Archive for December, 2009

Oasis – small world!

December 31, 2009

I went to practice at Oasis this evening, which meant I got a lay in this morning and a much cheaper practice this evening. Just to prove what a small yoga world it is, I met someone there today who I had seen practice at AYL some Sundays. Turns out she is a Singaporean who had been working in London for a few months and doing Sundays at AYL!

A nice hot sweaty practice, yes I know I am making a lot of you back in London jealous as you stick your toe out of bed each freezing cold morning ūüôā I think my practices have been better at Oasis for a number of reasons, I am better hydrated having been drinking all day, as opposed to the mornings at Pure where I have got out of bed and gone to practice, I have been moving around all day so am not as stiff when I start and to be honest there is a better energy at Oasis. My own energy seems to be better controlled too.

Not much adjustment in standing just the usual PPC. Seated were good, Denise waiting for me to bind myself in Mari D before she took me deeper, I was kind of expecting her to join my hands up, as most teachers do, but she let me wriggle and struggle until the fingers found each other. I have managed to bind Mari D every day except one since I have been here. I tried a new tactic today for back bends, I turned my mat over and used the dry (er) side and did manage 3 full UD’s without my feet or hands flying out from under me, though I have only done one dropback since I have been here. Well a good practice to finish the year and after some of the local practitioners invited meet to join them for juice at the Hawker Centre, the yoga community is such a friendly place.

Happy New Year to everyone

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Not as Pure

December 30, 2009

I actually got a bit more sleep last night, though it’s a pity I was well away when the alarm went off to tell me it was time to get up and go to practice. Practice was back at Pure with Celeste today, though for some reason, despite Celeste being a wonderful teacher, I just don’t seem to be able to have such a good practice as I have at the mini Sauna that is Oasis. I was doing my sun salutations thinking that¬†Celeste wasn’t in the room, then realised she was on the mat behind me, having just finished her own practice and had obviously been observing me. Not having my glasses on in a yoga room with little light, makes me nearly blind, I’m hopeless, though it does stop me looking round the room.

Practice was a bit of a slog today, little energy, I stepped back, instead of jumping on all the Surya’s and my hamstrings had tightened up with all the walking yesterday. Not much adjustment in standing, apart from the usual PPC and a comment to look at my toe until I have grabbed it in the Trikonasans to stop me wobbling.

I did manage to bind Mari D today on both sides again, though my right knee is winging as I type, I need the deep humid heat of Oasis to nail this one, though once I had bound Celeste took me into a much deeper twist. She had me do Bhuja 3 times! She saw me collapse backwards on my first attempt, I was all for just moving on, but oh no, I got to do it twice more, lifting, half Titi, then into Bakasana, she laughingly said its need refinement!¬†Supta K took 2 goes until I was under enough to bind, the lift out wiped me out, it was one of those days. Nice squish in Baddha Konasana. I tried a new tactic today, I snook in one Pure’s big white towels to try and get some traction in the backbends, my black mat was a lake by this stage, but even with the towel Urdva Dhanurasana was crap, I did my 3 just about. The locals don’t seem to have as many problems, are they born with suction pads on their hands and feet or something?

I had a loooooooong Savasana, no rush to go anywhere today, amazed to find I had taken over 2 and a half hours, no wonder I was knackered. After a shower, Pure do have wonderful showers, I went back to the Reception area where I was offered tea as I admired the bronze yoga model which someone had added a red Santa hat to! Its a nice touch that they go and make a few cups of tea and give them to whoever is around. But not a great practice, the best one has been  the other evening.

When I checked my e-mail I found one from Denise saying there is a 4pm practice at Oasis on New Years eve, so I will have a lay in tomorrow, rather than getting up when its still dark to go to Pure, have a lazyish day, then practice in the sweaty heat of a more traditional shala.

I went to the Botanical Gardens later, good job they have name badges on everything, they are all big green weeds to me, I know absolutley zero about horticulture, though the Orchid gardens were pretty. I am waiting for the daily downpour, which looks imminent, hiding in an internet place in Little India, then its off to the Night Safari, everyone has said I shouldn’t miss it while I am here.

Oasis – Sweating like a P.I.G!

December 28, 2009

My cold came out last night, though I did get quite a good nights sleep for the first time in a week. I decided to have an easy day beginning with a nice morning wandering around Little India, very interesting, though India with a Singaporean feel, its clean! I took a few photos of the colourful shops and buildings. Back to my hotel for a rest during the daily afternoon downpour, read the paper and drank a lot of tea!

6.30pm practice with Denise at Oasis, the temperature in their had rocketed compared to the morning practice I did there the other day, I¬†didn’t¬†actually have to move to have sweat pouring out of places I didn’t know existed! Actually felt like my body is ready to come out to play after the journey, the¬†jet lag¬†and a cold. Denise came over before I started to point out some things she noticed the other day, another teachers eye, I may just be here for a few days, but the teachers here are excellent and I have had a lot of attention, which I didn’t feel I had the right to expect. I need to rotate my hips in more during upward dogs and she also gave me some stretches to do to help the front of the thigh, this should eventually¬†translate¬†into easier backbends.

Standing flowed, as rivers ran, I did the forward bend in Ardha Badha and got a nice assists in PPC. Seated felt like doing practice in a swimming pool. But by taking it slowly and really trying to keep the ujayi I found I was having a really nice practice, Mari D on both sides again, bound¬†myself¬†before Denise came over to intensify the twist. My knees and¬†hamstrings¬†are loving practice in this kind of oven! Another thing Denise had noticed was my propensity to use my arms and shoulders as a pendulum when I jump back, especially as I get tired, which then makes me even more tired. I remembered Celeste’s advice about coming out of Bhuja, but couldn’t remember if it was supposed to be the good or bad side you do first into Bakasana. Supta K in that humidity is easy slithery peasy!

Closing, well doing Urdva Dhanurasana on a UK yoga mat in 100% humidity when its touching 40c is dangerous, my mat was beyond a lake, it was a complete skidpan, I managed my 3 x UD’s but I had no traction and kept sliding out, eventually Denise took pity and came over and let me hold her ankles to push up into a nice backbend. If there is one piece of advice I would give anyone coming to practice here its to have a rug or towel type mat, you may think your¬†European¬†shala gets pretty warm and sweaty, but believe me this is no place for your sticky mat, it wont be sticky here for long I can tell ya! Denise gave some exercises to do against the wall for backbend, which¬†were¬†good. Rest of closing on my lake skidpan, but a great practice.

After I got to talk to a couple of the people doing the Kino workshop in Thailand, I think we will have a great time, they are already counting down the days. Must remember to take a towel mat though!

Pure

December 27, 2009

My body clock is still struggling to get with the programme, I woke at 1.30am thinking it must be much later, then couldn’t get back to sleep as yesterday’s feeling of something being “off” turned out to be a snotty cold, I seem to remember having a cold in India last Christmas too, must be the time of year, though I really find the aircon everywhere a bit over the top, you go from 30c outside to something approaching zero everytime you go in a shop or cafe. I am hoping yoga will sweat this cold out of me.

So I got up and headed to Pure and practice with Celeste. Pure feels like Triyoga in London, organised and expensive, compared to the more usual basic shala’s. Celeste though is worth going for, she is a VERY good teacher, like a chinese version of Cary! She came right over and asked me if I knew what I was doing, I told her that I practice in London with Cary and at Hamish’s, at which point she said off you go then!

It was good to have Celeste’s new eye on my practice, she picked on things that others havn’t mentioned, or at least I can’t remember anyone mentioning before, at the start there were only a few people there, so I could feel I was being observed, mini adjust in Trikonasana, then PPA, she had me come up to tell me I am using the hamstrings too much, I need to use the groin muscles more and feel it in the ankles as I go forward. Her adjustments are not that strong, but like Denise’s yesterday, they are very intuitive. My hips are not very open for some reason, so the UHP adjustment was a bit tortuous, when isn’t it? Ardha Badha she stopped me just doing it as a balance, as I cant bind I don’t usually go forward to the floor, not today, somehow she got me to the floor, then back up using the hips, I need to work on this, though I get confused that some teachers wont let you go forward if you cant bind??

Apart from a squish in Triang Mukha and help in Mari A, she left me alone until I exited Bhujapidasana, I admit it was a crap exit, but I was getting tired, Celeste seems to have that way of making you concentrate and be “in” the practice, rather than just doing it, without the connection, so you do work harder. What she said was good though, going into Bhuja was fine, but I shouldn’t straighten my legs in Titibhasana, this is making the arse drop and stressing my arms, she got me to have a bent knee Titibhasana, then circle one leg out at a time into Bakasana, this keeps everything up. She said I should do the weak non dominant leg first, after 3 goes I seemed to be getting it, something else to work on.

Although Pure is airconditioned it still gets warm enough to make Supta K a much easier proposition than at home, I got myself in compeltely before Celeste came to lift me up a little.

Closing wasn’t great again, the thick black mat that had been quite sticky at the start was getting very slippy, my backbends have regressed alarmingly in the last 2 weeks, dropback feels miles away. I managed 2 x Urdva Dhanurasana’s, 3rd one my left hand slipped out and I crashed quite painfully onto my shoulder, so decided to call it a day and just finish finishing.

Well all those who recommended Celeste were right, she is good, I wonder if she fancies a summer in London when Cary is away!

Oasis

December 26, 2009

Another jet lagged nights sleep, I gave up at 6am and made tea. MRT ride to Little India, somehow I managed to ended up being 45 minutes early at the Shala, so I stopped by an Indian cafe place for a cup of sweet chai. Oasis is on the ground floor of a big red block, next to busy Selengi Road, but an oasis of calm once you go through the glass door. It was great to meet Denise at last, very welcoming, telling me where the room would be hot or cooler, not that there seems to be much difference to me, its just nice to be warm, I was a little worried when she turned 3 fans on, but it turned into a hot sweaty practice.

Apart from the lack of sleep I have felt a little bit “off”, nothing major, just not quite right, so I took it really slowly, even so I was dripping after a few Surya’s, my hamstrings appreciated the heat at least, head to knee is returning. Some teachers leave you to it first time out, to see where you are etc, but I am glad to say Denise is hands on, lots of nice adjustments.¬†Denise is a teacher you immediately trust, her adjustments feel relatively gentle, but they are very positive, she goes with the body when it finds somewhere further to go, encouraging it to open. Lots of help in standing, Trikonasanas, PPC, though left alone in UHP.

Seated were far better than I expected, not having done a proper practice in nearly¬†a week, but the humid heat is certainly a great help, adjusted in Triang Mukha, Janu A and Mari A & C, before to my amazement binding myself on both sides of Marichyasana D, I never thought that would happen after a week off. My “Off” feeling manifests itself in a stomach nausea, I havn’t been sick, but as I got further into practice and got more tired it started to come on, though not before a wonderful Supta K, if there is one pose a hot sweaty room is good for it’s that one, Denise let me get in fully on my own, before a litle adjustment to make my hands more secure then lifted me up, before I vinyasad out.

Closing was a bit hit and miss, I did my 3 x Urdva Dhanurasanas, but they felt weak, as did I, my back was not bendy, despite all that had gone before, my stomach muscles weren’t taking part at all, so I abandoned dropbacks today, I just knew I wouldn’t be able to exert any control. When I looked at the clock after Savasana, I found that I hadn’t actually been as slow as I felt. Today was about re-opening my body to practice after a week off, but it was a wonderful environment to do it in and Denise is a wonderful teacher. I get to practice with her twice more while I am here. She also told me that 4 of the people in the Shala are doing Kino’s retreat with Susan and me in Thailand.

After practice and breakfast, back to base for a shower and to wash my yoga togs, which I then left on my balcony to steam dry while I went to visit the Chinese Gardens. The gardens are nice, a big Pagoda dominates, but my favourite part was the Bonsai area, lots of the beautiful miniature trees, some over 100 years old. I spent an hour taking photos before the big black clouds arrived, followed by a windy thunderstorm, oh dear my washing could be wet or blown away to who knows where.

Tomorrow its the other end of the yoga shala scale as I try out Celeste’s mysore class at Pure, very corporate. I just hope I can find the elevator up to the 18th floor.

Exploring yoga locations!

December 25, 2009

A jetlagged nights sleep, I finally got off at 4am and was woken by the cleaner at 8.45am. No doubt I will get to early afternoon and have to rest.

So I got up, had the hotels (expensive) breakfast and headed out to explore, firstly to find the places I intend to do practice at. I have my EZ card, same idea as our Oyster cards, so getting round is easy. First stop Little India and Oasis yoga, where I am going to practice tomorrow with Denise, who was recommended by Skippetty. Thank god for Google street views, I came out of the MRT and saw the red tower block with a number 10 on and soon found Oasis, even though its closed today. I then walked down to Orchard Road and found Ngee Ann City, a massive tower block, first problemwas finding the lift, which is in the middle of the shops to get up to the 18th floor. Once on 18 I walked right into Pure Yoga, recommended by Karen and Ovidia. They got me to fill in a form, while serving me a nice cup of tea, then took me on a tour of the place. They have reserved me a mat for Sunday.

So yoga places located, I am wandering, apparently there is a special Christmas Parade along Orchard Road this evening, that sounds like fun.

Sprinting to Singapore!

December 24, 2009

Well I have finally made it to Singapore, but only just by the skin of my trainers! We left Heathrow 90 minutes late, in theory I had a 90 minute layover at Schipol which was plenty of time, but this was wiped out and I among a lot of other passengers, kept asking the KLM crew which hotel they were going to put us in! As we came into land they read out 4 destinations and said anyone who was heading for one of them could run and may just about make it, one of which was Singapore. Once we landed they let those of with connections which we had technically missed to leave the aircraft first and literally run, as we came up the exit¬†ramp there was a KLM lady with a sign that read “Singapore Gate E7, RUN” and I did, just making it onto the plane. I needn’t have tried so hard as they ended up delaying us another 35 minutes, I presume its easier to make a plane wait, than to have to rebook a load of passengers on to new flights and find them a bed for the night. 12 hours later we landed in Singapore. Excellent service by the cabin crew, especially to those of us who had to run! Caught a shuttle bus to my hotel, and once there was given my second free room upgrade of the year, as all the rooms in my category were full, RESULT, lovely room with a balcony and a massive¬†TV.

Out to explore and try and get my wifi sorted, unsuccessfully, although there were adverts for free access, this doesnt seem to exist, you have to pay $128 for the dongle and $6 day access, a tad expensive I would say, but luckily I just came across a reasonably cheap internet place outside the station.

So time to head for the little wooden hill and wait for Santa. Hope he comes to you all tonight,if you have been good that is!

Merry Christmas everyone

Packed, rested and ready 2 go.

December 22, 2009

Finally I am done with work in 2009, no more opening my eyes in the morning and thinking “why did I bother to do that”. It has finally stopped snowing, so I am hopeful I will get away tomorrow and enjoy 12 days of opening my eyes each morning and looking forward to the day, doing practice and exploring Singapore.

My bags are packed, my (very small) family’s Christmas presents are in a sack under the tree ready for them on the big day. My Sis came around tonight with my Nieces to bring me my presents, some nice books, a bag and a chocolate Santa whose head I have just bitten off, well he would of suffered if I had started at his feet, yoga even makes me show compassion towards chocolate.

Practice today was a few Surya’s and some of the standing poses, to be honest the enforced rest from practice the last couple of days¬†has been good for my hamstring and left wrist, my hamstrings were certainly less resistant in the Uttanasanas tonight. Hopefully my next proper practice will be in a humid, sweaty shala in the Far East on Saturday morning.

I just pray there is no more of the white stuff overnight and that I can get to Terminal 4 tomorrow.

No practice today, but I got a pressie!

December 21, 2009

I havn’t had time to do practice this evening, I got home to find the Postman had finally made it up the hill¬†to us, despite the snow. No vehicle has got up the hill since Wednesday night. He delivered a completely unexpected christmas¬†present from my friend in Yorkshire, she got me a book, Yoga Mala, how’s that for a thoughtful present, especially from someone who doesn’t do practice.

I have been packing for my trip this evening, though I am very worried if it will happen, its been snowing here since 3pm, when I left work at 5pm, the junction I have to cross was gridlocked with cars. At 9pm my front path has 6 inches on it, they say its going to stop, but can you believe them when tonights deluge wasn’t even predicted.

One way or another tomorrow is my last day at the Labour Camp until January 4th, I just hope the intervening days are spent in the Singapore sunshine, not Terminal 4, or at home, cold, bored out of my tree with no Shala’s open.

Quiet practice.

December 20, 2009

When I opened my door at 6.30am and found another layer of snow I wondered if I would get to practice, and once I got to the¬†station no trains were listed on the departure Monitor, just a phone number to call that wasn’t being answered! But suddenly an announcement heralded the unexpected arrival of a train, it was even early, we should have snow more often it means we get a train that runs on time! Hardly any snow in London either. Thanks also to “Opening Slowly” for crossing her fingers and toes on my behalf.

AYL this week, so a 2 minute walk from Platform 6 to opening the door and my glasses steaming up as the heat hit them. Could not believe how quiet the Shala was, I could pick my space, I chose the one 3rd in from the mat cupboard, between two people who were into seated poses, so I knew poses like UHP would not clash.

I really wanted to practice today, especially after watching the Ashtanga, NY dvd on Friday, I wanted to¬†feel part¬†of something bigger, part of the yoga community and share in that wonderful energy only possible when practising in a hot room with others. It took a while to get going, head just about heading for knees after 10 Surya’s, nice adjustments from Louise in Prasarita C and in UHP, my hamstring felt safe, so that tension and resistance¬†that can appear when you think something is going to be painful didn’t.

Seated were quite fast up to the Janusirsasana’s, Marichyasana always slows me down, especially when I get adjusted in Mari A, its a reminder I sometimes need, not to be thinking about the Mari D to come, the adjustment makes me present. When it came to Mari D, they were not great today, first side almost bound, but as I stretched my fingers, mentally pleading with them to find their partners my nail took a slice out of the side of one the opposite fingers, second side was nowhere near. Pose of the day was Supta K, I love doing that in a hot sweaty room, so much deeper, so much more satisfying ūüôā

All todays adjustments were light, it felt like an end of term practice, not going through the motions, but just doing it without setting any goals, doing it for fun. Nice pressure from Louise’s assistant in Baddha Konasana.

Closing was the usual trial, Urdva Dhanurasana pissed my left wrist off, so I was quite glad when I started playing around with dropback that Louise came over to give me assistance, taking me down, walking me in and bringing me back up, thus saving my wrist from having to land on its own, there seems to be a time to back off and this was it.

Savasana laying by the radiator in the Finishing Room. I could of easily layed there for thre rest of the morning, just as I could have turned over in bed and given the snow a miss at 6.30am, but as usual I am glad I went to the Shala, shared that energy and motivation with everyone.

Home to the Farmers Market back in snowy Herts, collecting my Granola supply and some of her new Fudge, which is providing the energy to type this. A brilliant sunny, if very cold morning, our Castle looked a picture in the snow.

2 more days of slavery to survive, then I just hope the runway at Heathrow is clear of snow as I head for sunshine and yoga in a hot, humid Singapore.