Archive for October, 2010

Shala practice & The Yoga Show

October 31, 2010

It’s been a fun day once I got into London, late train AGAIN grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, breath. Yoga followed by yogi breakfast followed by the Yoga Show.

Yoga Show

A nice practice at the Shala with Susan teaching today, it was nice and warm by the time I got there and the dehumidifier wasn’t on, so I parked myself between Mel and the heater and was soon putting down the yogitoes as the sweat dripped. Standing just seemed to fly by, nice assist in Prasarita C, though I have no idea how near the floor my hands get, not very being the probable answer! Even a fairly balanced UHP today, that is such a fickle posture.

Managed to jump back on all the vinyasas today, my wrist definitley likes a firmer surface, just one twinge, but no real painful episodes. Susan makes some good points, the first in Janusirsasana B, about using the Lat’s to pull forward rather than the shoulders, I can see what she’s getting at, but I just can’t seem to engage the lat’s, she said you have to imagine it to start with, but Kino said something along those lines I remember, just think about a muscle doing something and eventually it may happen. My right knee seems to be up for doing Marichyasana B again, though again had to modify Mari D, its just too intense when the right knee is in that lotus. Navasana I need to lean back less and move the weight forward, which Susan reckons will help with the “bum” balances, this comment brought laughter from the mat next door. There’s definitley a place for a little frivolity in the Shala, it’s part of what makes the atmosphere so friendly! Great Supta Kurmasana today, managed to lift out into Dwi Pada. It’s weird but I notice myself getting tired during the Marichyasanas, but if I do a good Supta K I seem to get a top up of energy from somewhere to take me through the rest of seated. Beautiful assist in Baddha Konasana, Susan excels at the squishing assists, adding the pressure on and suddenly my body releases to the floor.

Pasasana is becoming about the bottom hand and its seeming inability to get high enough up the hip, despite a decent twist, to join up with the top hand. I tried on my own before help arrived, couldn’t quite get it to work today on either side, ended up falling out on both sides, never mind there’s always next Sunday. At least its given me the idea of what I need to work on at home with this one, it does feel doable.

Took a while to get Urdva Dhanurasana to work, I was conscious of the time having started late and perhaps I was trying to rush, eventually I slowed down, going through Dena’s UD checklist before pushing up and walking in and then the last one I got an assist, ages since I have had a UD assist. Stand up for 3 safely landed dropbacks, then 3 assisted ones, trying oh so hard to make sure it was “head last” as Susan brought me back up to standing. Unlike Pasasana this manoevre feels as far away as ever. Nice practice today, glad I went, those 2 hours are the highlight of my week, way and above anything else, which doesnt say much does it.

5 Yogis then to the cafe for breakfast , I confess I am far from being vegetarian, OMG was that bacon sarnie nice 🙂  before going off to visit the yoga show with Mel. For the second year running I tried reflexology and for the second year running I fell asleep, so am still unable to answer the question of whether this therapy does anything, well apart from cure insomnia!


Michael Gannon workshop

Some Bendy people

Yoga not as I know it!


Erratically consistent week of practice

October 29, 2010

I have practised 7 days straight, I have done a full practice on 5 of the days and quite a lot of the practice on the other 2 days. On Fridays I have a “golden” 75 minutes when I get home from the Labour camp, not long enough for a complete practice, but enough for half a primary and lots of backbends.

By Wednesday after 4 full practices Saturday to Tuesday, I was getting tired and should perhaps have had a rest day, but I had the urge to stretch after 8 hours looking at a screen. I set off with good intentions but my wrist decided to start playing up, this after my lower right leg below the knee had done a massive “crack” in the shower in the morning. No way was my wrist going to put up with all those vinyasas, so after standing practice degenerated into a completely criminal 2nd series backbend fest, but at least it felt like a worthwhile 90 minutes on the mat.

Thursday cue e-mail chat with S about practice on carpets. Too squidgy was her verdict, wrists need a solid platform, realising she could be on to something as most of the wrist angst happens at home.  So a new experiment, a piece of thin hardboard between the carpet and my mat, a much more solid surface. Thursday practice turned out to be one of the best at home ones in a long time, I had the momentum and the focus, which generates the heat and flexibility. I got through primary in 70 minutes, had some decent Pasasana attempts, before all the usual backbend experiments. The complete thing including Savasana done in 100 minutes. Momentum is the key to make it happen at home.

So its felt like an erratic week, but I have consistently got on the mat.

Good practice

October 24, 2010

The transport Gods were back on my side today, when I got to my local station it said the train was going to be 6 minutes late, boooo hisss, but actually arrived 20 seconds early, hoooray! Just shows they havn’t got a clue. I actually got to the Shala in under an hour, it would have been quicker but for the 5 minute wait between tube trains at Bank.

It was quiet when I arrived, my favourite spot was free, so rolled out my mat and off I went, though again a case of practice filling the time available, just under 2 hours again today, why am I so erratic, some practices are 85 minutes, yet today was nearly 120. It seemed to take a while to get going, though standing was slowed by Cary adjusting, advising on quite a few occassions, must have been her “pick on standing day”. Seated were slow as well, but that was because half way through my usually OK right wrist decided it didn’t like me lifting into Dwi Pada as I exited Supta Kurmasana, owwww, cue a few minutes vigerous wrist rubbing before carrying on, changing to stepping back and through vinyasas rather than jumping. Incidents like this take the momentum out of practice, though do make me focus.

As I sat wrist rubbing I suddenly noticed that the Shala had filled up, must have been 20+, good to see and a nice quiet energy.

On the train in I had read Steve’s helpful comment on a previous post about the shoulder rotation in Pasasana, I can see what he means about gaining precious length by sweeping the arm round and up instead of moving the shoulder in a forward direction. I have reasonable squatting balance now, so tried this new tactic,  Cary just watched from the side, even though my fingers felt really close she didn’t join them up, leaving me to try, but I just couldn’t do it, but she looked satisfied with my efforts.

At least Pasasana feels doable, likely to happen at some point, where as standing up from backbend still feels like the impossible. I cut down the Urdva Dhanurasanas today to 4, really trying to walk in, but not piss my wrist off, then stood and did a dropback on my own, the first one is never good, after a second more controlled one Cary was waiting to bring me back up, “Head back!” is the mantra. 2 more but both times I engaged the head too soon and getting back up was a struggle, at which point she stopped to talk about what happens when the head comes in front of the chest, how the back needs to keep the arch until the last. Cross arm half way, then a deeply assisted dropback, really intense backbend, walk in, hold, then assisted up, remembering to keep my head back.

A nice practice, far better than the one I did at home yesterday, even if it was slow.

Home after a coffee break with S. via the M&S Chocolate aisle, my Sunday treat, we don’t have M&S out here, so the temptation isnt there the rest of the week. Just as well for my Pasasana!

Practice on a moon day

October 23, 2010

A very criminal 2 days, Friday I got home from the Labour Camp desperate to move and stretch, after standing I wanted backbends so dipped out into Pasasana and all those nice 2nd series backbends.

Today is Moon day though again the thought of going to Ashtangi Jail was not enough to stop me doing a full primary in the afternoon sunshine. It was a bit of a slog if I’m honest, so much for full moon energy.

The Pasasana experiment of strapping my knees together seems to work, I am definitely getting nearer, though of course I won’t do it at the Shala in the morning!

If the trains are as late as last week it will have to be AYL again, otherwise it’s home to YP, I just need to practice somewhere much warmer than my upstairs

Pasasana question

October 22, 2010

After the IBS problems earlier in the week and a day off it was back for a full practice last night.

So I get to Pasasana and decided to try a bit of self adjustment, I wound a strap around my knees to try and follow Louise’s comment about really keeping the knees together, I thought if the knees were already jammed together I could concentrate on Cary’s point about getting the arm lower and further under and round in the hope of it finding the top one. Well I did seem to be able to get deeper, but alas no bind.

Teacher’s say that it is more important to bind than to get the feet flat, but it has got me wondering if it is easier to find the bind when the feet are flat? Are my fingers more likely to find each other than if I am trying to balance on the balls, so any of you out there who can easily do Pasasana, which is easiest feet flat or not?

Little Pasasana voice

October 20, 2010

I realised that last night’s practice was my 7th day in a row, though the last 2 evenings have been a struggle due to the IBS’s return, its not as bad these days, but it does seem to deplete my energy. I was given some shortbread which I think started it off and then I overslept by way too much and ended up running to work eating a croissant, which isnt good for the digestion I was seriously considering not practising last night, but decided to do some Surya’s to try and ease my griping stomach, after 5 A’s and 3 B’s I decided to carry on and ended up doing a full practice without having intended to.

My stomach was a bit IBS bloated so I was in 2 minds about trying Pasasana, but thought I may as well give it a go and as I twisted Louise’s comment from Sunday about really gripping the knees together came into my head, little yoga voices.

The IBS doesn’t help my backbends, I don’t have the control for as long in dropbacks, which can makes the landings a bit dangerous, so I called it a day after 2.

At least my Xmas yoga break is all arranged, something at last to look forward to beyond Sunday mornings at the Shala. Yoga under the Sri Lankan sun, by the Indian Ocean, followed by a few days tourism.

TGF AYL & and end to the procrastination.

October 17, 2010

I thought I wasn’t going to get to practice at all this morning thanks to Network Rails over running engineering works, 38 minutes late we pulled into the city, luckily I had already decided thanks to TFL’s joke of shutting down east London’s tube network to practice at AYL.

So just a walk round the corner this morning, rather than an olympic sprint through the tube, only space left was in the corner, which was ok but for the dehumidifier belching cold air out. The ashtangi next to me was on seated, so no arm clashing etc, though she was doing dropbacks when I got to UHP. Lovely to practice with Louise again, its been a while, but she looks out for me and was there when I needed help in PPC. Left alone mostly in seated apart from Triang Mukha and a deepening of Marichyasana A and as usual at AYL Supta K was assisted, I didn’t mind, I used to mind because I really wanted to do it on my own, but now I can, it no longer seems such a big deal.

Practice doesn’t seem such a big deal at all at the minute, I just do it, OK I modified the second side of Mari D for my knee, but everything else was done, I do practice now without the thinking ahead, though I will admit to not actually being present all the time. A nice assist in Pasasana, finger touch on the first side, fingers bound on the second 🙂

Ended up doing 5 Urdva Dhanurasanas, first 2 were weak, so I did 3 more to walk in and get some bend in the backbend before standing up for dropbacks. No bolsters, blankets etc available, so I put my tiny towel down as a target. The last time I practised with Louise she was still taking me down, today she just observed from H’s mat behind as I did 4 dropbacks on my own, all safely landed I am glad to say, which makes me wonder if I really need the props to stop me landing on my head anymore. No comment either just a nice squish in Paschimottanasana, before the rest of closing, then decamping to the finishing room for Savasana in the sunshine, I love the sun streaming in like that.

Ashtanga is a very small world, lovely to meet Susie in person from downunder at last and  a real surprise to meet Steve in Pret who has commented on this blog from Thailand for a while, the ashtanga Sangha is one of the best things I can say about doing this practice, we are a community despite the miles that separate us.

Christmas Procrastination now over, a whim to call another flight company after seeing an advert in the Sunday paper and by tweaking the dates, suddenly they shave a couple of hundred off the price of a flight to Sri Lanka, I’ve done it now, though have taken a bit of a chance on the yoga place having any accommodation left, cross your fingers for the e-mail I just sent them, otherwise I will just have to be a tourist for 2 weeks!

Torper, energy & procrastination + Radio 4!

October 16, 2010

It’s been that kind of a week, after Monday’s massage and Tuesdays England match, no I wont go there, they were that bad. Wednesday to Friday it was back on the ashtanga path, Wednesday felt like starting again, not helped by the cold weather, I couldn’t get a sweat going and still had achy shoulders.

I tried a new dropback game in an effort to crack the standing up problem. I have got too good at standing up from the Futon now and needed to find something half way between the Futon height and the floor, I decided to try a couple of Sofa cushions, which meant landing 6 inches lower, the theory was good, but they were too squishy to push off from. I then tried putting a piece of hardboard between them, but was too knackered by this point for it to work. Thursday I again did a whole practice, despite the CH being on I still barely broke sweat and again employed the sofa cushions, this time putting the sheet of hardboard on top of them, BIG mistake, as I pushed off and fell back I scraped my arm, oh well back to the drawing board.

I have been procrastinating about what to do at Christmas, I want to get away, but everything is just so bloody expensive this year, so much for recession and prices going down, that’s another government load of cobblers. I dislike Christmas with a vengeance and am desperate for sunshine and practice in a location where Jingle Bells wont be heard.

Saturday has been busy, a 2 hour practice again this afternoon as the sun streamed through my upstairs windows. I flicked the PC on after just to check my e-mail and found the travel club had gone crazy, it turns out we were featured on a programme on Radio 4 this morning called Excess Baggage. Processing all the e-mails has taken a few hours, I’m glad I had done my practice first.

AYL in the morning, I hope its warm in there, otherwise my body is going to start hibernating.

Wish i had practised

October 12, 2010

I woke yesterday with shoulders so stiff that I got up at 6:15am and did standing. No evening practice as I had a lovely hot lava shell massage treatment, the shells are almost unbearable to start with but the heat was wonderful on that nuisance Piriformis before she went with the thumbs and elbow therapy.

I watched the England match tonight, wish I hadn’t bothered !

It’s always better at the Shala- Pasasana finger touch

October 10, 2010

Our Shala is getting really busy on Sunday’s, its great to see it like that and the wonderful, quiet energy that seems to bring out the best in my practice. That’s how it was today, despite being squahed in the corner ala AYL, I still had a really nice practice. Standing just seemed to fly by, apart from a tweaking or 2 in Parsvakonasana and Virabhadrasana 2 I seem to get left alone, well almost I forgot I UHP’d again today, but being in the corner left her less room to send my leg into those deeply uncomfortable places.

Also for the first time on a Sunday Cary had an assistant, Kristen was practising behind me, I noticed in my Surya’s that she was in Sirsasana and thought she’s either done a very short practice or she was here early, I think it safe to say the latter was true, then a little while later realised it was her pink towel pressing me down in Paschimottanasan nice squish Kristen.. 🙂  Seated seem to pass these days like standing, I am more used to it now, well I should be after 2 years of mysore practice I suppose, but I used to kind of tick the poses off in my head, counting down to the end, seeing some of them as mental as well as physical hurdles to be got through or endured in some cases if being adjusted. No longer do I hate “Baddie Konasana” as Mel has christened it, instead I can go with Cary’s weight squashing my chin to the floor. The whole process seems to have speeded up in the last month or so, partly as I faff less but also because there is much less mental debate going on between my ears, I just get on with it, I don’t have to think about what comes next, it just happens, so even if I do spend (quite) a few extra breaths getting deeper in to Supta Kurmasana I am still consistently getting to closing in an hour now, though I must admit this is partly down to still having to modify the second side of Mari D, my knee is still less than willing to come to that party, though it does now condescend to do Mari B at least.

Pasasana was a longer event than usual today, but on my second go on my own my fingers touched, that’s all they can do, but that is definite progress, I was going to move on at that but Cary came along and I ended up doing it all again, twice on the first side with her trying to encourage my hand further up and round my hip, the second side didn’t seem to take much for her to bring my fingers together, its when a teacher does that without much effort that you start to believe it must be possible to do on my own.

Too many body’s between me and my backbend accessories on the other side of the room, so I decided to just go for it, 4 x Urdva Dhanurasanas, trying to walk in as usual, then just my towel as a target behind me on my mat for dropbacks. I had a realisation when I was doing them at home yesterday, that I was favouring my left leg, so not pressing so much into the right which was some of the reason that my foot splays out, so today I made a concerted effort to lean into my right side as I went backwards. Second week running I havn’t had any “playtime”, Cary has been there prompting me to “Just do it” and I did, no headaches or dangerous landings, I have control for longer, safe landing then she does whatever it is she does to my hips and suddenly I rise again. As usual followed by the cross arm thing then an assisted one, walking in, hold for 5 then up we come. In days gone by I used to just hand out in the forward bend, but I don’t seem to be allowed that luxury anymore, as she squashes me she’s telling me about bringing the heals together, pushing through the balls of the feet, elbows out, no longer just hanging out!

Totally amazed as I viewed the clock at the end of closing to find I was done in 1hr 25mins, time for a nice long 10 minute plus Savasana. I hope I can keep this up, practice without rushing but somehow getting faster.

Not the end of the day I am glad to say, as 11 yogi’s then went for breakfast at The Breakfast Club in nearby Hoxton.


Yogi Breakfast