mindful modification weaning



I found myself unable to get to mysore for most of last week for a number of reasons. As a result, my time on the mat was drastically reduced. I returned to the room on Sunday feeling oddly energized in spite of the hour “lost” to the time change. I began in the usual way with my surya namaskaras and standing poses, then moved to the early part of the seated series. I did all of my vinyasas, jumping back and through to the best of my ability as per the ashtanga tradition. At that point, I moved into intermediate to assess how my body would respond to adding back some of the poses I haven’t been doing for some time (namely kapotasana). The plan was to move into the pose with mindful observation, careful not to overdue it.

I surprised myself and touched down for the first time in several weeks. My teacher, who was leading the weekly led practice for all comers had her hands full with a large group of students that included the latest teacher trainees. Unlike most Sundays, she did not have an assistant. I have no idea if she even saw that I was moving into intermediate. I opted to leave well enough alone and stop just prior to all of the leg -behind-the-head poses.

I returned to the room on Monday, feeling brave enough to continue to explore some additional poses from intermediate. With my Spartan Race on Sunday, I opted to modify them so that I could gauge my body’s tolerance to them in a stepwise fashion and be insured not to open my hips to the level of instability they have been at up until now.

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Taking it slow



It’s been a while since I have written here. I was been given quite a few new poses and was plowing ahead in my practice with determination to learn these new poses. The realization that the end of second series was coming to a close, with just 7 headstands left in the sequence, both excited me and made me nervous.

I wish I could say that I have mastered the poses leading up to these new one, but I haven’t. And I was okay with that until….another sacroiliac injury hit. Now, I am barely doing any yoga as I let my body heal. In the poses that do unfold on my mat, I notice a heightened awareness of how my body responds to even the most subtle of movements. I am learning a lot as I find ways to modify my approach to my practice (poses, props, and omissions). It is my expectation that I will come out on the other side of this injury armed with a lot of new knowledge.

In the meantime, I am reminded to take it slow in my return.

EPS + ME



Eka Pada Sirsasana (EPS) and I have been in a relationship for several years now. In the first year, after the honeymoon phase had ended, we experienced a challenging period of time. To be honest, neither of us were sure that our relationship was worth the effort. We went through a period of on-again-off-again for another 6-8 months before we decided to put in an honest and dedicated effort.

As is the case with many relationships, the magic doesn’t happen without seeing through the ups and the downs. Its as if each party needs to know that the other is all in and isn’t going to walk away as soon as a younger, prettier, and more flashy option floats by on the neighboring mat.

Each day, we showed up and spent time together. Some days, it was all we could do just to be with (barely tolerating) one another. Yet, other days, we spent as much time as we could together — exploring the likes and dislikes, discovering our strengths and vulnerabilities, and gaining some trust that the relationship might just work out for the longer term.

And because we have worked so diligently to become dedicated to maintaining the relationship, we are able to spend time with a few new friends (karandavasana, mayursasana, nakrasana, and vatayanasana) without jealousy. It’s good.

“In the darkness, I am light.”



Peace & Quiet



This past week, I got out of bed at 3:30 am as I have been doing every Wednesday for several weeks. The night prior, I had gone to bed early but also got up around midnight to help my boys out so that they could get to bed after a long work day. To be frank, I can’t sleep that well when they are going up and down the stairs anyway — so I figured it would benefit us all. Suffice to say that I was still quiet tired by the time the alarm sounded. Although I could have dropped my youngest at work (at 4 am) and returned home, I sat around for an hour and drove to the yoga studio hoping for a nice long take-your-sweet-time sort of practice.

With my choice of anywhere in the room, being the only one there, I choose the most isolated place in the room to roll out my mat for I already knew that I was not yet ready to socialize. My practice begun with a feeling of contentment, as I enjoyed a quiet similar to when wake before everyone else at home. About 10-15 minutes later, the next person arrived and rolled their mat out right beside mine. I whispered “Hi” but heard nothing in return. Perhaps she was feeling the same as me.

As the room slowly began to fill, I became more and more aware that my body just wasn’t waking up with my practice. In my periphery, I watched the other yogis flow past me in their practices while my tight muscles continued to ache. I kept on breathing and working through it, happy that the room remained dark, and hoping that nobody was watching the goings-on in my practice. And it was okay… until the lights abruptly came on as the assistant arrived. My body tensed up even more until, finally, I opted to end my practice early. I left the room about the time that my teacher arrived.

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