So, I have been off blog for a bit. About 10 days ago, some hacker in Nigeria (or so they alleged) decided to hijack my e mail account, steal my personal details and replace them with their own. So, for 24 hours I was a 24 year old male working as an accountant to the mining industry in Ibadan, Nigeria. Hmm, not good. Subsequently I spent rather a lot of time changing passwords, e mail addresses and bank details. I still haven’t got a new log in for my bank account, it’s a very secure process, it would seem. The whole scenario made me rather reluctant to post my to-ings and fro-ings on the Internet for all to read about… even if it is only disclosing my yoga practice. I am thinking about going private, but that might be a bit of a hassle for my readership of 4… Private blogs have their disadvantages – won’t let me read private blogs from my phone, although wordpress will, plus private blogs don’t appear in my blog feed at the moment. Anyway, it’s just a thought.

So, the world of yoga. In the last fortnight I made the progression from ‘just’ being able to get my second foot into lotus, to actually putting it right in. Thanks for this discovery goes to Susan who told me that was how she did it, so I tried, and hey presto, it worked! It’s nice to make some progress in my practice as really it is rather slow these days. I don’t want to sound like an asana-hunter, but primary is getting a little monotonous now, a new challenge would be nice.

At the weekend I flew off to Dublin to go to Kino’s workshop. I really, really enjoyed practicing with her and all of the useful insightful tips she gave us. During the two Mysore practices I got some really great adjustments, and managed for the first time to lift out of supta K with my feet still crossed, which I repeated this morning too 🙂

Kino has a wonderful manner, very calm and informative and with a real sense of care and respect for her students. She works well with the idea that things start off being really, really hard, but that it comes slowly, slowly. I guess we are all impatient and want to come out of a weekend workshop being able to do something new, but that isn’t really the point! I will try and practice lifting into handstand on a regular basis at home. As she points out, even trying and not managing to do it, strengthens your muscles and mind and sets you onto the path of being able to do it, even if badly!

The first workshop was about inversions; we practiced headstand, pincha and handstands. The general principal is the same for all three – get the hips over the head/shoulders/hand then lever up. I can do this in headstand, no problem, but pincha and handstand are another matter. Susan and I both got chosen to be Kino’s guinea pigs. She used me to demonstrate helping someone lever into handstand. It was amazing how impossible it feels to lift your legs up unassisted into handstand, but having a little support behind the shoulders (from her knees) so that you can move your weight so that the hips are over then hands, and then just a small upward motion at the top of the legs and under the hips makes it come surprisingly easily. Kino works through her inversion class form the base upwards. We started on hands and knees, engaging back, shoulders and bandhas, then into plank, then down to dolphin, holding all of those muscles engaged, then head/arms down for headstand or pincha. Then walk feet close to hands so that your weight is over your hands. It was a very good way to get a feeling for how stable your core needs to be, although I found engaging all of the muscles for a minute or so before inverting made me quite tired by the time I got into the posture.

The second workshop was about the hips/hamstrings, which was a very interesting subject for me as it is one of my weak/inflexible points. We started off with some basic standing forward bending, feeling how the pelvis tilts when we bend forward and how engaging the stomach muscles protects the hamstrings. We then moved to the floor and she had us sit for a while just to see how even a posture as basic as sitting in Dandasana is working the hamstrings and the back muscles. Another person in the class was also suffering with sciatic pain, which she suggested was probably muscle inflammation.

I asked as many questions as I could during my practice and the workshops and was inspired by her answers. She thinks that my backbends difficulties are just a strength thing and they will come, hopefully soon, so I don’t keep whining about them here 😉 Once I am strong enough to straighten my legs so that my centre of balance is over my hips, the standing up will come.

Practice today was ok. I was impressed at myself for getting out of bed despite getting home late last night. I was encouraged to do so as I have a hectic week of late night rehearsals (12.5 hours of rehearsals this week before a concert on Friday) and expect to miss one morning in the middle of the week to catch up on lost sleep. I was pleased that I did go today when I noticed that the shala is in fact closed this Friday, so I will only be able to get a maximum of 4 practices in this week.

After talking about the sciatic pain at the weekend, and the general opinion that you have to work with it until it goes away, I was disappointed to have really bad pain today. I have been suffering with this for about 19 months now, so was feeling a bit desperate, so pleaded with H for some kind of answer. The plan is to work on lengthening the spine rather than moving forwards. It’s strange because I know that with assistance I CAN get my head to the floor, and I do so everyday, but the pain is excruciating and I can’t find a way to let the muscles relax and get into it myself. Perhaps hypnosis? Do people get hypnotised to help with asana?

Anyway, that is enough of a catch up, well done if you made it to the end of the post!