Archive for November, 2013

A bit of a not great week

November 24, 2013

It’s not been a great week since my Moon day massage. Midweek I caught an infection from somewhere and my mother has ended the week seriously sick in the same Hospital I’ve spent too much time inside over the last 3 years. This has certainly turned into an Anu horobolis, I knew a year ending in 13 would be nothing but crap.

Getting back in to the practice run after a day off always seems hard, Monday was hard, Tuesday was a rush, Wednesday started late and got abandoned at Janu B as I felt “off”. After a sleepless Wednesday night,Thursdays practice wasn’t even a hope. Friday a glacially slow plod through to Bhekasana, though Pasasana was an easy bind after so many hours in the little room.

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Nice to see some humour we all agree with on the blackboard

Finally a Sunday that isn’t a Moon day. Despite still only feeling about 60% with the effects of the infection I went to the Shala. I knew it would be warm and that I would get some help. The new physio exercises to give the arm more strength seem to have had an adverse effect on the arms ability to do both Mari C and Mari D first sides, with help Mari C is doable, but D has reversed from Louise being able to bind me to now the fingers don’t even touch, frustrating. The strength has made Bhuja much less painful, I can exit, though not via the Titibhasana – Bhakasana. Supta K I can almost bind my hands, though my arm had had enough before T offered to assist. But I got a nice squishing in Baddha Konasana 🙂

Salabhasana A and B wasn’t overly comfortable on the UT infection, but strangely the backbends do seem to make it feel more comfortable after I’ve done them. I managed two UD’s against the wall and one semi lift up off the mat, before not getting long to play before assistance arrived to dropback. I still can’t land on my own, but today we tried putting some weight in to the hand for a second or two before coming back up, felt ok, the strength is there but the ROM stops the hand being in the right place under the shoulder, so I’m going to keep needing the help for quite a while I guess.

After this week it was just nice to be back in the Shala, the practice took care of itself. And of course the croissant breakfast afterwards.

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It’s the weather

November 14, 2013

Back to the reality of home practice after last weeks Shala feast of Certified and Authorized teachers in hot, sweaty rooms, no Supta K, Mari D or Bhekasana binding, my arm doesn’t like the cold. That’s not just my opinion, the physiotherapist confirmed it, that the metal in my arm and the still rebuilding muscles and fibres don’t like the cold, it’s beyond aching a bit after yoga or physio, the heat pad is back. She did promote me back to the blue stretchy band, we actually tried the grey one, but I couldn’t move that! It’s been a long time since the blue one saw light of day, the end of March. She also wants me to do exercises that use both arms at the same time, rather than just concentrating on the injured left. The one sided exercises may be helping the left arm but are not good for my posture or balance in the body. She told me to self massage the arm to try and alleviate the aching and keep using my big blue ball and foam roller.

Another annoying Sunday Moon day, though it’s my teachers birthday, so am pleased she will get a lay in, for me Sunday this week will be an hour of having my shoulder, arm and sciatic nuisance dealt with by Lucinda. I can’t get enough pressure to the back or front of my shoulder with my own hands or Backnobber to give it what it needs.

No sign of a job, with that dreaded yearly event in 6 weeks time I can’t see anything happening until next year. I actually had two interviews for a job a couple of weeks ago, I told them about the arm, they said it wasn’t an issue, but by the time of the second interview with the Head Honcho it had become a problem, waste of my time and theirs, especially as I had told the HR woman the state of play when she first called me.

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Wordpress tells me that apart from the UK, in the last year the readers of this blog have come from 108 countries!

David Garrigues comes to the provinces.

November 10, 2013

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New 2014 Moon day cards “Without peace there is no happiness</strong>”

After the mid week AYL practice, on Friday we had star teacher David Garrigues over from the US come to teach at our local Shala, BA yoga Studio here in the sticks. To have David visit out here rather than the big shiny London Shalas was a bit of a coup for Shala owner Cathy.

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Cathy with David Garrigues

I decided to just do his Mysore class on Friday and the Chai and Chat on Saturday, my arm can’t keep up with led classes with long holds and is only good for one practice a day. I thought it would be interesting to see what he came up with. He seemed to know the state of play with my arm and he copied Hamish by having me keep my left arm down in Trikonasana. After that I was left alone until Virabadrasana where I got straightened up. In seated I think he told everyone about engaging the legs in Upward dog, to not just let them hang out. He picks up on some of the little things, like getting me to bind my hands beyond my feet in the Janusirsasana’s, considering I could barely reach my feet two months ago, that was quite a feat! As usual UD against the wall before hanging and bouncing off the wall. By this time, as I’m still quite slow, there were only about 5 of the 18 starters still going. Instead of doing a full dropback David got me to cross my arms over head and keep the engagement in the legs as I went back until my arms touched the wall. The Shala seemed to have more energy and quiet focus than is usual, a decent if slow practice.

    Saturday – Chai and chat

My AYL friend Jen made the chai as usual, she’s got the knack and if she ever needs a job I reckon Amruth in Mysore would employ her. Lots of non locals had come for the weekend and I was surprised when someone I didn’t recognise said hello, turned out she reads the blog!

After Chai there was a kind of Q&A. David talked about the need to be satisfied with where your practice is and to realise the sacrifices and commitment needed to be able to take it to the next level or to go to Mysore.

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Chai and chat

As with all Certified teachers who studied with Guruji, David talked about him and what he said in relation to some of the questions asked. That practice should be 85% Primary and only 15% second. However when I asked if he insists on students standing up from backbend before progressing to Pasasana, he said no, though it depends on the student. He is a fan of using blocks to learn to drop back and stand up, so that the backbend is solid and safe.

Cathy asked about holding students at a posture, David said he doesn’t in general hold people back if they have the interest, enthusiasm and fitness and the next posture isn’t an injury risk. I got the feeling he doesn’t want students to become frustrated with the practice.

He was asked about Mysore, I think only myself and one other had been, so he talked about the practice there, the energy of practising in that Shala, how it is for everyone, how you could have a beginner on one side of you and a third series student on the other. He talked about how your days there can fill up with the chanting, Sanskrit courses as well as visiting places in the city. But he did say not to expect that much adjustment. Though as we all know when Sharath is on a mission with you that theory goes out the window!

The scheduled hour seemed to end up being an hour and a half, but everyone enjoyed the chai and chat and it was great to meet David in relaxed surroundings after years of watching his Asana Kitchen blogs, where I got the idea of using blocks to do backbends.

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Grrr another Sunday Moon day & Xmas is coming

Star teachers have their place, but it was nice to return to Louise at AYL this morning, much quieter but not much cooler than on Wednesday. Only 6 of us at 7:45, but by 9am it was full. Help in the usual places, PPC, UHP and a nice arm and shoulder adjustment in Virabhadrasana.

All good and bound to Mari C, first side of Mari D I had two goes but couldn’t bind and was about to carry on when Louise came along to get me to do it again with her help. She said my fingers were so close it had to be done, she easily got me bound and it was comfortable once I was in it. She seemed pretty pleased with the bind. Someone joined my hands in Supta K before a mega squishing in Baddha Konasana.

Intermediate is pretty consistent now, only my arm stops my fingers joining rather than just touching in Pasasana. So today I decided to try both sides of Bhekasana at the same time, I can use the right hand to get the left hand in place, then make a quick grab for the right, that was my plan, I just didn’t know Louise was standing behind me! So once I had my left foot I felt her pushing down as I grabbed the right, she helped keep both in place, not done that in 11 months. My left hand and shoulder seem much more able to do that movement now, compared to before the fracture, it’s just that the left arm isn’t strong enough to push down at the same time.

UD again against the wall before assisted dropbacks, I’m hoping to be able to land soon.

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He didn’t deserve his croissant!

Breakfast in Pret with a BBC film crew and an ex cabinet minister, don’t think he deserved his croissant as much as I did!

AYL on a Wednesday!

November 6, 2013

I haven’t practised on a week day at AYL since December 5th last year, I never thought it would be this long until I would do it again, but then I didn’t know it was going to snow two days later with dire consequences. I had to be in the city today to visit a travel trade show and as I know Louise does the late shift on a Wednesday I figured I would take the chance.

At 8:40 AYL was like a Sauna with queues to start and queues to finish. So I started my Surya’s playing musical mats in the closing room until the “One more” and my turn to move into the main room. Despite the busyness lots of help, Hamish gently changing my arm position in Trikonasana and then Louise deepening the twist in Parsvakonasana. Hamish picks up on different things, he has a good eye for what needs to go where, like straightening my back and generally straightening me up in Virabadrasana .

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The heat at ground level for the seated postures was something else, reminded me of Mysore, I was dripping, but the heat makes it a lot easier. Up to Mari C was good, Mari D my left arm, even with Hamish’s help couldn’t bind. At least my arm was ok with Bhujapidasana, though the Bhakasana exit failed! I had crossed my feet in Supta K and was wriggling for the fingers,then H came along and unbound my feet and joined my hands up, telling me the hands are more important.

Finger touch dropbacks with Louise, just wish I could land as everything else is in place. Great practice, just hope it’s not another year until I get a week day one.

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Part two of the day was WTM down at Excel, not so much there this year, though still easily picked up enough pens to last the year. India provided the free tea, though it wasn’t in the class of Amruth Chai. I even got to fly Harry Potters broomstick!

Led with Susan

November 3, 2013

Back to YP to practice with Susan for the first time in I don’t know how long. My first full, well nearly full led primary in over a year and the first since fracture day, so I didn’t know how I would cope or if I would be able to keep up as this would be different from ploughing through at my own speed in a Mysore class. After the Surya’s where I expected to be slow, my arm is strong in the static parts but struggles in the transitions, especially in Surya B, the standing was pretty good, nice assists in Trikonasana and UHP.

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Been a while since I was in here

It was interesting the things Susan picked me up on, little habits that have crept in and are not usually corrected in Mysore classes. My foot appears to have stopped engaging in the Marichyasana’s, too much neck in upward dog, holding my big toes instead of the sides of my feet in Upavistha. The vinyasas got harder, I seemed to end up a couple of transitions behind everyone else. Apparently jumping my feet to my hands and plopping down is developing a bad habit, so Susan got me to jump forward and land on the tops of my feet. Bridges instead of UD, picked up on ten to two feet, need toes in, heals out, but my right foot has always had a mind of its own. She had us try the Bhakasana exit from Bhujapidasana , I was quite surprised to be able to fleetingly stay up in Bhakasana followed by a lovely bind both ends in Supta K, I did the feet she joined the fingers for me, but once in I could stay.

Hanging backbends felt good, the floor was looking very tempting until I heard Susan say “don’t scare me!”, so I came back up. I have developed a lot of control in my legs knowing my arm probably wouldn’t enjoy the landing.

Good to still be able to get a good practice on a Saturday now that TLC have cancelled Phillipa’s Mysore class.

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Seven Dials Christmas lights

Moon day today, but we still had Mel’s philosophy discussion group, Upanisads are not a page turner, but at least Mel made them make sense and explained how they fit chronologically between the Vedas and the Bhagavad Gita we did last month.

A busy week coming up, AYL mid week practice, WTM, an interview then David Garrigues coming to our local Shala from Friday