Archive for June, 2007

Into Laos

June 28, 2007

Yesterday we left our nice 4 star hotel in Chiang Rai and explored the Golden triangle, visiting Mae Sai on the border with Burma, very few people about, not like Christmas when it was packed. Had a nice lunch overlooking the Mekong. We got to our Zero star guesthouse at Chiang Knong in the evening rain deluge. CN is a one horse type of place, one long street, most of the shops were closed.

Today we left Thailand and crossed the Mekong river in a little boat, had our passports stamped and entered Laos. The rain has stopped at last, yesterday it was a deluge, now in Luang Nam Tha, the sun is shining.

My only practice was in Chiang Rai, just the standing postures, but I am hoping the daily Thai massage has helped to make up for lack of asanas. Yesterdays massage ended with 3 x dhanurasana, the therapist I think kneeling on my legs, then holding my wrists before pulling me up into backbend.

This sure beats being at work!

Here at Last

June 26, 2007

After a long flight to Bangkok and a short hop up to Chiang Mai I arrived. Met at the airport by our guide, a swiss who has lived here 20 years. Its virtually a private trip, me and one other, a young guy on his first trip away from the delights of Magaluf, think its a bit of a culture shock for him!

Could have just crashed out on arrival, but instead went and got a pedicure and a fantastic thai massage. Despite the at time painful kneeding and elbow work I fell asleep, but she made sure I didnt drop off for long. She put tiger balm on my back before she set to work, and did she go for it, I thought Cristina had sharp elbows, but this one must sharpen them with a pencil sharpener, an incredible 2 hour undoing. I could hardly walk back to the hotel afterwards.

Now much more awake after a good nights sleep, off to Chiang Rai this afternoon.

Practice- Not sure when that will happen, spose I may have to just have another massage in lieu

Private practice & Skillfull fingers

June 23, 2007

So I checked my e-mail and the Shala’s website at 4pm, still just 2 of us but practice was on, despite being less then the required 4. Escaping down the canal, scattering ducks and screaming “Yahoooooooooooo” as I left that poxy place for a couple of weeks.

Got to the Shala early, Easter had already opened up, which meant I could open up, stretch and bring my mind to the place it loves to be. Swede T was to be the other doing practice last night, she’s been coming as long as I have. We gave it a few minutes just in case anyone else decided to join us, but the bell didn’t ring so off we went. And what a wonderful practice it was to be, not that any of my postures were particularly succesful, but because being just 2 of us it was just like having a private practice, adjustments on nearly every other posture. It was easy to focus the mind. Easter encouraging an easeful breath as she adjusted me in Parivrita Trikonasana, “I dont want to see you nose moving“, easier said than done when being adjusted that deeply, but I managed to begin to control my breath. Being just 2 we both got adjusted in Prasarita Padottanasana C, I love being adjusted in that posture, it feels so dam good as your arms go over your head. My Utita Padangustasana was even fairly balanced, second side even managed head to knee.

Seated asanas had a wonderful flow, both of us vinyasa fairly quickly, A was not there this week to make me hold extra long Chitvari’s! Despite having warmed up before practice for some reason my knee was not happy playing Ardha Bada Padme Paschimottanasana. At this point Easter let T carry on and then showed me where I am going wrong, when putting the foot into lotus, the hip of my straight leg tends to roll out, meaning the foot is not in the right place. Little things make so much difference, the last time I was given one of these “Yoga lightbulb” moments was when DK spotted my creeping right hand in Downward dog. The adjustment in Mari C was brilliant, encouraging lift as well as twist, not to mention easeful breathing. Mari D did not bind alas. Bujapidasana into Titibasana was ok and I am getting better at moving my weight around in order to then get my legs back round my knees for the vinyasa, an element of control is appearing, but its gonna take practice, at my speed of progress probably a couple of years yet! Didnt manage to repeat last weeks trick of binding in Supta K, I fear that could have been a freak one off in my lifetime asana, but I will remember it forever! Not so much an adjustment in Supta Padangusthasana, just a lot of weight on my hip to keep it down while my leg heads west, but that bone in my side has even less fat around it nowadays to protect it, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…

I so wanted to do Urdva Dhanurasana, I did it despite my hands being wrong and my feet insisting on turning out. But at least now I have the strength to make adjustments while in the posture, Easter telling me which bit of the hokey-cokey to play, “Right foot out, left hand in, elbows aiming at each other!”. I am glad to say we did all the Chakorasanas inbetween as well. Although there were just the 2 of us I am glad to say that the heat and energy were there, I am sure this unquantifiable energy is able to radiate around the room as people need it in postures that challenge them more. Closing mantra chanted by all 3 of us, not call and response, which breaks the rythm, but a nice resonating sound culminating in shanti, shanti, shanti, hee. A nice long Savasana, brought to a close by the beautiful sound of Easter’s singing bowls.

What a great way to start my two weeks holiday, leaving all the crap of work behind, switching off to be in a better place mentally and physically. This morning I felt stiff from all the adjustments, but luckily I had an appointment with Cristina’s strong fingers and pointy elbows to undo me, she is a brilliant therapist, my shoulders and neck were well knotted, it took a lot of pressure before they began to release, she had tried gentle pressure, hot stones and finally said “right its going to have to be the deep tissue“, I knew it would hurt at first, but suddenly we could both hear and feel as fibres separated and knots undid and that wonderful release made its way through my neck and shoulder blades. She always finishes a treatment with this wonderful neck and back stretch forward bend, I think only yogi’s would truly appreciate it. As usual she asked about the IBS and again made sensible suggestions, she has already completely changed my stomach’s health, its over 40 days without the debilitating IBS 3 days agony. I left her table feeling uplifted ready for my flight tomorrow, just have to finish packing first! 

Last Day

June 22, 2007

So its Friday at last, my last day in this abysmal office. Sick building syndrome is rife.Escape is just a few hours away.

  • Escape to Easter’s brilliant Counted practice tonight, (I hope, there are now 2 booked in)
  • Escape to Cristina’s amazing fingers releasing my shoulders, back and neck in the morning
  •  and then escape via terminal 3 to the Thai sunshine on Sunday.

I just never got round to practice yesterday, I had to re-install my Mum’s PC after it had been away for repairs, then had loads of my own work to do, it was 10pm before I had even turned round.

It’s still raining, everywhere is flooded, there is no way the UK should have a water shortage in the summer, if summer ever arrives that is. 

Countdown

June 21, 2007

Inside the final 2 working days until my escape to the sunshine. Out the window its throwing it down yet again.

Am still waiting for my MP3 charger, am I not impressed with Amazon this week. Still need to pack, just have not got round to it, my rucksack is still in the attic. Its going to be a manic last couple of days, packing and trying to get the travel newsletter sorted withthe printers. My small oasis of calm will be Counted practice on Friday evening, though as it stands I am the only person booked in, we need some more to make it happen, where are you all, log in and put your name down.

Practice last night was very slow for some reason, only had time to get to a very modified Mari D, but it felt good and I am feeling a lot better, just the niggling cough still lingering.

Storm practice

June 20, 2007

I got home to find a jiffy bag in the post, I thought  “yay” my charger for my MP3 has come. Indeed it was from the company Amazon source the charger from, but alas in the bag was just a USB lead, no use whatsoever for charging my MP3. Have sent stroppy complaining e-mail, will wait and see what happens. They struck me as a very ramshackle company, no proper invoice, just a standard printed label with the companies address and e-mail, no phone number so I could ring them up, just as well for their sake. Amazon seem to deal with anyone now without a care as to whether they are a proper company, or someone selling stuff out of a back garden shed.

Nothing for it but to breathe deeply and start to practice, as I was just saluting the sun, the sky went dark and an enormous crack of lightening filled the sky, followed  by an extremely loud clap of thunder, thunderbolt posture anyone.

Practice with a storm is always grounding, I practised up to Navasana, annoyingly could not bind Marichyasana D, despite having 2 goes. My backbends are definitley getting there, especially with the warm up postures I now do. The days of laying on my mat fiddling with feet and hands and getting a cold back before finding the mental energy to try and lift up seem long ago. Though I still have a big problem getting the initial hand placement right.

3 more days to survive, as another person fell by the wayside last night, my direct Boss was carted off to hospital in an ambulance last night, another victim of the stress and shit in this place. Am beginning to wonder if it is worth paying into the pension scheme as I have yet to see anyone collect their savings before pegging out!

Brighter Outlook

June 19, 2007

I had planned time for a practice last night, but got bogged down trying to set up my new broadband e-mail, once I worked out I had to set up an IMAP server instead of POP, I thought I had it cracked. I had to an extent, it sends and receives no problem, but I cannot get it to actually delete e-mails in the Inbox for some reason, it just greys them out and puts a strike through line through them, my inbox will soon be over run if I cannot delete.

So eventually at 8.30pm I got on my mat, did all standing through to Utita Padangusthasana. Then seated up to a 3 second bind on each side in Marichyasana D, it is coming…. Carried on into Badha Konasana and Ubhaya, before doing closing, my norm now is to do the warm ups before trying Urdva Dhanurasana, this has become my practice, though wonder what DK will make of me doing this during Mysore practice in Stockholm!

3.5 days to go until my escape.

Emerging from the lurgy

June 17, 2007

Friday evenings counted practice had really taken more out of me than I realised, I must have been more unwell than I appreciated. I walked to the town on Saturday morning, a walk of 15 mins at the most, did some shopping and then started for home, I felt dreadful, not sick, but so absolutely shattered I could hardly summon the energy to put one foot in front of the other, 35 minutes later I got home as the clouds thundered and the rain poured. Rest of Saturday just passed me by, U e-mailed me advising to rest and listen to some music.She was right, it was just about all I could manage.

Today I felt a lot better, for the first time in 4 days I had a proper nights sleep, the cold has now mostly gone, but has left its legacy in the form of a hacking cough.

I wanted to do some kind of practice today, so decided I would do 3 A’s and 3 B’s so as not to wear myself out too quickly. I started to do the standing postures, they were not particularly great, could only just get my hand on the floor in Parivrita Trikonasana, but I carried on and to the Virabadrasana’s. I felt Ok so carried on, mentally deciding to get to Navasana and do closing. Despite not missing out a a single vinyasa I still felt ok, not wiped out as I had on Friday, Mari D was not even that far away, so Navasana turned into Bujapidasana, Kurmasana, Supta K, the only omission was Supta Konasana, I just dont have the space to do this one, so usually do an extra Ubhaya to compensate.

Finally to closing, my nod towards second series being that I now like to do Ustrasana, Supta Vajrasana and Laghu Vajrasana before I attempt Urdva Dhanurasana, doing these postures first seems to make all the difference. By now I was feeling it, so only managed 2 backbends, but ploughed through the rest of closing to a well desrved Savasana.

That was the weekend gone…again. 5 days of stress and crap to survive now before next Friday’s counted practice and next Sundays flight to the Far East sunshine

Moons revenge- Bells return

June 16, 2007

Its 5am, I cant sleep so here I am blogging, sitting in bed on the internet via my newly installed wifi. 

Since moving to the new Shala we have stopped observing Moon days, so I knew that the Counted practice would be a particularly challenging couple of hours with this lurgy. I had made up my mind to practice in spite of this cold, I just needed to stretch. I wonder if this cold is a result of the Chakra vinyasa workshop, my body removing crap from itself, especially now that I eat better, ie Once I would have comfort ate my way through this cold to feel better, Hobnobs, chocolate etc, but now I sit here typing with a cup of peppermint tea and some wheat free oat cakes, but it seems to have been worth it, my stomachs health has not in living memory been this good, apart from this cold I feel so much better.

So to practice, ooh it felt hard, the standing postures I can usually do without too much effort were nowhere near as deep as they can be. Breathing was difficult and periodic stops to nose blow took away my focus. I had hoped I would feel better as we progressed through, but my energy was being sapped out of me. Vinyasas between postures taking their toll. Mari D was nowhere to be found and after last weeks finger unity in Supta Kurmasana, the digits were back to being centimetres apart again. But the point was to just practice and accept what came and not judge or compare. By the time we got to Urdva Dhanurasana I was spent, physically gone, first one I barely got off the ground, second one I managed about 3 seconds, third one I modified into a bridge. Rest of closing was ok. Was I glad when we had chanted the closing mantra and settled into Savasana. Savasana was ended by those beautiful singing bowls, first time since the moved, I love the sound they make, the sound goes through and attaches to you.

So was it worth going, I have to say yes, practice was dire, but I mentally need to be in that place, so it will always be worth it.

Lurgy day 2

June 15, 2007

I was desperate to practice last night, to open up and to see if tonights counted practice would be possible. I never know if you should practice or not when a cold strikes.

My body was shivvering as I did the first Surya’s, I could barely touch my ankles never mind the floor with my hands. But did standing as far as Prasarita Padot B, then did some seated forward bends, and closing Salamba, Halasana and Karnapidasana.

30 minutes, but better than nothing and I hope it means I can practice tonight.

Savasana was then almost as long as practice, Savasana has strange powers, as I laid there  sinking into the mat, my nose stopped running, my breathing became deeper, I felt warm, not shivering. After 20 minutes I sat up and immediately my nose started to run and my body started to shivver again with cold.