August 26, 2010

Those Ah Ha Moments

I haven't really had an "ah ha" moment in my yoga in a while.  I am conscious of what I need to work on, what part of body needs an extra lift or stretch.  But those moments when you first start your practice and a teacher helps you figure out a part of a pose that you've never quite gotten.  Those moments are priceless and the time between them have become longer for me lately.

Luckily, I have had 3 classes this week where a relatively new student has had one or two "ah ha"s in class.  Listening to the voice of the instructor go extra calm and explain a pose specifically to them or walk over to the student and get down on the floor next to them and show them how to get into the posture.  This always leaves me lying in Savasana with a grin on my face and a special moment of peace.  Especially when you hear the student make a calm sigh or a whispered thank you.  And you can hear that the light bulb has switched on.  That suddenly their practice seems brighter, that they've moved a step forward and they can see now why this yoga is so absolutely amazing.

This is why I want to teach.  One day.  Yoga or maybe something else.  But something that I love just as much as the student that I would be teaching.  I want to feel that emotion that a teacher must feel when their student makes a breakthrough - no matter how small or how large.  I want to guide.  I want to inspire and BE INSPIRED.

This will come.  One day.  I guess, right now, I just feel privileged to be apart of my fellow yogis moments.  And am very happy to share my own.

August 20, 2010

A Friday Reflection

So, for some reason, I had it in my pretty little head that once I'd finished a year of yoga I would never have a difficult class again.  I felt like I had crossed some imaginary finish line.  I'd won the race.  I received the medal.  I had come over the peak.

Boy, was I ever wrong.

I have had more difficult classes in the last 3 months than I ever had in my first year of practice.  I am discovering new muscles every day.  One day I can do Standing Head to Knee, both sets, no problem.  The next, I can barely find my balance and my muscles are so very sore.  Oh man, and my mental state.  I am all over the bloody map.  Some days I'm happy as a pig in shit to be in the hot juicy room.  I find my peace easily.  I can focus, stay calm, breathe through my practice.  Other days, get me the hell out of there.  I curse the teacher, I curse my absolute dedication to my practice, I get so annoyed when I can't hold a pose I was able to hold the other day.

I like to believe that this is me getting deeper into my practice.  Discovering new things about myself - mentally, emotionally and physically.  That I am changing so much from the inside out that sometimes my brain and my body cannot keep up.

But whatever the reason for all these peaks and valleys - my yoga is my life saver.

August 9, 2010

Time to Switch It Up

Friday, I went to an afternoon class.  I don't normally practice in the evenings or the afternoons because I like the freedom of the morning class.  I like how it wakes me up, how it energizes me and how I don't have to be conscious of when I eat.  I decided to do this afternoon class because I needed a change and because one of my favourite teachers was teaching.  I used to frequent her classes when I first started practicing.  She is tough but compassionate.  There in no nonsense when she teaches - no excessive water drinking, no leaving the room, no lying down.  She is always giving little bits of personal wisdom through the class, with no judgment.  And I find, in her class, I want to do my best - for myself.  She gives me the drive to be the best I can be for me not for the instructor, not for my friend practicing beside me.  I was also looking forward for someone to look at my practice with fresh eyes and to give me corrections that sometimes aren't seen by the instructors that see me weekly.

My 90 minutes of yoga was pretty basic.  But I definitely noticed differences from practicing in the morning:
- My balance was off.
- My tongue would not sit still in my mouth.  I was constantly pressing it along the roof of my mouth whenever I was struggling in a pose.  On the outside I looked calm but my tongue was holding a lot of tension.
- I was able to go deeper into poses but I tired more quickly.
- I had to take a pee break after the spine strengthening series.  I hate having to pee during class, it changes the practice for me.  I'll need to remember not to drink as much water during the day.

I also got some great tips:
- 3rd part of Half Moon, my legs are locked and I am always trying to touch my elbows together.  I was told to move my armpits closer to my shins which brought my chest closer and then got my elbows closer together.
- Locust pose, I need to really push my body weight into my shoulders and arms.  And to flex my triceps! 
- And as always, Standing Head to Knee, KICK, KICK, KICK!!!

I laid in Savasana after class for about 10 minutes, which I never have time to do first thing in the morning.  It was heaven.  But as soon as I left the room I felt nauseous and bloated.  I couldn't decide if this was because I hadn't eaten since 11:30 am and it was 5:30 pm or whether my body had just gone through an amazing detox.  I drank water and had to sit on the benches for a good fifteen minutes before my shaking stopped and I could get into the change rooms.  I got home, dumped everything on the floor and laid on my bed.

I think that this is something I need to do once a week, once a month - switch it up, challenge myself.

August 8, 2010


I stand on the outsides of my feet.

Sounds strange, doesn't it?

I roll all my weight onto the outsides of my feet.  When I brush my teeth.  When I do the dishes.  When I blow dry my hair.  When I wait for the bus.  Basically whenever I stand still.

I started noticing this after my private class with Ida.  She pointed out that I really need to focus on spreading my weight across my feet.  In Standing Head to Knee, I almost always fall out because my feet roll to the outside.  In Head to Knee Pose with Stretching, the outside of my feet are pushed out more than the big toe side.

So, what am I doing about this?  Well, I've started consciously pushing all corners of my feet into the ground.  When I'm in the shower.  When I'm at my desk.  When I blow dry my hair.  When I brush my teeth.

It's working.  I've been able to keep my feet fully planted on my mat in Standing Head to Knee.  I roll my weight slightly forward so that my heels aren't supporting all of my weight.  Oh, man, do I notice a difference.  I am now feeling muscles on the outsides of my calves that run up the outside of my legs up to my butt.  I can hold the pose for the full minute, but I am not where I used to be.  I can kick out for a few seconds on the first set but I am using so many new muscles that I get tired really quickly.  On the second set I am able to kick out for the entire 30 seconds - most of the time.

At first this step backward in the posture bothered me.  I wasn't holding it as long.  I couldn't kick out.  It was frustrating and annoying.  Now, I realize that my alignment wasn't correct.  I was not practicing the posture 100% correct. 

It is amazing how this realization not only has helped me fix the physical (the asana) part of my yoga practice but to also work on the mental part my practice.  I have learned a new compassion for my self.  For my being.  For my mistakes and for my strengths.  This is my yoga.