April 2009


Today the shala was packed even fuller than I have ever seen before – Tuesdays are obviously going to be the most busy day of the week. The queue peaked at 10 people whilst I was waiting, and it took half an hour for me to get a place.

N, a yoga teacher who practices at the shala managed to get everyone in the finishing room to squish up and fit one more in so there was an inch between each mat, and I started my practice under the chalkboard with the side of my mat actually touching the wall. Got into the main room for parsvottanasana, had adjusts in UHP and pachimottanasana, managed to get to Navasana, do one quick back bend then had to run off again to get to work.

I’d like to get my full practice in tomorrow, but looks like I may have to get there at 6… yawn, I’m going to a gig tonight too.

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Back at the shala today after taking Thursday off, couldn’t face the pre-moonday queue, then Friday off for Moonday. I was staying with friends over the weekend so didn’t get to practice then either.

Nothing too startling in the mat today, thankfully the shala was much quieter than it was last week so I got started soon after arriving and managed to get through my whole practice. I had one slight surprise when I got to bujapidasana and found no sciatic pain, and only a small twinge in baddha konasana. Wow, it would be nice if that went away permanently.

Back bending wasn’t so great today, I just didn’t feel that bendy. Either I get up and feel like I can do it, or like today, I just don’t feel strong enough to control my myself during the drop down backwards!

Only two more shala practice week as I am off to Moscow for a long weekend – unless anyone out there knows of a shala in Moscow?

After a fab weekend workshop with Kino, I took a well deserved morning off yesterday. I had done 7 days practice on the trot though, so I don’t feel too bad about it!

I seem to have got my practice groove back. I feel as though things are running smoothly again. The left hamstring is still twingy, but I think I have managed to stretch them back to their old length, so although the injury is still there, I am not pulling on it so much when I forward bend.

Susan has done a great job of writing about Kino, but I shall do a brief update of my own experience. The counted Mysore class was good, but very, very slow. I have only done 2 counted classes before, both in San Diego last summer. As a result, I managed to get into trouble by getting ahead whilst doing my half vinyasa. It seemed to me that she counted the jumping back bit quite fast, but then stopped before Chaturanga. I didn’t realise this was happening, so kept going and was told to go back and hold chaturanga again! I enjoyed it though, but counting the class takes away some of the control you have over the amount of time you hold your postures for. I suppose this is a good thing really!

The strength class was much the same as the one we did in Dublin last year, and although I didn’t learn much new that I needed for my own practice, it is great from an instructional point of view. Although I have never got around to using my teaching qualification, I have been teaching the BF some beginners ashtanga, and on Monday morning I went through the basics of getting on hands and knees, engaging the stomach and tucking under the tail bone, then engaging the upper back before stretching the legs out. It makes a massive difference to a beginners technique – so full marks to Kino for that one. I’ve always been an exercise junkie and feel like my mind and body are well connected, but for someone who hasn’t got such a sporty background, I think it helps to get the muscles engaged in zones so you get a feel for how the postures should feel.

On Sunday we had a Mysore session in the morning. I was in the second slot starting at 10.30 and didn’t really feel that I got much out of it. The room was already quite full when I started and I only got one adjustment, Mari B, first side. Even at Supta K, she was busy doing drop backs, so I made an attempt then moved on. I did manage to get my head to the floor in Baddha Konasana, on my own, which was a first and I was very happy about that. At the end of the day, I wasn’t too bothered about the adjustments as I get lots of attention from H and the crew at AYL during the week, whereas there were other people there who don’t get daily teacher attention.

In the afternoon we had the drop back session. I started off feeling a bit negative about the session, the mats, which had been pre-laid out on the Saturday had not been arranged for the Sunday afternoon session, so it was a bit of a free for all, and people had spread out in a rather space consuming manner. I was right at the back corner, next to the windows and the back wall, so wasn’t able to get a particularly good view of what was going on. We started off stretching the psoas by doing some deep lunges, then added in the upper back by stretching our arms over our heads and looking backwards. Although I like the lunges with the upper back stretch, I get a bit freaked when the arms are involved. I just can’t get my elbows past my ears, and the extra weight of the arms feel quite uncomfortable. We then went on to ustrasana, then working in pairs, assisted kapotasana and purvottanasana. I didn’t really do this one as my partner didn’t seem very strong and I didn’t trust her not to drop me on my head!!

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Giving an adjustment – a touch of ‘man arm’ here?

We finally moved onto doing full drop backs, a couple in pairs then having a go on our own. I was really pleased to be able to drop back on my own as I hadn’t done so since before Christmas. I still can’t get myself back up, but I can lift my hands a few inches off the floor if I rock enough. It will come though and I feel quite optimistic.

Today I was in a good mood and was looking forward to trying my new found drop backs in the shala, but arrived to a queue of 10 people!!!! At one point this peaked to 13 people when two more arrived after me, one left immediately though. I finally got on the mat just before 8 so had to have a very quick practice – I got to mari C. I did manage 4 drop backs with H though, me getting down, and him pulling me up again.

So, all in all, a good few yoga days. Hopefully it will be quieter at the shala tomorrow!

Today marks three years of my blogging!! Due to a technical hitch exporting from blogger, the first entry is at the bottom end of here. I have also been practicing for just over 2 years at AYL.

I feel much stronger than I did back then, even though I haven’t managed to get many asana…..

Kino is doing back bending tomorrow, hopefully it will be as useful as today. I would write more, but am shattered!

Woe is me, my left hand hurts, and it’s Kino’s workshop this weekend, so it better recover in time for tomorrow. I get this pain in my hand sometimes after singing in concerts. I hold my (often pretty heavy) score in my left hand for a couple of hours whilst singing, then a muscle in my hand gets really stiff and painful.The pain radiates from a point in my palm just under my ring finger and extends down to my wrist.

This morning I had to modify my practice as jumping through and back really aggravated it, as did any picking up of limbs for binding etc. Actually, it hurts quite a lot to type too. 😦

Practice, other than the hand pain, was nice. Other than general fatigue due to a large accumulated sleep deficit this week, I felt quite limber. I have now managed to get back into the mind set that if I practice every day (or near enough…) then things aren’t painful. Even a four day break results in my hamstrings hurting for a day, and I don’t want to have to deal with that!

Backbending was a bit better today too. R was assisting me and she let me try to get up a couple of times on my own. She thinks I’m on the brink of being able to do it – which is encouraging!

Right, this post is rather fragmented, but I thought I’d get something written! No doubt a full review of the weekend will follow next week.

Two days, two practices.

I had a lovely practice yesterday, it was like a Sunday practice as I had the day off work, so I arrived at about 8.30 and had no time constraints. The shala was much warmer than it has been recently, partly from being there later on and also because the weather is finally mild. The heat made me feel lovely and flexible, I did my whole practice and loved it. Whilst I was doing my seated poses I noticed out of the corner of my (very myopic) eye that someone behind me was doing something interesting, Skandasana, to be precise. My drishti faltered and my mind started whirring: petite, tanned, very flexible and wearing micro shorts: compute – it was Kino. I must confess that I subsequetnly took little peeks at what she was up to whilst doing my half vinyasa. Her practice is effortless! At one point, whilst in hanumansana she stopped, sat upright and had a quick chat with Hamish, as you do!

Last night I didn’t end up going to bed till after midnight as I had sung in a concert that didn’t finish until 10.30pm, so today, practice was totally rubbish. I was so stretched yesterday that my hamstrings were feeling stiff even by the evening, so this morning, after only 5.5 hours sleep and a 25 minute wait to start, nothing was happy. My forward bend is much improved, but I felt incredibly stiff and tired. My muscles were feeling like tight rubber bands, that just didn’t want to give. I struggled through to bhujapidasnana, doing cheaters jump backs, then collapsed to the floor for one backbend. Wah.

Hopefully I’ll get more sleep tonight, and can enjoy practice again tomorrow.

It’s at it again…
During the first episode of ‘The Unlucky Jumper’, our heroine manages to leave the shala without her clean underwear and has to go and buy emergency undies from Next by the office, which aren’t even her size.

In the second unlucky episode, she loses her Oystercard and gym membership card coming out of the underground and is left scouring the streets between the shala and the underground station after practice looking for it, to no avail.

Today, on the third outing for ‘The Unlucky Jumper’ she breaks the heel of her boot, gets locked into the office and has the alarm set on her, then finally escapes the office after an hour waiting to be rescued by the alarm engineer to find her train line has severe delays due to a signal failure.

In the next chapter, the ceremonial burning of ‘The Unluky Jumper’ the jumper will be destroyed …. keep on reading the blog it’s coming soon!

And onto other matters.

Practice is going OK, but the hamstring is still a bit whiny. From reading Susan’s blog I was reminded that Kino’s workshop is in two weeks time. I was really hoping I would be injury free by then, but alas, it seems no.

Yesterday I had a lovely evening with Susan, Owl and briefly Grimmly. Owl was a bundle of energy, despite a grueling journey from Mysore to London, and we enjoyed great conversation over a beautiful Thai meal. It was nice to put a face to a name, or more like a real person to a video clip, and meet Grimmly, albeit briefly. Another meet up of the London yogis is in order!

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