28 Feb 2011

No Frills Primary

It was good.  First full primary, ie. including all the chatturanga in a while, well since I hurt my shoulder. How I missed chatturanga, I felt so happy, like I'd come back home.  Shoulder is not perfect but the pain has gone.  Practice was basic, no frills, no jump throughs or attempts at jump backs.  I want to ease my shoulder back into things, regain strength no rushing, so I'll shall have a week of pure primary.  Yay!!!

Injuries can be the toughest teacher.  It can be hard to know what to do.  Some react well by practicing through as Grimmley seems to be doing, to stretch it out, others by resting, as mine did.  We all spend hours coming face to face with ourselves on the mat, moving meditation watching the crazy mind, observing breath and noting how this affect the body.  Over the years I've come to know myself a lot better, especially the workings of my tricky ego.  I've become more familiar with the mechanics of the body, through both my own accidents, by watching and helping the people in my classes, obstacles to over come in asana.  I have come to really love anatomy books, to understand the problem is the first step in overcoming it, in all areas.  So when my shoulder started to hurt I noted all the movements that caused pain, checked through all my books, prodded, wiggled and twiggled myself until I thought I'd figured it out.  Then, went to a Dr. to make sure.  He was wonderful, he wiggled and twisted my arm then pulled out books and a model of the shoulder and gave me a lesson on shoulders.  The shoulder is really a very complex joint, so much going on in there. It was fascinating, and one of my theories was right! horay!  Not that it helped to fix it, but at least I knew the exact problem and could therefore avoid aggravating and start to heal it.

So my bike riding through snow with heavy bag over one shoulder, over enthusiatic Dhanaurasana and Supta Vajrasana and the finale of a big snow board crash resulted in the sub-scapularis and supraspinatus becoming sore.  Rest, and avoid anything that causes pain here.  Which I duitifully did, not too happily I'm ashamed to admit, I so missed chatturanga.....and finally it's better, not perfect, but on the way.  Hope everyone out there with injuries is on the mend too.  

24 Feb 2011

Lost lens...

Lost zoom lens...how?  The last time I used it was at the beach last year..where oh where could it be, it's not in my camera bag..  Searching, delving into long untouched cupboards, facing those dark dusty corners, time to start decluttering again.  Seems to happen every year regardless of missing apparatus.  It's a spring thing.

To lighten up, be rid of excess baggage, be it mental, physical, material.  Going through all this STUFF, I remember being proud of owning very little when I was at University, proud of my non-materialism, and then on my first trip to India realising I could be happier with even less.  Infact less equals free and happy.

What happened?  With the years has come weight, attachment, fear.

I am a hoarder.  There I've said it, it's out in the open.  I have a penchant for material, boxes and paper, especially pretty sparkly ones.  More than once have I been likened to a magpie.  I keep these incase they come in useful, maybe, if, and sometimes, they do indeed!

Need to let go of a little more.

I could compare myself to others and feel that I don't have sooo much.   Just an excess of books, material and papers...  But I always have this urge to simplfy, lighten, lessen, declutter.  Make things smoother, more spacious. Last year saw a lot of surplus go, after Vipassana I had a manic clear out.  Here we go again.  If I don't love it, need it, use it, bye bye. 

On asana practice side, the pain has gone, almost completely, a little niggle left, but chatturanga is back.  Seriously, absence made the heart very fond. By next week all should be well. It's been a long mend, but worth it, some times enforced backing off gives a fresh perspectice.  I am so looking forward to getting back to a full practice again. 

21 Feb 2011

Holiday and an affair

Friday was a moon day, Saturday I decided to have a holiday, then I was greeted with ladies holiday on Sunday.  That makes 5 days!!!  Shoulder is almost better, have been very fastidious about not doing anything that hurts, taking hot springs and rest it.  It  seems to be paying off.  This 5 day stint could, fingers very hopefully crossed, just do it.

During this holiday I decided to have a little Ashtanga affair and try out a Kundalini yoga session, and well it's certainly different.  It woke and shook me up.  Very very different from anything we do in Ashtanga, it is very very dynamic, my husband was watching me and said it looked like aerobics, and it certainly didn't feel like anything I'd come to associate with yoga asana, felt a little crazy.  It loosened me up, made me sweat, certainly created some energy and has helped me detach a little from my everyday practice.  Which has to be good, take a little step back. 

I've also been watching DVD's of the Yoga Journal Iyengar intensive from a few years back.  Very interesting, talk about detailed.

It's true there is a form of yoga practice for everyone, and when I go on these little detours, I see exactly what drew me to and keeps me practicing Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. It resonates so deeply, the system suits me and has certainly been working it's wonders on me these last few years.  I am so grateful to have chanced upon and been able to follow this path ☆

17 Feb 2011


Been desparately needing some of that...been in a minor slump in all aspects.  A creative block, lack of energy, nothing serious, just lost a bit of sparkle for a while there.

All started coming back though.

A big thanks to Matt Corigliano who travelled up to our little mountain city to teach a couple of myosre classes, and I did my best to keep up with him on a snowboard.

We were totally blessed with two days of powder snow, seriously fun.  Then soaked in hot springs, then, very untraditionally, had evening mysore class.  Which was just wonderful.  We have such a lovely little group up here, and Matt's energy was beautiful.  Such a big heart....can you say that in English, am forgetting.

What he said, I've probably read before, but when it is said by someone who lives it, and from experience and at a time when you need to hear it, it really resonates.

So simple.

No fear.  The universe will provide, have faith.

You can't know happiness without pain.  Pain is often a necessary part of progression. 

Wealth is not money, but time to enjoy nature's gifts.

Love all living things.

In class, I had some kind of release.  A first, almost teary moment, but felt good.  Have been feeling a little lighter since.

8 Feb 2011

Pain and Laughter

So it's been a week of pain, not excruciating eye watering pain, but low level, just enough to dampen enjoyment of practice.  Have been sticking to primary, minus Chaturanga,  Prasarita Padottanasna C and Purvottanasana, they are the painful ones, tentatively did Prasarita C yesterday and hmmm it was OK.  Am treating this with care as I want to heal well.  Snowboarding is fine but balance a bit off.
Just finished reading The Name of the Rose, an interview with the author Umberto Eco drew me to reading it.  He had such humour, a funny academic who said that "the first duty of human beings is not to take things too seriously, otherwise they become Bin Laden".   Well I agree with that, being prone to seriousness, I try very hard to be light.  But what a long, serious, philosophical, dark and misty book.  Certainly not easy light reading, and I even thought about quitting at one point (I have never not finished a book!) but continued on, encouraged by the moments of medieval wit, and the beauty and darkness of monastic life.  There were a few theological debates threaded throughout the essentailly who did it plot, one of which was the question of laughter and it's place in Christianity.  Did Jesus laugh? Aristotle's comedy and views on laughter play a major role and in retrospect it was a thoroughly fulfilling novel.

Got me thinking, which is also a good sign, no?  About laughter and pain.  All those serious monks and their techniques of self torture, hair shirts, self-flagellation.  At times Ashtanga could feel a bit this way, if it weren't for the laughter and joy that Pattabhi Jois taught with, as it should be.  Some people, do however take it too seriously, yes it is serious business, but to enjoy and laugh and smile and practice makes the whole thing much more effective.

After which I was flipping through Gregor Maehle's book, talking about samskara...
"...the body we have today is nothing but the accumulation of our past thoughts, emotions and actions. In fact our body is the crystallised history of our past thoughts" Nicely put.  Boy do I have some work. I have certianly changed A LOT but there are some deeply engrained samskara to be worked through.  Feel as though I am getting there, slowly, surely in my own time.  This injury is surely all part of the process.

Practice, practice, practice.

1 Feb 2011

Spiritual Healer

I can be one of the more cynical non-believing people I know, I wish I weren't like this at times but I am.  However I do, in times of unexplainable pain, go to this doctor...I don't really know what he is, he used to be a barber until he started healing people.  You wait in his old barber shop where there is a paper sign telling you how much to pay.  I've been after snowboard crashes before to sort out my crumpled body, and he tweaks and pulls and shoves my bones and ligaments. Then tells me I should stop boarding and start skiing. It never feels better immediately  but I always feel incredibly tired and sleep very deeply for a few hours  (not usually a big napper) then after about 3 days I'm in great form.

The funny thing is, when I went in and told him my theory on my pain, which was that cycling with a big heavy shoulder bag in the snow put me out of place, followed by too much yoga, followed by a big snowboard crash, he said, no I think it's your pillow!!  Huh???  I remember Sharath telling me this when I was having excruciating neck pains in Mysore, but at that time it felt like a bit of a brush off, perhaps he was right after all.

Off to look for a new pillow and hope this stops being painful soon.  Life really isn't as fun as it could be when there is pain involved.  I guess my practice for the next few days shall be a seated one, still and silent.