain. My neck crick has gradually loosened and I am now able to very carefully attempt Setu Bandhasana and Matsyasana etc. Sirsasana has suddenly become very stable, to the point that I had some confidence as I did half way and up again. Another valiant attempt at Supta K, fingers touched again today, but just not sweaty enough to wriggle myself further in without assistance.

To that end I am going to bed early, missing the football I might add, to make sure I can wake up for the early, 5am rail bus into London tomorrow morning and get across to E2 by 8am for C.’s mysore practice. Being pretzeled by a professional seems to make all the difference. This is either dedication or I’m just mad.

Mememe- well I thought I’d join in!

March 22, 2008
1. What is your occupation? Stock controller

2. What color are your socks right now? White

3. What are you listening to right now? Bjork’s “Play dead” just came up.

4. What was the last thing that you ate? Cornbeef thing with potatoes.

5. Can you drive a stick shift? I dont drive!

6. If you were a crayon, what colour would you be? Yellow.

7. Last person you spoke to on the phone? My Mum.

8. What’s your favorite yoga pose? Halasana, though Supta K is a close second now that C. has instilled the belief in me that I can get there.

9. How old are you today? 43.

10. Favourite drink? Tea.

11. What is your favourite sport to watch? Soccer.

12. Have you ever dyed your hair? No

13. Pets? None.

14. Favourite cake? Battenburg cake.

15. Last movie you saw? Rendition.

16. Favourite day of the year? None in particular, any when I’m not at work.

17. What do you do to vent anger? I take the 5th or whatever it is you do!

18. What was your favourite toy as a child? Subbuteo.

19. What is your favourite, fall or spring? Spring.

20. Hugs or kisses? Hugs!

21. Cherry or Blueberry? Neither, I dont like fruit!

22. Do you want your friends to respond? Yes!

23. Who is most likely to respond? N/A.

24. Who is least likely to respond? N/A.

25. Living arrangements? 3 bed semi in the sticks.

26. When was the last time you cried? Grandmothers funeral

27. What is on the floor of your closet? A sleeping bag and a pair of wooden clogs.

28. Who is the friend you have had the longest? Iona, non yogi, but good mate.

30. Favourite smell? Bacon sizzling.

31. What/who inspires you? Brilliant yoga teachers

32. What are you afraid of? Illness.

33. Hamburgers? No.

34. Favourite car? None in particular, as I dont drive.

36. Number of keys on your key ring? One:Front door key 

37. How many years at your current job? Be 5 in July if I stay that long.

38. Favourite day of the week? Sundays, as its now my mysore day.

39. How many states have you lived in?  UK only.

40. What’s your dream job? Retirement.

Brrr its cold

March 22, 2008

Turning out to be a typical British bank holiday weekend, wet and freezing cold, we even had snow this morning covering the cars and gardens, though the hail that followed soon put paid to any thoughts of snowmanasana!

Did the whole of Primary, well except for Mari B & D, my knees are not up for it, probably due to all the walking I have done the last few days. A good practice, though I felt a bit heavy and lethargic to be honest, there was no float on jump throughs, just a thud as I landed. My hamstrings were very tight, even with the heating on I felt I couldnt really stretch out, but after virtually 2 days off I suppose my body needs to re-awaken itself. I did manage to squidge myself quite a way into Kurmasana and Supta K, fingers touching but couldnt quite manage to link. My lower back is incredibly tight, again I suspect down to walking and spending hours on public transport and sitting waiting. The only one that was ok was Sirsasana, a previous bogey posture, today I got vertical and did the half way and then back up again, think all the core strength stuff we did at the handstand workshop is probably helping this one to get stability.

Think I need to do some hip and back opening work, the regression in my knees is not good, my back just aches, but with encouragement should release itself.

Moon day

March 21, 2008

Only managed some standing poses and a few seated as well as the daily handstand attempts yesterday and today. Just as well its a Moon day today as my mind is elsewhere with concern at the moment, though hopefully things look a little better today. Didnt manage to generate any heat, so did not feel confident to stretch, couldnt even grab my toe in Trikonasana.

I was in London today, so a shame the shala was shut as well as being a moon day, I could have done with doing practice in a good environment. Didnt feel like a holiday today, just doing things that had to be done.

Eggstreme practice

March 20, 2008

Did the whole of primary last night, well except for Mari B & D. A strong practice, pushing myself to take my mind away from outside things which are not good. Despite the easter hunt I managed to get quite a way in to Supta Kurmasana but couldnt quite bind, I am not as sweaty at home as I am at the shala, if I could generate that heat at home. Its funny that I managed to bind at home a couple of times last week, but since being adjusted into it on Sunday have not managed it since.

Last day of the week at least, though annoyingly a Moon day tomorrow when I could have got to the shala to practice with C. hoping the railbus comes on Monday morning so I can get my dose of adjustments & encouragement.


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