Archive for February, 2010

TLC despite TFL!

February 27, 2010

I decided to try and get to TLC this morning, but what an effort it took, 1 train, 2 tubes and a bus just got me there in time for practice. How TFL can shut down west London on a Saturday is beyond me.

It was worth the effort, Ruth had the temperature up to AYL levels, nice and warm, just how I like it, I hate having to wait for a yoga room and my body to warm up. Standing adjustments in Trikonasana, a long time since I have had that one, PPC and UHP. Only 6 people there, so lots of help today, usually when I practice with Ruth at AYL it’s so busy you just get assisted in “those” poses.

Seated felt good in the warmth, a nice Paschimot squish, then left alone until the second side of Marichyasana D which I just couldn’t quite bind thanks to my niggling right knee, but Ruth came to the rescue just in time as I was about to give up, once I am in it and my fingers are connected it’s fine. I wondered what would happen when I got to Supta Kurmasana, would it be the typical AYL on you as soon as you think about it assist?? I slowed down and waited for Ruth to help someone else before  I started going into the pose, I was quite deeply in though hadn’t quite crossed my feet when help arrived, easy cross of feet and fingers bound, lift up into Dwi Pada, I went to do Titi, but suddenly had a pain in my right elbow, felt like something was going to go twang, so abandoned Bakasana. A lovely assist in Baddha Konasana, nose to the ground beyond my feet.

After Urdva Dhanurasana I think I mentally received Susan’s comment on the previous post, which she must have been typing as I was practising. I had done a couple of hang backs, but suddenly thought I am not going to do dropback on my own, I am going to wait for help to give my knee a break, at which point Ruth asked if I wanted help. 2 down and up dropbacks and then a down, walk hands in, breathe and then come up. My knees appreciated Susan’s comment. To be honest I am not so worried about doing dropback now that I can do it, but I do want to learn and work on standing up again. But to come back up you obviously have to get down in the first place, so its a bit of a dilemna, especially at home. In theory I could work at it from Urdva Dhanurasana, but my UD’s don’t feel like they have anywhere near the depth of bend in my upper back in particular that I get when I drop back, my weight also feels way back into my hands even when I walk in on UD, so the chances of coming up from a UD are slim to say the least.

It was good to practice, despite having to get up extra early and the hassle of getting to Notting Hill, it makes a difference when a teacher is familiar with a student and I feel like I get far more from my Shala practice when  I am getting assisted like that.

2 hours and a drenching in the rain to get home, time for a nap.


I just took my mat out of the washing machine, I hung it up to dry in the kitchen and realised I can see daylight through the patches where my feet go!


TFL stop practice!

February 26, 2010

Bloody “Transport for London” are bringing London to a grinding halt this weekend. No Circle, Met, Victoria or H&C and no Central line west of Marble Arch. It’s impossible to actually get to TLC for practice. There is alledged to be a replacement bus, but god knows how long that will take to make its way to Notting Hill, so it looks like I am stuffed, grrrrrr not happy 😦

I practised last night, whole of primary plus backbending, though again with the lack of stability on my carpet my knee was complaining bitterly about dropbacks, I gave up after 2.

So a weekend with no practice, Moon day on Sunday so stuffed there as well.


8pm home to investigate TFL’s website, it says there is a 390 bus from Euston to Notting Hill which takes 20 minutes, I can’t say I believe it, how can it crawl all the way along Oxford St and the Bayswater Road to Notting Hill in 20 minutes. Do I risk it for a practice with a teacher I know OR have another hour in bed and go to TY?

Bakasana experiments

February 24, 2010

After Cary’s Titibhasana – Bakasana lesson on Sunday, the last 2 evenings rather than just plough through practice, quantity as opposed to quality, I have practised up to Bhuja or Supta K depending on how warm I have got, ie how deeply under my thighs I can get my shoulders, then tried to get my anatomy to work out getting to Bakasana without touching the floor. After a few goes I can do it, though I am still not sure what I do differently on the successful ones. Cary said my heals tend to turn inwards, ie heading inside my hands, they need to turn out and go the other side. Doing Bakasana is more down to the technicalities of what lifts when and what goes where, as opposed to outright strength or flexibility, so it should be possible for me.

Backbends at home have not been so good, its too cold, even doing most of primary I am still nowhere near shala temperature, even sneaking in Ustrasana and Kino warm ups hasn’t made much difference, but the main problem is my feet, at the shala the mat stays put, at home on a carpet it moves and I noticed my knee is starting to be unhappy again, I have tried standing on the carpet, but my feet still splay, so I have just been doing a couple of dropbacks to keep me going, but it means its harder to work on the standing up aspect during the week.

38 more days at the Labour Camp until Kino in Thailand, not that I’m counting, I can manage this, but getting through circa 320 slave days until Mysore is going to be a challenge.

Oscar the youngest adjuster in London!

February 21, 2010

AC’s theory that the trains round here are better when the weather is bad is true. It was snowing heavily as the train arrived 4 minutes early this morning! Though the small gain was blown apart by the useless tube, meaning I didn’t get to the shala until 8.15, grrr

Quite quiet at the Shala this morning, though this means more “assistance” and some of it from a new assistant. Left alone completely in standing, apart from a comment to straighten my leg in UHP, I didn’t feel as open today, I suppose I was spoiled in the AYL oven the other night.

Seated are where the work started and I seemed to at last find some length in my leg muscles in the Janu’s. Marichyasana A adjustment was quite intense, managed B & C ok, before Cary let me get into D on my own before adjusting, not the deep twist this time, more trying me to get both sit bones down. Supta K is still my favourite, in nice and deep on my own, before being flattened to the floor feet bound, then told to lift into my Dwi Pada, I somehow resist the urge to shout “yeeeeeeeessss” as I stay up there with my feet behind my head, I have this incredible feeling of elated satisfaction doing that, but just when I think I’m done Cary’s there,” straighten your legs into Titibhasana”, “don’t touch the ground!” she says as I manoeuvre my feet into Bakasana, “lets do that again” as she instructs me to lift my arse, after 4 goes I finally manage one that passes. After another squishing in Baddha Konasana, the rest of seated just pass by until UMP, which I still can’t come up into.

Closing Urdva Dhanurasana’s were not bad, it was time to grab my equipment, extra mat and crash blanket in readiness for dropbacks. After a couple of not very good ones, I managed 3 pretty good ones on my own. I decided not to wipe myself out but to wait for help at this point, at which point also Oscar woke up and needed his Mom and I mentally abandoned hope of help and thought about going into forward bend, but then Mom and baby appeared in front of me, Oscar ON Cary’s shoulders holding her hair and his trousers clamped in Cary’s teeth as she got me back up from 3 more dropbacks, then the cross arm thing and then another deep dropback, walk in and back up, I think it made quite a sight, but you will need to ask Mel or Susan who were behind me what it looked like! Cary said again that I am getting close to standing, even though it doesn’t feel like it to me. Paschimottanasana time, 2 sets of hands squishing me, Mom cajoling Oscar to “Puuuuuusssssssshhhhh Oscar“. What a great environment for a kid to be brought up in, he brings an energy and sense of sheer fun to the Shala, not least as he decided to play with K’s long plaits as she laid in Savasana on the next mat!

After practice up to Pret at Euston to drink tea and eat croissants and chocolate cake with Mel and Helen , ok I think they both had some of the healthier options, but after a very intense practice I figure I deserve to indulge. Break-brunch somehow lasted until gone 3pm, I really enjoy yogi company, though yoga is not all we talk about, we pick Helen’s brain for Mysore information as she has been and then try and work out how much longer we have to slave and save before it can happen. The yoga social is such a release for me after weeks like last week where it feels like things are closing in, others getting the benefit of my energy and time, it feels like a freedom from domestic and labour camp dross, a time when my mind can open, it can release the despondency and Eeeyore like cloud that follows me round and make me believe that my Mysore dream can become reality 🙂  And we know that the Paschimottanasana squishers of the future are already in training.

A Shala practice on a Wednesday

February 18, 2010

Having 90 minutes to kill between the interview and a train that my ticket home was valid for, I decided that rather than just sit around the station, to walk round the corner and have my first practice at AYL of 2010.  It was filling up before the 6pm official start time, I had visions of using V’s spot, but alas it was already taken by the time I got there.

I havn’t practised with Roberta in years, but recognised her immediately, once she ascertained I wasn’t a newbie and knew what I was doing (well I think i do!), it was on with it. I have to say an evening Shala practice feels soooooo much better, the body may be a little tired from the day, but it felt so much more flexible, head to knee on first Surya A, that never happens. Standing just seemed to fly by, apart from having to shift mats up a couple of times to squeeze people in. I couldn’t believe how packed it was for a weekday evening.

Seated in that lovely heat was actually enjoyable, bound all the Mari’s relatively easily and best of all, instead of the usual teacher there as soon as you think about Supta K at AYL, I was delighted than Roberta let me get into it myself before she came over to tweek my foot position so that I could try Dwi Pada exit.

To save weight I didn’t take my Yogitoes towel mat with me, mistake.. my blue mat was very slippy by the time I came to backbends, just about managed 3 x Urdva Dhanurasana, then played around hanging back, I didn’t try a dropback on my own because of the slipperyness and lack of crash landing equipment. I thought assistance wasn’t coming so did a forward bend, then Roberta came and said to do dropbacks with her. Again a good assist, letting me get quite a way on my own before getting me safely to the floor, like Cary she didn’t seem to do much to get me back up, she said my legs have the strength, its the weight transfer that needs to happen.

So a really nice practice and if by some miracle I get the job then I can see evening practice at AYL becoming a habit. The interview went ok I think, but you never can tell. They asked me what type of yoga I did, then asked if I have done other types, I explained that I enjoy the flow of ashtanga, Sivananda wasn’t for me and Iyengar with its belts, blocks and bolsters and general faffing around would send me round the twist, I then found out that most of their business is selling blocks, belts etc for the Iyengar fraternity, oh well……at least they laughed.

Full Primary on a Monday!

February 16, 2010

Having a Sunday off practice and the travelling into the city meant I had the energy to do a full Primary on a Monday evening, it’s a very long time since that has happened. Once into the rythm I found I had done standing and seated in 70 minutes again and then felt warm enough to do backbends. Reasonable Urdva Dhanurasana followed by a couple of dropbacks.

I am realising that my shala dropbacks are better because my mat stays put, having a mat on top of my carpet at home means as my feet go outwards as I go back, I have to try and land before the sliding feet lose the plot. I then try to push back up into  my hips, but my feet slide forwards increasing the length between my hands and feet, making coming up attempts all but impossible.

I didn’t finish practice until around 9.30pm, the backbends wake me up, activate my mind and then make getting off to sleep a problem. My mind isn’t thinking about anything specific, its just active and my body is alive, so I have taken to listening to a Kino podcast for 30 minutes or so, I know its not the point, but the meditation one helps me find the drowsiness I need to drop off!

I see there is another hoop to jump through for people wanting to go to India to do yoga, there is now a “Yoga Visa” which you must have to be able to do practice in Mysore, the KPJAYI website states;

From March 2010, all students coming to study at KPJAYI must enter India on a yoga visa, as required by Indian law. You may email for admission letters from our Institute to include with your visa application form to the Indian Embassy in your country. Upon arrival, students should follow the relevant registration formalities with the Foreigners Registration Office (FRO) in Mysore.

Does this mean that someone visiting India from March cannot just go and do yoga if the mood takes them, if they have entered on a tourist visa?

Big day on Wednesday I have a you know what, at a place some of you know where and said I should go for a month or so ago.

How true

February 13, 2010

Nothing happens in the world according to our will; that is definite.

I read that in Yoga Mala last night and I should have remembered it this morning when I did practice.

Not to say practice at TLC this morning with Gail wasn’t good, it was good and having Michaela on the opposite mat certainly kept me focussed and my practice on the mat. Standing I seem to be left alone completely apart from PPC, Gail doesn’t quite take it to the level Cary does, where you feel like the blood supply above the shoulders has been turned off! The balances were crap, but hey ho…

Seated were not bad, bound both sides of Marichyasana D after a nice assist in deep assist in Mari C. Supta K, today Gail took me to where I like to go with this adjustment now, bound feet and lift up into Dwi Pada, which proves it wasn’t a fluke when I did it last week. The bum balances, like the standing balances were not great, they seem to be better at night for some reason.

I had expectations  of my backbends today. Yesterday Helen sent me a link to a “You tube” of Grimmly standing up from a dropback, I could see what she meant as he seemed to be landing about the same distance from his feet as I do, then rocking a little to get the movement to come back up. I had managed to raise my hips a little higher and feel a slight change in the weight distribution over my feet as I walked my hands in, so I was hoping that having my 2 mats on a surface where my feet could stay put (the carpet at home makes it hard to stop the feet splaying), that I would see some progress today, but as the saying says “Nothing happens in the world according to our will; that is definite.

I did 3 Urdva Dhanurasana on my own, then got the nice assist where you hold the teachers ankles and they induce a much deeper bend to open the back, no I wasn’t going to add in any criminal 2nd series with M opposite! Then after a slight head bang on the first dropback when my right arm gave way for some reason on landing, I managed 3 reasonable ones. But I could feel my dropback didn’t have the depth of bend it had  at home last night, weird as usually in the Shala my back opens with the heat. I was landing safely, but further away from my feet, I tried to walk my hands in, but my upper back felt very resistant. Gail then arrived, helping me going back, inducing a deeper bend before landing, but like Cary she didn’t seem to have to do that much to get me to stand up, I asked her after and she said she was just pulling my hips forward to change the weight distribution. So having had high (er) hopes for my backbends it didn’t quite go to plan. I think it may be a case of almost too many backbends in the last week, I just didn’t have the energy this morning, but Gail’s assists were good.

At the Shala I seem to speed up standing and seated without realising, not that it feels fast, I suppose I don’t faff around like I do at home, I got to closing in 70 minutes, then it tok another 35 minutes to get to Savasana. It was good to practice, as usual I am glad I went.

Though who will be the teacher at TLC next time is anyones guess, with M gone and P teaching elsewhere, I do wonder if the Saturday Mysore will continue to be an option.

Well a Sunday moon day tomorrow, my first Sunday since October when I can have a lay in, having the option to practice on a Saturday at TLC makes the moon day day off feel good, if that option wasn’t there I think I would feel deprived of my Shala practice.

Still practising

February 12, 2010

Home practice has been happening, though it’s content has been a bit sporadic. Monday I took it easy after the double Shala weekend, just doing some standing and backbends. Tuesday I got back with the programme, a proper Primary series + backbends, dropbacks etc. Wednesday I decided to do standing and some second series, mainly because I thought I could fit that in, rather than trying to do another full primary and then end up being disappointed when I didn’t finish it.

Last night I did a half Primary, then lots of backbends, though my dropbacks are becoming more consistent, ie not quite so much danger of giving myself concussion, I am still no nearer feeling like I will stand up anytime soon. I keep trying to push off, but the gravity that got me to the floor is not reversable it seems.

Practice at TLC on Saturday I hope, they cancelled Friday’s Mysore practice for some reason, I don’t want to get up there and find its cancelled, that would be annoying. The other mission on Saturday is to find some more of those delicious Werthers chocolates that Mel kindly gave me last weekend and to try and make them last longer than Monday night, though with a Sunday moon day in front of the TV watching the football I don’t rate their chances of survival!

Packing so much in to 48 hours!

February 7, 2010

It has been one of the most highly packed weekends I can remember. Started off by doing practice at TLC with Gail on Saturday morning. I was glad when a few more people came and we got the windows steamed up, as I think we had been providing the entertainment for the builders working on the roof of the house opposite! Quite a fast practice without too much adjustment, though you can tell its an AYL teacher, as they are there as soon as you even think about doing Supta Kurmasana. Last time I practised at TLC I only did hanging back, but after Helen’s comment 🙂 I wanted to do my dropbacks, I did 3 on my own, then help arrived, after the last one I laughingly said to Gail that she could tell Helen I had done them! I was really surprised to see the clock after what seemed a nice Savasana to find I had taken just 85 minutes. A good way to start the weekend and I had managed to keep my mind in the practice, even though there was so much still to come.

After grabbing a bun on the Farmers Market it was off to the travel show at Earls Court, it was ok, but I’m sure glad I didn’t have to pay the 12 pounds entry. The stands were spread out to make it look like there was more there than there actually was. I had seen what I wanted in a hour, so back on the tube to the cafe for lunch before running the travel club, this month we ran out of chairs by 2.15 and had people sitting on tables and standing for the talks on Vietnam and the Trans Siberian Railway. I splashed out and stayed in the B&B again last night, though I can’t say it was a restful nights sleep, sirens every little while and at some time after midnight a couple having an explosive screaming match by the bus stop below my window.

I was in deep sleep when the alarm went off, though how nice to know it was to be just a 2 minute walk to the Shala for practice this morning after a bit of Ustrasana and Salabhasana experimentation on the grubby carpet. The Shala had a strange odour caused by the electrical fire in the business below earlier in the week. Practice today was 2 hours, standing I was left alone apart from the odd word about drishte until PPC and of course UHP, though she has stopped trying to get my leg quite so high now, which is somewhat of a relief.

Seated is where I started to get some attention, Triang Mukha lower the hands, repeat of last week in Marichyasana D, after managing to bind myself it was the 360 twist adjustment, after a reasonable Bhuja it was Supta K (playtime), I had got a long way in on my own before Cary came and flattened me in Kurmasana, then it was cross and bind, but today’s Supta K adjustment was full on compared to yesterdays light ease. Feet bound then head under and I found I could suddenly get under some more, it was way more than 5 breaths as Cary let me find my way in before she lifted me up an  left me there with my feet bound in Dwi Pada balanced on my hands, why was nobody there with a camera for this “Kodak” moment! The  rest of seated seemed to pass until she stopped me for a Supta Padangusthasana lesson, well to be precise how to get into it, ie I don’t think I’m allowed to bend my leg anymore, its hand up then straight leg up, something else to work on.

Why practice took so long today I have no idea, but the backbends at YP are becoming the main event of late, its no longer 3 crap Urdva Dhanurasanas as I dream of croissants before mentally saying I’m done. Oh NO not now, it was 5 Urdva Dhanurasana today with instructions to walk my hands in more under my shoulders and some more, before the dropback experiments could start. It is a far faster process nowadays, it doesn’t take 10 minutes of hangbacks and trying to catch a glimpse of the floor before I get the nerve to try one. Today it was just a couple of nice hangbacks and then 3 safely landed dropbacks (Crash blanket is still there just in case). Then I get help, though as usual Cary makes me go to the floor on my own before helping me up, we did a couple like that before the 3 cross arms half way type, then a last dropback with me pushing into her hands, then a final dropback before which she told me to try and come up, ie to try and push off, it ended up being more of a bounce, as my fingers touched the floor I pushed as hard as I could and my hands did leave the ground before I crashed back down, she said I led with my head, which its hard not to do, its natural. But perhaps this is the start of coming up, Susan reckons I will do it, I hope she is right.

A good practice was followed by yogi breakfast with Helen and Mel, before yogi lunch when Susan joined us in Spittalfields, a yoga feast that lasted from 10:30 with the first Pain au Raisin until 3.30 with the last tea, yogis sure can put some food away after practice!  It’s lovely to spend time after practice like that, nice food, nice company, 2 yoga teachers to pick the brains of, though luckily they both seem to love talking about practice.

Alas next Sunday is Moon day, we know this cos Susan has a Moon day “app” on her phone LOL!