what is yoga?



During this morning’s practice, I asked my teacher if it was better to keep both of my hips grounded in Marichyasana D –OR- let the back hip float but ground the knee instead. Reaffirming that the primary goal is the twist and the bind that are the priority. Having no issues there, yet not able to ground both the knee and the hips simultaneously, I asked her my question again. She responded again, saying that in all of Primary Series the objective healing comes from the concentrated abdominal squeezing action more than anything else. “Bandhas”, she said, “You don’t find them. They find you.”

Thinking back to a recent conversation around Garbha Pindasana, I asked if that is why we are encouraged to thread our arms through our lotus. She smiled, and walked away.

A few poses later in my practice, I retrieved the water bottle and worked on the pose as best as I am currently able. Although the water did a nice job of allowing me to thread, the tighter ball I was in made it challenging to stay on my mat while rolling around in the circle before trying to lift up into Kukkutasana. I struggled but stuck with it trying to keep my mind on the moment instead of where it has been for the past week: Stuck in a conversation about using water to thread the arms.

Read More...

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.

Read More...

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.

Did I Do That?



Today is yet another day where I have not been able to get my legs into lotus while in Sirsasana. It’s a little strange, yet also not strange at all. I wonder if I subconsciously created this struggle to get out of being officially given Karandavasana.

You see, just over a week ago, I was able to easily get my legs into lotus. On observing, Mojdeh (my teacher) commented that I might be ready to start working on it while in Pincha Mayurasana. In my mind, I thought “NO! I am definitely NOT READY.”  The next time I practiced, I couldn’t do it.

It kind of makes you wonder:

  • Do we subconsciously set ourselves up for failure out of fear of success that would require more out of us?
  • If we have done so, how do we undo the mess we created?

Correct Perception?



As I age, it is all too easy for me to get caught up in the things and parts of myself that are just not the same. Whether it is a physical pain/discomfort that I am feeling, an inability to perform a physical movement (such as a pull up or particular asana), or the broken garage door that has me parking my car outside.

These changes are just that: changes. They aren’t necessarily good or bad. They just are.

Sometimes we think things are one way…

Read More...
© Copyright Keeping Balance - Designed by Pexeto