Archive for December, 2008

Practice in the cold.

December 31, 2008

Two weeks of practice in the warm was fantastic, but coming back to the reality of practice in a cold winter is not so. Having been travelling all day Sunday and sleeping half of Monday, it wasn’t until Tuesday that I got back on my mat, mainly because my body clock was awake at 7am, I gave up trying to get back to sleep and got on my mat slowly making my way through Primary to Marichyasana, then closing.

I am worried I am going to relose Marichyasana now that I am home, my knees are not so happy as they were in the warmer climate for the lotus part, my lower back is stiffening up again in the cold and then there’s also my mother, who seems to be on a mission to feed me up again! The last time I returned from Goa 15 years ago I had lost nearly 2 Stones (28Lbs) from illness and looked like an Ethiopian, Bob Geldof was probably going to have a concert for me! I was ill for months after. I did lose a little weight again this time, mainly due to yoga, I ate ok and wasnt sick, apart from the cold, but never the less my plate is groaning, then there are cakes, sweets, chocolates, god knows how much she must have bought if this is the leftovers!

This morning I walked to the town, it was dead, you could almost see tumbleweeds rolling up the road, the people in the Post Office were playing word games they were so bored, my friendly hairdresser was sitting in her window waving and only the charity shops seemed to have any customers. It was bitterly cold, I had to thaw out and stop my nose running when I got home before I could practice. Practice turned into a 2 hour slow go, interspersed with tea breaks to help keep me warm. Standing were not so open and I didn’t feel safe to really stretch into my hamstrings. Seated seemed to take forever, though almost touched fingers in Mari D, despite the layers of clothing. A successfull attempt at my new Bhuja entry and a not bad unbound Supta K, considering the amount of layers I was wearing to touch fingers was a result, yoga is so much easier somewhere warm, doing practice with just a t-shirt and shorts, clothing does get in the way. Dived off into all my criminal new backbends, plus a handstand before Urdva D and the rest of closing. My body is coming back to life for practice, it would just like to be warm again, I need a shala practice.

Tomorrow is the first day of woyopracmo which will hopefully set me going again. There is a New Years practice at the shala tomorrow afternoon, which would be wonderful, getting there is the problem as usual, I may have to practice in the cold again.


India in Pictures

December 29, 2008
The Brahmani Shala
Globie - Vrksasana
Final Sunset
I eventually made it home late last night, all the passengers on the plane jeered when they said the temperature was just 1 degree above freezing! The pictures are just a few of many, The Brahmani Shala where I practised with Mel, Adriane and Julie’s guidance. The silhouette sunset photos we tried for fun, think A.’s Trikonasana looks great holding up the sun. The wonderful OrangeBoom Cafe, great brunches after practice. My Gorinto that took ages to construct on the beach and the final stunning sunset.
Goa was great for yoga, never being cold, even when you have a cold, makes such a difference, I think I will have to be careful practising back here in the cold. Second series was such a big step, so good of Mel to think I was ready. I hope Cary lets me continue with it.
This yoga year has had highs and lows, losing Easter’s wonderful counted practice in March, worrying what I would do, followed by Susan encouraging me to YP and into Cary’s hands and the sheer joy of binding Supta Kurmasana. Turkey with Abby in June was great, but then stress fracturing my foot in Bali, pulled me up and back. Its taken 3 months for my foot to recover, but at last I can practice again, finishing the year with being given the first few poses of second series has been such a bonus in the Indian sunshine. 

Last Indian practice

December 27, 2008
OrangeBoom Cafe

OrangeBoom Cafe





This morning I did my last practice in India, OMG how fast this has all gone, how long I looked forward to it and how quickly it has passed by. This morning it was the traditional counted practice lead by Mel, I am still nowhere near 100% what with this cold, which has now turned into a chesty cough, but at least my eyes and nose have stopped running.

 It was nice just be taken through the practice, though Mel is quite quick, which obviously means that some poses where I need to coerce my knees into lotus or require wriggle time don’t happen, though I did bind my hands in Supta K which was a surprise. I did all the vinyasas today and even found the energy for Urdva Dhanurasana and Ardha Sirsasana, it felt better than yesterday that’s for sure. India is not usually a good place to be unwell, but having a cold here in a warm environment, as opposed to shivering in Europe meant that my body stayed relatively open and didn’t shrivel in the corner next to a radiator.

100 minutes later Savasana was done and it was time to say thank you and goodbye to Mel and Adrianne. Despite the lurgy, its been a lovely 2 weeks of practice, Mel taking me into the uncharted waters of 2nd series and Adrianne’s great adjustments and Thai massage have made this exactly what I needed.

I walked back to town with Amy, who I know from Norwich, at the cafe I ran into Catherine. We both knew we knew each other and realised it was about 7-8 years ago we had been on a yoga retreat with Liz Lark in Spain. I can’t believe how many people I have run into in India who I know, is the ashtanga world really that small?

So what to do with my last day, the beach beckons, souvenir shopping maybe, I dont want to fritter it away, but on the other hand its so nice not to have pressure to do this, that or the other. I came to practice and relax and that’s what I have done.

Boxing Day practice

December 26, 2008

I spent Christmas afternoon snoozing mostly on the beach at out shack, that is until a woman in her 30’s arrived, who typified everything bad about a Brit on holiday, turning the music up to blaring, dancing around, banging in to people, smoking, drinking and screaming “Come on India“, I left along with some of the other patrons, one person ruined the lovely beach side ambiance. I couldn’t face food last night, my cold rendered me too knackered, just had a drink with some people and crashed out again, waking at 6.30am this morning, at which point I decided to go to practice, as it was my last opportunity for self practice here, before I go home on Sunday. I wasn’t too stiff surprisingly, but I just lacked the energy after a day of sleeping and eating hardly anything.

Standing were ok, though I only did 5 A’s and 3 B’s to conserve energy, into seated and I was beginning to wonder if this was such a good idea, so just did vinyasas between poses. Surprised myself by binding Marichyasana D on the first side, my knee wasn’t up for the 2nd side, common sense prevailed for a change. After my new Bhujapidasana went ok, I was looking forward to Kurmasana and Supta K. part one was ok, but I just couldn’t find the energy to wriggle into full pretzel, I didn’t even manage to bind my hands. I got help in Urdva Paschimottanasana from Katie, more support really than an adjustment, allowing me to stretch the feet and legs, knowing I wouldn’t fall back.

No 2nd series today, I am not sure how I had got this far, backbends were crap, I just didnt have the energy, so did some bridges and went into the shoulderstand sequence and rest of closing, before gratefully laying down for Savasana, which lasted about 30 minutes, as I was finding it hard to summon the energy to actually move.

The rest of the morning was spent at Orangeboom doing brunch and reading the paper, talking to A. and A. and some others. I am glad I made the effort to practise, my cold seems to be drying up, but I just feel really tired, luckily I don’t exactly have to do much for the rest of the day!

Christmas cold

December 25, 2008

No Practice today, just as well as I can hardly breathe and feel crappy with this poxy cold, though I would like to stretch, maybe later I will summon some energy, first I need to find a place selling tissues.

Our usual breakfast place is closed today, luckily I had my pain au Raisin for breakfast, I had to bribe the cook in the kitchen to heat them up for me, worth 10 Rps, they are so much tastier when they are hot. Went back to bed for another hour and have just emerged to see what is actually open, the internet place was the first so here I am! The beach looks favourite for the rest of the day.

Thai massage & Practice

December 24, 2008

Yesterday afternoon I had my Thai massage, it was really good, she did some lovely gentle, but very deep backbends and twists and got well into my niggling shoulder, the 2 hours went way too quickly. This morning I woke to a sore throat and snotty nose, but went to practice in the hope of sweating it out. Adrianne must have spoken to Mel about my painful shoulder, as they looked into how I was doing my Surya’s and jump throughs, I need to be higher in the Chaturanga and she said that its like I am swinging through in the vinyasa, using my shoulders as a pendulum, so I am no longer jumping straight through. Despite my new cold, practice was another good one, I managed to again fleetingly bind myself in Marichyasana D, and with help lifted up in Supta Kurmasana. Mel changed the way I get into Bhujapidasana today, instead of wriggling under, she got me to bring the feet round and stand on my hands, then cross and lift the feet, then to bend the elbows to go down, I seem to have been just pivoting my body to get into the posture and always end up on the top of my head. It felt ok and hopefully was good for my shoulders.

My 2nd series experiments recommenced today, I thought about leaving them out, but did Pasasana and Mel came over to take me through some more, she again had me do Kapotasana against the wall. This is another pose where I stop breathing, Mel said she had noticed that I have this habit when its a posture that is hard, or that I at least find hard. I know I do it with the first Urdva Dhanurasana, its like the breathing valve is shut off and I can’t engage and breath, let alone an Ujayi one. By the time I had done the closing poses, the teachers had long gone and the next class was coming in. Tomorrow the shala is closed, much like a lot of other stuff around here, I will practice in my room if I feel ok when I wake up, though as I type the cold is making me feel not too great.

After practice we had breakfast, where I discovered that A. is a dab hand at Backgammon, I didnt even know she played, but she loves beating the other ex-pats! Then I wandered along the beach to the big flea market, lots of crap, same, same lookey lookey my shop velly cheap price. Though glad to find Diana from Coffee Heaven there with her tea and brownie stall.

Who knows if any internet places will be open here tomorrow, so if not wishing all you yogi’s and yoginis a very happy christmas

Gorinto’s and practice

December 23, 2008
My Gorinto

My Gorinto



Yesterday was really hot, I wandered along the beach and saw someone had tried to make a sand Gorinto, so I thought hey there’s plenty of nice pebbles laying around I will try and make a stone one. Making a Gorinto is an amazingly meditative thing to engage in, your mind and eyes are scanning the surrounding area for those potentially perfect stones that will balance five high and become a Gorinto, you lose track of time, it took over an hour to find the right combination of 5 stones that would balance. Further on I ran into Amy and her family, so spent the rest of the afternoon with them, they are a nice bunch and we watched the sun set.

This morning I had one of the best practices I have had in a very long time, I mainly just did Primary, with a few of the 2nd series inserted after seated. I think the combination of always being warm in this climate, you don’t wake up so stiff in the morning, plus I think I have lost a little weight, I just don’t eat so much when I am away from the daily drudge, have begun to have the desired effect on my practice. Standing felt much more open, it was one of those days when you can feel that its not going to be such a struggle. A nice surprise in seated when I managed to bind both sides of Marichyasana D on my own, if only fleetingly, though whether my knees appreciated it I am not sure, I’ll no doubt find out later. Supta Kurmasana was good today, I managed to lift for a second or 2 with my feet behind my head. A really helpful adjustment in Urdva P. being supported meant I could concentrate on Cary’s instructions about pointing the feet and straightening the legs, there’s no ruch here, they let you release into the postures more.

After seated I did Pasasana, now I have it I want to try it. But Brahmani are very into the concept of it being your own practice, which means I can put in an Ustrasana or 3 and Laghu Vajrasana to open my body. Urdva Dhanurasana was different today, the first one was hard, but on the second one it was like something clicked in the middle of my back and I suddenly had a much deeper bend with the weight seeming to be more evenly spread between hands and feet, number 3 felt really good, so good in fact, that I stood up and added in cross arm dropping back, then using the wall when I ran out of bend, I was really open, it feels so good when its like that, releasing not struggling.

So a lovely practice and a long Savasana before brunch. This afternoon I have my Thai massage to look forward to, my Christmas present to me, hopefully I wont seize up later.

Practice after Baga

December 22, 2008

Yesterday was my day off, I went down the coast to explore Baga and Calangute, they are much busier, the beaches are full of touts hassling for business, they charge stupid amounts compared to Anjuna for a sunbed and generally it had the feeling that its all too much. I wanted to just wander along the lovely beach, but every 10 yards someone wanted to be your friend and show you their shop etc etc…. leave me alone… I was glad to get back to the relative peace of Anjuna,  where we sat cross legged at the quiet northern end of the beach with some other people watching the red ball of a sun drop into the Arabian Sea at 6pm last night.

This morning it was back to the mat, my knees were not coming out to play at all today, I think walking annoys them and I walked miles yesterday. Mel took me deeply into Supta Kurmasana, really nice, Marichyasana B & D were impossible, my knees need regular practice, a day off doesn’t seem to be good for them. It was almost a relief when Mel started adjusting me in Pasasana, she had let me have a couple of goes on my own then came to help, followed by Krounchasana, Salabhasana, Bhekasana preps and Dhanurasana. The front of my thighs are now seriously aching, 2nd really takes it out of you, especially when you have been used to that mind set after seated of “just closing to go“, you suddenly need to find a whole new energy. She also had me doing Ustrasana and Kapotasana against the wall, this is definitley good for my Urdva Dhanurasana, it adds stability, the whole thing feels more grounded. A typical practice after a day off, hopefully tomorrow will feel less tortuous.

My right shoulder is still niggling away, so after practice I booked my Thai yoga massage for tomorrow afternoon, it will be for 2 hours, so hopefully Adrianne will get into the problem and the one in my lower back. It’s been good receiving her adjustments in practice, hopefully this will have helped her for the massage as well, she will know what needs some help to open.

Breakfast at Orangeboom, I needed that pot of tea, though they are closed on Christmas day, I do wonder how much will be open, I may have to do a supermarket sweep on Christmas eve just in case.

Counted Practice

December 20, 2008

Saturday is the day for lead Primary here, the first I have done in a while. Thinking about it the last time I did a complete lead Primary was back in June. Mel lead the practice, with Adrianne adjusting. I found it exhausting, it made me realise how slow my self practice has become, but when we got to postures like the Marichyasanas I only got 2 or 3 breaths by the time I got into them, before we moved on, my hips and knees really need time to find the position . It felt like I was dragging myself through it today, rather than flowing with my own breath. Supta Kurmasana I only managed to bind my hands, but I suppose that’s progress from the last time I did a lead practice. Savasana was nice and long, I needed it and appreciated it. I am taking tomorrow off, I need a rest.

After practice via the shop to our little breakfast place for a lovely bacon sandwich and a pot of tea, they now just give me a BIG pot. Adrianne joined us, nice to chat to her about life in Goa and her Thai massage, I am going to have one next week before I go home. Her adjustments are quite intuitive, like Cat’s back at YP, massage therapists seem to know exactly what to press and squish and what to stretch and lengthen. That will be my Christmas present to me.

Alas the Night Market is cancelled, but Adrianne told us that another place is going to have an event this afternoon and into the evening, selling nice things, so plan to chill out for a few hours and then head there, but right now I need my sugar hit. Despite having had breakfast I still crave something sugary after practice, I don’t know where this comes from, but be it chocolate or sugar lumps, it just has to be done.

The order

December 19, 2008

A warm, but overcast morning, though seemingly no cooler in the shala. I felt a bit tired today, practice has been enjoyable, but intense and my batteries are running out. Mainly left alone today, apart from Paschimottanasana squishings and Parivrita Trikonasana adjustment. Seated seemed a bit of a slog, my shoulder is objecting a bit, so didnt jump through on the vinyasas. Adjusted in Supta K today, I just didn’t have the energy for wriggling and was quite glad when help arrived. After seated Mel came over and took me through the 2nd series poses, adding a few more on to see how I went, Dhanurasana and Parsva Dhanurasana, my god it takes it out of you. I asked Mel about where I should insert the poses, as Susan commented, I should do them after Setu Bandhasana and then do backbends and closing. I think it was just because I had got to Urdva Dhanurasana the other before she came over, then yetsreday I kept the same order because I didn’t know. She said I may want to do up to Supta Kurmasana, then 2nd series poses, then backbends and closing, but I don’t want to miss out Ubhya and Urdva P now I am at last getting somewhere with them, so practice is going to take even longer. Not that it matters here I have until 9.45 before a lead class takes over the space, though I was one of the last still in there today. Mel also had me doing Supta Vajrasana, holding my legs and going back, head touching floor then back up, you can really feel it, but todays following Urdva Dhanurasanas were very strong and felt very stable. I was pretty shattered after practice, I need a rest soon I think, but am loathe to waste an opportunity to practice in such a wonderful environment.

Last night we had a helicopter patrolling overhead, presumably part of the security operation, we also heard that apart from cancelling the Xmas beach parties they are also not opening the Saturday Night Market, I suppose it would be a bit of a target. A. heard yesterday that some of the locals are leaving Goa for Christmas, because they think its too dangerous! I have to say if it wasn’t for yoga, there isn’t much to do here, unless you are a beach bum, especially if they are going to shut everything, makes you feel like the terrorists are winning.