Archive for September, 2010

Difference between United & City

September 30, 2010

well the difference is that last night I did a very curtailed practice then watched a direly boring Man Utd match, actually falling asleep before the only goal was scored regretting that I hadn’t done a proper practice. Tonight instead of trying to kick the digi box thingy into life and C5 to watch City I just got on my mat and did my full practice. 100 minutes later I feel much better than I did last night, i am still awake for a start, but also I just feel calmer and reckon my evening has been much better spent.

I am still modifying the Marichyasanas for my knees sake and only dropping back onto a Futon, this stops my right foot splaying and again annoying my poor knee and calf, but it still felt like a decent practice. I have also been trying to relax my back and shoulders more, this meant some of the forward bends were not as deep (no pulling) but I wasn’t as tired by the end.

Mega busy weekend coming up, birthday parties, travel club and double yoga



September 26, 2010

Autumn seems to have taken hold the last couple of weeks, it may be sunny but there is a bite to the wind, that’s when its not cold and raining as it is as I type. This time of year makes getting to the Shala on a Sunday even more important for practice with some warmth. Ironically the Shala didn’t feel as hot today, but by the time I was done my togs were saturated.

Yesterdays practice at home was stiff and cold, today I got sweaty and bendy and my body opened up, a surprisingly balanced UHP, after a not too evil Prasarita C adjustment. Shala practice has momentum and focus, at home its sloth and distraction.

Seated felt ok, I only had to modify the second side of Marichyasana D for my knees sake. Supta Kurmasana was back to being how I like it, deep and bound with a nice lift up with my feet remaining in place in dwi pada, though the nice squish I got in Kurmasana helped. Yes I remembered Garbha today, S. even asked me as were were leaving if I had done it, even though she had spent 2 hours on the mat next door! The knee didn’t seem to mind the extra deep squishing it got in Baddha Konasana, it was strange as Cary started to put pressure on there was resistance, I was almost pushing back, then suddenly I was able to just let go and my chin was on the floor.I seem to speed up after the Marichyasanas, I was surprised when I caught sight of the clock as I went into Pasasana to find I had got through standing and seated in 70 minutes, first Pasasana attempts on my own, then assistance arrived, she was looking out for it this week and she even managed to bind the second side, I just know the second side will be the one I will do first on my own.

The usual mental battle to do the first Urdva Dhanurasana, but after that they got stronger with straighter arms until I decided to stand up and play dropbacks instead. I stayed put, no walls, just some hangbacks until I felt like there was going to be some control, then I managed a record 7 on my own without giving myself concussion. I wouldn’t normally do that many, but there seemed to be a backbend queue and I wanted to keep warm so I kept going until Cary appeared in front of my mat, though she doesn’t assist me going back these days, she just presses the levitate button to start me coming back up before she lets go so that I do three quarters of it on my own, I just wish I could find that initial “ooompfff” to get off the ground.

A no rush, rest of closing, Savasana shortened, not because of the time, but because I realised I was getting cold laying there.

The yoga graph

September 22, 2010
I’m glad it’s moonday tomorrow, I need a rest. Today’s practice felt like a practice too many, 5th full primary in a row and 6th out of 7 days with a Half primary thrown in. I havnt actually taken a day off for a week. My practice is very cyclical, day 1 is for reopening the body, days 2 & 3 are better, usually day 4 is the good one, day 5 it starts to go off and the 6th is a matter of getting through it.

I have given up with the secOnd side of Mari B & D the past few days as my right knee and calf seem to be in rebellion, I woke up in the night and my leg buckled as I stepped out of bed. As soon as I even move my foot towered lotus I can feel it. I have also just been dropping back on to my Futon and not the floor.

Usually the day doesn’t feel right if I don’t practice, but tomorrow I am going to enjoy the rest.

I saw a trailer for EPL this evening, that’s what I need to do or something like it, the work, eat, practice, sleep routine is becoming tedious. Practice and sleep are the highlight of Monday to Friday. I am back to living for Sundays shala practice.

Another one bit the dust at the Labour camp today, he’s well out of it, though whether he jumped or was pushed we gave yet to discover.

Sunday’s are just so nice

September 19, 2010

The train was actually early, I listened to a Kino podcast on the way and then tried a different route to the Shala, it seemed to work as I got to the Shala 8 minutes earlier than last week, so arrived less travel stressed than usual, so a good start.

Practice seemed to take a while to get going, my body didn’t seem to have much length until Cary came along to adjust my Trikonasana and stretched me laterally, it seemed to suddenly wake me up and make me more present. Usual wrist rotation prod in the Parsvakonasanas, then left alone until UHP, not a full on adjustment just a tickling of my toes which grip on for dear life rather than spreading and stretching, but this results in falling out of UHP while trying to avoid clobbering Susan next door!¬† Seated seem to come around so quickly these days, I’m sure my practice is speeding up without any attempt to do so. My right knee and calf are still not happy, so the second side of Mari D had to be modified, it feels like downhill then after the double sided poses have been done, helped by my like of Kurmasana and Supta Kurmasana, though again I suffered an attack of Garbha amnesia, I only realised when I was doing Pasasana and saw the guy next to me doing Garbha, but I wasn’t going back then.

Left to my own devices for Pasasana, Cary actually asked me afterwards if I had done it, well unlike Garbha I never forget Pasasana and unlike at home I don’t use a block under my feet either, I can get quite a deep twist now and just about balance, but alas my fingers are not quite there. I actually did it twice just in case Cary had decided to come around. Pasasana is a bit like when I was trying to first do Supta Kurmasana, my brain knows its really a matter of time, there is no mental barriers like the fear with dropbacks to get over, its just a case of doing it.

My mind did play games with Urdva Dhanurasana, it took a few bridges before I managed to get the brain and arms to push me up, I think I was about to be given a prod, as when I pushed up into the first one Cary was standing over me, but once I was up she went off. Once I have done one then it’s no problem to do 2 or 3 or 4 more. I didn’t get hardly any dropback playtime either, after a couple of hangbacks Cary stood in front of me and said just do it, suddenly I had presence, focus and the ability to do the dropback before she helped me up. She stopped me faffing around, she didn’t say it but I could feel she was saying “you can do it, so just do it”. She nearly caught me out with the last one, usually she assists the going down to get a really intense backbend, the sort where involuntary noises and air come from hidden depths, I started to go back thinking she was going to intervene, then suddenly realised she wasn’t going to, just got the hands out in time LOL. She also seems to have a game of when she helps me stand up she lets go earlier and earlier to try and induce me to do the work, then stands there grinning when I get to the top.

Another solid practice and with getting there earlier and a quicker practice I actually had a nice 10 minutes in Savasana, I think its true about the aftermath of practice being better if the Savasana is longer, even if I did have to have a little sleep this afternoon.

Sunday’s are by far the best day of the week when they work out as I plan them, the trains on time, the tube works, I practice, we do breakfast after, then home to lunch and the Sunday papers. Why can’t every day be a Sunday.

Y2K + 10 & Yoga Bear

September 16, 2010

I just realised its 10 years since that fateful September week in the south of France that changed yoga from an occassional thing to something that would take over my life, well almost. Back then I knew what Surya A was and knew Navasana because I didn’t like it, though I am still not overly keen on it. The first few days in France nearly killed me, thanks goodness all I had to do after practice was lay by the pool until the evening session, I was fit for little else. Back then my life revolved around the TV, going to Football, chanting about the Referees parentage and eyesight rather than “Ommm”, and travel to far flung, weird places that scared the crap out of my mother when I told her where I was going. Back then life seemed better, more satisfying, more hopeful, or is that the rose tinted spectacles, I had a job I didn’t mind, travel was everything and yoga was just once or twice a week at most if it didn’t clash with the football.

So here we are 10 years later, I no longer go to football, its cost has risen out of all proportion to my wages if not the players. I still travel, but predominantly to do yoga, I hardly watch TV at all, I am in a job that depresses me from the moment I open my eyes in the morning, but Ashtanga yoga now fills a massive proportion of my non working, waking hours. I can do postures at 46 years old that at 36 I thought were purely for the bendy wendy, skinny aliens up the front. I now know my Urdva Dhanurasana from my Prasarita Padottanasana, I chant with Kino and not with 30,000 other football fans, I love my practice. But there is now something missing, a zest, an enjoyment of life, yoga is keeping the wheels on life and keeping them turning around. Yoga and the people I know from yoga are the lights in a dark world. Yesterday M told me a quote from DS, “Dont let yoga ruin your life“. In 10 years Yoga has made me quieter, more inward looking, but less tolerant in many ways, I don’t get to laugh as much as I used to, I don’t get any joy or pleasure from things that used to bring me that. There is a pervading lethargy that I only seem to be free of when I practice. I need to find joy in something else.

In this mornings paper I read about a Bear called Santra who lives in a Zoo in Finland, Santra is no ordinary Bear it seems, she does yoga! Here’s the article


September 12, 2010

Doing a workshop with Kino is not the practice panacea and answer to it all (not even the standing up thing), but something did change last weekend, according to our Cyber shala Guru I have made a connection between my legs and backbends. It has manifested in Urdva Dhanurasana, this week I havn’t layed on my mat trying to psyche myself into pushing up, instead I seem to have chosen strength, I have been walking the hands in, getting the hips higher and generally feeling that its no longer purely about my shaking arms ability to keep me aloft. And walking in means I seem to have a bendier back for the dreaded dropbacks, which were another thing which added psyching up time to my practice, this week after a couple of hangbacks I have been going for it, OK I still have a crash pad for my head but I have been landing safely for the most part, walking in and trying to induce “Kino bounce” into my hands, though I can’t sat that has had a great deal of success.

Today we had to suffer the rubbish rail replacement bus, we had a driver with little sense of direction and a love of religious radio stations, maybe he was praying for devine intervention to get us to London, we got there, late… Which meant a sprint through the tube and not up BG Road and arrival on my mat about 10 minutes later than usual, the Shala was packed, its getting like AYL, the heat was incredible, my Yogitoes had to go down after Padahastasana. Despite arriving late I didn’t consciously speed up, I just seemed to get into my stride, the heat helped the Marichyasanas and a lovely slither into a really deep Supta Kurmasana. Apart from a couple of foot and hand tweaks I didn’t get adjusted until Pasasana, better luck this week Cary managed to get me bound on both sides ūüôā

Somehow I got to closing in 65 minutes, I always check the time as I start backbends to see how much playtime I have, I couldn’t believe how quickly I had got through, but by this stage even the yogitoes was getting slippy and I was getting tired, Shala practice definitley takes more energy. I managed 5 Urdva Dhanurasana, but they weren’t as good as last week, I tried walking my hands in but it felt like a hand forward and the 2 hands sliding back, so my hips were not as lifted and back not in such a deep bend. But I hadn’t faffed about doing them, I stood up hoping a wall space would have come free to start my dropback games, but that AC was having her 20 minute Savasana, so I stayed put and did my dropbacks where I was, but for some reason I felt dizzy and a bit sick doing them, after my 3 Cary came over to assist the next 4, the 4th she assisted me back in an incredibly deep bend, but I was just glad when they were done today, no progress on the standing up challenge. I seemed to have gained time back with my backbends this week, the no faff UD’s and the less fear in dropbacks means the whole backbend sequence has speeded up significantly, which meant after the rest of closing I still got a nice 10 minute Savasana.

Breakfast in the sunshine afterwards, the croissant reward, though I have had to reign back my previous reward scheme of a croissant per successful dropback, so I stopped at a very restrained 2.

Kino weekend – This Lifetime maybe!

September 5, 2010

I love this saying of Kino’s when we are stuggling and finding it hard to believe that we will ever do a posture, “This lifetime, next lifetime, it doesn’t matter!”. She has this way of giving students belief, she’s up front and says its going to be hard, “Janusirsasana C, your toes will hate it, but that’s ok!” Also had to laugh as someone came up and over from Supta Konasana and took out the demonstration Skeleton!

Lead Primary on Saturday morning, no long spiel just the chant and off we went, she keeps a nice rythm, but gives you long enough with her slow count and love of the number 3 to get into some of the more challenging ones like Mari D and Supta K. Having had Friday off I was a bit stiff and creaky. A lovely assist in the second side of Supta Padangusthasana. And for all those who don’t think there are enough backbends in Primary OMG did we do some, and mine were surprisingly good, I think it ended up being 6 Urdva Dhanurasanas. Glad I did it but glad when it was over! Nice to chill out and hang out in Halasana, before a long Savasana when my mind as usual began to turn to thoughts of tea and Pastry’s!

Pastry time @ LPQ

Sunday morning 8am start for the Mysore practice, staggered start times, but pleased to get an early one so that I could take my time and really give everything to it. And what a surprisingly superb practice it turned out to be. Completely focussed, steady breath, body open and willing to do this crazy stuff. Nice Kino squish in Padahastasana and a complete surprise when she got my head on the floor in Prasarita Padot A, how did that happen? After a very wobbly UHPin the led class, todays was steady and balanced.

Today it just seemed to all come together for some reason, all the seated binds, a deep Kurmasana leading to a nice Supta Kurmasana. I even managed to get my arms through in Garbha Pindasana. I had previously given this posture up as a bad job and a bit of a waste of time if I am honest, the lotus hurt my knees and there was seemingly no space big enough to stick a finger through let alone an arm. I had fleetingly done it once on a sweat drenched day in Thailand but not since. But over the last few weeks there has been some cyber shala discussion about the various techniques employed to do this. It just felt right to have another try today, so I took a looser Lotus and forced my arms through the still seemingly too small gap, lifted a little, started to rock and got beached “Suuuuuusannn!” alas she was not¬†in a¬†position to come to my rescue this time, so I had to untangle myself!

Mysore practice

Garbha may not have been a great success, but it was certainly better than I previously managed. Maybe I will even try it again, well ok maybe next Sunday when Susan is next door to come to the rescue! Steadily through the rest of seated until time for my one and only second series pose, I had to do it today as Kino was the one who gave it to me. Pasasana is coming, on my own to start with getting a decent balanced twist, then Kino appeared so we could do it all again as she bound me easily on both sides. I am beginning to wonder if sometimes its not my Pasasana that is not as good when the bind doesn’t happen, even with assistance, I am beginning to come to the conclusion that it could also be down to the technique of the adjuster, some teachers just seem to easily keep you steady and help you take the bind, Kino certainly comes into this category.

Backbend time, how would it go today, I had managed to keep my mind off the backbends, usually my mind starts to turn to them after Supta K, but today my mind and breath not to mention the old drishty thing had been where they are supposed to be, so backbends had not come up in the internal. Doing so many in the led class somehow made it easier today, I did 4 Urdva Dhanurasanas, walking in remembering Kino’s sayings “your legs may burn” and “Strength is a choice you make“. Then stood up to do my dropbacks, no wall to warm up against today, so I did a few hang backs until I could see the floor and then went for it, yay 5 safely landed with a bit of walking in and rocking. Kino had watched from afar then came over for 3 more, she assisted me down at the last second, then had me walking in, rocking and coming back up. I had asked her about the standing up question before we started, she said when i work on my own to not think about trying to come up and being disappointed because it never happens, but instead to try and rock and bounce the hands, she said eventually it will come. On the last assisted one she initiated the coming up but seemed to disengage and I managed to come up most of the way on my own, at the top she was smiling and said “you did most of that one on your own, your nearly there!” It still doesnt feel like it, I remember Cary saying something similar months ago!

Savasana Corner

I was glad to have started early as the room was really filling up, there had been 12 of us at 8am, by the time I layed down for Savasana it was closer to 40. I had got assists and advice in the things I needed and layed on my mat with the thought that this had been the best practice of the year by a mile, it had all gone right, no dodgy crash landing on my head or wrist, all the binds bound, no thoughts of such and such was crap today. I said to someone after that maybe I should declare for the year as I doubt very much whether I will get a practice that good again anytime soon!

A long leisurely brunch, well needed refueling of body, my mind was in a happy place, that feeling of being where you want to be with people you love being with, yoga chatter.

1pm Second series Introduction workshop

This was a very basic introduction, focussing on the main points of backbending, all those illegal poses I play around with at home, Salabhasana is far harder than I thought! Leg Behind the Head and dynamic control, moving into strength with flexion and extension. Below are my notes from my Iphone.

2nd series nerve cleansing
1) backbending is about testing the spine and muscles. Lifting energy up the spine
2) LBH
3) dynamic control over flexion and extension. Move into strength
PASASANA- stability in the pelvis. More important to bind than to squat. Marichyadana C is good preparation.
SALABHASANA-lift kneecaps off the ground, big toes together eventually heals together
LAGHU VADRASANA- develop strength in quads and hips
KAPOTASANA- work your way in, don’t freak out if you see a toe! Don’t try and climb the toes and feet
DWIPADA- knee out to the side.
Pincha mayurasana
KARANDAVASANA – from headstand
SEND THE SIGNAL EVEN IF NOTHING HAPPENS, eventually this lifetime next lifetime it may happen

Head cleaning

September 3, 2010

My Czech colleague L. and I were talking about our future plans, mine in Mysore, her’s back home in Prague. We are both¬† going stir crazy in this place, she said “You need space to clean your head”. I know exactly what she means, my head is full of clutter, stuff I don’t need, but can’t delete. I crave a simpler life I suppose, less balls to be kept in the air.

Sporadic practice since the triple header of last weekend, one full practice, one to Mari B and last night a short hour and dip into the 2nd series backbends. All good stuff with the busy Kino workshop weekend beginning tomorrow, am so looking forward to practice in the morning, just hope its not too ram packed.

A rest day today, an appointment with Miss Steel Thumbs this evening, hopefully will leave me rested, loose and limber for Kino.