Archive for September, 2007

Flow & Ashtanga time

September 30, 2007

Yoga expands to fill all the available time, especially when you are not actually watching the clock and don’t have to be anywhere. After my Savasana I realised I had been practising for nearly 2 and a half hours. As I was in no rush I began with another session following my new yoga flow dvd, I did all the Surya Namaskar sequences and the “Spiralling” one, but I really need to watch this again before trying it, its impossible to follow and do some of it, despite knowing the teacher and having done a few workshops with her. But it was a great warm up, I was sweaty and bendy as my head went to my knees in the forward bends. Then back to the usual practice beginning at Utita Padangusthasana as most of the other standing asanas were taken care of in parts of the dvd.

Tried to keep the momentum going in the seated postures, my core does seem to have got stronger lately, I am much steadier in Navasana, my core is holding me up my back is no longer stressed and caving in and Ubhaya and Urdva Mukha Paschimottanasana have improved a lot lately too. Its amazing how much better practice feels when you suddenly find postures are doable, instead of being a sweating, grasping wobble, crash, bang!

Closing as usual multi backbends plus Pasasana before Urdva Dhanurasana, though a crash landing on number 3 as my foot flew out from under me. Karnapidasana was interesting, after the 5 breaths I found that I could get my arms through my legs and my legs /feet most of the way behind my head into a kind of Yoga Nidrasana, though I didnt want to get myself stuck and have to bang on the wall for the neighbours to come and untangle me! So 150 minutes later I was done. I am not aching, not particularly tired after such a long practice, especially having done the flowing vinyasa at the beginning. I just wish I could find the thick end of 3 hours to practice every day.

I have been hunting the www for Yoga Shala’s in Shanghai. I am there for Christmas and I want to do practice while I am there, invariably I always intend to practice, but hotel rooms can be small with furniture and crappy carpets, so if anyone knows somewhere that does a Mysore style in Shanghai let me know.


Filling in the gaps

September 29, 2007

Had a go with my new yoga flow dvd this evening, this is the first yoga dvd I have ever bought.  I need to familiarise myself with the practice on it before plunging in too deeply. Today I watched the Pranayama and sunsalutations, then went back to the beginning and did them along to the instruction, its hard to look at the dvd and look down at the same time, but doing something different to the usual felt invigorating and opening. As well as the familiar Surya A & B, there were other variations and I was quite warm after them. After this nice warm up I really wanted to fill  in the gaps from last night, ie all the postures we didn’t do, so went straight into the seated asanas, it went well up to Marichyasana C, but D is back to being light years away. Ploughed through the rest and then did some second series just for fun and to open my back, Pasasana, Salabasana, Bekasana, Dhanurasana, then Urdva Dhanurasana, ended up practising for 2 hours, where did the time go.

Half the weekend has gone already, I havn’t read my book, others things fill the time, yoga is the only stillness I have in my waking day.

It was good

September 28, 2007

Train into a very wet London, but its worth the cost and effort for those 90 precious minutes taking refuge on my sticky blue mat. After last Friday I knew this week what to expect from practice in the East End, I accept its nowhere near the level of the blissful Counted practice with Easter, but it has an energy and focus of its own. The room is lovely and warm and T. is an easy teacher to follow, though I couldn’t help already being in the posture while she was explaining how to do it, after a vinyasa my anatomy knows what to do next! The standing postures went so fast, despite longer counts as she adjusted the less able, it gave me time to explore them more deeply, especially the standing twists which I love doing. Utita Padangusthasana was balanced, even head to knee happened.

Seated up to Navasana this week (Mari C last week), again quite enjoyed exploring them, a nice adjustment in Janusirsasana A, I was way into it already but T. spread my lower back and gradually took me even deeper while giving everyone extra breaths while encouraging me to find space. Managed Marichyasana A, B & C, though we missed D, then headed into closing. New tactic this week, turned my mat over when we got to Urdva Dhanurasana so that my hands and feet would find some grip and it worked 3 stable, bendy Urdva Dhanurasanas, I can do it….Rest of closing, though no headstand and Savasana.

Its a nice easy practice, you get hot and sweaty, but without seeming to work that hard, the hot room helps, but if I did it regularly it would make me lazy, especially missing poses like Supta K and Ubhaya which are a real test for me, I hope the Counted practice is back next week, I want it All.


September 28, 2007

I have this little book of yogic insights, it has one for each day of the year. I try to read each days before I leave home. Today’s says “The yoga mat is my refuge“. After which it goes on to say about asking what attitude you bring to the mat and whether changing its position would change anything. Some days the sayings seem more poinient than others. Practice on Friday night is my refuge, my oasis of calm after a long week of stress, and again I am forced to change my mats position as the Counted practice is cancelled again, booo hooo 😦

I shall head for the east end again tonight and do the lead Primary, probably only up to Mari C. I could practice at home, but there are too many potential distractions, I like “Going” to practice, knowing there will be a room full of energy and heat, I will have concentration and focus and my mind will be happy.

Just got to get through 3 more hours of tedium first. They advertised a Sales Office job in the local paper, they should be sued under the trades descriptions act, it says “Opportunities for advancement, lots of benefits”, what planet are they on!

Where to Practice

September 27, 2007

Still not sure where this weeks practice will be. The Shala has only 1 booking, so a big chance that one will be cancelled, alas no Counted again. So I have a choice of repeating last Friday’s lead to Mari C in the East end, or dragging myself out of bed on Satuday and heading to Stoke Newington. I have to go somewhere. If I dont get a practice it feels like a big hole in the weekend, like I have completed another tedious week at work without a reward at the end. No there is no such thing as job satisfaction in this place, the only satisfaction is escaping

My Yoga Flow DVD arrived yesterday, it comes with a nice little book of explanations, which I read last night, will try the practice over the weekend. I have enjoyed this teachers workshops and hopefully practising with her DVD will help me enjoy her workshops even more.

50% Cant!

September 26, 2007

Before heading for another day of drudgery I sat reading the paper this morning. One article was about the fact that it is reckoned that 50% of the UK population are unable to touch their toes (Padangusthasana to us), which does not according to the article bode well for the future health of the nation. I have to say its probably true going by the facts that most of my work colleagues probably could not touch their toes, there are a few who I doubt can even see their toes! Where as in my out of work life, I reckon 99% of my aquaintances can touch their toes and then stand on them (Padahastasana) !

When is enough

September 25, 2007

All day my knees have ached. This afternoon I dont know how I stayed awake. Tonights practice began with some singing bowl playing, meditation of the lovely sound that filled the room, hope it didnt wake next doors baby up! Did all the standing, but decided to not aggravate my knees, so was incredibly careful doing seated, only Janu A & B and Mari A &C. Spent time in the asanas I know I usually try and wizz through Navasana, Bujapidasana, Baddha Konasana, I thought I have the time so I may as well just try and relax into them.  Did lots of backbend opening before Urdva Dhanurasana and the rest of closing + Handstand, just cos I now like trying it, its my “Cirque de Soleil moment” when I manage to stay up there!

But to be honest practice left me shattered, it was my 7th consecutive day and I am sure what with my knees in distress and my general state of tiredness my body is saying ENOUGH! Its not just the practice, but the travelling to get to practice, on a Friday I spend 3 hours commuting for 2 hours practice, Saturday was worse, nearly 4 hours on trains for 108 minutes on the mat. Then there is the 8 hours of shit at work every day, its all doing me in. At least tomorrow is the Moon day, my body needs it.


September 25, 2007

I practised last night as usual, up to Prasarita, then later on the rest. This morning my knee is rebelling for some reason, it felt ok while I was practising. I practised much longer than I intended, had meant to practice for half hour when I got home and and hour later on. The second session ended up being 90 minutes.

I usually have a drink and a read after practice before crashing out. Practice seems to tire me out, I only managed a chapter before my eyes were reading but my brain was not taking it in. It takes me ages to read books, even ones like my current one which I am enjoying and is a page turner. If I read before practice, I probably wouldnt get round to practising.

I was hoping my Vinyasa Flow DVD would come today, but alas the postman kept going

The Logic?

September 23, 2007

I have enjoyed a few of CM’s Vinyasa flow workshops, alas getting to her classes is nigh on impossible from out here, so I decided to get a copy of her new DVD. At yoga Shala’s they sell it for the cover price of £19.99, on Amazon its slightly cheaper, but then there’s the postage and at the north London yoga shop where I buy my mats its also £19.99. So last night I thought my options were limited until I chanced upon Amazons “New & Used” link to somewhere selling it at £17.50 + £1.24 postage, so £18.74, a small saving of £1.25, but every little helps. When the confirmation came the seller turned out to be the same north London yoga shop, why dont they just sell it for £17.50 in the shop, where’s the logic selling it online and undercutting themselves?

This morning I needed to stretch, after 37 sunsalutations + varying degress of practice over the last few days, I was aching a bit. A nice sunny morning for practice, I zipped through standing remembering Katy’s words from yesterday about staying connected, not just mechanically moving through the asanas. Usual knee angst during the seated, did all the Janusirsasanas, but only Mari A-C. I am certainly getting more control in postures like Ubhaya and Urdva Mukha Pascimottanasana at the minute. Closing felt good, though my back was a bit stiff, tried the standing drop backs, after a few my back began to open and I am nearly at the point of having to stick my arms out try and drop all the way.

Practice felt so good I decided on some handstands just for fun, after touching the door I managed to come to upright without support for 5 breaths, weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. It seems all the asanas that need use and control of the bandhas and abdominals are getting better, have I got stronger there or have I just learned to engage them?

Global Yoga Mala

September 22, 2007


Up at the crack of dawn to get the train to Southfields in order to take part in the Global Yoga Mala, organised in the UK by Katy Appleton. Around 40 people took part, a small bead amongst the many taking part around the Globe. That is what is was about, taking part, the yoga community coming together trying to do something good, our donations going to “Trees for the future”, just one of the projects being supported.

All to the theme of the magic number 108. Our mats radiating out in a circle, we began our 108 minute practice with some Pranayama and 9 OM’s. We then chanted part of the Ashtanga closing mantra 9 times, “Loka ha Sukino Bavantu”, the chant that hopefully encourages our leaders to bring peace to the world (Are you listening George Bush?).

Today’s practice was not just about asana, next we took the sheet of paper and pen and were asked to contemplate the question “What do I want from my life?”, write down our thoughts, I was tempted to write after 43 years I still don’t have a clue, but eventually settled on hoping for good health, happiness, joy, contentment and Freedom. Katy read some of Rumi’s poetry exorting us to “enter the Study and not sit and read but to grab our instrument and play”. This lead to a completely unexpected dimension, 6 minutes of being encouraged to wave our arms, sway our hips and move to the rythm of some drumming music, I forgot to ask what it was, but it was a great way to warm up, Katy encouraging us to let go and be with the music.

We quietened to start doing familiar Ashtanga Surya Namaskar A’s, 3 round of 9, so 27 in all. The first nine for ourselves, the second 9 for family and friends and the final 9 for the rest of the world. The room breathed and moved as one, to the sound of Katy’s quiet instruction and the chink of another piece of pasta moving from one counting bowl to another. A little Savasana and then an asana for the core stomach muscles, again repeated in 3 sets of nine, another 27 added to the scoreboard. Not that we were counting, we were concentrating on being “in” the moment, not just mechanically doing the practice. The feeling of other yogi’s and yogini’s around the planet being on their mat, with the same intentions.

Another short rest and then an instruction rarely heard in a yoga class, basically do what you want 🙂  I resisted the temptation to lay down and did some forward bends and the closing ashtanga postures, Urdva Dhanurasana, Halasana, Karnapidasana, before slipping into Savasana, one of Katy’s kind helpers covering each of us with a warm blanket for a few minutes before a little bell called us again and it time for the final 9 OM’s to close the practice.

I have to say it felt great to take part in something like this event, we are normally so wrapped up in our own practice, worrying over which asanas we can and can’t do, being oblivious of the person on the next mat and of the world around us. Today was about like minded individuals coming together as one for the greater good, without worrying about getting that leg behind the head. Though I have to admit I counted only 81, that was 27 Surya A’s, 27 Core stomach , 18 OM’s, 9 chants. What happened to the other 27 I have no idea, I missed something somewhere, but who’s counting.