Archive for May, 2009

A long Sunday morning

May 31, 2009

Back to the bad old days with a replacement bus, driven by a clueless driver unable to follow his Sat-Nag, despite leaving home at 6am I didn’t get to AYL until 8.20am. And it was full, so started in the finishing room and was into my 3rd Surya A before Louise told me there was a space free in the big room. I was a bit sluggish and my mind was still in pissed off mode from the journey, so it took a while to get into my practice. Glad to say it was like an oven in there today, sweat poured from every nook and cranny, the heat was good for my practice.

It was a bit of a mental challenge to keep going in seated, but the heat certainly was helping to open me, being able to grab my wrists in Triang Mukha and the Janusirsasanas and second week running I bound all the Marichyasanas including D on my own. I just seemed to have more space and less discomfort, I think my hip is starting to get somewhere at last. In my slithery state Supta K was easy, except that my wrinkled up mat stopped me crossing my feet until Louise came along, good timing that girl. Talking of wrinkled mats I tried to do the manoevering the feet through the hands in the vinyasas, I notice its getting a little better, though whether some of them are strictly “legal” is open to debate, occassionally I managed to lift and shoot my legs back through without touching the floor, but my hands feel like they are in the wrong place for the Chaturanga. No help today in Baddha Konasana, but got a good way on my own, I extend instead of fold now, this pose is coming. Unlike Urdva Mukha Paschimottanasana in which I still am unable to find any momentum to take me up and over at all. I am unable to keep hold of the feet or generate any movement, this feels like a no-hoper, though once up the actual bum balance is possible.

4 x Urdva Dhanurasana, then Louise took me through dropbacks, this week instead of going straight back, she had me keep my hands at the chest and try to hang before taking the hands over head and going for the floor, walk in, 5 breaths and then she almost does a rocking motion where I stand up on 3. It wiped me out, she gave me a wonderful squishing in the Paschimottanasana, didn’t feel hardly any stretch in the hamstrings as she used her weight to squash me flat, I could have just stayed there, even after she went to help someone else.

Rest of closing back in the finishing room, I experimented with a longer Sirsasana today. Savasana had to be shortened to 5 minutes, it was either that or wait nearly an hour for the next train. But at least I got to practice, I had that feeling of wellness as I walked down the road in the lovely sunshine. I may have been soaked in sweat and physically tired, but practice brings that joy that is so lacking most of the rest of the time.

No practice next Sunday, AYL have decided to join YP and move their Moon day to Sunday 7th, at least they now agree, which is a bit annoying as I wanted to practice both Saturday and Sunday next week, but I will just have to follow Louise’s advice and enjoy a nice lie in on Sunday morning!

ps when I got home I stood on the bathroom scales, despite drinking water at the shala before leaving and on the way home, I found I had managed to lose over 5Lbs in 2 hours of practice!


Saturday R & R

May 30, 2009

A nice easy day I am glad to say, the next 2 weekends are busy, so this weekend is about resting and catching up with stuff. No lay in though this morning, I was in Alison’s chair at 8.30 as she cut my hair back to what she calls “wash & go” length. Alison is well suited to her job, she’s always happy and smiley and I do enjoy the Indian head massage when they wash it, worth going just for that 🙂

I got home and started  doing the standing poses, but just couldn’t find the energy, Samson syndrome I presume after the hairdresser! I did manage to practice for an hour this evening, a bit of a pick n mix practice, though I tried to do all the “major” ones, Marichyasanas, Supta K and backbends. I feel a need to practice and keep my body open, even when I should perhaps have a day off. Tomorrow its a stupid 6.30am bus into the city, it better turn up.

Muggy night, good for practice

May 29, 2009

Surprisingly good practice at home last night. Mainly due to it being a sticky, muggy evening out here in the sticks. Full primary with no fafffing or any extra deviations in 90mins. When the conditions are right and my mind is with it, practice happens. Its just getting it all together at the same time outside of the shala, that is the problem.

I did try to do the wriggle through jump backs, more carpet angst, I think Susan’s comment about it taking a couple of weeks to perfect this is a bit optimistic!

Early finish today, hopefully another decent practice when I get home.

I just discovered we have a crap bus service again this Sunday, first one does not arrive in London until 8.15, so no point trying to get to YP. I’ll just have to hope AYL is not too packed at 8.20.

To Bhujapidasana

May 27, 2009

Back to a home practice last night, got as far as Bhujapidasana and all of closing. My “Cary homework”, is harder at home than in the shala, each vinyasa I tried to lift and squirm my feet back beyond my hands before jumping back, the only problem with trying this at home is that using a mat on top of a carpet means the mat wrinkles up and I get stuck in a mound of mat. It was a warm evening, I hadn’t realised how warm until doing Marichyasana D, I need shala heat to do that usually, but managed to bind on the first side, not quite on the second.

I just realised that Cary’s next scheduled Sunday (7th June) according to YP’s calender is a pesky Moon day, so am going to have to wait until the 21st for another practice with her, these Sunday Moon days are just so inconvenient, especially when I can only get there at the weekends. At least AYL say the Moon day is on the Monday. I need all the practice I can get with Dena’s weekend workshop coming up in a couple of weeks time.

Slow again, but focussed

May 25, 2009

Wasn’t it convenient to have a Bank holiday Monday the day after an inconvenient Sunday Moon day. We had trains and tubes, which only ran a little late, so I was at the Shala at 7.10am. Only AC and another there, my space in the corner was free and off I went. Up to 6 people by the time we chanted at 7.30, a small group which meant lots of attention from Cary today. Lots for her to pick on, starting with jumping back to Chaturanga in Surya’s, no plank first, jump straight to Chaturanga, though I still am very wary of my hip, the left leg is lacking control. Left alone until UHP, thankfully my hamstrings were more open today, she has gone from holding my foot virtually horizontally, to today when she was pushing it skywards, decreasing my forward bend, out to the side was the same and surprisingly the longer she held the more the hamstring opened and the leg lengthened, when she finally let go and my left foot returned to the floor, she said “Not bad”, high praise indeed! Virabadrasanas she had my knee going to a deeper bend and then arm straightening and shoulder lowering, though my shoulders have yet to get with the programme and my hip is not overly keen.

It must have been my day for the treatment, Dandasana, “straighten the arms, chin down, toes back“. They are little things, or so it seems to me, refinements. Then oh dear she spotted my cheating jump back, after I lift the legs and cross them, I thought I was protecting my shoulder and hip by then moving the hands forward and jumping back, this ain’t allowed, so now its cross shins, keep hands in place and try to get feet through hands before jumping, she tells me I will never get Bandha strength otherwise.

All the Marichyasana’s happened today, I was already in A, when she adjusted me, chin beyond the knee, B & C were ok and to my delight I managed to bind D in lotus on both sides on my own. Kurmasana I wasn’t allowed to hang out today, it was “feet wider, arms back, straighten legs, further, further“, before she pretzelled me into Supta Kurmasana without too much effort. Followed by a weary Titibhasana, which I didn’t get away with, more effort needed, but I am pretty knackered by this point! I love her Baddha Konasana adjustment, gradually putting on the pressure until my chin is on the floor, I have gone from hate to love of this posture and adjustment when its done by a teacher with a such a good feel for the body. The bum balances are very hit and miss, Ubhya I can come up and after a bit of a wobble find my balance, but Urdva Mukha I still just cannot find the momentum to come up, though once up I can start to work at straightening my legs.

Urdva Dhanurasana x4, last one walking in, then a few minutes of dropback experimentation before Eunice arrived (good to see her again), yes it was a long practice today with Eunice taking over at 9am and I am still on backbends! Dropbacks felt more bridge like then croquet hoop today, but just doing them must be good for something. Sirsasana was stable, that is until I went down to Ardha Sirsasana and tried to go back up, losing my balance and going over the top. I looked up to see Eunice smiling and asking if I was ok. Managed it on the second attempt.

By the time I had a Savasana it 9.20, so another long practice, though much more actual teaching than I have had in a while today, which probably extended it. Good though, I always come away from practice with Cary with lots of things to think about and work on, which I am writing this almost as soon as I got home while I can remember them!

After practice brekky with AC at Cafe Nero, our intended destination, the new Cafe opposite the shala was closed.

Ridiculously slow practice

May 23, 2009

Somehow I managed to spend 2 hours and 20 minutes doing Primary this afternoon, if I was that slow at the shala everyone would have left and turned the lights out. There was no reason for it to take that long, apart from playing around in the Marichyasanas and doing my dropback experiments after Urdva Dhanurasana, everything was by the book. It wasn’t even a particularly great practice, my stomach is still getting over this lurgy or whatever it was. Practice usually leaves me on a high, but todays left me tired, it felt like a great effort for little reward, apart from the satisfaction of getting through it on a sunny afternoon when I could have just sat in the garden reading the paper.

I expect my body clock will still wake me up tomorrow, first Sunday Moon day of the year, I can turn over and have a lay in until the paper comes.


May 22, 2009

It’s been one of those weeks with practice, not helped by a dodgy stomach, I don’t think the IBS is back, its a sick feeling, more like a lurgy or something I have eaten, its made me feel tired without realising. Last night I had one of the crappiest practices at home in a long time, if I had been at a shala with the heat and energy I would probably have ploughed on through, but at home I was cold and not in the mood to practice, so only managed some standing poses and a few backbends, realising my heart and head wasn’t in it. I didn’t want to pull anything or annoy the thigh. It needs heat or ice or something!

Tonight after a long day at work, I got home and straight on my mat and had a much better practice, up to Supta Kurmasana and then backbends. I think my loose stomach has caused some weight loss, as for the first time in ages I managed to grab my wrist on the first side of Marichyasana A. My head was in it today as well, focus on the poses and after reading V’s blog this morning I tried to remember to keep my breath even.

At least I have 3 days off now, shame about it being a Moon day on Sunday, especially when we actually have trains and tubes this weekend, but Monday should be great, practice at YP followed by breakfast with AC and Susan.

Silent blogs

May 21, 2009

Blogland seems to be quiet, as if in memory of Guruji, as if people are lost in their own thoughts and prayers.

Practice has been sporadic this week, Monday it was just too cold at home to practice, Tuesday I managed a full Primary and last night it was 30 minutes of backbends. Though having seen Susan’s next backbend installment I can see that my hips are still not far enough forward and that I bend my knees too early. At least I can use the pause button, we don’t have that option at the shala!

Mysore Star

May 19, 2009

This is how The Mysore Star newspaper published the news in today’s online edition.


Mysore, May 19 (BRS)- Renowned Yoga Guru Pattabhi Jois passed away at his residence here yesterday afternoon. His end came at about 2.30 pm.

He was 94. Pattabhi Jois, who was ailing for the past few days, was active teaching yoga till the end. He is survived by son Manju Jois, daughter Saraswathi and grandson Sharath, apart from a large number of relatives and disciples.


Pattabhi Jois was born in 1915 to K. Krishna Jois-Subbamma couple in a small village of Koushika, Hassan District.

He began learning yoga at the age of 12 and later under the guidance of T. Krishnamacharya between 1927 and 1945. Subsequently, he enrolled in the Sanskrit Mahapatashala, Mysore and learnt Sahitya Veda and Advaita Vedanta from 1930 to 1956.

He studied ancient yogic texts such as Patanjali Yoga Dar-shana, Hatayoga Pradeepika, all Upanishads and others. He set up a school of yoga called Ashtanga Yoga Research Institute, training hundreds of students in various nuances of yoga. He gained name and fame by his lucid exposition of the curative and medical benefits of practising yoga.

Jois, reverentially addressed as Guruji, was honoured by the title ‘Yogasana Visharada’ by Sri Shankaracharya of Puri in 1945. He was Professor and Head of the Department of Yoga at Maharaja’s Sanskrit College from 1937 to 1973. He has toured extensively across the world, guiding innumerable yoga workshops in the USA, England and France. A number of Hollywood stars and other VIPs are among his students.

His book titled Yoga Mala in Kannada is considered authoritative on the subject and has been translated into English and published by well-known publishing house of the USA namely Farrar, Straus and Giroux (FSG).

Very recently, the Union Tourism Minister honoured him for fostering tourism in Mysore by way of attracting foreigners to the city in large numbers to learn yoga.

Last rites

The last rites of Pattabhi Jois were performed last evening at Chirashanthidhama in Gokulam.

Earlier, photo-journalist T.S. Satyan, Bharathanatya exponent Dr. Vasundhara Doreswamy and others paid their last respects.

They Hatched

May 18, 2009








A sad day for all who love practice, with Guruji’s passing. I never met him, but he has affected my life through my practice and all the people I have met.

I thought I would post  what I hope is an uplifting photo. The Swan who lives on the bank of the canal near work has again been sitting on her nest. Last year she hatched 6, but none survived. This morning we found her eggs had hatched over the weekend. Someone from a business down the road had made a little ramp from the nest into the water. Shame I wasn’t there when they slid down it. The parents have made this Reed float, this years seem to be doing OK so far.