all wrong



garbha pindasana -- the WRONG way

I was exceedingly proud of myself for being able to thread my arms through my lotus and successfully roll in a circle for garbha pindasana. That was until I discovered that I was threading my right arm through at the wrong part of my lotus. My teacher stopped me just as I was beginning to roll backwards. She just laughed when I said, “Ahhhh. No wonder my right arm was so far away from my ear.”

However, the correct spot to thread my arm through seemed to be absent from MY lotus. I began reworking my lotus – tightening it up so that it doesn’t fall apart at the seams when arms are finding the space between the calf and thigh.

reworking lotusI found out, the hard way, that it is better to interlace your fingers around your lotus rather than rotating one arm in to lock your hands. A few times doing this earned me a nice bruise on my inner wrist.

Apparently, that is also NOT the right way to do it either. So I continue to work on it — daily within my practice and other times too.

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With the school year winding down, I have been looking forward to having more time to dedicate towards the development of my practice. Visions of myself progressing through the primary series and possibly being given a morsel or two of second have run through my head. During Monday’s hot Vinyasa class, Jenn dished out a hefty helping of back bends and it felt fantastic to let my spine extend that much. The following day, I zipped through the full primary series with ease. A few days later, however, my body’s left sided low back aches and pains began to rage. Instead of flowing through the practice, I creak and moan through it with bent knees and hesitancy. It’s hard not to get discouraged, and retreat into a ball of self-pity.

Not long ago, Wednesday to be exact, I wrote in my practice journal that I felt like my spine was being rebuilt. The opening I’d felt that morning had followed an über stiff start to my practice. In fact, I had to hang out in child’s pose for quite some time before moving to cat-cow, then pushing back for a bent-legged down dog. By the time I got going in my surya’s, time was already limited. I broke all rules and moved to navasana, then took on a sampling of the seated poses (janu A, marichyasana A, B, C, modified D). I emerged from savasana with a positive outlook; I was sure that something great would come of the discomfort…in time.

Yesterday was all together different. And today, I fear that my positive thinking is all wrong. Any bit of optimism I held onto has all but disappeared.

This morning, I sat at home wondering what I should do. Should I skip the led practice and practice on my own timing or brave it? I opted to go but planned to proceed with caution — which I suppose that is exactly where I am supposed to be. Instead of visualizing myself excelling in my practice, I modified and practiced being content with just that. Surely tomorrow will be different. The question is: How will it be different?

I suppose I’ll find out.

What is this?



I’m not sure what it is exactly, but there has been a shift happening in my body. It has been going on for about a year but the past few months, in particular, have been…. interesting. I use this word because other than a prolonged cycle, the changes in my body are not what I am accustomed to hearing women who are going through “the change” complaining about. Perhaps they are a part of it; perhaps not. In particular, my relationship with mula bandha has changed. I can access it but not with the same intensity as before. And if I try to improve upon it, I lose it all together.

Because ashtanga practitioners in particular have a distinct awareness of their cycles, I wonder if anyone else has experienced a similar shift in their body. Is there a link to the transition into menopause? What are the physiological aspects at play and are there any considerations I should be respectful of in terms of my practice?

Did you do your practice?



Just yesterday my boyfriend, Larry returned from a yoga retreat to Nepal where he trekked the Himalayas, practiced yoga daily, delved deeper into his studies about the yoga tradition, and took in the sights. He had a fabulous, life changing adventure – much like the one we experienced together during my first teacher training retreat to India in 2012. Only different.

And I

utpluthih x2

I spent 4 days backpacking through the Grand Canyon and learning about geology, astrology, and the secret to amazing backpacking meals.

This morning, after our morning practice, we compared notes so-to-speak. Practicing in adjoining rooms but not visible to each other, can be interesting – especially after a 2+ week break from it. He described how good trikonasana feels as it allows his back to release. By comparison, I described how I was unable to grasp my toe today as the tug I’ve been experiencing at my right hamstring attachment was all the more limiting the past couple of days.

He then asks, “Did you do *any* practice at all during your trip? I mean even a few stretches….*anything*?”  I laughed and thought, “Umm, yeah! Of course I did — every chance I got.”

 
 

 

Back on the Mat



My backpacking trip in the depths of the Grand Canyon is behind me now. Oh what a fabulous adventure it was. You can read more about it on my companion blog: Keeping Pace.

We emerged from the canyon on Sunday and, adding in travel days, it’s been about a week since I’ve done any sort of real practice. Sure, I busted out a few poses here and there: a little lunchtime play at one of the overlooks, a bit of post trek stretching (downdog) after releasing the pack for the night — but nothing substantial in the way of “practice.”

Back on the mat

One would guess that the body would have changed in that amount of time coupled with the level of difficulty of trek I was undertaking. Admittedly, I was a little fearful how things would go when I finally stepped back onto my mat this morning.

Easing my way into it, I let my knees bend considerably for the first few forward folds. I allowed my torso to rest on my thighs so my back could release and find a little opening.

I proceeded with caution, mindfully paying attention to my breath and letting the sequence come back into memory from months of repetition.

Today, I only went as far as the standing poses and ended with a few tummy down back bends that my teacher gave me back when I returned from my injury to my SI joint. Tomorrow, I’ll try adding the seated poses and see how my body responds. It may seem a little bit over protective, but I’d rather be safe than sorry. Given the fact that I was feeling some pain near my right hamstring attachment when I left for my trip, I think it makes sense to return in this manner. Would you agree?

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