YTT Day 1

I haven’t done my own practice for the last two days, and I’m missing it but I’m also so glad to have the healing time for my poor torn up ribs. I’m a bad lady! I was travelling yesterday and there simply wasn’t an opportunity. I did have a little practice this afternoon, a vinyasa flow with my fellow trainees. This afternoon was the start of my non-ashtanga yoga teacher training. My husband and I are in Ucluelet, British Columbia and to say that it is beautiful here would be a huge understatement. We have a ¬†cabin in the woods with a little electric fireplace and a full kitchen; it’s very cozy. The other folks doing the training with me seem really lovely so far and I think this is going to be a memorable experience. Today was mostly introductory stuff, but tomorrow we’re going to start getting into the meat (pardon the expression). I’m pretty nervous about the idea of practice teaching!

Are the ashtanga police going to hunt me down for skipping kapotasana today and substituting hanumanasana and other poses not prescribed?

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Renewed love and Darby

For starters, what an amazing practice today!! The room was humid and I think we all got extremely sweaty. I took my time and counted through each breath, which made everything smooth and fluid. It draws attention to all the places I rush or dawdle. I somehow skipped four poses of standing, trikonasana to parivrtta parsvakonasana, which is a section I don’t think I’ve ever skipped before. My hands are reliably making it to the floor for prasarita padottanasana C, which is fun. Am I supposed to flip my hands the other way now? I’ve heard this a few times, but I’m going to wait for my teacher to tell me. I got an assist in utthita hasta padangustasana today, for the first time in ages. How nice! I decided to make an effort to jump back properly for every vinyasa today and it went pretty well. I certainly can’t lift up and effortlessly float through, but I think with time (lots and lots of it) it may come. I got into supta kurmasana today, almost unassisted!! All my teacher did was cross my feet and I was in the full pose myself – bound AND crossed! I was elated. I think I let out a “woo hoo!” while squeezed into that awkward posture. Pasasana was much more balanced than usual, making it possible to try to push my heels to the floor. I’m a long way off. The pain in my ribs on the left side has been fluctuating daily and today was a bad day. The section of intermediate from ustrasana through supta vajrasana was especially painful. I did kapo but didn’t push myself to get my heels. Jumping into bakasana is really improving. I get onto my arms now, but I can’t “stick the landing” as I keep saying. It’s really challenging! I had great backbends today, too. I’m getting batter at letting those upper butt muscles relax, so the pain in my SI seems to be improving. I almost got to my feet (I think) in my assisted back bend. Overall, a really great day. My head was in the right place, I felt focused, my body was playing along, the room was hot. A practice that renews my love of ashtanga.

On a whole separate note, I did two workshops with Mark Darby yesterday. I had never met him before and went into the day not even really knowing what topics were being covered. I ended up really enjoying it. It was definitely worth giving up my rest day for. We spent a lot of time with the basics: breath, breath, breath. Always a good topic and there is no end of things to learn. We also spent time on toe spreading and engaging bandhas and even down dog alignment. It was pertinent for me because of the injuries I’ve had lately and many of the issues he brought up repeatedly are things I struggle with> I often try too hard in practice, which brings tension, for example. We spent the afternoon on opposition in the body – so things like pushing into the floor instead of pulling on the toes to get deeper into a forward bend. I incorporated many of the things Darby suggested into my practice today and I will slowly work out what does/doesn’t serve me. I definitely enjoyed his suggestion to count through each breath and I’m going to try to use that from now on. Or at least try to.

Two sleeps until I leave for BC!!

A break from the regularly scheduled programming

Today is my wedding anniversary, and while this isn’t my usual asana based post, it does connect to my practice. When my husband and I met, I was definitely practicing yoga but had not yet discovered the joys/challenges of mysore practice. He had never done yoga at all and made the time and effort to come to a number of classes with me. He didn’t enjoy it that much, but put in effort to understand my passion for it. When I did begin daily mysore, he was very supportive. He would help me get up in the mornings and took an interest in what I was learning. He has watched countless hours of youtube videos, listened to me ramble on about my dreams of Mysore (India) and my conflict around eating meat, and, of course, endless hours of dissecting my asana practice. Ashtanga is a path that requires dedication and focus and having a partner who is understanding has been so important for me. Not everyone would be ok with a wife who goes to bed so early, who never wants a glass of wine with dinner, who spends all their money on workshops and shala fees. So, today I am thanking my amazing husband for everything he does but most especially for all the behind the scenes support of what goes on on my mat every morning. Happy anniversary, my love!

Triumphant return

After a lengthy hiatus from practice (four days!!) I finally felt ready to give it a go again this morning. Most of my various pains have healed themselves with the rest, although my SI/whatever-the-heck-it-is is still bothering me a fair bit. It felt wonderful to be back on my mat, surrounded by our AYO community. The room was super humid today and I loved it! I took things slow, especially with the hamstring pull from last week still a little tweaky. I had such a nice practice. Watching Kino’s garbha pindasana video inspired me to try today and I actually managed to get both arms through for only the second time since I was given the pose! I got stuck at the elbows though, and then it hurt and I couldn’t get my parts untangled, so the exit was less than graceful. I had my best ever attempts at jumping into bakasana too, which was encouraging. Sometimes taking a break is just what the body needs and you go back feeling so refreshed and energized. My re-introduction of chakrasana is also going great. I think the decrease in momentum is going to keep me from pulling my neck again. Kapotasana was ok, which was a relief. Drop backs were so-so. I didn’t push anything in my back bends today. I’m going to see my massage therapist on Thursday to hopefully get some help with this lower back/upper ass issue. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I can keep my body injury free until then, and maybe get some help with healing the problems I’m having. Oh, intermediate series, you are breaking me but I love you.

Slump

Lately I’ve been feeling a bit like my body is rejecting my practice. My hips have tightened up again leading to tender knees, I have a pulled muscle in my right forearm, pulled intercostal muscles on my left side, very sore sacrum area on both sides, AND a slight pull at the connection point of my right hamstring. I honestly don’t feel as if I’ve been pushing extra hard or practicing differently, but my body is struggling. I actually took yesterday morning off to give myself a day of healing, but it just wasn’t long enough.¬†With moon days falling on Saturdays this month, I’ve taken it upon myself to just add in a few extra rest days. I feel fine about it, Ashtanga police be damned. I think I’m listening to my body and doing my best to take care of myself. That being said, I have every intention of seeing a massage therapist in the next week for a better assessment of the situation with my sacrum. Today I had some extremely uncomfortable feelings in my assisted back bend, which made me nervous. I have no interest in whatever lessons a back injury could teach me.

From my first surya namaskara to savasana takes me about an hour and three quarters right now but I’m finding the length manageable most days. In fact, I’m really enjoying practice. There’s a little bit of everything now: forward bends, twists, back bends, an arm balance, etc. I have enough to challenge me and keep the practice from feeling boring or even allowing my mind to wander. It’s a beautiful thing, this practice, and I’m so grateful for what it has brought to my life.

On an extra happy note, I leave for my first installment of teacher training two weeks from today! I feel vaguely sick when I think about actually teaching a class, but I think I could get over that and it would be fun. I also think the training will have a positive impact on my personal practice. The plan was to do this YTT course with my cousin, which was 90% of why I chose this particular course, but she bailed and now I’m flying solo. The training is with Eoin Finn on Vancouver Island. He practices a vinyasa flow style of yoga, and has a great vibe. He is a former ashtangi, which I’m interested in talking to him about. Everything I’ve read about the training gives me confidence that it will be a worthwhile program. At worst, I hope I’m going to have two weeks away from the daily grind geeking out on yoga. I’m doing a 40 hour ashtanga teacher training with David Swenson in August as well, so I’m keeping my bases covered.

Ok body, three more mornings to go.