Sunday, 28 February 2010

Backbending

My back seemed to tighten up in January despite working hard on kapotasana, it seemed to get harder rather than easier.  I'd love to say I was all yogic and calm about this but actually it was a tad frustrating at times.  Kapotasana felt like I was lost at sea falling to clasp anything.  Buying a yoga towel helped a great deal here, now I can creep my hands in.  I've also developed some stamina and when I am at home to make up for the lack of adjustment I do some hanging back and sometimes repeat the pose.

Inspired by Boodhiba's blog I started to time my hang backs which definitely helps me stay there longer and definitely opens up my back.  It also helps me work on deepening my breath which opens the back up even more.  Especially if I focus on ensuring the inhalation is as deep as the exhale, that inhalation really opens up the upper back, which feels intense and wonderful all at the same time.

Backbends sometimes have an emotional element for me and I feel like I have come out the other side of some intense healing recently. Now I am working on opening the upper back and deepening the breath.

For those of you interested on Marc's preparation for Kino's workshop.  He has now practised upto Mari A, which will be his stopping pose in Kino's mysore on Sunday.  So he has a week to memorise which he seems to be doing really quickly.  Our flat is small but I have discovered we can both practice at the same time in the lounge, which we haven't done yet but it is nice to know it's possible.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Another ashtangi is born

My boyfriend and I have been together five years today.  Although I practice Ashtanga every day he has not practiced ashtanga, until recently.  I had a social gathering for my students and they kept asking him why he didn't do yoga and telling him that he should.  Marc is a martial artist, he has practiced martial art for 29 years and aikido for 13 years.  He always felt he didn't have time for yoga aswell and I feel the same about aikido.  We have always respected each others dedication.  But after my students bombarded him, he felt he should give it a go.  If any of my students are reading, thanks for your enthusiasm!


So the very next day, I taught him the surya namaskaras and the first two standing poses.  He has practiced a few times since then.  Then someone I know was unfortunately unable to make Kino's workshop next week and asked me if I knew anyone who wanted to go.  Well I'm sure it wouldn't have been hard to find someone!  I told Marc about this and he said he wanted to go.

I suggested he checked with Kino if she thought it was okay and she said, it would challenge and inspire him, nice one Kino.  So basically we have one week to prepare him.  I am really excited to be sharing this part of my life with him.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

New Yoga Towel

One of the many things, I love about yoga is it's transportability, all you need is a mat.  You could of course practice without a mat and you can do it alone.  These things make having a personal practice easier and means you can do it anywhere you can find the space.

Of course many Ashtangi's have a mat and a rug or a yoga towel.  I've always just used a mat as I do not sweat much.  I had a rug for a while in Mysore, gave me blue toes (the dye) and after a few washes and tries I decided I did not need it even in the Indian heat.

Where is this story going?  Well a few weeks ago I lost my mat.  It fell off the back of my bike, true but rather random story.  So I bought a new mat, I love the type of mat I have, Planet Sadhana but have no particular attachment to that specific mat.  It's a waste of money re-buying things but anyway this isn't the story.

Two weeks ago, I went to London and to the shala, my new mat was just one week old.  The initial slipperyness was gone but it did not stand up well against the shala heat.  My practice is getting longer and as a result I am getting warmer.  It takes until Kurmasana for me to feel fully warmed up.  If your doing primary your almost done at that point but I am now practising up to Bakasana B in second.  So when I got to Kapotasana in the shala and the teacher told me to walk my hands in, I slid and couldn't so she had to bring them in for me.  My final backbend was even more ridiculous, slide, slide, slide.  Even at home alone I have been sliding in kapo B.

So I am heading to the shala this weekend and did not want a repeat, so I bought a yoga towel.  I got a cheap one because I only need it for backbending.  I have only practiced my second series poses with it once but woah!  After practising Ashtanga for 5 years changes in my practice seems to be fairly gradual.  Kapotasana has been a challenge to work on at home alone but with the yoga towel it was better than it has ever been at home.  I can creep my hands in, I could never do that before.  I walked my hands to toes 3 times. It was great for walking hands in, Urdva Dhanurasana too.

I am truly amazed that a thing can have this much impact on my practice.  Feel like I can actually start to work on it now.  No more flailing.  Tomorrow is my day off and then I am off to London for a long weekend of Mysore classes and hanging out with yogi friends.  I will of course be taking my new towel!

Friday, 12 February 2010

Busyness, new poses and moving on

January was a busy month and February, also heading in the same direction.  I am happy with the busyness, I am the one directing my life so I take some responsibility for how it works out.  I am grateful to be spending this weekend at home though, as it will be the only weekend this month.  This evening I have arranged a social gathering for my students at a bistro in town, an opportunity for them to meet outside of class.  Tomorrow I am going out dancing, venue undecided, a girls night out.  I love to dance but haven't been out for ages.

I've been getting to lots of Mysore classes recently and kapotasana is less daunting both physically and emotionally. With assistance I can get there and when I practice it alone I can now hear the calming voice of one of my teachers.  She says "keep your head up, I know you want to let it down but if you do it's game over".   Much easier to push myself when there is really someone there but the advice and calmness is useful, all the same.

Last week I had a strong emotional release during drop backs, content irrelevant really but I cried and since then Kapotasana is less of an ordeal.  There may be more to consolidate there and I am grateful to have a practice in my life, that seems to heal me, when I am ready to let go.  I feel much better for it in so many ways. 

On Monday my teacher gave my a new pose, so I am now practicing up to Bakasana B.  Bakasana is fun and adds some lightness to my practice.   On Sunday I met fellow bloggers Mel, Kevin and Susan.  It was lovely to spend some time with them sharing our experiences of life on and off the mat.  It's another week until I get to go to the shala and that seems just the right amount of time.  I'm enjoying practicing alone again but also loving having teachers.