Archive for October, 2013

Bhekasana, the foot not the hand

October 27, 2013

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My arm isn’t enjoying the cold, wet weather, it aches and won’t do Mari D even with help. I need the Shala heat more than ever. The last two Sundays the Shala has been quiet, but thankfully still nice and warm, so warm in fact that as I waited for my neighbour to finish her Parsva Dhanurasana I looked around to see steam rising off everyone as they practised. A nice extra hour in bed this week as we change the clocks. Bhujapidasana bail out today, as I crossed my feet and transferred the weight my arm didn’t like it, I ended up pulling my left hand out while still balanced on the right, I think I’ve possibly invented a new posture! Surprisingly being assisted into a fully bound Supta K afterwards was fine, it seems to be as much about what angle the arm is at, as well as what weight or pulling is going through it. Pulling on the arm in the last two bum balances is fine, the core is keeping me up.

The last couple of weeks Louise has assisted Salabhasana giving me a much deeper bend in the upper spine, meaning I don’t need to do my ungiven Ustrasana before backbends.

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New Shala art

I’ve been experimenting with Bhekasana at home, my last given posture, the right hand has got the plot again now, the left arm isn’t sure about the rotation but is getting it. Being warm I decided it’s time to bring it back to the Shala, even if it’s still only one side at a time. Right side done I flicked the left foot up and started to try and crawl the fingers into position, I didn’t realise Louise was behind me until I felt my foot being pushed down as she easily put my left hand in the right place. Once in place the arm was pain free, the problem seems to be not with the necessary shoulder and hand rotation but the arms lack of strength to push the foot down, but next time two sides at once must be possible. If the left hand can take the position that’s another pose added that it couldn’t do pre fracture.

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Yoga Swing

The Yoga show was much better this year, more stands and more things to try. The Yoga swing was great fun, going upside-down like a trapeze artist, alas I have no space let alone anywhere to suspend one from at home.
The show had lots of free classes, this year I tried the Feldenkreis , slow movements that try to rebalance the body. Feldenkreis is not something I had looked at before, but Suzanne has given me a couple of super Feldenkreis lessons via Skype to try and help my shoulder. Suzanne’s just qualified, so if anyone in
the NY area is looking for a teacher.

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Mel and Alice from Yogaclicks (photo from Lucy)
The show is also great for meeting up with the yoga folk, great to see Cherie and also the girls from Yogaclicks, for who I occasionally write blog posts.

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Sunday moon days 😦

Sunday moon day coming up next week, but no rest for the wicked, as we shall be doing the Upanisads at the philosophy discussion group.

Ankle assist

October 13, 2013

A stress free train journey to AYL for a change, but the second day running I’ve got to yoga drenched from the torrential early morning rain. But the rain wasn’t going to dampen my asana parade in the lovely AYL heat.

The Shala was quiet, choices, choices, but I still took my spot on the back wall, creature of habit that I am. Lots of help in standing, I would love to know how near my hands were to the floor in PPC, it felt like Louise took me way over.

I think my newly re emerging jump backs needs some refinement, as I noticed a mat burn on the side of my foot, I must be scraping my foot as I go back, I lack the ability to alternate the cross of the feet, so it’s the left foot that gets it every time!

Assisted in Mari C, but left to my own devices in Mari D, for some reason on the first side I can’t bind on the first go, my recovering left arm slides up and off my knee before I can get the fingers to join, but having a second attempt, getting the left arm lower down and further round the leg I can bind.

Supta K crossed and bound for the second day running, having a Shala practice on a Saturday makes Sunday much easier. Squished in Baddha Konasana, my nose was already down, but the adjustment lengthens the spine further along the mat.

My left hand is gradually getting the plot with Bhekasana, I’m still only doing one side at a time, the right hand can do the up and over the foot again now, so sometime soon I’m going to have to try the both at the same time proper version.

Urdva Dhanurasana against the wall, followed by a rubbish one off the mat, the right arm pushes up, but the left can’t keep up. Assistant T saw me and came along to get me to try the holding the ankles assist. Think I made the “giving birth” noise as I pushed up, but once I’m up its fine. And then it was time for dropbacks, no playtime, just straight in to 3 cross arm half way followed by three all the way, finger touch and back up.

So I’m doing or at least attempting everything again now except for Sirsasana, I just can’t work that out, my left shoulder will barely put up with taking the position and walking the feet in pre lift off, no way can I even attempt to lift up.

The end of an era

October 12, 2013

After 7 years the Lifecentre has finally pulled the plug on the Saturday Mysore class due to lack of numbers, though ironically there were actually 8 of us today. Michaela and Phillipa have taught the class between them for all of those years. The heating was broken today and we ended up with a few fan heaters to warm the Loft up, though even with 8 body’s it still didn’t get that warm. I could still see out of the windows at the end, we didn’t manage to steam them up,one last time.

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Lots of assistance in all the right places, Mari D and a super Supta K with fingers and feet crossed and bound and the lift in to Dwi Pada, I’m going to miss that assist from Phillipa. Pasasana nicely knotted and Ustrasana to help undo the upper back before Urdva Dhanurasana.

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UD has seen a minor breakthrough in the last couple of days, I have been able to push up with the heals of my hands against the wall, but in the last few days I’ve started to be able to push up from just the mat. Three on the wall or 2 x wall and one by free standing seems to be the arms limit, but today I managed a second one off the mat with P assisting. The arm can keep me up, it’s the position of the hand that’s the problem, it starts in the right place, but then slides backwards and lifts.

I managed a few nice dropbacks down the wall and was going to call it a day, but Phillipa knew I’d done assisted dropbacks at AYL last week and came and did 3 to the floor with me 🙂

So that’s it, the end of an era. AYL in the morning.

Wish I was there

October 10, 2013

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Exactly 2 years ago today I arrived in Mysore, I wish I was there now as autumn feels like it’s turning in to winter in Europe.

I can’t believe two years have passed since those 3 wonderful months of practice in the South Indian heat. It’s been rather a downward spiral since I left Mysore, got home and found a job, ten months later fractured my arm, 5 months after the fracture finally had surgery to repair it, 3 months later I lost the job because of the arms incapacity and still no sign of finding another job that the STILL recovering arm stands a chance of physically being able to do. There’s seemingly no end in sight as I wait to find out if there is to be another surgery to free up the shoulder from whatever it is that’s stopping it having anything like full movement.

The only question seems to be will I actually ever work again and if not will my arm recover enough of its strength and range of motion to make it worth buying another ticket back to Mysore.

Philosophy & practice

October 7, 2013

No practice at TLC this weekend, no way could I practice in the west and get to the north of the capital in time for the monthly Philosophy discussion group. The group gets larger every month, bringing more ideas, thoughts and opinions. This month we did the Bhagavad Gita, a text most yoga students intend to read but probably never get round to. Ostensibly it’s a conversation between Krishna and Arjuna before a battle where Arjuna is reluctant to kill his kinsmen despite knowing it’s the right course of action, the dilemmas and moral, mental questions the text raises are a metaphor for our attitudes towards practice and life in general.

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Tottenham Buddha

It did help that this month Ruth joined us, she is an expert on these texts and history and her enthusiasm and insight shone through and brought what could seem a bit of a boring, dry story to life. The two hours just fly past, I’m glad Mel always produces a set of notes to take home, we seem to cover so much.

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Next month it’s the Upanisads, but that’s a bit of a thick text, even the easy idiots guide Ruth recommended, I think google is going to have to enlighten me.
Sunday was another tortuous journey of cancellations and engineering work, meaning I got to the Shala an hour late wondering if it would already be full. I knew it was hot in there, when as I closed the street door and before opening the inner door my glasses steamed up! But not only was it super hot, but a space on the back wall in the sunshine was still free.

A nice prompt, sweaty practice. When the Shala is busy and hot practice is always better. As usual plenty of help from Louise and good to see Emma back assisting again. Mostly left alone in seated apart from Mari A squish, bound both sides of D on my own again, though for some reason my fingers couldn’t get it together in Supta K. A lovely shoulder pull back in Salabhasana A, really feels like the upper back opens. More Bhekasana experiments, the right hand seems to have gotten over its dyslexia and can take the position, the left is learning to do it.

So we come to backbends, UD against the wall and using the brick shape blocks before playing hang backs. Louise had said this was the week to try going further, so I found her waiting at the end of my mat as I came up off the wall. We started with cross arm half way, but the first was so deep L decided we may as well go straight to assisted dropbacks. Slowly back trying as much as possible to keep it in the legs, fingers touch and back up, the right hand would land, but the left is in the wrong position and line with its lack of range of motion, if I tried to land flat the hand would slide away. We did 3, I’d forgotten how much work this is and was glad of the full on Paschimottanasana squash that followed, even if it left me dizzy as I came up.

Closing still lacks Sirsasana, no idea when I will be able to try that, the shoulder is nowhere near strong enough, but now the backbends, well assisted ones at least are back, it’s a full practice again and it feels like it, the ashtanga stamina still needs to return.