Monday, April 9, 2012

I can't be trusted...I love my yoga practice!

Steve over at the Confluence Countdown postulates that one who loves her practice can't be trusted or they have "disturbing relationships to their bodies."

First, I'd like to say that I know Steve is being somewhat facetious and probably trusts a few people who do love the practice.  I'm only responding to his post in the spirit of good fun.

But his post gave me pause.  After reading it I thought, "Can I really call what I feel for my practice love?"

Unequivocally, the answer is yes.  Yes, I definitely do love my practice.  I experience my challenging moments, sure.  There are days when I don't want to get on my mat and once I'm there, I'm just going through the motions.  There are days when after 5 sun A's and 5 sun B's, my back still feels like it's gunked up, and the hamstrings feel hard and dead.  There are days when I can't bind in supta kurmasana on my own (every day since I got the posture come to think of it) and days when I'm internally cursing at my inability to jump into a pose after attempt after attempt after attempt.

And those days far out number the smooth sailing graceful days that maybe come once a year on that perfect hot July morning.  And yet...I still show up and do the practice every single day.

I give it my all because I know what it gives to back to me in my life off the mat.  So I show up through thick and thin, stick through the rough times, and savor the good moments.  And if that isn't love, then I don't know what is. 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

For Posterity

Today Shawn took some pictures of me in two of my favorite poses.

In Order to Move Forward, Go Backward

I'm stuck at karandavasana.  This should come as no surprise since I spent almost two years trying to figure out its more accessible cousin, pinchamayurasana, and still am not even entirely consistent on that one.

My teacher helps me in karandavasana every day.  It can't be easy for him to support my 150 pound frame, but he does and I am grateful. I can't put my legs into lotus from pincha on my own. Also, I'm having a difficult time figuring out how to curl my pelvis in without tipping out to far beyond my elbows. Once I am curled in, I'm having a hard time finding the roundness required.

So I'm working on two key elements earlier in the practice in order to reduce/eliminate research poses at karandavasana.  One of the things that seems to need work is opening in the groin in order to be able to get the legs in lotus and maintain balance.  I was going from parsvotanasana to second.  Now, I brought back the rest of standing through warrior two. The focus is on getting the femur parallel. 

The other element that seems to need work is tight pecs and weak trapesius and lats.  I'm working on this by cleaning up my chaturanga.  After all these years, I still have a tendency to round the shoulders in as I lower to my mat.  In part, this is because I don't really have access to the upper back.  I tell it what to do and nothing happens. This is changing a lot since bringing handstands back, taking calves in urdvadanurasana and getting pincha. 

I'm definitely feeling the difference from all the extra work in these fundamental poses. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Squeeze it!

I always am a little hesitant to talk too much about what I've learned in a workshop (or from my teachers in any other capacity for that matter).  1.  I can't necessarily do the teachings justice out of context.  2.  I don't think it's necessarily fair to the teacher.  If you want to know what they are teaching, you too should take their workshop.

With that disclaimer out there, I will say just a few things about Tim Feldmann's workshop this weekend at Shanti Yoga Shala.

1.  Tim Feldmann is extremely funny and an excellent teacher.
2.  We aren't squeezing our anuses enough.  We should be squeezing them all the time except when going to the bathroom, giving birth, and when we're in savasana. 
3.  We don't need to do jump throughs. But if we want to, there are ways to build up to them that are very accessible.
4.  Backbends feel better when number 2 is applied.

If he comes through your area, I would recommend taking practice with him.