Archive for April, 2009

Shoulder blade

April 30, 2009

I was looking forward to practice last night, having had Tuesday off.  My left shoulder was achy in the Surya’s, but nothing to worry about. But when I started doing seated as soon as I did the first vinyasa I had a very painful muscle spasm below my left shoulder blade. I carried on up to Janusirsasana A, when I reached forward and pain shot through I decided to call it a day. Its bloody annoying, it feels like one of those intercostal things again.

So then spent 20 minutes with the backknobber implement, before slathering it in Tiger balm. This morning its still very uncomfortable, I don’t know if to practice tonight and try and keep it moving or to just have another night off. I want to practice at the weekend, but don’t want to slog into London, do a couple of Surya’s and have to stop.

Talking of getting into the city this weekend, on Sunday we are lumbered with replacement buses in both directions, however the morons who run the RMT union have called their train Guards out on strike yet again, are they thick or what!



April 28, 2009

I found out why my wrist was objecting quite so much on Sunday during the vinyasas, when last night I found a splinter of wood  sticking out, it had gone in horizontally, which is why it took so long for me to notice it. Once removed yoga became much more doable.

A very slow practice last night, I still felt tight from Sunday’s very intense shala practice with Cary. In 90 minutes I only managed to do standing and seated. I had done a few backbends earlier in the evening, so almost a full practice, when all added up. Really just a case of trying to keep things open and stop things seizing up on a cold evening.

I wish I could be as decisive as one ex teacher of mine, he has decided to go off around Europe with his family in a combi van for a few months. I have ideas and things I would maybe like to do, but being a typical Virgo I spend too long weighing up the pro’s and con’s and being put off by my commitments and attachments. When I think about going somewhere, after looking at flights and hotels, I then always try to find out if there is a shala somewhere to practice, I am so attached to my practice, that I can’t bare not to have it for  a couple of weeks. Yes I know I can in theory practice in my hotel room, but it’s not the same and half the time the rooms are so bloody small, I couldn’t jump back without crashing into something. I am still so tempted to go to Brisbane and down to Byron for a few days, but my indecision seems to be fatal, as malaysian Air seem to have sold out of the cheap flights they had last week. I wish I could be spontaneous, just go for it and see what happens, but its not in my nature.

Slow Coach day

April 26, 2009

Despite leaving the sticks at 6am, I almost didn’t make it to practice this morning, useless replacement bus driver seemed to take the slowest route possible from Harrow he could find. As we drove along the Marylebone Road I was at the point of diverting to AYL as the clock ticked round, but luckily traffic was light and every traffic light was green and he dropped us on the main road, so I ran back to Euston Square, jumped on a Circle line train as the doors shut and was on my way to YP, arriving at 8.05, phew.

Well the bus had set the tone, maybe it was the new moon, but I was sluggish today, it took me a while to get going, I woke up in  Prasarita Padot A, as Cary got me to widen my legs and try and get my head to the ground. Not many people there today, which meant extra attention, Parsvottanasana was deeper and elbows not left to their own devices and as I came up Cary was waiting at the end of my mat for UHP. A new addition today in that she had me trying to bend the elbow more to try and lift the foot and also engaging and turning the chest.

Seated and all those vinyasas, my chance to get into Kino’s shin cross jump backs, they lasted until Marichyasana, when I was getting tired and my wrist started grumbling. A much more intense practice today with the extra attention, advice about coming out of the Janusirsasanas. She leaves me alone in Supta K now that I can get into it on my own, I am now trying to really flatten my chest and work at lifting with my feet behind the head. Brilliant assist in Baddha Konasana, my head somehow ended up way past my feet. After Supta Padangusthasana Cary asked why I had “left outChakorasana, cue discussion about dodgy necks. I have attempted this in the past, but have never been too confident, especially with my tendency for lopsidedness. She got me into a Halasana, then helped me over, I am not sure how much I want to experiment with this at home alone, to be honest.

I was pretty tired by the time it came to Urdva Dhanurasana, so I started off with some bridges before some not great UD’s, on number 3 Cary tried to get me to move my left foot in, which resulted in me getting completely stuck and collapsing out, tried again and managed to follow her instructions.

After playing around with a few dropbacks on my own, wondering if I had the energy and focus today, I was just thinking of bottling out into Paschimottanasana, when assistance arrived, funny how a teachers inspiring presence can suddenly lift you and give you the energy to carry on. She began by getting me to the ground and back up 3 times, then 3 of what seemed like very quick half way cross arm dropbacks, no time between them at all, just up and down without stopping, before doing another full drop back. I am not sure what changed, but this last one suddenly seemed to have a much deeper bend, pushing my chest up, the floor came into view much earlier, suddenly I was on the floor, I didn’t realise she had let go until Cary instructed me to walk my hands in, “more, a little more“, shit that’s hard, then brought me back up, before giving me a Paschimottanasana squish. I am still not sure what suddenly made the last one more croquet hoop than flat bridge, but it felt very different???

Rest of closing seemed to take a while, the tank was empty, when I looked at the clock I thought I’ll never make the first train, so decided to have a little extra time than usual in Savasana in the sunshine.

Practice was HARD today, not as much energy (is there something to this new moon business after all I wonder) as I needed and lots of adjustments and encouragement to go that little bit further in poses, but that’s what its about, everyone would do it if it was easy, right.

Spooky coincidence on the way home. I had to cross a few roads, on 3 occassions when I waited for traffic I noticed cars with UHP as their registration letters, now that’s weird!

Saturday reality

April 25, 2009

Last Saturday I woke up to a sunny morning and a sunny day doing Kino’s workshop, on day’s like that everything seems right with the (my) world. Today I was woken by the driving rain hammering on to next doors extension. It was cold and grim, a day of chores, shopping, tidying my mini office, I can now actually see both the printer and the scanner again. I bought my “train” ticket for the morning, which is actually going to be a sodding replacement bus yet again at the crack of dawn. But I need my practice, even if it means just 5 hours sleep followed by 2 hours on the bus and tube in order to be on my mat in time to chant and practice with Cary.

This afternoon the sun has made an appearance at last, I practised for 90 minutes, just to force myself to do something other than play on the computer. But it felt good to stretch and breathe and release, it wakes the body up. It makes me realise just how bad it is for the body to sit in this chair as I am now, bashing away at this keyboard.

Moon day – Practised – flights of fantasy

April 24, 2009

After another fruitless day at the labour camp, bored , staring at a flat screen for 8 hours, I just had an overwelming desire to stretch when I got home. As its Moon day I started off just literally intending to do a downdog or 2, but one down dog led to to a Surya A, then another and another, into standing. A Paschimottanasana, Janu A, then all the Marichyasana’s, Supta Padangusthasana, Ubhya and a few goes at trying to keep a hold of my ankles and come up (unsuccesfully) into Urdva Mukha P. A few UD’s and dropping back attempts. So I practised and I’m glad I did.

I still have virtually all my vacation days free, not having taken any this year so far and only having booked 5 for the mysore week in July. After last weekends brilliant workshop I was sorely tempted to go to Copenhagen for Kino’s Mysore week in September, but the cost is unbelievable with the dire state of the pound, Scandinavia was never cheap, but for the hotels price alone I found I could divert my attention to a flight to Brisbane, but the pound sems to have sunk to a miserly 2 Aussie dollars to the Pound, last time I went it was closer to 3.

These flights of fancy are largely the result of pressure to book a holiday, to give myself a reason to get out of bed and boredom, at work, at home. Its Friday night and as usual after doing practice this town offers absolutley nothing to do.

Pre Moon Primary

April 24, 2009

I can’t believe it’s a week since I was looking forward to the workshop. Managed another full Primary last night, though began running out of energy with the jump backs half way through seated, my right wrist started to object. I have not managed to make the end of my mat come into view since last Sunday with my drop back experiments either, which is a bit annoying.

My tooth has finally settled down, so after practice I broke into the bar of Easter chocolate that’s been on the table for a few weeks, a Moon day eve treat. I ate half of it, though now its open the other half probably wont last until the next Moon day!

Happy Moon day everyone

Back to practice

April 23, 2009

Apart from a few fun handstands I took Monday off, I needed a rest after the intense weekend.

Tuesday I managed a whole Primary series, trying to make sure I jumped back how I had been taught by Kino, crossing the shins, moving the weight and jumping back through my legs, though I have to watch my starting position is far enough forward, otherwise I crash into the chest of drawers behind me. I was much more conscious of lifting from underneath in Trikonasana and sending the pelvis back rather than up in Downward dog.

Wednesday I had less time, so after standing I dipped into 2nd series up to Laghu Vajrasana, before spending a while doing Urdva Dhanurasanas and then experimenting with the thumbs in the sacrum thing, before trying to drop back, it definitley makes the hips go further forward, its just keeping them there that is the problem when the backbend deepens.

Kino has suddenly given me a lot of extra things to work with, its actually making me more present and conscious in the practice, postures where I  liked just hanging out before, such as  in downward dog for 5 breaths, are suddenly about lifting from underneath and pushing back.

Its amazing how doing a workshop can suddenly give practice a lift, even if you don’t suddenly, miraculously crack a pose that you couldn’t do, it seems that you can get belief that it could happen and instead of just ploughing through the same practice, you do it with a different consciousness, I’m rambling, but you probably know what I mean..

Weekend workshop + I saw the floor!

April 20, 2009

An excellent weekend in the capital. Met Pat at Kings X, another regular commenter on this blog, great to meet her at long last. Friday evening was Pranayama, meditation, some chanting and a Q and A session with Kino. She had some interesting thoughts, such as only attempt a pose 3 times, if it doesnt happen, move on it will still be there tomorrow. Also a comment about how the shaking we can feel in an intense pose is the Samskaras leaving our body’s. Someone asked about Drishte’s, in that teachers don’t often mention it in a Mysore practice, Susan and I looked at each other with the same thought, that our teacher Cary is ALWAYS  reminding us, (well probably more me) all the time about it.

I spent Friday night in the very minimalist EasyHotel, cheap and interesting, you open your door and crash into the bed, the toilet even has a sign saying “Tiny Loo” on it, its so small you could sit on the loo, clean your teeth in the tiny basin and have a shower at the same time!

Saturday morning we did a led Primary, one of the most challenging I have ever done, I think Kino needs to learn to count to 5, she seems to struggle with what comes after 3!! I actually really enjoyed it, especially in the poses where the sloooooow count gave me time to release more, like in Janu A & B. Kino adjusted Janu A, she has warm hands. Also managed to bind myself quite happily in Supta K. Urdva Dhanurasana was hard, she had us come down onto the head inbetween, not something I am used to doing.



Saturday afternoon was the strength workshop, she covered jumping through and back. She talked about not giving in and to keep working. Also with the jump back, she said to cross the shins, not the ankles, I actually had a some success with this, it does make a difference. To help she had us from Dandasana place the hands forward of the hips and lift up the legs and backside. Sirsasana was fun, Kino had us, with a partner lift the head, I didn’t think I could do that. Handstands I enjoy trying for fun, Kino said we should do them after backbends. She had us walking in until on tippy toes and the feeling of falling over and seeing if we could lift, even a millimetre. I think I need to experiment with this method, having been  employing Dena’s bunny hop method for 9 months. We also did Bakasana and jump back, I didn’t realise until I asked Susan after that the knees are supposed to go into the arm pits and not on to the elbows. Kino’s explanation of how the body should lift, ie from underneath was useful, it made me realise why Cary adjusts my Trikonasana in the way she does, stopping the bottom of moy torso sagging, it needs to engage and push upwards.

Sunday morning was the Mysore practice, I started with the first batch at 9.30am, but I think there were too many people for Kino to get around, she had a helper who did some downdog squishsing and UHP leg holding. I had a really nice practice in the sunshine, London was surprisingly warm. Plenty of room as well despite the number of people. I am very time consistent, was hitting Navasana as the second batch came in to start at 10.30, having managed Mari B in half lotus on both sides and D on the first side, when the conditions are right it happens. Supta Kurmasana was a really good one, I stayed for longer trying to get further under and managed to lift up with my feet for a couple of seconds before they flew out. Urdva Dhanurasana X 4, then played around dropping back on my own, then Kino arrived and had me do the first one standing up from UD, then 2 more proper drop backs. They felt really good. I did Sirsasana and was in Childs pose when I realised I hadn’t done Ardha, so not wishing to miss anything, I went back up and down and up, whatever… A really good practice.

Sunday lunchtime headed to the veggie food area of Camden market with Susan, Clare, Anna,Pat and Graham, lovely picnic in the sunshine, this is the life!



Sunday afternoon was the backbend workshop, I learned quite a lot. Kino started us off with some deep lunges which helped us realise how much the front of the body has to take part in the structure of a backbend. The first asana backbend in Primary is Purvottanasana, Kino’s explanation about what has to lift, ie the hips pushing forward, its not about up and down its about back and forth, I had never thought of it in this way. We then worked with a partner to help lift from the sacrum. I could not have had a better partner in Susan, who has been one of my teachers at YP over the last year. Not only did she help with the pose, but got me to look at what my left hand was doing, then we did it again. One of the most useful, for me, exercises was pushing our thumbs into our own sacrum (Thanks Susan for showing me exactly where it is), as we did Ustrasana, pushing the hips forward as we went back, it made me realise how far forward the hips need to be not just in Ustrasana and the following assisted Kapotasana, but especially in dropbacks. Even with Susan’s assistance I was quite surprised to touch the floor in Kapotasana, I have never done that before.

I really like trying dropbacks now, Kino mentioned the stages we go through with postures, as in “I cant do that”,  then we start working towards it and we believe it may just be possible and if we work hard enough it may happen, that’s how I am with dropback, I never believed I would be ready for this, let alone a teacher would think me ready to try, now I try. It was actually quite heartening to hear Kino admit that handstand took her 5 years to crack. Again I was lucky to be working with Susan, it makes such a difference to have complete and total confidence in the other person, she got me from pushing my thumbs into my sacrum,to prayer postion, to reaching for the floor, while trying to remember what Kino had said.  The second attempt felt really nice. I felt a bit of a fraud “assisting” Susan, she has the most incredible dropbacks and backbends I have seen and didn’t really need my help. We then got to play on our own at which point I realised that the white towel I could see was my one on the end of my mat, I can see the floor on my own, though it still looks out of reach.

What a great weekend, a brilliant workshop, good company and nice weather and I saw the floor, how good is that.

The Anticipation

April 17, 2009

I cant remember the last time I looked forward to something so much. I went to bed last night and like a kid at Christmas couldn’t wait to get to sleep, then wake up in the morning. But its not presents, but the workshop with Kino that I am looking forward to.

I woke up early and did something I have not done in a very long time this morning, I got on my mat at 6.30 and did some practice until it was actually time to “get up”, maybe I should do it more often, but in 50 minutes I managed a stiff standing, some forward bends, twists and handstands.

I just have to get to 4pm, then hopefully the train will deliver me to London, where I can be immeresed in my practice with some like minded souls. Am looking forward to meeting Putmoo too.

Its weekends like this that make getting through all the other crap possible.

To Navasana with Kino

April 13, 2009

I thought about getting up and going to YP again this morning, but much as I love my practice, I don’t love the slog into and across London, I end up spending more time commuting than vinyasaing and its the travelling that tires me out more than Cary encouraging me through practice.

After such a good practice yesterday anything I did today would be a disappointment, so I decided to let Kino’s DVD take me through to Navasana and then do some backbends. The DVD’s pace, especially during standing is quite fast, which is good, you have to concentrate and be present in the practice. Seated is harder, I need to coerce bits of my anatomy into place, so I have to keep hitting the pause button until I’m ready to carry on.

I think Philippa really did give me an epiphany moment on Friday with her suggestion to widen my hands for pushing up into Urdva Dhanurasana. It felt strange and awkward on Friday, but the more I play around, even on a day like today where I’m not “Shala warm”, the better and more stable backbend feels.

I have actually been productive today, I finally burned a backup of my photos from India, formatted the card in my camera, wrote the report of the last travel club meeting, blogged and caught up with e-mail.

A 4 day week, then its Kino time, I have looked forward to this workshop for so long. I am now spending all weekend in London as the RMT tossers are going on strike again on Sunday,  to ensure I get to Kino’s mysore practice on time and unstressed I booked a bed at the YHA, roll on Friday.