30 Jan 2011

Shoulder pain

Oh dear, had  a wipe out boarding, which involved tumbling in a deep valley and landing head first into deep snow.... and seem to have exacerbated an already slightly clicky shoulder, and made it incredibly painful.  Seem to have more aches and pains this year, don't think it's the yoga, am putting responsibility onto driving on ice and snowboarding. Have been really working on my boarding...there is progress but at a cost it, more muscle aches and pains, as I always say, yoga is great for my boarding, but boarding sure doesn't help with the asana. But hey, it's not all about the asana right ; ) Or maybe it does help with the yoga, shall have to ponder upon this one... I  also changed cars, and am still not fully relaxed driving on ice in the new one, I tense up and get nervous.  Actually it is amazing how this tense nervy ice driving is being felt in my neck and shoulders....I get out of the car and the cracking and popping in my neck...phew...I try to do lots of deep breathing to relax....but after 8 years of driving at 4x4 super comfy easy going car this transition is tough.  So no asana today.  Don't want to mess with my shoulder in any way.  See how things are feeling in the morning. 

23 Jan 2011

Boarding, baking, backbending.

Really concentrated on my bandhas throughout primary yesterday.  It really is true that you feel energised and light after.  The times when I let my bandhas slip I feel exhausted and heavy after practice.   

Day started with some fantastic boarding, lots of off piste powder, felt good, confident, strong and balanced, my husband told me it was just that the snow was good, well there was that too!!

Still hyped after the boarding, took out my extra energy on making bread.  First time, and can see this continuing a while.  It was good.

Then for a practice, just a little of second, but ouch, legs, bottom, muscle pain, sides stiff.  As far as practice goes it was mediocre, more like stretching out the kinks after the morning's fun, reset back to normal for the weekday practice of work and yoga ☆ 

22 Jan 2011

ヨガ・ストラ and Japanese

It seems like I have been studying Japanese for ever and ever, although admittedly I am not the most consistant of students.  The more I know, the more I can say, the more I need to know, the more I want to know. 

So I often study a  Yoga Sutra,  look up the words in Japanese and then try to explain to my very patient, understanding, kind and wonderful students.  I get some laughs as my Japanese can be on the eccentric side, but I think I get my message accross.

Although this week's sutra was 1:33 using Gregor Maehle's version, as I also have that in Japanese and can check word choice.  It's a lovely sutra and one we can easily keep in mind and apply in daily life.  Nothing too abstract yet could have profound effects on mind. 

The sutra is:
Clarity of mind is produced by meditating on friendliness towards the happy, compassion towards the miserable, joy towards the virtuous and indifference towards the wicked.

So I go into class armed with my newly looked up words and start to explain.  I don't get very far though.

The word clarity 清澄 seemed to cause confusion.  I had checked the dictionary, and then the Japanense version of the sutra, confident I had the right choice.  BUT, that's the thing with Japanese, because there are sooo many words that sound the same, but have different Chinese characters, and some words aren't spoken much but rather reserved only for the realms of print.  As was the case for this word.

The word is seicho, which can mean orthodox tune, growth, adult birdt, tone, sexual characteristics, clarity, attention, medicine for intestinal disorders, stroke (rowing) government office, depending on which character goes with it.  They thought I was saying to grow your mind, or misprouncing the word meaning normal.....seijyo......ah dear.  My japanese teacher was in class and said I should just use the English word clear, but I want to use Japanese,.  Japanese borrow so many words from English, often they have the vocabularly but it is somewhat archaic or difficult, but I think this is detrimental to the language.  Eventually over lunch I found the appropriate Japanese word that would be understood when spoken.  Senmei 鮮明

My other words to add to my list for the day were

徳の高い人 Virtuous Person
あわれみ Compassion
親しみ Friendly
無関心 Indifference

I do enjoy trying to figure out the sutra in Japanese though, it's a wonderful excercise and I find that it really deepens my own understanding of the sutras.  As often subtleties of language and meaning that we take for granted have to be thought over and analysed to make sure what I am saying is what I am meaning. Ha ha ha.  Get's a few laughs in class anyways!!

12 Jan 2011

Bondage and Bribery

Yoga's the path to liberation, happiness, right?  So why did the words bondange and bribery enter my thoughts during today's practice??

Things I  do make me wonder. 

So tried using blocks between my legs for back bending, kindly suggested by Grimmley, but hurt my inner thighs and feet still splayed out, so am still strapping my feet parallel to a board....OK so not quite bondage but, it looks pretty weird...there has been some teeny weeny weeny progress, ie, in that I am no longer in danger of flying through the cardboard door into the next room.  I can stand up somewhat. 

This is gonna be my mission now..for what feels like a long long time.  I read up about the importance of keeping the feet parallel  in order not to jam the sacrum.  Jamming the sacrum seems bad bad bad, it needs to float around down there, one to keep the flow of spinal fluid,  essential for brain function and other such necessities ; )  Also on a vibrational level to keep the energy circulating, when we breath the sacrum has very  very subtle movements sending prana up and down sushunama.  So no jamming.  Parallel feet mission on!

Bribery....well I have had a very random practice schedule.  I work nights and mornings, so have been in the habit of practicing late afternoons.  Which is wonderful.  BUT it's all I can do with my little bits of free time.  Eat lunch, digest, hang around while digesting...waiting to practice, practice and then off for some class or another again.  Sooooooo  I thought I'd bite the bullet and try early morning, I am NOT good at mornings.  So I bribed myself, if I woke up early and did a full practice I would treat myself to lunch in my favourite Indian restaurant.  It worked!!!!   I woke up, must have been 2 degrees inside, turned on the heater and started practicing with thermal leggings, tracksuit bottoms, leg warmers, merino wool base layer, and two fleece...it was bulky to begin with but as the room and I warmed up i could gradually peel off the layers.  No sweating but the idea of a little moisture on my forehead appeared.  Felt good though, no heels in Kapotasana, but to be expected.  So now, at least until I get used to my new schedule I shall have a new bribe everyday, and 30 minute after lunch naps, when possible.  Clear my head and do something different with my free afternoon hours.  Am looking forward to this very much.

5 Jan 2011

Deary me...

I don't like to complain.  In fact I try very hard not to.  But today.....after watching Iyengar's 108 drop back with feet hip width apart and perfectly parallel, beautifully fluid and strong I thought I should try harder at getting my feet parallel too.  So I figured out a way to fix my feet with board and belt into position.... the drop back bit was .........  O...K.... but coming up.  Oh dear, oh deary deary me.  I now understand how people fly forwards upon coming up.  I didn't have my feet too close together, but it was a whole different experience.  Usually I push down on my heels and standing up has alwasy been easy.  But with feet strapped into parallel position I sprung up on my toes and nearly flew through the paper door infront of me. Any advice from anyone out there on the parallel stand up.  I think my legs have the strength... So now I have my practice resolutions for the new year firmly in place.

Dwi Pada Sirasana, consistantly.

Parallel feet drop backs and come ups.

Light floaty jump backs....ahem this could be a dream...

To start a steady pranayama practice.

Re-start a consistant meditation practice.

That should keep me busy.

4 Jan 2011

New Year New Moon

Now I feel like I've properly started 2011 with the new moon.  I spent the holidays snowboarding everyday, keeping up a very basic, free style yoga practice. I decided to snowboard to my max, as in previous years I have always 'put by' enough energy to do my full practice after. But I wanted to push my limits a little, let go, be free.  I had a wonderful freestyle New Year's Eve practice.  Lots of counter board poses.  After 3 hours of boarding leg strengthening asana aren't necessary, but leg stretches held for a long time, twists, back bends and arm balances and inversions are wonderful.  Along with some calming deep deep ujayi.   
But the Ashtangi in me felt a little naughty,  like something was missing.

So last night before the New Moon holiday, the guests gone, the house quiet and mind calm, I practiced primary series, my body and mind thanked me for it.   
This year my aim is to be light, in all aspects of the word, and to keep the balance I found last year.

Lightness in deed, thought and body.  Ha ha ha body, after a holiday of too much eating, especially cake and tea. Cake cake cake cake.  Oh dear, I have my old sugar addiction back.  
Practice on New Years Day was short and sweet, but  it brought with it an awareness of conciousness throughout the body, and how alive I felt to the tips of my toes and was thankful to be able to feel the flow of unhindered conciousness throughout. 

Just before the holidays I read Krishnamacharya : His life and Teachings.
It was a very simple read, with some nice insights. Helped to put Ashtanga in perspective.  Good to set me on the right track for the year of light. 

The section sticking in my mind after my festival of cake and tea is the section on Tapas and Mitahara - Controlled Diet.  Krishnamacharya said "The accumulation of fat hinders the flow of prana, ...  if we want the flow of prana to reach all parts of the body smoothly, the fat that is accumulated like a wall must be removed.  The power to remove this fat lies only with the prana itself"   To take it one step further, the acculmulation of anything hinders the flow of our lives. So I shall spend my moon day clearing out the cobwebs of home and mind to keep it all free flowing ; )