Sunday, November 16, 2014

Self Practice

Hello dear friends!  It has been too long.  With the baby and work and practice and CSA management (holy yield this year!), I have not had much time for writing.  But now here I am with a few observations to share.

My practice is pretty much back to where it was pre-baby, and in some areas, it has actually improved.  In August, at the one year mark, I had to get real, take control of my weight, and start a FIMP (Food Intake Modification Program). Why a FIMP instead of a diet?  Because I want to be a half decent role model to my little girl.  I don't think that it's healthy for a little girl to see her momma unhappy with who she is.  So, the FIMP has been fairly successful and has definitely advanced me back to my original practice, but here are some new things:

  • More ease and consistency coming up in laghu vadrasana
  • Ability to jump back on both sides from eka pada sirsasana
  • Finding balance in pincha mayurasana
  • Ability, occasionally, to bring both legs into lotus in karandavasana
My teacher remarked that "self practice seems to be good for" me.  I found that funny since my practice nearly derailed when I was on self-practice in Kentucky.  But I think there are major differences.  For one, I was pretty unhappy in my professional life in Kentucky.  I think that fed into my slow lazy Kapha tendencies, which led to the practice getting more and more sloppy.  I also dealt with some injury in Kentucky. 

But I think the biggest reason that self-practice is serving me on this try is my time constraints.  I practice either at home in the morning or on my lunch hour at work.  In both cases, I have a very limited amount of time to practice. The result has been a more refined and intentional practice.  The time constraint has taken the sloppiness out of the practice and has made me really think deeply about why certain things aren't working, so that I can fix my issues on fewer attempts. 

It also helps that I do have a teacher whom I see about once a week.  She is understanding of my schedule and still works with me as she would a regular student. For this, I am extremely grateful.  She has added my last two poses on (karandavasana and mayurasana) that I dropped when I got pregnant.  It's good to be back!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The other side of consistency

It happens during every practice.  I get to the second bakasana and stall.  I shift my feet.  I experiment with the bandha.  I look forward.  I look at my feet.  I leap.  And...maybe I manage to stick one leg, but at least one foot taps down.

My teacher asked me about this.  As I told previous teachers, oh, yes, I once had it (I really did - and consistently), then I practiced when tired after traveling and at a very high altitude and crashed into my left arm and never (ok maybe once or twice) successfully landed again.  What a story!  Even worse, for the first time in a long time, I stopped to think about it. When was that trip?  Well, it was when I went to Peru, when I still worked for BU.  I left BU in the spring of 2010. The trip was in the summer.  So, it was at least in 2009.

It was at least 5 years ago (going through old photos, I've been able to confirm that it was in fact 6 years ago)!!  I've been letting this sad story get in my way for at least 5 years.  How the heck did that happen? 

I've heard great teachers say that the key to practice is consistency.  In this case, I have consistently been letting this weird little narrative interrupt my practice.

It's time to undo all that work.

Monday, March 31, 2014

I did it! 31 day yoga challenge!

I can't believe I did it.  I went from eeking out a minimum three days a week practice to rockin' out 31 days* straight.  Holy cow.

Some thoughts:
  • In defense of the yoga selfie, I needed this.  Yes, not all of my pics are pretty.  Most aren't.  But having committed to a 31 day challenge and having the pics to show for it kept me going some days.
  • Yoga is fun.  Did you forget that?  Neither did I.  But spicing up my regular practice with a few poses that I don't usually do was fun.
  • Yoga is challenging.  I definitely faced some demons here.  I remember a few years ago in a free outdoor vinyassa class the teacher "invited" us all to lift one foot in wheel. WTF?!?  My foot was glued to the ground.  How could I have an intermediate series practice of several years and not be able lift a foot in a backbend.  Yep.  This came up in the challenge.  And I did it.  Yay me.
  • Selfies are distracting.  As great as it was to have a motivator, the selfies could also be super distracting.  Going through my regular practice and trying to figure out the best place to insert the challenge pose, set up my iphone, and try to get a decent angle either in my bedroom or office was no easy chore. Some days it definitely kept me from focusing on my breath, bhandas, and drishti.  
  • I am ever so grateful for the ashtanga practice.  
  • You need rest days.  This month had 5 Saturdays and 3 moondays which I skipped.  *and I lied.  I skipped 4 days and made up for it the next day.  but still...
  • You don't always have to do a full practice.  You can do a few suns and an asana. Or half your practice and an asana. Or your full practice with research poses and new poses tacked on.  No one will know the difference.  And you'll be happier for having practiced, regardless of how long it took or which "rules" you broke.
To see my pics from #backbendmadness2014 go to my tumblr page.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Practice Update - 5 months Post-partum

I practice every other day in the basement of the building that I work in.  I unroll my mat behind a bunch of ping pong tables.  Usually, no one notices me, or at least those who do, pretend not to.  Last week, someone stopped me and asked "is this yoga?  it's nice."  A weird interruption, but otherwise a great practice.

I'm trying to add something back every week. Two weeks ago, I added back standing up from my third dhanurasana.  This week I added the three drop backs. 

Sunday has been changed to a Mysore practice at the shala. This makes me very happy.  It's the only class that I can regularly make it to.  Today, Mary kept a close eye on me as I worked my way through my practice (right now, it's intermediate through yoga nidra).  She suggested that I do primary on Sundays followed by my intermediate.  I actually love this practice and was doing this occasionally in Kentucky.  Unfortunately, since the husband hurt is back, I didn't have time today for such a practice, but will plan on it for next week.  During the week, she suggests that I try half primary and then my intermediate. If I can manage to practice before work, I'll try to do this.  Otherwise, I just don't have the time on my break at work. 

It's still hard to do a home practice.  Some days the baby happily plays while I practice and even watches me.  Other days, she protests that I'm doing something that doesn't directly involve her.   Oh well, she's cute.  She's allowed to protest :)

In other "spiritual" news, there's a rumor that the new pope is coming to Philly.  I'm not religious and have never had any fondness for Catholicism, but I dig this new pope (so far).  1.  I like that he chose Francis which I believe is after the patron saint of the animals.  2.  I like that he actually seems to be focusing on the real message of the philosopher Jesus Christ - taking care of the poor and less fortunate.  If he does come to Philly, I think I'd like to see him.