Archive for January, 2009

Primary+pushing eggs!

January 30, 2009

Home early and managed a nice full Primary series. My mind is less hung up on my right knees painful inability to do lotus poses, especially Marichyasana B & D nowadays, because it now has new poses to play with and find spaces in. I now see practice beyond the Mari’s as doable and not just for people in Cirque de Soleil, especially since finding I can play at being a pretzel, then there’s jumping back from Bakasana. Jumping back from Bakasana happens, especially after Cat’s simple comment last week of “think forward”, ie getting the centre of gravity in the right place, plus a dose of belief and hey presto, though I have yet to master the getting my legs from a bent Titibhasana into Bakasana.

Stable backbends again, even without 2nd series warm up poses, followed by drop back practice and following Susan’s advice about hang back practice of putting left hand on right shoulder, going back and looking over the right shoulder as you slide the hand down the thigh, then doing the other side, before going back down the middle, its certianly a good warm up.

Practice is taking a lot longer than a year ago, I actually make reasonable attempts now at poses like Kurmasana, Supta Kurmasana, Ubhya and Urdva Paschimottanasana, not to mention Ardha Sirsasana (managed 2 down and ups today), a year ago I hardly even bothered, thinking they are never going to happen, I just don’t have the strength, flexibility or body, but having teachers who have taken the time has now made all of Primary seem possible.

However now that Galaxy Caramel eggs are in the supermarkets this could all change. Do I love the careful unwrapping of the foil, nibbling the top off so the chocolate doesn’t break and then getting my special egg eating mini teaspoon (Thanks Lufthansa) and carefully extracting the yummy caramel filling, drooooooooolllll….., yes these even beat Wispa’s for yummyness. Today though I was accused of teaching foreigners bad habits again, you may remember I have spoken about the Czech girl who works with me who we taught to appreciate the very British crisp sarnie, well now she has embraced Caramel eggs!


Some second

January 30, 2009

I knew I wouldnt have time for a whole Primary last night, but I wanted to still do a practice with some structure that would not annoy my knee, so settled on doing the standing postures before tangenting off into 2nd series. At least I got a nice twist in Pasasana, instead of paining my knees twisting in Marichyasana B & D. Went throught to Laghu Vajrasana, before closing, the 2nd series backbends make my Urdva Dhanurasana feel completely different, much more stable. Finished off with some leaning back, trying out Susan’s theory of keeping the upper back & neck open by letting the hands go down the back of the thighs, though I still didnt see the floor, it must be down there somewhere along with that bar of Wispa.

TGIF a weekend of practice I hope, though the weather doesnt look too promising.

Here I am

January 28, 2009

I have not blogged here since Sunday, but was prompted to do so by an e-mail asking where I had got to, so thought I had better put fingers to keyboard. Well Monday was Moon day, I still did some practice, otherwise I would seize up, mainly vinyasa flow, making it up as I went, standing bound twists and other fun stuff that I never get to play around with normally.

Tuesday I had intended to go to Navasana and do closing, but somehow ended up doing a full practice. Today I ended up doing what I intended to do on Tuesday, well I actually went to Kurmasana before heading into backbends. After UD’s I thought I would experiment after Alfia’s comment about dropbacks on my last post. I can see what she meant when she talked about cutting off the circulation with tightness, I think there must be an element of this with my tendency for dizzyness and nausea, so instead of cross arm hangbacks, which I feel restricted in, I played around with going back, but leaving my hands by my sides. I knew I would not get as far, but I was able to hang on to the breath and have a little more control in the upper thighs. I think this experiment is worth persevering with at home and leaving full attempts for when I have supervision at the shala.

The labour camp is quieter this week so far, but still pretty dire, its like sitting on a bomb waiting for it to go bang. Though we amused ourselves this afternoon watching the T-mobile advert on Youtube filmed at Liverpool St station in London, Susananda is probably in there somewhere, she’ll be the one doing Nakrasana!

24 days later-Home to YP

January 25, 2009

YP Entry







I can’t believe its taken 24 days since that great practice on New Years day to get back to my Shala what with being thwarted by Moondays and rail failure, I took a picture of the entrance in case it takes another 24 until I get there again! I still got there late, but was surprised to find I was still the first and that Cat was teaching, I thought it was Susan’s Sunday according to my finger calculations. Anyway it doesnt matter who teaches, they are all great, which is why YP will always be my number one choice, despite the extra time and money I spend to get there. It felt like coming home.

Not much to say about standing, once my mind shuts up and I get passed the Surya Namaskar’s I seem to be able to do the standing poses without too much thought, they are the poses I suppose we have all done the most, so the various bits of anatomy know where to go and what is expected, though Cat did pay attention to my tight shoulders in Utkatasana.

Seated are getting more consistent, again managed to grab my wrist beyond my feet on both sides of Triang Mukha. Despite all the TLC my right knee has been given (no lotus poses for over a week), it is still painful, even in Janusirsasana A, for some reason it likes Janu B better, so had a few extra breaths to help the hamstring stretch out. Again managed to find my own way into binding on the first side of Marichyasana D, then Cat adjusted me, though not strongly, just a deeper twist, then a whisper in my ear to engage Mula Bandha and suddenly I seemed to have a better bind, a more upright and stable posture, it felt really different. Second side I did the modified version but got adjusted more deeply into the twist. After jumping out of Supta K, Cat came and said I hadn’t worked hard enough! She had me practising moving from crow balance, moving the chest forward and then jumping back before she let me move on. Nice help in Urdva Paschimottanasana too.

I didn’t feel as flexible in my back today, I tried to warm up with some bridges before 5 hit and miss attempts at Urdva Dhanurasana, last couple were not bad. I had a few goes at hanging back then just as I sat down to forward bend, got the tap on my back  “are you going to do dropbacks today?” I though OK, I may as well have a go, I am in the right surroundings with a teacher I have complete confidence in. I REALY REALLY tried to breathe today, especially on the way back up, hoping to avoid that dizzy-sick feeling. The first 2 attempts were feeling my way in, Cat said although my hips were forward engaged at the start, by the time I got to the bottom they had sunk back. Number 3 was better she said, I could feel a difference, but I am not sure of exactly what I did differently. I understand what she is saying, in that the hips staying forward are a counterbalance and if I eventually ever stand up on my own, having those hips still forward when my hands on the floor is what will allow me to come up. But not being dizzy is progress, A. sent me an e-mail the other day saying “its actually a rather good idea to breathe at all times!” She can talk, its because she doesn’t get to make me hold Chitvari anymore and I won the Supta K race!

Rest of closing ok, though I twice managed to fall out of Ardha Sirsasana on the way back up, which was annoying, Cat laughed and told me not to worry, some days are like that.Ummm.

Somehow 2 hours had gone by when I emerged from Savasana, practice does seem to expand to fill the time available, though I don’t think I dawdled or faffed at all. But it was lovely to practice at YP again.

Yoga fills the void

January 23, 2009

Its been a hell of a long week, the word stressed does not do it justice, my brain, head and eyes are frazzled. I was so glad to fall in the front door tonight, make some tea and then start doing practice, a full Primary series for the 2nd night running, but at least on Friday’s I have time to do it before dinner, instead of having to wait for 2 or so hours after it. Managed it all plus some extra backbending and the odd criminal handstand.

The last time I blogged I was in a shit state, I thought about deleting that post, but its out there now and 500 people have read, so what’s the point. In it I talked about things I used to do that no longer float my boat or have any relevance. In truth practice has gradually replaced them. When I first practised, football, tennis, reading,watching TV all came higher up the priority list, but over the last 8 or 9 years many of those have gradually been abandoned altogether or relegated in place of spending upwards of 2 hours each day on a 6ft long blue, not very sticky mat, trying to do things I would have considered completely stupid, not to mention impossible back then.

 I don’t regret the way yoga has taken over prominence in my life, I have met some truly wonderful people through it, not just teachers, but other students who have become friends. I know I wouldn’t be here if I hadnt found my yoga practice, but on the days when I don’t practice I find it hard to fill the time or like tonight when I have already practised, its 8pm there’s nothing on TV, is there ever, I find myself at a loose end. I would like to get back into reading, but my eyes have had enough after 8 hours staring at a monitor, plus I have read all the Lian Hearn books now.

At least its the weekend, hopefully I will get to explore and practice some more with my Kino dvd, then there’s Sunday, my sole reason of late for bothering with life, that wonderful 2 hours at the shala, hopefully at my shala this week instilling my body with enough prana to get me through next week.

Disconnected in dissilusionment

January 21, 2009

I practised for all the wrong reasons tonight, if you can call what I did practice, the standing postures and some not very good backbends. I had actually intended to make this my day off, but to be honest I was bored and just started to do some Surya’s for something to do.

During the poses my mind seemed to keep up this running commentary, I am beginning to realise with having an ever more depressing work environment and nothing much to come home to, that I am actually only opening my eyes each morning so that I can at least look forward to closing them again and hopefully doing practice if I can find the energy and motivation.

All the things that used to fill my non working time in years past no longer seem to have any interest or relevance in 2009. I used to be a football fanatic, I used to go to games, then read and inwardly digest what was said and written about the game. Nowadays although I still watch the odd game on TV, I could not really care less, the wages the players are paid are so out of proportion to the guy in the stands, not to mention the incredible amounts clubs in England charge to get in. When I was a fan, it was affordable to go and the players though earning good money compared to me, were not overly paid. Many of the players from back then left football to take up the same crap jobs as the rest of us. I know of one player who now drives a forlift in a chicken processing factory.

I used to watch TV, there were often good quality documentary’s, some good drama and entertainment. Now its just reality shows, crap quizzes and soap operas. ITV news tonight although billed as 30 minutes, only actually was on 24 minutes and they had an advert break halfway as well. So I no longer watch TV.

I used to read, books and newspapers, but there have been few books of late that have inspired me to read them and as for news I feel less and less connection with what’s going on. Whoever is in government does nothing for me, as a single person claiming no benefits and only getting my bin emptied for my taxes I am beginning to wonder why I bother working at all.

I also realised at lunchtime that I eat for the sake of something to do, not because I am hungry. I looked at my sandwiches and thought I just dont want it, the ducks enjoyed them though. The wheat problem is a major restriction and is part of my apathy towards food and probably quite a lot to do with the weight I have lost in the last year or so. Some days I realise I havn’t eaten, but don’t actually fancy anything and just think I’ll have something tomorrow. wheat free tedium has set in, its a worry, don’t tell my mother..

The weeks just go by, those hours at the shala at the weekend are truly what is keeping me going, though someone has asked me to give a lecture in April 2010, so they obviously have confidence that I will still be around.

So here I am at 8.45 on a Wednesday night wondering whether I really want to press the publish button after spewing out my thoughts.

Yoga wakes me up

January 20, 2009

With the dire situation at work with the new system, I have been getting home really tired with glazed over eyes from staring at a screen all day, I could quite happily crash out at 5:15 when I get home. Somehow I resist the urge and like tonight manage some backbending. Later on, being bored with Obama dominating the news I decided to practice, no Kino dvd tonight, but I did remember Kino’s instruction to engage the legs and feet in standing to give that solid foundation. I could feel the difference, its good to be reminded of the basics once in a while. I felt good after standing so ploughed on and had a good flow going, though again modifying second sides of Mari B & D for my knees sake, but I had nevertheless got warm and bendy enough to bind myself up into a nice sugary pretzel.

After adding in my cheaters Ustrasana I did some Urdva Dhanurasanas and had a go at walking my hands in, I can’t stay up as long, but presume the back must be bending more. Stood up for some hanging back practice, but instead of going as far as I could I only went as far as the length of my outbreath, then tried to have a steady in breath as I came back up, so no dizzyness.

Now after doing practice I am more awake and happier than I have been for most of the day. If I could ever get up and do practice in the morning maybe I would be more awake and happier during the day, rather than when the day is over. But at 6am my house is cold, though under my duvet its toasty warm!

Kino dvd arrived

January 19, 2009

Got home to find my Kino Primary DVD had arrived. The problem is after a good shala practice, the next day, especially after sitting in a chair driving a mouse all day, my hamstrings go tight, my shoulders are back up around my ears and all the good opening work of my practice has been undone. I do always make an effort do some practice, mainly so I don’t seize up completely, but in 2 days my body goes from opening like a flower to being tighter than a clam shell.

The idea of getting the dvd is to get used to Kino’s voice and style before the workshop, the voice because my hearing is not perfect and in the big shala room I hope that I will be able to pick out the bits I really need to hear, teachers with softer voices ,I often feel their voices are lost in the large rooms. I decided to listen to the intro and do the standing postures, she moves through them quite quickly, but with little bits of advice as she goes, like engaging the legs in downward dog, not just hanging out as it were. I will do the seated sequence with her another day when I am more open and have the time, if she’s as fast in that I think I will need to find the pause button to give me time to get into postures, then hit the play button to listen to her talk about each asana.

After Kino’s standing I did my own through to Marichyasana A, then did some standing backbends, my back is very tight today. I didn’t get the chance to do my usual 20 minutes backbending when I got home, as I had to go and wish my little Siss a happy birthday. As I was hanging back I realised that my fear with backbends has moved, to begin with it was just the fear of backbends, of the sensation of moving back and for me the feeling of being out of control and completely out of my depth. Now I no longer fear going back, I am now afraid of the dizzyness and nausea that appeared yesterday, especially when I practice home alone without a teacher and the potential for hitting the floor. I tried to take more breaths as I went back, but found I was breathing faster and faster and taking shallower breaths and in reality lost control of the breath and the backbend. Yestrdays explanation by Anna about why it happens was helpful, in that at least I understand why it happens, but sorting out the breathing to stop it happening is a challenge to say the least.

Following V’s advice

January 18, 2009

As expected the train was late, by the time it got to London, there was no point heading to YP for a 1hr practice or TLC for 75 minutes, so decided to follow the advice from V’s comment last night and see if AYL had any space. Luckily someone let me in, I couldn’t remember the code for the door, but there was quite a lot of space, maybe people had practised early and gone home by then at 8:25.

It was really hot in there today, I like it like that, feeling safe to stretch. The standing postures just seemed to pass, though a bit of a breakthrough this morning when I got my head to the floor in Prasarita Padot A, I had only previously managed this feat when cheating by going beyond my hands, but today the space just seemed to open, it took me about 15 breaths to get there though. UHP was inhibbited by the lack of space, first side foot out the window, second side toe in next door yogini’s ear.

I was well and truly warm by seated, though the wall in front stopped me getting carried away with jumping through and annoying my shoulder. I wore a knee support today, I think it worked, as it doesnt hurt now. First time I have been adjusted in Ardha Baddha Padme Paschimottanasana for ages, I was a little nervous when the right foot was in Lotus, but the pressure was applied to my back, taking me forward and the top of the hip being pushed down, so my knee was left to be. Adjusted in the following Triang Mukha as well, its nice to get help with both. Didn’t quite manage to bind Mari D, the fingers touched on the second attempt, but couldn’t dock. Adjusted in Mari C, somehow the teacher encoraged my torso upward, which allowed me a deeper twist, but without it feeling difficult. Modified the second side of both B & D, at least I still got the feeling of the twist, but stopped my knee being unhappy. Supta K rocks, I absolutely love doing this now, especially after a squish in Kurmasana first.

I felt quite open this morning, I almost got my legs straight in Setu Bandhasana, before managing 4 x Urdva Dhanurasana’s. I was doing hang backs against the wall, when help arrived asking if I wanted to drop back. Started with 3 assisted hang backs, I can get quite a good way now, followed by just 1 go at getting to the floor, walking hands in and coming up.

The reason it was just 1 full drop back is that when I came up I was really dizzy and a bit nauseous and had to sit down before I fell down. I was a bit annoyed with myself for having to waste a heaven sent opportunity to get drop back help. Once I was with it again the teacher explained that although its technically one breath down and one back up, I need to maybe take more shorter breaths on the way down. As Cat pointed out the other week I have a tendency to use my one breath and then not breathe at all, it feels like its trapped or a valve has closed and I can’t turn it on again. When I come back up and try and turn the breath back on again, she said the internal jolt is what makes me dizzy. I can see her reasoning as I didn’t feel dizzy when I was at the bottom. This is obviously another mental thing I have to find a way of getting over or past, like Ujayi was. I think its a carry over from when I was a bit scared of doing drop backs, feeling like I had no control and stopping breathing, now the fear has gone and I have an element of control, but I still don’t breathe. Maybe I should do yoga in an oxygen tent.

Slowly through the rest of closing, even managing 2 x Ardha Sirsasana, before Savasana. As the shala was not busy I didn’t bother decamping to the “Finishing Room”, just chanted the closing mantra and then rested.

AYL is certainly a good option to have, the practice window is wider, meaning I get a proper practice when the trains are screwed up. But being a nomadic yogi means the teachers don’t know my practice, like Cary and Cat do at YP, that said the adjustments and advice today were excellent.


January 17, 2009

I checked tomorrows train times again and just found out the bastards have cancelled my early train (07:07), the first one from out here doesnt now depart until 7.40am not arriving in London until 8.15, that’s if its on time, which is a big if! London Midland have to be one of the worst train operators in the UK, yet continue to raise their prices.

I so want to practice, so it looks like I have a choice of getting to my No: 1 shala choice YP at around 8.45 and having either a spectaculary fast practice or a very truncated one with Cat, I so want to practice with her again, but want to be able to enjoy it and get something from it.

 No: 2 choice is to head to TLC who open at 8:15, I would get there around 8:40, but at least the session is open until 10:15, which means I should get a proper practice with Michaela and maybe she would drop me back.

No:3 is to head for Triyoga who have a 9-11 Mysore session, but I don’t know the teacher and they don’t know my practice.

I have vented my annoyance on the train company’s complaint page, no doubt I will get a letter of apology with promises of jam in the future, which doesnt make up for the abysmal service tomorrow.