Archive for May, 2007

Unfrazzled

May 18, 2007

So 4pm came around eventually, escape from that place at last. Practice is just the thing to transition from the week into the weekend, such a full stop and new beginning all centred on a Yogitoes red mat. The journey was easy, flapjack from the health “Likefood store eaten secretly while I had a cup of tea in Mcdonalds, whatever people say about Mcd’s they do use Tetley tea and have a clean toilet to get changed in. 

Practice began as usual with us joining together in the chant, that is the point my mind escapes to a better, more happy place. Standing postures were satisfying, good Prasaritas and Parsvottanasana, lovingly described by Easter as likesaying Namaste to the back of your heart”, she comes out with some nice sayings that help you to love your practice. Practising with her for the last 18 months has changed my attitude to my practice, she has taken away some of its physicality and replaced it with just enjoying the practice, being more accepting of how that days practice is, not being (too) disappointed when Marichyasana D doesn’t happen. Utthita Hasta Padanghustasana was Ok today, a good focus, quiet concentration. That’s something else Easter has changed, I no longer dread any of the postures, I no longer look for a nice safe modification, I just go as far as I can and accept that is where the posture is for me at that time. Seated postures went well,a nice adjustment in Triang Mukha, I am not so lop sided now.Mari D with more wriggle time could be nearer, my knee and hip no longer seriously object, the repetitions have bored them into submission! Bujapidasana into Titibasana, but cannot get the getting my legs around for the vinyasa. Kurmasana was not bad and was wriggling around trying to touch fingers in Supta Kurmasana, Easter adjusting them nearer, but not quite while saying to the room, but more I think for my benefit not to struggle. You always know when a teacher’s comment is meant for you, or is that just me? I even just about managed to come up from Supta Konasana. No chitvari holding contest tonight, as A flew to India this morning, lucky devil she is, not that I am jealous, much… Have agreat trip if you read this.

Urdva Dhaurasana two and a half good ones, a bit of a slippage on number 2, the quality of this posture seems to depend on me managing to get my hands in the right place for the first one, then it happens, but more often than not I have to come down to the floor or onto my head and try and work out where my hands should be, while my wayward right foot goes and does its own thing. Rest of closing including Sirsasana went too fast.   I love the way everyone takes part in the closing mantra, the practice closing with shanti shanti hee, before vinyasa to Savasana. A nice long Savasana tonight, well deserved. No longer the feeling of thank god that’s over, when practice is done, just a feeling of unfrazzled wellness and looking forward to the next time. Yoga removes the crap of the week.

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A long week

May 18, 2007

Its been a long week. Practise last night on my own at home was quite good and concentrated. Did everything up to Navasana. Played around in Mari D after Mari B had felt very easy, no bind, but D is coming. Closing Urdva Dhanurasana was ok, well stable at least.

So it’s Friday, 4pm can’t come soon enough, last week Stockholm, this week back on my mat in Balham doing the counted practice with Easter. After mysore practice in Stockholm last Sunday, I felt balance, calm and clarity had returned. I hope tonights practice reverses the stresses of a frazzled week at work, I need my balance back.

Town Hall

May 16, 2007

Last night down to the Town Hall for practice with C. We start with Surya’s A & B, but without the 5 breaths in Downward dog, just going straight through. The idea was to keep the breath going, but breathing to C’s count was almost impossible, so had to revert to my own.

Did all the standing postures, the usual annoying kneeling Parivrita Parsvakonasana.

Seated up to Triang Mukha, missed out the Janusirsasana’s, then Mari A & C. I thought when we missed out the Janu’s we would do all the Mari’s, but no B & D. No Navasana, Bujapidasana, Kurmasanas, Garbha or Kukutasana. We did do Badha Konasana, actually got an adjustment in this one. Upavistha and Supta Konasana. Seated balances were crap. I think these have a lot do with being in a class, they are usually better in a mysore practice, when I am more centred in my own practice mind.

Urdva Dhanurasana was good, straight arms and not such a struggle. Rest of closing were pretty good, Sirsasana was wobble free.

I suppose my problem is that I expect that every practice should be as good as the mysore one was last Sunday or the Friday night counted practice, anything else is beginning to feel limiting, the focus is not there, its a dilema.

Back to the rut

May 15, 2007

After the joy of being in Stockholm for the workshop and practice, it was back to the rut, my body sinks as it walks to work. I just felt so good being there, being engaged by the workshop, by the people and the city, life was good for 3 days.

Last night practised for an hour up to Navasana, then the closing postures. Backbend has regressed already since the mysore practice on Sunday, could hardly lift up, but was very tired after the previous late night and a day of being dragged down from the happy plateau at work.

So tonight is the led class at the Town Hall, I hope its good, but more and more I realise I need to do Mysore style, its only then that it becomes, “My practice“.

Delays & Cancellations

May 14, 2007

The weekend was great, I learned a from the workshop with some nice friendly yogi’s and did a great practice with a couple of wonderful adjustments. The Stockholm yoga shala could not have been any more welcoming and helpful, Maria, Lisa and Tomasine are a nice bunch.

After saying goodbye’s until August, it was off to the airport, punctual bus delivered me to terminal 5 at Arlanda, check in was fine. Had a drink played on the internet, went to the gate and then an announcement, first in Swedish which I obviously missed, then in English saying at least an hour’s delay thanks to air traffic control lack of staff, ho hum. Some 90 minutes later we boarded the flight to London, consequently landing nearly 2 hours late.

Literally ran throught he airport to the bus station to find I had missed the last bus, ran back to the tube station to find it closed, no choice but to buy a ticket on the extortionately expensive Heathrow Express into London. Only to find when I reached the platform that there was work on the line into London meaning more delays, I was getting seriously worried now about getting home, would the YHA still be open? Eventually arrived at Paddington to find I had missed the last train home from there, so out into the night to find a bus to Euston, I was soaked in sweat from the running and now soaked by the rain, not a happy bunny. At Euston there was one more train, phew, in bed at 2am shattered. The public transport in this country is a joke, how can they shut down all the transport links so early from the country’s major airport?

So here I am back at work, having had 4 hours sleep. But would I do it all again, of course I would, practice makes me happy.

Last day in Stockholm

May 13, 2007

All I can say is what a perfect day it has been. A good nights sleep, tea and taost before heading down to the Sodermalm Shala to do the morning Mysore practice.

My first real practice in this space and it was good, really good. A nice energy in the room, everyone concentrated on their own practice after Lisa called us to Samasthitihi and the opening chant, though I found the chant a challenge, same words, but done in a different way to what I am used to with Easter. It was seriously warm in there, really condusive to being able to stretch. All the Surya A & B’s, a nice elongating adjustment in Downward dog, though I felt she was being careful as she obviously does not know my body, but Lisa got me to straighten my arms more. Standing were good, a great adjustment in Prasarita Padottanasana C, got me way over, and encouraged me to engage my legs more. Standing balances were good today, my practice had focus and energy, it was easy to be there, totally concentrated.

Seated came round too quickly, partly cos I forgot to do Utkatasana!, a slight adjustment  in Marichyasana A, she got me to bind the wrist and not the fingers, I can get there, just need a nudge to get me there. B & C were nice and untroubled, then we came to Marichyasana D, had a good wriggle and got a good twist especially on the second side, but alas my fingers didnt bind, but it feels doable again now, not light years away, in the right environment it will happen.

Bujapidasana was ok then Kurmasana, this hot sweaty practice definitley helped get my arms through and under and then the “Adjustment of the day” I had got a fair way into Supta Kurmasana on my own  before Lisa came behind and some how adjusted my fingers almost together by somehow knotting them into the back of my T-shirt, with my hands stable she came around the front and crossed my ankles over before taking me down into the forward bend, it felt amazing, worth coming over to Stockholm for that adjustment alone. I dont know what the knot is called that she used on my fingers and t-shirt, but it gave stability, could almost forget my  hands and concentrate on the legs and forward bend.BRILLIANT.

Rest of seated the usual mixture of success and abject failure, even those that didnt quite happen, felt better than of late, Supta Konasana coming up was nearer, and the seated balances, though not good were not as abysmal as usual, though having the space to move in was good, no fear of falling out and setting off the domino effect around the shala!

Closing were a joy, I have never said that before in this context, usually a joy because its the end, but today a joy because the postures felt good. Setu Bandasana had gone well and this carried on into Urdva Dhanurasana, a reall stable lift, I was happy 🙂

The energy in the room had meant practice was quick, despite doing every vinyasa etc, Savasana was in just over and hour and 3/4. It just felt so good for a change.

6 of us then went to a cafe for a lovely breakfast brunch, yummy muesli and croisssants, ye I know wheat, which I am off, but the practice seems to have given the front of my body a deep cleanse, it just feels unquantifiably well at the minute.

The workshop finished with the Arms, shoulders and some interesting exercises to do handstand, learning to trust our hands with more weight before lift off.

An excellent end to a great yoga weekend. So glad I came over and good to meet up with Maria and Dave again and the other teachers at the shala, Lisa and Tomasine were just so friendly and welcoming, it was a joy to be in Stockholm.

Here I sit in T5 at Arlanda airport back to reality.

Stockholm day 2

May 12, 2007

OOh I hate it when the alarm clock takes you by surprise at 6am, just time for a wash and cup of tea, then its down to catch the train to the Shala for the 7am start of session 2 of the workshop. Last nights Tensegrity talk was very interesting, taking it from a model to how it relates to the body, where the skeletal structure is held seemingly “in space” and then how every action produces a reaction not neccessarily where you think it would, making you think about your posture not just while doing practice but also while sitting etc.

This morning we talked in general about the leg, knees, hips, feet which I learned have 26 bones and 32 joints. How doing something as simple as rotating the calves and thighs outwardly with the hands can alleviate pain in the knee as we got into Lotus. We learned how strong the hip actally is, its virtually impossible to dislocate it, as we learned its not only held in place by muscles and tendons, but also by a vaccum in the socket, Dave told us about an experiment where a hole was drilled in the socket and scientists were able to dislocate a hip, but when the hole was plugged they couldnt do it. We learned how in Pascimottanasana if you don’t flatten the knees, this can stress the hamstrings. So much to take in, we spent the last 15 minutes or so doing Surya namaskars.

Went back to the hotel for breakfast which fortunately as its a weekend they serve until 11.30, it was a wonderful spread, much nicer than half a dead croissant or brick hard bread roll you often get in Europe. Everything from juices, cereals, rye bread, hams, cheese etc, though I think they need bigger cups for tea!

Had a rest and a wander before the afternoon session in which we heard about the spine.  I knew they are called vertebra, but had no idea about the numbering or how they move and how they react to Urdva Dhanurasana. I had no idea that the natural kink in our spine actaully helps to make it 10 times stronger. This afternoon was 4 hours, its a lot to take in and I know plenty went over my head, but I learned so much about how my back works. Again we finished up by doing some asanas, this included  a way to make Urdva Dhanurasana a bit easier. First we did a Urdva Dhanurasana, which was hard from having sat for 3 hours, then came to Vajrasana, then supta, followed by the same again, but this time with the toes folded under so starting from a higher point, then we were encouraged to push the pelvis upward for a few breaths. We then did UD again, but it was much easier this time, this is going to have to be another little addition to my practice, all these little additions must be why my practice seems to take longer and longer!

While wandering today I came across a block of ice with a gut dressed as a Polar bear next to it, with a sign saying “My habitat is melting”, the swedes seem to be in to planet conservation. They also preserve their kids from hearing their conversations. While on the train back this evening I sat opposite a swedish couple with 2 little kids, they suddenly swapped into english to rip a woman they both knew to shreds before sawpping back to swedish to talk to the kids!

A relative lay in tomorrow, then I will do the Shala’s mysore practice, looking forward to just doing yoga, be interesting to be adjusted by someone other than Easter, what will it be like. After practice have been invited to brunch with Maria, Dave and someone else, to catch up since Bali and enjoy the company of such nice people.

So that was day 2, I am learning an incredible amount, I just hope I can remember half of it in 6 months time.

Gooh

May 11, 2007

It has been a long day, I should be tucked up in bed rather than telling you about it. I got up at 5am in order to have some breakfast and walk to the station in order to get the train into London and onto Heathrow for my flight to Stockholm. Departure was supposed to be at 10.30, but at 11.30 we were still sitting on the tarmac, eventually took off 75 minutes late, pilot must have got his foot down as we landed 30 minutes late. Got the train into Stockholm and went to the tourist information, I didn’t realise it was one of these where you are supposed to take a number and wait for it to glow in red on a board, luckily young girl behind the desk let me off and gave me the information I needed, directions to my hotel and sold me a 3 day pass for the metro system, so I was set, only took 10 minutes to find my hotel, though reaching reception was interesting, reception was on the 4th floor which you reach via a lift (elevator), but to make the lift work you need you magnetic pass card that lets you into your room, which you get given when you have checked in doh…

Eventually tagged along with someone who had a pass, checked in to my windowless room, which had a personalised welcome message waiting for me on the TV screen, never had that before, nice bed, kettle and free wi-fi access, I like this place.So after a cuppa and a rest it was out to find some food before the first workshop session, which brings me to the title of this entry, I no longer head for the golden arches, burger king or KFC, I even passed Subway and instead found myself in a place called Gooh, it obviously does not have the same meaning in swedish, anyway the idea is that you wander round the shelves and find a ready meal you like the look of, pay for it, then cook it yourself in one of the microwaves provided, a very tasted meat dish with potatoes and veg.

The T-bahn is as much of an underground maze as the London tube, eventually found the platforms and worked out which direction I needed, I will be following this route a few times this year so I should get the hang of it.

The Shala was easy to find, right where google earth had given me a clue, lots of yogi’s eager to learn more about how their body’s work or don’t. It was good to meet up with Maria and Dave again from Bali, reminds me of what a global community we are. Tonights workshop was about the terms used to describe the body, what the muscles, tendons etc are made up of and how they are joined up, all put over in a very interesting and accessible way. There was so much to take in, but I learned that if you do injure yourself, keep it moving as the body makes a better job of repairing itself when it keeps moving and stretching. We were also told that a quiet mind relaxes the muscles and tendons making it easier to practice and become flexible, the more practice becomes second nature, the less the mind has to work. We also heard about Tensegrity in the body, a new one on me, but you learn something every day.

Part 2 at 7am in the morning, time to sleep

Nearly there

May 10, 2007

This time tomorrow with luck I will be in Stockholm, a weekend of YogAnatomy and the odd practice thrown in, cannot wait to escape this dreary office and have my mind gainfully occupied.

Not that it wasnt yesterday, during the day I managed to buy a CD and book a weekend in Munich for August.

Practice last night was standing and up to modified Mari D, closing as well, another reasonable Urdva Dhanurasana.

5pm cant come soon enough 

Second again

May 8, 2007

Chilly walk in the wind down to the Town Hall for practice tonight. Tonight consisted of all the standing postures, then the right turn into second series, Pasasana, which I can almost do, Bekasana, Dhanurasana, Parsva Dhanurasana, Ustrasana which I actually like and a new one Laghu Vajrasana, and surprise surprise I just did it, where did that come from, and even more amazing I was the only one who could do it and get back up again, I realised this when I heard C say “look at K, that’s how to do it”.

 

Then into closing Urdva Dhanurasana was good as were my fabvourites, Salamba Sarvangasana, Halasana and Karnapidasana. Even a 20 breath Sirsasana tonight as well.

 

So a good practice which has again come when I had no expectations, at the start during the Surya’s I was almost going through the motions, did not feel like it, if I had felt like that at home I would probably have given up, but when you have others around you there is more of a mental incentive to plough on.

Probably the last fullish practice I will get until the Mysore practice in Stockholm on Sunday morning, though I think I need a day off, tomorrow’s looking good