Archive for January, 2007

Town Hall

January 31, 2007

If it’s Tuesday then it’s the Town Hall with C. A big turnout of beginners join the 4 or 5 regulars. We actually do all the standing postures. As I am on the front row I manage to do Utita Padangusthasana on both sides, though my leg is not exactly straight, but staying vertical has to be an improvement. But not having a wobbler in my eyeline seems to be the key.

We do seated postures as far as Triang Mukha before heading off into second series. Why we do this when there are so many beginners who cannot even do Mari A I have no idea, but Pasasana and then Bekasana and Dhanurasana, before closing postures Urdva Dhanurasana is ok. I wonder how much longer I will continue with this class, but do not want to do any bridge burning before I see if I can get to the new “L” shaped room.

The job is getting worse, last September they made a change which my colleague and I both sais would cause a problem 3 months down the line. Well we told them, they didnt listen, but yet again they expect us to produce a miracle and clear up their mess. It aint gonna happen, you can only squeeze air down a baloon for so long before it goes bang. I vote to lock the door and get the *** out of here!

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Mysore at home

January 28, 2007

After the joy of the “L” shaped room its back to the blue mat next to the bed and all the distractions that are to hand. Saturday doing the mundane and watching some football on TV, another one of Dena’s comments sprang to mind about “is watching tv etc more important than practice?”. Well after nearly sleeping through the Luton-Blackburn match I think she has a point! So onto my mat though I just did not seem to have the energy, I did my practice, well some of it as far as Mari C and a half, my sluggish practice had done nothing to open my hips. My mind and body fizzling out. But some is better than none.

Saturday improved with an e-mail from downunder, will I practice in London, Bali or somewhere else. My job still sucks do I have the where with all to do practice somewhere sunny for a longer time, I doubt it, but the way things are I can’t see me living long enough to collect my pension, I go from work, to home,to bed and if I can summon the mental strength and physical energy I practice.

Sunday afternoon back on my mat and a far better and energised practice. I had the usually lacking focus in Utita Padangusthasana and managed to balance for 5 on both sides, you have no idea what a development that is. Up to Marichyasana C was good with vinyasas that had life. Mari D is coming, both hips are beginning to open a little, but not enough to bind, but at least my knees are not screaming anymore. Again grabbed the sides of my feet in Upavistha Konasana, Supta Konasana at home is frustrating as I do not have the space to come up and over. Another posture finding life is Urdva Mukha Paschimotanasana, my legs are far from straight and my head has a way to go,but I am beginning to balance. Little things are happening. The balances seem to have improved along with the sudden move into a controlled handstand. Maybe my bandhas and core strength are getting it together, better late than never I suppose. Sirsasana then goes and blows this theory out of the water as I fail to stay up, nearly taking out the cd player on the way down. But it was a good practice, you know when its been a good one.

Another weekend gone and back to Nepotism UK Ltd tomorrow, same shit, more of it, I have to escape, the place is killing me. 

Goodbye Sangam SW11

January 27, 2007

Friday night and escape from Nepotism UK Ltd, yahooooooooooooooo. 

The omens were good as both trains arrived and departed exactly on time to deliver me to Sangam, aka the “L” shaped room. This was to be our last counted practice in this special place with Easter. As soon as you go through the orange gate on Battersea Rise you enter another world, the twinkling white lights in the passageway and into that lovely warm room.

Just 5 of us tonight, all regulars, which meant a radiator each, A heading into the corner to be by the big one! My thoughts were completely in the 12 square feet of my mat as soon as we began to practice. Few people equalls many adjustments, starting in my case with Padahastasana, a mega deep forward bend, but I was warm and open to it and Easter kept me there an extra breath, as each breath found another space to move into. The asanas flew by threaded together by Easter’s count, Prasarita C on my own was not bad. The balances were hit and miss all night. Uttita Padangusthasana was a 3 breath wobble holding the right toes, but on the left looking at the Buddha out of the corner of my eye I managed to stay for 5.

My hamstrings and hips were warm and pliable, Paschimottanasana felt good, I managed to relax my shoulders a little. Triang Mukha was fairly balanced and in Janusirsasana Easter’s hands encouraged my body to open. She seems to know just how much pressure to apply. Marichyasana A,B &C and then adjustment in D, I was oh so close with Easter’s help to getting this posture back, until my left arm flew out unexpectedly. I seem to mentally judge my practice on how well I do Mari D, if I manage it then its suddenly a great practice and I am REALLY happy. But if I don’t, but the other postures are ok it seems to be mentally merely judged as “Satisfactory”.

Bujapidasana and the Kurmasana’s are not so good just now, though Upavistha Konasana seems to have found a space as although I cannot get too far forward I can now at least grab the sides of my feet. As for the seated balances, Well I can sort of stay up, especially in Ubhaya, but I still cannot sit on both sit bones at the same time.

Closing came way to fast, I think everyone’s practice had a special energy last night. Urdva Dhanurasana would be better if my feet could stay still, point inwards, not slip and slide etc, but I got up and that will do for me. Savasana under the warm blanket, Easter encouraging release so that the pranic energy can course through our bodies. And those soulful resonant singing bowls, bringing us back to life.

Easter thanked us for the Friday nights we have spent with her, it should be us thanking her, she has certainly done much for my practice and having this place to escape to has kept me sane. I hope that all the Friday folk manage to get to the new place in two weeks time, its a nice group of people, I will certainly give it a try, trains permitting, I jsut hope Easter remebers to take along the singing bowls.

The Final Countdown

January 26, 2007

Practice at home trying to open up last night. Standing up to the Prasaritas, then vinyasa to the floor to try and open those hips. Some success as my knee was less reticent than of late, Mari A,B & C were good and even a fair way into D without discomfort, though could not bind. Urdva Dhanurasana x 2 and a great handstand, actually found I was up and had not touched the wall, though then touched the wall with the shock!

It’s Friday, its been another crap week at Nepotism UK Ltd and I can’t wait to escape to the “L” shaped room. Tonight is our last counted practice with Easter in this special place before the move to Balham. I really want to enjoy and savour practice tonight. 

It’s not enough

January 24, 2007

I wonder if C read my blog last week as we did 5 A’s and 3 B’s and all the standing postures. A good adjustment in Prasarita Padot C, went way over, suddenly there was a space to move into. We did the seated postures and vinyasas up to Janusirsasana C. Though C tried to count the breath in the vinyasa for the benefit of the beginners, I tried but ended up ignoring her count and going with my own breath. Marichyasanas A & C, it’s not enough, that was it for the seated postures. Urdva Dhanurasana was ok and the closing postures.

A while back, a long way back I would have thought, “great no Navasana tonight” but not now. Although it is good to practice with others, the shared energy, this class is not enough. As another blogger said to me this morning, “we are no longer beginners, we need the full service”. I do and it makes me more determined than ever to find a train to Balham for the counted full service each Friday night.

We awoke to a white world this morning, we are on “Snow watch” hoping for more so we get sent home, though I don’t want so much that the trains to the “L” shaped room are cancelled!

Ladders & Asanas

January 21, 2007

A bright day, but cold, at least the storm has not come. Up the ladder to put in the gutter guard for my sister. The packet made it look so simple, clip together and clip under the gutters own clips. However the practice of doing this 30ft up a ladder, with cold hands and brittle plastic guttering was a test of patience and dexterity while hanging on should have been an audition for Cirque de Soleil.

Back on the ground in a warm sunlit room its onto my mat. I decided to just do it, no hip openers, no back openers, slowing me down,taking away the flow of my practice. A half litre travel mug of tea on the side and onto Surya Namaskar A. Practice had a focus and energy and I was soon onto the dreaded balances, but Uttita Padangusthasana is improving, especially at home, I put this down to not having a yogi wobbler opposite, or someones foot (A) going up and down in the corner of my eye, also I can focus on something nearer, which aids balance, remembering to engage the bandhas as well. But there is satisfaction.

Seated and I didn’t miss a single vinyasa. I think mentally having made the decision to just go through the practice allowed a heat to build both internally and externally, making some postures feel more open. Janusirsasana C I accept will never happen, but my hip was ok in it and onto the Marichyasanas, Got into C really deeply, which sort of gave me an unfounded confidence going into D. I still cannot work out why I am closer to doing this on my bad hip side. My left foot will do lotus and the knee is OK, but as soon as I bend up the right leg, the left ankle begins to slide out and get painful. Where as my painful right knee and hip can do it and I feel its only a matter of time and consistent practice before D returns on that side. Supta Padangusthasana may be possible, but when its time for the leg to head out to the side, that bone in my back hurts, as it has no fat around it to cushion, thus inhibiting the asana.

One and half good Urdhva Dhanurasana’s. This posture scares me no more. I don’t lie on my mat getting cold working myself up to do it. Once laying I do a bridge, then go for the full posture, sometimes I come all the way down to reset the wayward right foot, but when my arms go straight I love that posture, it gives me as much joy as Mari D. As I get older and more decrepit I seem to be able to do postures that I was nowhere near ten years ago.

Despite my non stop practice, I was still at it for an hour and three quarters before Savasana, not that I care how long I spend doing practice. As I relaxed it felt like my body was smiling, in my minds eye I saw one of those big round yellow smily faces 🙂

My hips ache

January 20, 2007

I didn’t realise how strong our Moon day Yin practice had been until I kept waking up in the night with hips that ached. I tried to exercise my hip with a walk to the town. First time I have seen the area in daylight since the storm, there are lumps of trees and other stuff all over the place still.

So just one thing to do, get back on the mat for my first proper Primary series practice since last Tuesday. I could tell I needed it as it took well into the Surya B’s until I could get my head anywhere near my knees. Once into the swing the standing postures flowed, though my right hip is still not happy, especially in the Prasarita Padottanasana’s,it feels trapped and stops gravity taking me where I want to go. Having focus and nobody wobbling in my eye line also meant I did a passable Utitta Padangusthasana, my leg is far from straight, but I did stay upright for the five breaths. Took a tea break before beginning the seated postures (Tea asana).
Paschimottanasana was quite deep and satisfying, hamstrings were warm and happy. Despite hip opening warm ups Ardha badha Paschimottanasana is a way off again, my right hip wont play and this in turn annoys the hell out of my right knee. Triang Mukha is getting there, if I can find the centre it happens and feels reasonably secure. Though the Janusirsasana’s were quite good before my favourite Marichyasana’s. Again A,B,C were good, but thanks to hip/knee angst D is impossible again. Carried on through to Upavistha Konasana, as I thought this may be easier after last night, some hope!

Urdhva Dhanurasana was ok, though
could not straighten my arms and Sirsasana happened first go, wow it usually takes a couple of abortive attempts including demolishing  the IKEA book cabinet before I get up! Practice had again been slow, even if you do not include the tea break I was at it for nearly 2 hours with Savasana. I would like to bring more energy to my practice, but feel forced to slow right down in order to do hip warmers and back openers, this breaks the flow, but gives me a better chance of doing Marichyasana and Urdhva Dhanurasana, it’s a trade off and when despite doing the openers the postures don’t happen I feel I have broken my practices flow up for no result. But there is always tomorrow, that’s if I don’t fall off my sisters roof doing her
gutter!

Yin dark moon practice

January 19, 2007

This could be subtitled “The calm after the storm”. Thursday saw very high winds in my area which resulted in the power going off all afternoon, no PC, no phone, no lights and most disturbingly no TEA, the miserible blighters would not send us home , saying “Your power at home will be off too” well I have gas to cook and heat so I would have been better off, even if I couldn’t blog or e-mail. Last night I just did postures to re-open after my day off.

It’s payday, its Friday and the trains are running again, ran to the station, jumping puddles and ducks and storm debris, but grrr train running five minutes late, Luckily the Clapham train is still sitting at Watford when we arrive and I run across the platform as the beep,beep,beep goes and the doors slam behind me, phew made it. My stress levels begin to subside as I plug in Kate Bush knowing practice will be mine.

Instead of our usual counted Astanga practice, as its a moon day, Easter leads a restorative yin practice. This is my first one as there was only one Friday moon day last year and I was away. She explains that it will not be dynamic, instead we will stay in postures for minutes at a time, we should focus on the breath, though we are told to expect thoughts and daydreams to enter our consciousness.

Just 4 of us, so plenty of blocks and bolsters as we begin with a kind of backbend sitting on blocks then backwards over the bolsters, the back releasing, the thighs tightening, was that supposed to happen?

Then another of my bogey postures, Upavistha Konasana, but today its wide legs but relaxing the arms onto the bolsters in front, I didnt find it resting, it was not quite excruciating, but was I glad when we came up.

I was glad Easter did some hip openers, starting with one leg out straight, the other foot crossed over the knee into a forward bend.

Though no names were mentioned I presume Easter’s comment was aimed at me when she said “Moving to ease discomfort when your mind suggests it, only eases it for seconds, the discomfort returns to the same spot, better to stay with it and relax into it”

I took this into the square seated asana, a modified Janusirsasana right angle with the opposite ankle placed on top of the bent knee, a bolster helped to relax the hip. I found my left hip settled in, but my right could not find the relaxation it needed.

90 minutes flew by, I am really glad I went, it was a different kind of challenge to the usual practice. I need my practice, especially one in an environment so condusive to it, candle lit, Buddha’s watching over us and a teacher who should be wrapped in cotton wool.And not a Chitvari all night 🙂

The breath

January 17, 2007

Tuesday night back in the Town Hall with C. Our numbers have been swelled by people from last years beginners class. Just as well in a way as only 3 of us regulars are there to practice. C begins with breath focus and continuous Surya Namaskar A’s, not stopping for 5 breaths in Downward dog and we do the same with the B’s.

I have to set my mind to the fact that this is a class and not “Practice” as we go through the standing poses, stopping and starting. Vinyasa to sitting, stop start up to Janusirsasana C, there’s no flow, my mind is elsewhere. Grrrrr Navasana as she leaves out the Marichyasanas altogether.

After Navasana its backbends and Urdva Dhanurasana for us 3, mine are ok, I don’t follow C’s instructions instead following my own breath and pushing up in my own time. No other closing poses except Yoga Mudrasana.

I leave feeling as if I have exercised, but not done practice and especially not Astanga. It reinforces my feeling that I have to find a train to Balham for the counted Friday night practice. Friday’s are all the things Tuesday are not, focussed, intense, hot, my mind completely absorbed, I am barely aware of the person on the next mat, never mind what’s going on outside the window. Friday’s also inspire the self practice at home.

I usually take Wednesday off, but we missed out so much last night that I feel I need to at least do the seated poses, I ma much more aware of wanting a balanced practice.

No Sweat

January 16, 2007

The discussions yogi’s have must seem strange to non practitioners. A and I were discussing practice and agreed that when we first began we sweated far more than we do now. Back then yoga was an exercise, it was 90 minutes of hard work (like it isn’t anymore), and mentally it was case of getting through it, looking around the room and thinking how the **** do you do that?

Once a teacher takes the time to get through to you just how important the breath is in practice, being the most important part of the practice and you learn to control your effort with the breath then you do not seem to have to work quite so hard, you learn to relax into the postures, instead of straining and the breath rasping out of your mouth.

I still sweat, especially if its been a warm day and the ambient temperature is still high, but even on Friday night in a really warm room my mat no  longer seems to be saturated, which means having discussed it and thought about it that after 6 years I must have much better control.

Back to the Town Hall tonight, practice with C, no doubt new people, the “New years resolution” people, will they still be there in March, or as I expect it will be back to the regulars.