Friday, 15 June 2012

A nice Friday home practice

Had the dentist this morning, tried to convince her that there was no need for a filling as I'd had no pain since we'd made the appointment but she wasn't having any of it! Grrrrrr.... Subsequently I was a dribbling mess for 2 hours and looked as if I'd had a stroke, for a minute I thought she'd severed a nerve, but thankfully she hadn't. A couple of pain killer later and I felt fine. 

Worked from home today, got lots done but wasn't too sure whether to attend a Mysore class tonight, but I had two to choose from and in the end I was waiting for a while for them to start so I thought I'd do a home practice, save some money and get it done so I had the evening free for leisurely pursuits :)

I had a great practice. Really concentrating on the handstand element of the jump back and through now that I've got the rest of primary more of less nailed. It's the handstand balance that's holding my practice back from looking a strong practice. Getting the strength built now is my priority. I was making an effort to jump at bit higher, get the hips lifted on every jump through and landing softer. I managed it a couple of times in the practice. I'm sure it's not far off now. I'm pleased I practiced at home :)

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

How and when I practice (Response to Grimmly's Questionnaire)

My Practice


1. What approach to/style(s) of asana do you currently practice? Ashtanga Vinyasa

2. What time do you practice? Between 4:30-8pm

3. Where do you practice? At home 3 days a week, at shalas 3 days a week

4. How long do you practice for? Between 30mins -2hrs, depending on where I practice 

5. How many times do you practice 
a. per day: once

b. per week: 6 days


6. Do you practice pranayama? Yes

7. Which pranayamas do you practice? Ujjayi, nadi shodana, seetali, all with breath retentions and bandha

8. How long do you practice pranayama? 10-20 minutes per day

9. When do you practice pranayama? Evenings before bed

10. How long have you practiced pranayama? Since April 2012 - I have to keep a practice diary for my BWY course


11. Do you include pratyahara in your practice? Not separately, but yes if you include sense withdrawal in Ashtanga practice

12. what approach to pratyahara do you take? Drishti


13. Do you practice meditation? Yes

14. What approach to/style of meditation do you practice? Vipassana

15. Where do you meditate? At home in the early morning 5:30 - 6am

16. How many times do you meditate
a. per day? Once

b. per week? 4 times per week

17. How long do you meditate for? 30 minutes 


18. Do you take time to formally reflect on your asana, pranayama, pratyahra, meditation practice? Yes

19. When do you reflect asana, pranayama, pratyahra, meditation? In the evening and at weekends

20. Where do your reflect on your asana, pranayama, pratyahra, meditation? Generally through my blog.

21. How long do you reflect on your asana, pranayama, pratyahra, meditation? 30mins - 1hr per blog post

Textual study

22. Do you study carefully any 'Yogic' texts? Read bits

23. Which texts do you study? Yoga Sutras, Hatha Yoga Padiprika, Upanishads

24. When do you study? At weekends, generally

Yamas and Niyamas

25. How familiar are you with the yamas and niyamas? Very

26. Do you make a particular effort to practice them? Yes

27. Do you reflect at the end of the day on how well you have practiced them? Sometimes, then I'll beat myself up about not practicing them well enough!


28. How long have you been practicing Yoga? Since sometime in 2006.

29. Have you ever attended a teacher training or teaching intensive course? Yes, apprenticeship with a teacher and currently with the BWY

30. Have you attended a retreat or workshop and if so how many? Yes, 3 retreats and lots of workshops


31. Do you practice chanting? No, apart from the Ashtanga Vinyasa opening chant

32. When do you chant? Before practice

33. How long do you chant?

34. Where do you chant?

35. Which chants do you practice?


36. When did you begin your asana practice? BWY style - 2006, Ashtanga properly 2008/2009.

37. When did you begin pranayama? Apsil 2012

38. When did you begin to practice mediation regularly? May 2012

39. When did you begin to pay particular attention to the yamas and niyamas? 2012

40. When did you begin to formally reflect on your practice? 2010

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Continuing with Kapo...

I'm taking a rest day today, I need it.

Wednesday my back felt better so I had another go at full primary with second up to kapotasana. Strangely, this week's practice was much better and felt much stronger. Last week my knees played up in the bow sequence, they felt like they were going to pop out of alignment, however this week with an assist from D, I grabbed my ankles instead of my feet and lifted my thighs off the mat first, squeezing the heels and knees together, then lifted the torso. Obviously I couldn't see how deep the back bend was, but it felt amazing and very deep. D then left me to do the rest of the bows on my own, but I followed last week's instruction by keeping the knees together and relaxing into it, and once in the posture, taking my chin to my sternum to align it then lifting it away, which felt more comfortable and good.

Laghu and Kapo were better too. I can't take my arms over my head and I can't even take them into prayer in front of my chest when going back in Kapo, there is such resistance, such tightness and fear. Laghu feels better as I have my hands on my ankles when dropping back, but not Kapo. This needs work. I tried some drop backs after Kapo, but I had lost the energy, so went into finishing and had a nice savasana.

Thursday I could feel the extra work I had done. Parts of my body I hadn't worked before, especially my gluts and the triceps. A good ache :)

My new Thursday class is going really well. I have some dedicated students who are loving it. Next week I hope to work a little more on the breath before we start the sequence and I might even do a bit of uddiyana bandha and moola bandha practice. That'll show them!!

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Bank Holiday practice at Ashtanga Oxford

Drove down to practice with Emanuelle Rossi at Ashtanga Yoga Oxford this morning. There were about 17 people in the room and a good energy. I've practiced with Manu before at Stone Monkey, but I had to take it easy then as I'd done my knees in. This time I had to take it easy because of my (still) twingey back. So no back bending and no Second!!

Manu is very traditional which I love and his assists are gentle but firm. He spots everything you do and don't do and will make you go back and do it again if it's not the correct method! I had THE best UHP assist (I think he was pulling the leg up but at the same time making me relax the hip down) and my first ever assist in ardha baddha, relaxing my hip without any force so my knees touched the floor. Got a nice adjust in Mari D and supta K with both legs behind head!! Scary but cool.

I hope my back sorts itself out again soon, so I can make another trip down and get the most out of the practice.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Salabhasana...and stuff

Still getting over my first practice adding second series to my full primary last Wednesday. Yes, I'm still sore, but not quite as bad now.

I had to have a rest day on Thursday, I could hardly bend after going through primary and second up to Kapotasana. Instead on Thursday I concentrated my energy on making my new Thursday evening class work with adding the Mysore element to the class. I was so happy though because it really worked. I designed new A3 practice sheets with just Surya Namaskara A on for the students to work through at the rate of their own breath and after talking through the key elements of Surya A and a couple of talk throughs, I let them get on with them at their own pace. It was great to see everyone work through their practice on their own breath, there was no resistance and no-one had any problems with following the sequence or the postures. I then talked through Surya B and the standing sequence, then onto backbends and finishing with a guided relaxation. Guided relaxation, talking through a body scan works amazingly well for students who find it difficult relaxing in savasana. My sister loved it, as she finds it hard to relax in savasana and I think she was almost asleep!!

So Friday I went to James' at the Buddhist Centre for Mysore class and given the pain and discomfort I was in I just took it very slowly, missed out drop backs, but managed the full primary and felt much better and stretched out by the end of the practice. I came home, took a castor oil bath and had an undisturbed night's sleep.

Today, the start of the Jubilee weekend, I decided to kick it of with Digby's Ashtanga Research class. He asked me how I felt after Wednesday's practice and I told him I was still sore. As he hadn't planned the class he took inspiration from my Wednesday practice and led us through primary up until Mari C and then led us through a sequence preparing us for back bending. We did a lot of "runners lunges", Heather Morton Style, hanumanasana and finally into the salabhasana postures A and B from second series. Digby's tips on salabhasana are amazing!! It's one posture which I find really difficult. Especially lifting the legs.

On my own my legs feel like they come about an inch off the floor. My heels splay out, my thighs do not engage and the whole posture feels poor.  However, the one tip which was most helpful was drawing the heels in towards each other when you lift. It stops the splaying out of the heels, engages the legs, draws the thighs towards each other (I'm not sure whether this is an inward rotation or an external rotation but who cares, it works!) and results in the feeling of having a strong mermaid's tail instead of two legs shaking ridiculously behind you!

Anyway, so that's my thought for the day... Salabhasana, heels together, mermaid's tail, works in A and B, all is good with the world!!

Peace and love and God Save the Queen!