Archive for December, 2010

Last practice in 2010

December 31, 2010

A long day, I left Kandy at 7.30am in the pouring rain, hoping that 2 buses and nearly 100km later the sun would come out by the time I got to Sigiriya, Sri Lanka’s prime tourist attraction, but the farther north I went the heavier the rain fell. I saw Sigiriya through the clouds, but after speaking to an Italian lady who had just come down from the top decided it wasn’t worth the extortionate entry to see nothing and get even wetter than I already was, a shame, maybe next time. So back to Kandy, 3 hours standing on a bus, the bandhas get a good workout I can tell you!

Back in town I decided to have some pamper time, I had the most fantastic pedicure, my feet were a real state after 2 weeks in Sandals, I thought she was going to take a grinder to my heels! Lovely leg and foot massage included.

Practice in my room last night, nothing left out, well I say that, bouncing around in buses has made my back very sore, so although I did UD’s I had to leave off the drop backs, I’d already had Room  service arrive after crash landing Supta Konasana! Pasasana on the second side is still there I’m glad to say, I just hope its still there when I get home to my Shala on Monday. So that was my last practice of the year, a year in which I have failed to stand up from a dropback, but was given Pasasana back in April by Kino and bound it on my own in December, there is always something to work on.

My last day in Sri Lanka, I went to the Tea Museum this morning, had a free guided tour before being made a pot of tea, my idea of tourism.

Wishing you all a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!

One side at last :-)

December 29, 2010

I got back to the Hotel last night after a day of walking and exploring Kandy, exercise enough I had thought, but after a refreshing cuppa or 2 I decided to get on my mat, I have a lovely wooden floor, which creaks beautifully as I practice. It may not be sunny, but it sure is humid, at least it has stopped raining. I was soon nicely bendy and sweaty and the practice seemed to come easily, no thinking just doing, A lovely Supta K as my feet were able to slide on the wooden floor, soon seated were done and it was time for Pasasana.

Pasasana first side fingers are now touching, but not able to grow and stretch enough for anything else, side 2 finally at last the miracle has happened, on the second attempt I had a safe squat and managed to eek out the extra millimetres and found my fingers not just touching, but overlapping enough for a tentative bind, once the fingers found each other I was able to bind a little tighter, wow 🙂

Backbends and closing were done with the joy of binding Pasasana, so as you can imagine the backbends didn’t quite have the focus and quality, when something unexpected happens the mind, or my mind at least likes to revel in the success, knowing just how hard won it was. I wonder how long the first side is going to take, if ever!

Today I went to the elephant orphanage, the baby ones are cute as they splash in the river, there’s a 3 legged one too, poor thing, but at least its well looked after. I learned that they make paper out of elephant dung, very expensive notebooks, who says shit doesn’t pay! This afternoon back into Kandy with my trousers to visit the Temple of the Tooth, mostly locals, a few french tourists, quite impressive, I’ll add some photos when I get home or have a wifi connection.

So there we are 8 months almost to the day since Kino gave me Pasasana I finally bound a side on my own.

From yoga to Kandy

December 28, 2010

My final practice at ashtangalanka, another nice one where everything happened as it should, well apart from a head first landing on the first dropback, ooops havn’t done that in a while. Pasasana again my fingers are overlaying each other on the second side but just not quite able to get it together, I didn’t think it was possible for them to be this close without being able to bind. My squat is getting more stable as well, which is allowing me to wriggle round that bit more. Surely it will happen sooner rather than later.

Ashtangalanka was a great choice, really good value, beautiful setting, good teaching and a nice group of yogi’s, great to meet Ahu at last and also talk to someone I have ocassionally seen in London but never spoken to. A much better way to spend Christmas than in the cold at home.

Finally I had to leave and because the train wasn’t running part of the way I shelled out for a private transfer up to Kandy. 5 bum numbing hours, though not without some sights like a massive flood in the road, bats hanging from Trees, the Presidents helicopter buzzing over, the hardest part was finding the hotel once we got to Kandy, turns out to be a little further out of the city than the blurb says! Lovely Hotel though, very raj-esque! I have a massive room looking out to the grounds and a shower that does hot water, OMG that was bliss last night.

Best nights sleep since I got here, a short pre breakfast practice up to Janu A, really I was just looking forward to exploring somewhere new. The bus into the city only costs 12p for the 11km, though it took an hour, it dropped me next to the Queens Hotel, so rock cakes and banana cake for breakfast with a massive pot of tea! Exploring is fun, not many tourists about, though its hard to stop some of the locals trying to tag along and take you places you dont want to go. Along the lake shore I saw some enormous Monitor lizards, they are poisonous, so a good job I had my zoom lens. Lots of Turtles basking in Supta K and some white birds.

I was going to see the Temple of the Tooth, but stupidly I am wearing shorts, so will have to go another day. Kandy feels like a metropolis after the coast, noise, dirt, beggars. Hopefully tomorrow I will get to see the baby elephants.

It hasn’t rained today so far, that’s an improvement, though I havn’t seen the sun either.

So close

December 26, 2010

i just seem to know when it’s going to be a good one, after about the third Surya A I just knew. Really strong practice, all the length in the Janu’s, all the Mari binds and a super Dwi pada exit from Supta K. Kathy bound my first Pasasana on each side and my subsequent attempts on either side had the fingers overlapping but not quite joining up. Nice help from Jacob with dropbacks, getting me to have my feet nearer together and not send my knees/hips so far forward, good controlled landings. I did lots of extra backbends and was really surprised that I was still done within 2 hours, though I’m going to have to speed up when I get home. I just hope my final practice tomorrow is as good before I spend the rest of the day travelling to Kandy

It’s stopped raining!

December 24, 2010

We have had 36 hours of continuous heavy rain, but as practice finished this morning the sun started to finally reappear from behind the clouds.

Led primary this morning, first time in a very long time I have done one of those, it’s mentally different having to pay attention to a voice outside of the one in your head telling you what to do. My mind finds it far easier to wander when the focus isn’t so internal. As usual with led some poses you just don’t have the time to squirm into, but some like Supta K I can do in the time. Backbends were not great, that’s where I do need the time to prepare, play around and just psyche myself up to do it and of course no dropbacks.

The Shala is very full now, a semi familiar face from London arrived and a couple more, all makes for a nice atmosphere. Despite coming here largely to practice and escape Christmas, we are having a Christmas Party tonight. Wishing everyone a very Happy Christmas

Heavy practice

December 23, 2010

After a dog howling interrupted nights sleep practice was heavy. No lift, no flow, a day just to plod through. The Shala is also getting fuller each day as new arrivals escape the European winter snow. Whatever it’s still easier to practice here in the heat and humidity, by home standards it was a good practice where Mari D was bound for the 4th time running here on both sides, I was a little disappointed to collapse in Bhuja and to lose Dwi Pada coming out of Supta K. The saving grace of today’s practice was finger touching on both sides of Pasasana , will I get this pose for Christmas I wonder, I can dream.

Yesterday afternoon I spent 30 minutes in the Shala doing backbends, but they didn’t seem to help with today’s , a day of struggling to make myself push up into Urdva Dhanurasana, I still managed some ok dropbacks and got assistance from Kathy today with standing, she pulled a bit hard on the first one catapulting me up into her, but subsequent ones she gave me the start before I did the rest. Another 2 hour practice with Savasana, but that’s why I’m here, there is no pressure to finish, nobody waiting for your spot or class waiting to begin. Tomorrow is led primary, it’s been a while since I did one, so that will be interesting.

After a long breakfast , delicious home made bread toasted, it was off to town for a wander, a stop for a spot of lunch at a beachside Restaurant before wandering towards home, drip drip deluge, caught out in a massive rain storm, I hid in a bus shelter, after 10 minutes or so a bus came to take me the mile or so home, I then got completely drenched walking the last 300 metres. A kind soul had rescued the washing we had hanging from the balcony. As I type it’s thundering again, but it sure beats snow.

Back to the mat

December 22, 2010

After yesterdays Solstice, full moon and Lunar eclipse, not that it was visible to us, it was back on our mats this morning. A sticky, humid but overcast morning just right for practice. I didn’t have the lightness of Monday, so it was quite hard going, seated felt easier, again Mari D on both sides and super Supta K with Dwi Pada out.

No assists today with Pasasana or dropbacks. 5 dropbacks on my own but no standing up progress. A good practice that took 2 hours again, it didn’t feel that slow, but I was trying to take deeper breaths so that added to the overall length.

Another lovely day by the beach now, with maybe some playtime on the slack line later.

Moon day in Galle

December 21, 2010

A very auspicious day, full moon and a Lunar eclipse, so obviously no practice today. A day to get out and explore so I took a 2 hour bus trip along the coast to Galle, hoping to meet up with Juliet who gives talks to the travel club and to see the old town, which is located inside the fort. A fairly comfortable bus trip, I found Juliet’s Cafe but alas she was in Colombo. Never mind tea and a chat with her Sri Lankan brother in law, then off to explore at which point the heavens opened, a deluge that was not going to abate for a while, I just chanced on an Ayurvedic centre and decided a half hour neck and shoulder massage would keep me dry. It was ok, not a Miss Steelthumbs type, afterwards they gave me a herbal Ayurvedic drink, yeeeuuuuuuk, truly disgusting, never have I craved a handful of LPQ sugar lumps so much! It had almost stopped raining by now so I had a walk around the Walls to the Lighthouse as thunder and lightening crashed around. Galle Fort is a great place to wander but not when you are getting drenched. Mid afternoon lunch and then I saw a bus heading towards home so decided to jump on, what a good decision this time the rain was monsoonal, the driver couldn’t see but still drove like a maniac! So not quite the moonday I had planned but it was a fun expedition. Back to yoga tomorrow

Mari D came back

December 20, 2010

A far better practice today, the heat and humidity sure do help, after I had done Marichyasana D on the first side I realised it was going to be possible on the 2nd side for the first time in months. My knee decided to play, the heat made the difference. The whole practice felt so much more fluid and open today, Supta K was easy and kept dwi pada on the way out.

Pasasana was the nearest to binding on my own, Kathy came and joined me up, it just feels easier .

.Backbends are back too, good UD’s and dropbacks, then assisted dropbacks, alas there are no Bolsters here to play around with standing up, but I have hopes of the beach when the tide goes down as it shelves so in theory I can work my way down the slope. I don’t know how long I will have to wait as it’s full moon as well as a Lunar eclipse here so the sea is right in.

But practice felt much more how it should, Sri Lanka yoga is great

Sri Lanka

December 19, 2010

after a very long journey I finally arrived in a truly beautiful spot, AshtangaLanka is right on the beach in a quiet cove. No practice on Saturdays or moon days so a day to settle in and meet my fellow yogis and Kathy the teacher.

I woke up early thanks to a jet lagged nights sleep, but practice was oh so stiff after 4 days off Everything was tight, there was no length in the hamstrings and calf muscles, all the standing forward bends felt way off where they would normally be on a Sunday morning. I wasn’t lacking energy just flexibility. It turned into a 2 hour practice, which is fine here, no need to rush, nobody waiting for a shala space. I was quite surprised to bind all the Mari’s and Supta K, but not a great exit, losing dwi pada. I was in my own little world doing Baddha Konasana, to the point that I jumped when Kathy came behind me to adjust me.

She did manage to bind Pasasana for me. Backbends were a physical and mental trial, eventually managed 3 ok Urdva Dhanurasana but bailed out on dropbacks my back was too tight and there are no crash landing props.

Hopefully tomorrow I will have a bendier body