Archive for December, 2006


December 22, 2006

This week has been manic, work has been hell (as usual), but preparing for christmas and packing my bags has left little time for my mat. Last night I found an hour so managed up to Mari B and did some backbends. It felt good to practice. Hopefully I will find some time tonight for my mat, though my mind is occupied with trying to escape this cold country for warmer climes.

Pema Chodron wrote about the Wisdom of no escape, well the fog is still shrouding Heathrow, there are 50,000 travellers who have not escaped, I just hope I am not added to that statistic tomorrow night.

Its the last day at work, they still want more out the door, even though its not going to go anywhere. There’s no christmas spirit here, just the clock counting down the hours and minutes to 4pm.

I hope my next blog is from somewhere warm, where I can practice and be happy.


This time next week…

December 17, 2006

I will be in the sunshine of the far east, another year gone. This time last year I was in Beirut, at least Thailand has had its coup for this year!

Fridays practice was important, they have all been since last January when A told me about this small quiet practice, for those who can. After the first one I happened to pass the notice board and read that the practice I had just done was for “Advanced” students, if I had read that earlier I may have legged it back up St Johns Road to the station. But I can do this practice and love what it gives me. After many of the abysmal weeks in “The Hole” it has been the difference between getting on a train and jumping in front of one, practice has kept me sane and alive. Having this regular practice has helped my postures no end over the last 12 months. Mari D happens sometimes, fingers occassionally touch in Supta K, Titibasana is no longer just for members of “Cirque de Soleil” and Urdhva Dhanurasana is no longer feared, but accepted for sometimes being good. I am grateful to Easter for leading this precious 2 hours of my week, its consistency allowed my practice to grow and when I did the retreat with Dena in the summer I was amazed to find I was half way down the room, just below the teachers, not at the bottom end with the less able. I went there worrying that I may be out of my depth, but instead found my practice was OK, not least when Dena’s first words to us were “Be happy with where your practice is“.

The weekend has been as busy as predicted, hairmowing, shopping, present wrapping. But this afternoon I managed to find the time for some practice. I practiced up to Supta K, then did some backbends. I enjoyed my mat time because I knew I had completed most of the “To-do” list, so my brain was not coming up with things still to be done, I was connected to my practice, though my hips seem to have closed again, but I am happy with my practice, just a shame that this happiness cannot be transferred to the rest of my waking time,particularly during the working week, which I now accept will be shit. Five days to go.

Happy on my mat

December 15, 2006

Friday night 4pm couldn’t come soon enough, escape from that crap. I flew along the tow path in 7 minutes, the guy at the station knows what ticket to print for me and the train to South London was soon on its way, no hold ups. Lots of time before practice so did  quick bit of Xmas shopping, then wandered down to warm up. Easter already had the “L” shaped room toasty warm, I love this place, such a shame it will close early next year.

Just 5 of us including the shalas owner tonight as we chant the opening mantra. This is my body’s sign to leave the outside world behind and “be” in this place, mentally as well as physically. My Surya are not deep forward bends, a week in an office has undone all the workshops good, but I open up and spread my back. The asanas up to Prasarita Padottanasana are good, but the girl opposite me gets a big wobble on during Utita Padangusthasana, which has a bit of a domino effect, and my balance is abysmal. The next one is not much better, but the Warriors feel good as Easter stretches my shoulders out from under my ears.

Seated asanas go past really quickly for some reason, I enjoy the adjustment in Eka pada and my hips feel open, my knee pain free as I do the Janusirsasana and Marichyasana’s, A,B & C are good and I almost bind in D. Navasana is crap! Oh well Kurmasana and Supta K are good, my fingers touching in Supta K, but not binding. Upavistha is coming, I can grab my feet now instead of my ankles, but the balance is a long way off. Supta Padangusthasana is weird, leg straight up is fine, but going to either side I have a bone with no flab to protect it, which makes this part of the asana impossibly painful. I need a few visits to Burger King or something to get some fat to protect it! urrr perhaps not, maybe a thicker mat. Ubhaya and Urdva Mukha are not happening either at the minute, why do some postures make an appearance then disappear as if you never did them, maybe it was a dream.

Closing was ok, as usual with backbend if I had more time they would be better, but my sweaty mat was making my feet slide away, which did not help. Vinyasa to standing and that lovely closing mantra, before Savasana. A lead savasana before leaving us to relax under a warm blanket, Easter “tucks” us in, before bringing us into the weekend with thoe sound of the singing bowls.

I had tears of joy as I wandered up the road to the station, our last practice of the year, practice was not fantastic, but I enjoy being in that place at that time with a nice bunch of yogis and yoginis.

Almost There

December 15, 2006

Friday morning, almost at the end of another dreary week of work. I can’t wait for 4pm and the jog along the canal to catch the train to the “L” shaped room. I hope it turns up on time for our last practice before the shala closes for the Christmas break.

Last night I practised at home, just asanas I like and ones I like to try for fun, such as Pasasana and Hanumanasana. Its good to let the body do what it wants once in a while, outside of a formal vinyasa practice.

I need my practice tonight before a busy weekend of shopping, present wrapping and packing my bag for next weeks trip. 

My Boss is sick and his Boss just left, we just need the CD to sod off and we can have a party!

Day of rest

December 14, 2006

After all that practice and workshops over the last 5 days, I revived Wednesday being my day off. Though suddenly having a load of time without having anything specific to do with it presented a challenge. Practice as we all know does take up a lot of the spare working/waking hours and running the travel club seems to fill in the rest. Thankfully the travel stuff has quietened down as we head for Christmas, so last night after doing just a few hip openers, I sat in Padmassana and played on my laptop, exploring “Google Earth”, trying to spot my Bangkok hotel where I hope to be hanging out next weekend, away from all that Turkey and tinsel stuff.

The day job is still crap, I need to do something after Christmas.

Vinyasa by candle light

December 12, 2006

Tuesday night, our last practice of the year in the Town Hall with C. The room is lit by 60 or so candles in little jars at the edge of the room, everyone carefully places their mat so as not to extinguish any of the lights. 18 of us do the full Primary series, every vinyasa, no postures frustratingly left out for a change. I could hear the rasping breaths of some of the less experienced who joined us tonight as we got to the Surya B’s. Then the postures began, the standing postures flow nowadays and the count was fairly even, which makes life a lot easier.

I enjoyed the seated postures, especially being able to do all the Marichyasanas, A,B & C were easy, D is doing funny things lately. Last Friday I did it, but tonight my fingers would just touch and not bind, but my hip was open and my knee pain free, its been a while since I have been able to say that. Titibasana after Bujapidasana was good, though Supta K was not as deep.

Backbend was ok again, this is coming, especially when I am not on a carpet, the wooden floor of the “L” shaped room allows my hands and feet to connect to the floor with more pressure and mentally gives me more confidence to push up.

Anyway it was a good practice, though I think maybe only a few of us did every posture and every vinyasa. Instead of rushing off home, we stayed to enjoy some food and drink C had brought in to wish us Merry Christmas.

A bit of a mixture

December 11, 2006

Sunday my practice was a bit of a mixture. I found I was really open in Uttanasana my hands going flat for a change, so after some Surya’s I did the standing postures, then up to Navasana. Marichyasana B & D were pretty good.

I then did some of the practice from Saturday’s workshop, Pasasana and the arm balancing Pasasana, Parsva Pasasana?? I am much better on one side, but as I had never tried this until Saturday at least I can do it to some degree.

I then did all the backbends, Salabhasana, Dhanurasana, Ustrasana before Urdva Dhanurasana. I no longer fear the backbends, I don’t lay on my mat cooling down trying to get myself to do them.

I did some handstands, but alas I don’t have the space to do the “Clock face” vinyasa to Warrior 3.

It was a nice weekend of practice. Now back to the labour camp, 10 more days of crap until that big shiny bird flies me to the Thai sunshine.

Creative Vinyasa

December 10, 2006

A joy to practice again with Liz Lark,yesterday’s workshop was called “Creative ashtanga” and it was certainly a challenging change to doing Primary. She began with limbers to open us up before Surya Namaskars. Standing postures were flowing and joined Trikonasana to a different Parsvakonasana, into an arm balance. Limbers into Pasasana, then a Parsva Pasasana arm balance, I didn’t think I could that! Liz has a habit of getting me to do things I assumed would never happen. We did a series of second series backbends, Salabhasana, Dhanurasana, then Ustrasana in partners, with the “helper” using their foot to facilitate the chest lifting and the hips stopped from sinking. Liz then came round and did an adjustment in Dhanurasana, that was one deep backbend, my body seems much more receptive to these postures now, my back would go rigid with the even the thought of it in the past.

We also experimented with Humanasana (Splits), I have never been anywhere near this, but I notice I am getting nearer the ground, so maybe it will happen one day.

Handstands in pairs was equalling enlightening, I realised that as I practice at home against the door (doing my best not to demolish the IKEA bookcase on the way down!), that I was not finding the balance point. Practising Urdva Mukha Vrksasana with a partner I realised that I am not far off being able to do it without the door, it was good to explore the balance point, the subtle point at which it happens. While doing a “half handstand” against the wall we did an interesting vinyasa involving using a leg like the hand on a clock, swinging it up and then through the hands, arriving in a kind of Warrior 3.

The 3 hours went so quickly, the sequences flowed and sitting here its hard to remember how it fitted together. It was a physically challenging practice, unlike “Mysore” or the “Counted” practice where you know exactly where you are, what is next etc, doing a workshop, especially with a teacher like Liz, is a mental as well as a physical challenge as you have no idea what her “creative” mind will come up with next, its just that unlike 9 years ago when I first met her, my mind no longer says “You must be joking”, it now says “OK I can try that” and sometimes to my astonishment my body finds itself in the posture and I’m still breathing.

It was a fantastic three hours and we were all grateful that Liz came out to the “Sticks”. 

After 2 hours on Friday and 3 hours yesterday I slept like a log last night, but I am looking forward to my practice later today.

Happiness is

December 9, 2006

1.The train coming on time

2.Being in the warm “L” shaped room with my mat in its place

3.The 2 hours of absorbed connected enjoyment as I practice

4. Marichyasana D on my own

5. The closing chant ad Easter’s singing bowls

6. The train home

After last weeks transport fiasco and the day befores tornado in north London I was worried I wouldn’t get there for a second week running, but it worked out and I relaxed with a tea and a kitkat before heading down to the L shaped room.

Practice was a mix of the good, the bad and the wobbly. I found the Surya Namaskars hard going but felt ok once we began the postures, up to the dreaded Utita Padangusthasana, it didn’t help that there were two people wobbling opposite me and that was it, oh well. Arda Bada was also unbalanced, but it helps open my hip.

I enjoyed the seated postures they seemed to go quickly, I have tried to do a lot of hip opening this week to help my Marichyasanas and there seems to be a confusing light at the end of this 10 year tunnel. After A,B and C which I am relatively comfortable with comes D. My left knee is ok and my left hip is open but I can’t seem to balance and bind, however my right kneee is literally a pain and my hip is tight but there I was on my own without adjustment bound on the second side. I just dont get why I can do it on this side and not what should be the good side.

Kurmasana is getting better, my body feels much less “squashed” in this posture and my fingers touched though did not bind in Supta K, but I am happy with that. The progress in these postures this year has been a revealtion, thanks to finding a practice I enjoy and some great teachers. Upavistha is another where there is movement after years of rigidity.

Urdva Dhanurasana was again ok, if a little rushed, it is still much better at home when I can take my time.

Sometimes I wonder if I should just listen to the closing chant, its such a lovely sound, but I love taking part as we chant together, before vinyasa to the floor and Savasana and awakening by those soulful singing bowls.

Its Saturday morning as I type sitting in bed with my Vaio, this afternoon its the “Creative vinyasa” workshop with Lizzie, So I had better get up and do the mundane.

Time for practice

December 7, 2006

It seems to have become increasingly difficult lately to find the time for practice, what with the drudgery of work, running the travel club and life in general. If I don’t begin my practice by 8pm, then it doesnt seem to happen. And when I do practice I have to make compromises, last night was a case in point. I had an hour so after doing 6 Surya Namaskars and the standing postures, I decided to just do the seated poses, but omitting the vinyasas, which meant I managed more postures, up to Navasana. I need to do the hip opening stuff, which allows me Mari B and almost D. After Navasana I did backbends, which again at home when I can take my time are becoming quite good.

I hope the travel club work will quieten down a little now and that from somewhere the time will appear to let me do the practice I want.

Another 2 days of tedium, then I hope I get to the “L” shaped room, for a “proper” practice, then the workshop at the weekend, I can’t wait, but first another 13 hours and 45 minutes to survive.