Archive for April, 2011

Traditional Friday

April 29, 2011

A very traditional Friday Primary Mysore practice today with Philippa Asher,  one of the UK’s 2 Certified Teachers. She is quite “hands off”normally, but today she seemed to want to correct a few things, particularly in standing. My hips needed squaring up in Trikonasana A and the mat hand moved forward in Triko B. In Parsvakonasana B, I had to get a deep lunge before taking the twist. It was quite a surprise to get the attention, when I have practised with her in the past I have only had the odd prod and squish. Alas she did not manage to repeat the PPC miracle of a week ago.

She was a bit surprised when I managed to bind on both sides of Ardha Baddha padme Paschimottanasana, as I can’t bind either side in the standing version. I was surprised to be able to cling on the second side, it doesn’t happen often. 

Despite being my Pasasana’s first Birthday, I couldn’t play today being a Friday in a Shala with a Certified Teacher, so it was straight on to closing.

I had done a couple of Urdva Dhanurasana without realising Philippa was standing behind me watching, she got me to do a few more, but with the hands much wider than I am used to, I didn’t seem to be able to walk the hands in as much. She left me to play in dropbacks, asking if I wanted help, but I wanted to have the time to play hangbacks and open my back slowly, which resulted in three safe landings.

And as for the wedding, missed that, but at least it gave me the chance for another weekend of 2 Shala trips.


Mysore with hope

April 28, 2011

The Company have finally named the day, the day I truly hope to escape once and for all, the day I stop treading water or more like the quick sand that drags me down mentally and physically.

I have just taken a small step on the road to Mysore, I sent them an e-mail to ask about the process for finally laying my mat down in that Shala, to ask about the Visa situation, having got a deafening silence on the phone when I aksed the Visa office about this so called “Student yoga visa”. I want to get my Ducks in a row, Shala dates, Visa, Flights, Accommodation, what else do I need to do?

I name a new pose

April 25, 2011

All the “fun” happened in standing today. I do like a Teacher with a sense of humour and Eileen certainly has that, with her French accent as an added bonus. She adjusted Trikonasana A by prodding my left shoulder and pulling my hand upwards before leaving to adjust elsewhere with a smile after saying “Your shoulders need an holiday from your ears!” yes my shoulders have gone back to being up round my ears due to stress and stuff beyond my control and being back to using a PC Mouse all day.

I wanted to practice with E today to find out if Fridays Prasarita Padot C touch down was a freak or something that could be repeated. When I got to the sequence I took my time with A, then did a quicker B as I could see E giving a downward dog squash behind me, so I went into C hoping she would arrive and after a few breaths she duly did. Down, down, down we went, head touching the ground then “touchdown” for the hands, at this point something weird happened, my feet became unattached from the mat and seemed to rise up so that I was balanced on my head and hands with my feet in the air, I name this new pose “Prasarita Padotanasana Sirsasana C”. We both laughed as she said my Heals need to ground. So not quite as successful as Friday’s, but at least my hands got there again with no discomfort to the shoulders at all. 🙂

Some better Urdva Dhanurasana today, stronger, able to walk the hands in more, I think all those “Turbo Dogs” and Handstands in Fridays Vinyasa class made a difference,though by number 4, which had been adjusted,I had run out of breath, E asking if I was OK as I fought to regain control of my breath once back to earth. 

After a sneaky little rest and a vinyasa that to the trained eye probably looked like a Salabhasana 😉 it was time for dropbacks. I did a lot of hang backs today, trying not to repeat Friday’s loud and painful head banging landing. I was just at the point of going for the ground when I felt my hips being held, so just kept going, it felt like my own work, then she brought me up, we did 2 more, but each one was more intense as she took me into a tighter backbend landing nearer my feet before bringing me back to standing.

So another decent practice, 3 full practices in the last 4 days, with a half primary on Saturday.

Practice followed by a few hours with yogi T, breakfast, then brunch when we came across a cafe doing cheap Bacon baguettes and playtime in the Apple Store.

I need more days like today and less like the next 3, roll on Friday.

Prasarita C miracle

April 23, 2011

A “Good” Friday of 2 practices with E. And some time on the South Bank. I managed to get the for 7am, something of a miracle in itself with the crap transport. A surprisingly busy Shala, though 2 other Shalas were closed for the holiday.

Apart from a few prods around my shoulders, yes my shoulders still like to live up around my ears, I was left alone until Prasarita Padottanasana C. I have long ago given up any hope of being able to do this with my tight shoulders, usually an adjustment is just bloody excruciating and a lesson in survival. The other problem with it is that it’s virtually impossible to know how near or not to the ground your hands actually are. Mine feel like they are still so high, so when E came to assist I went into survival mode, trying to breath, while trying not to do the splits on a sweaty mat. E seems to have a different way of doing this, she seems to support you and stops the feeling of pitching forward worrying about banging the head, while all the time taking your hands nearer the ground without killing the shoulders. She takes it slowly and as I felt supported and it was wasn’t killing my shoulders I went with it, then out of the blue my hands felt something, “could that be the floor?”, I thought maybe it’s her foot or even the yogi on the next mat, but it felt like floor. After a few breaths she brought me back up and I just had to ask her if my hands had landed. “yes” she said, “it’s quite easy really”. She moved on and I stood in disbelief.

I went through the rest of standing still thinking about the miracle that had just happened, not really present with what I was doing, but moments like that are so few and far between that you have to enjoy them.

Seated went to plan, well I bound all the Mari’s and Supta K which constitutes success, I havn’t been able to get my hands through in Garbha since Thailand a year ago.

Pasasana time, a nice deep twist, then E told me my feet were twisting too much and need to be more grounded and to go and get a bolster. Shala hopping as I am forced to do most of the time means that I am never sure what is allowed with regard to props, some teachers don’t allow them, some Shala’s don’t even have them, so it never occurred to me to go looking for one.

Urdva Dhanurasana was a bit of a struggle, 2 on my own, then one assisted one before standing up for dropbacks. I know E doesn’t like people to use the wall, so I stood on my mat hanging back until the floor came into view and managed to land safely. Dropback number 2 is the reason I suspect that i am typing this with the crick in my neck I woke up with. It was going ok then “bang” my head got to the floor some time before my hands, making quite a bang by all accounts. The Assistant came over to see if i was OK, then helped me to do 3 more where my hands got there first, but was I glad to spend time in Paschimottanasana. But despite the headache a decent practice, but I really need to find a way of getting back the control I had when I came back from Sri Lanka and was doing dropbacks and spending time working out how to stand up

So that was the first practice done, followed by a rather long breakfast then a few hours down on the South Bank checking out the giant upside-down inflated purple cow, the Beach Huts and the lovely new roof top garden on top of the QE Hall.

Part 2 was the Vinyasa class, I had hoped to get to this in January, but as we know that went out the window along with my weight, strength and energy for the next 3 months. Well if anything was a test for the surgery and wrists this was. My first handstands in over a year, headstand variations that we beyond my dyslexic legs ability to follow, twisting standing balances, which were actually fun.this was so different to what we normally do, not knowing what was coming next, it was 90 minutes very hard work. Turbo dogs and Dolphins which kill the arms. This practice seemed to be about increasing strength, which was probably a good thing for me, especially my arms. I don’t think all the extra headstands helped my crick much, but hopefully I will get to do it again sometime.

Dinner in a Greek Restaurant with S and AC afterward, a nice way to end the day, dissecting asana. I thought Greek Restaurants let you smash the plates, though it was enough to lift the food up to my mouth, I don’t think I could have found the energy to break a plate.


April 17, 2011

A change of plan this morning, well last night actually when I discovered the possibility of a train that could in theory get me to AYL in time if not to YP, for a kind of practice, then onto a breakfast with a visiting yoga friend from Dublin and my Shala pals who I have not seen for far too long. The chance to feel part of the loop again, to talk of practice and catch up.

Good plan, alas the train arrived on time and left 20 minutes late, so by the time I got in the door of AYL it was already 8:40, though I’m never sure about the clocks at that Shala, they seem to show different times and I had forgotten to put my watch on. I always seem to end up in the spot in the corner by the window,despite the best efforts of the dehumidifier I was dripping, really dripping, properly Ashtanga dripping and had to vinyasa the Yogi toes into place for the Prasaritas knowing I would most likely get adjusted in C, Louise duly turned up just as I was thinking about coming out to extend the pose for 5 more breaths.

I had expected to only get a half primary in today with the late start, whether this focussed my practice I’m not sure but I was definitely faster today, at Navasana I had to decide and as it was going well I decided to carry on knowing I would get help with Supta K as usual at AYL, I had only been in Kurmasana a couple of breaths when I felt assistance arrive. Even with help this is the posture that still leaves me gasping for breath. Still at least Baddha Konasana is a hang out posture, so is Upavistha until the exit. No Pasasana assist today though 😦

Urdva Dhanurasana without wall cheats first, the first one was dire, but the next 3 were not bad. No playing in dropbacks either today, so at least I didn’t leave the Shala with a headache, assisted down and up and called it a day at that.

Just being able to practice again on a Sunday after all this time was what I really needed, the heat helped but I wasn’t measuring the postures, I was just satisfied to be there.

My mat bags are slowly being wrecked by my black mat, the straps and zips are not up to the job, so I decided to invest in a Shala one built for the job.

Today was a chance to reconnect not only with my Sunday practice but also with my Shala friends at a Patisserie for breakfast. It’s been far too long and has been a factor in my low mood, I have missed the animated chat, smiling faces and just being in that uplifting environment, even the odd scolding for landing dropback on my head!

Another rug pulled out

April 16, 2011

Despite the Sunday train strike being settled I find I still can’t get into the city now early enough to practice thanks to Engineering works, it seems a barrier is being put in front of everything I try to do just now and just to compound the whole sorry state of affairs Michaela announces this morning that this will be my last class with her, she’s off to Brazil for at least 6 months, but won’t be teaching for a year at least. So what chance of getting myself to Mysore when I can’t even get 24 miles down the train track once a week to practice. I have no idea what to do about practice if this carries on. I last practised at YP at the end of February, it’s been impossible to get there or even to AYL ever since, except the one Sunday when I was in the city which was a moon day.

Just the 5 regulars this morning, no beginners,so a steady practice, help in the usual places, UHP, PPC etc, still lost 2nd side of Mari D but I did bind both ends of Supta K, though the exit left me gasping for air, there are still parts of practice that just wipe me out. I knew M would be waiting for Pasasana, she had me do it on my own, then came and bound me up, she does it so easily where other teachers struggle and make me lose my balance, I’m going to miss Michaela.

Backbends were better today, 3 alone dropbacks, then another 4 down on my own with help to come back up, though she assisted the last one down after my head won the race to the floor on number 3, oops!

I wish M a wonderful trip, but for me it’s frustrating to lose access to another great teacher at a place and time I could get to. Practice like life seems to be pulling rugs out from under my feet at every turn. Another tedious Sunday looms

Eyore’s cloud

April 14, 2011

How apt

It almost all got to much on Monday, the depressive spiral of work, home, still not feeing 100%, nothing to look forward to, drifting along in a pointless existence of not wanting to wake up on Tuesday and being pissed off at a God who I don’t believe in on Tuesday morning when I did wake up and realised another day at the abys was about to begin.

I usually find refuge and solace in my practice, but after an OK practice on Monday, the 4th in a row on Tuesday when I was feeling so low and still do, was a practice too far. Never the less I managed to get all the way through, despite feeling shattered at Mari B I ploughed on when perhaps it would have been more sensible to stop. The crunch literally came in closing. Urdva Dhanurasana was awful, I barely had the strength to push up. I decided for some reason that dropping back would be easier and managed to crash on my head! Though being in UD did feel easier despite the stars before my eyes.But that was 4 full practices in a row, first time since early January I have tried to do that.

I abandoned practice last night after a few Surya A’s, no energy and my mind was not in the right frame. The Eyore cloud seems to be visiting me a lot this year, when I’m this low I can’t be bothered to eat, I go through the motions at work and really I just want to sleep and not wake up. Someone suggested booking a holiday, having something to look forward to, but to be honest it’s not the answer in the long term, the 4 weeks each year that I travel, usually to do practice are not the problem, its dealing with the other 48 weeks, when I have a job I hate, but is too convenient, a home life that is stressfull and only intermittent access to a Shala practice. The spiral worries me, it seems bottomless, no sign of the trampoline to bounce me back into the light. Mysore at the end of the year is still both the plan and the hope, but god knows if it will happen the way things are. If I could stop the world and get off I would.

TLC again

April 9, 2011

It’s beginning to feel like a private club at The Lifecentre on a Saturday morning, same half a dozen people with Michaela. A bit of a heavy feel to practice this morning, I knew the first time I jumped back in the Surya A that it was not going to be an easy one. Standing is consistent enough, usual assists in PPC and UHP. Good job I got the UHP as I had no balance at all today.

Seated just felt hard, couldn’t bind the second side of Mari D and M had to help my fingers find each other in my favourite Supta K. My shoulders seem to have got very tight in the last week, it could be because I am virtually back to a daily practice and doing the backbends again, my shoulders virtually had 2 months off, now they are having to work again. I need some kind of remedial exercises to loosen my shoulders up between practises otherwise they seem to cumulatively get tighter and tighter with each practice.

At least M had no problem getting my feet down and binding Pasasana, though my aching upper arms and shoulders made it hard to get the arm round the knee.

Backbends against the wall, then 3 free standing UD’s. 3 dropbacks on my own then another 4 with M only bringing me back up, she says along with my feet returning to the splaying out habit, I am also bending my elbows when I land instead of keeping them straight.

But at least I am not far from being back to where my practice was in January, though I still lack the stamina and energy, I keep needing a little rest. The blood test results were ok, my body just wants to recover to it’s timetable and not mine, as Jen commented on the previous post it’s patience I need and not new asanas.

ASLEF are forcing me to rest tomorrow, boo

Going local

April 8, 2011

Last night I did my 5th full Primary in the last 6 days and I’m still alive to tell the tale, which must prove that my stamina and general energy levels are beginning to slowly return.

I went to our local Shala, well I say Shala, but it moves around between a couple of Church Halls and the Town Hall meeting room, so last night it was one of the Church Hall’s. I hadn’t practised with the local teacher since October, but just to prove the yoga grapevine is working well she seemed to know all about my infection and Hospital experience, though the grapevine works 2 ways, she was surprised to find that I knew who she had been practising with and where she was up to!

Only 7 of us in a small room which soon got pretty hot, getting hot and sweaty in a Church Hall sounds like something one of the Sunday red tops would normally be sending Journalists to investigate LOL!

A nice practice, though my energy levels again started to dip quite suddenly after Supta Kurmasana and getting through the rest of seated was a bit of a trial. If I hadn’t known who she practises with herself I would probably have guessed from her emphasis on getting the tailbone down and ribs in, she visits the “Dark side”! She did just about manage to bind my Pasasana, but different teachers have different techniques and I have yet to find anyone better than Michaela at doing this and getting my feet down.

My UD’s were not great, did a couple on my own, then got assisted for 3, but pushing up with that wrist and hand is still a battle. So to dropbacks, managed to land 3 safely and walk in a little. Being in UD from dropback seems far easier at the moment to pushing up into it, maybe it’s because the legs are engaged from controlling the drop and not an extra bit of weight my wrists are trying to hoist off the ground. 

At this point I began to notice how many people were doing up to at least Laghu Vajrasana, yet I seemed to be the only one who could do Supta K and Mari D and also dropback without help, yet there i was bailing out of 2S at my legal Pasasana stopping point. I could have gone further, the teacher would have been none the wiser, doing more at home is one thing, but doing it with a teacher in a Mysore environment somehow felt wrong, even if others were doing so much more. It got me wondering what would happen if some of these students had turned up at AYL or YP thinking they could just do their normal practice to Kapo or whatever, would they be stopped? Yes I know it shouldn’t matter to me what anyone else is doing, but…

So just under 2 hours from starting I was finished, a pretty decent practice for a Church Hall on a carpet. Looks like the striking train drivers are going to yet again screw my Sunday Shala practice plans, so will have to be the early train to TLC in the morning instead. Michaela’s turn to bind my Pasasana.

So no bad blood

April 6, 2011

I got the results of last Fridays blood tests today, GP said they were satisfactory and consistent with a patient recovering from a major infection and surgery. Nothing deficient, so my diet can’t be that bad or the multivitamin tablets worked fast!

So basically it is just a case of me being patient with my body, getting enough quality rest, healthy food, not overdoing my practice and TLC. Also trying not to get frustrated with my body’s current state of inadequacy, knowing what it is capable of, but can’t do at this time. Resisting the usual Ashtangi urge to push through instead of backing off.

I had Monday off, Miss Steelthumbs giving me a good going over. I practised yesterday and today, but my back has stiffened up since the 4 dropbacks I managed on Saturday, rest of practice is pretty good, apart from running out of energy and arm strength around Bhujapidasana, but that is an improvement from collapsing the vinyasa at Janu A a few weeks ago.