breath, mulling things over, poses

Good practice, good breathing

Kate and Dana just came over for our Friday morning session.  Often we do restorative poses because one or the other of us has some sort of issue (headache, sore joints, etc.).  

Today we did a little bit of everything:  body rolling to start, then alternating Adho Mukha Svansana (downward-facing dog) and Uttanasana (standing forward bend), then a few standing poses, including Ardha Chandrasana (half moon) for balance, then some seated poses, the ones that are well nigh impossible for Kate and me, and dead easy for Dana – Upavista Konasana (seated forward bend), Baddha Konasana (cobbler) and Paschimottanasana (seated forward bend), then what we referred to as a lying-around pose, or Supta Virasana (reclining hero), and then Savasana (corpse).

In Savasana, my brain was chattering away a mile a minute.  I was thinking about several people I know who are in some pain (physical and/or emotional).  I kept reining myself in, reminding myself to breathe.  Finally I thought “breathe in black, breathe out white, bless them all.” I took a deep breath and then the timer rang to signal the end of practice.  It was good.

Adho Mukha Svanasana
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Uttanasana I
Uttanasana I
Utthita Trikonasana
Utthita Trikonasana
Utthita Parsvakonasana
Utthita Parsvakonasana
Ardha Chandrasana
Ardha Chandrasana
Upavista Konasana
Upavista Konasana
Baddha Konasana
Baddha Konasana
Paschimottanasana
Paschimottanasana
Supta Virasana
Supta Virasana
Savasana
Savasana
breath, general blather, self-talk

Remiss

I seem to be forgetting to post to either of my blogs lately.  I am practicing, regularly, but not daily, alas.  However, the rhythm of my mornings is going to change shortly, because I’m switching from a morning aqua exercise class to one at 5 pm, so I should be able to reestablish a morning routine following my walk.  

Sometimes it seems as though all I do is what my friend and teacher Jill calls “health practices.” Walking, aqua exercise, yoga, massages, sheesh.  All these practices together have really helped my energy level and my Lyme arthritis, though. And I really really want to add in a routine pranayama practice.

Mary Obendorfer said asana prepares you for pranayama, which prepares you for meditation.  It makes sense to me.

breath, mulling things over

Oceanic

Sometimes in Savasana (corpse), my little monkey brain takes over and starts thinking about what to have for lunch, or which day we should give the dog his heartworm pill, or whether we are out of milk, or any number of other bits of brain flotsam.

Sometimes I fall asleep, much as I’d prefer not to. I certainly hope I don’t snore when I do this in class. In one class a few years ago one student always always always fell asleep and snored loudly. I tried hard to avoid being next to him when it came time for Savasana. It seemed rude to move away. The snoring was horribly distracting. My old teacher Margaret used to say, when things were loud out in the alley, “Just pretend you’re in India.” Apparently if you go do yoga at the Iyengar Center in Pune you hear all sorts of street noise, honking, yelling, people selling things, etc. Snoring? I don’t know.

Sometimes I don’t think about anything except my breath, and that’s good.

One day last week I thought about my breath, and how my breath is the same as everybody’s breath. We’re all breathing one breath. The parallel is the ocean. We have names for different oceans, but it’s all one ocean. Whoosh.

Savasana
Savasana
breath, mulling things over

Every day relaxation

I am practicing every day.  I’m hoping to keep it up when I’m not either procrastinating on writing my NaNoWriMo novel or trying to get out of pain.

Yesterday I stalled around for ages, doing the sudoku puzzle in the paper, cleaning up the kitchen.  Finally I had to start working on the novel, so instead I went to the mat.  I guess that was good.  My practice was about 90 minutes long, and then I got in 3000 or so words after that.

Today I got up early because my hip hurt.  I went right downstairs with only a small detour to clean up a mess where the cat knocked over a water glass and sprayed wet shards all over my yoga floor.  A good lesson:  Don’t leave any water glasses out overnight.

In spite of the detour, I had a good practice.  I’m working on extending my Savasana (corpse) and getting better at total relaxation.  That’s what Judith Lasater is after.  That’s what Sam Dworkis is after.  That’s what the people who make the Sacro-Wedgy are after.  That’s what the Miracle Ball Method is after.  Isn’t it silly that I just had this aha! moment this morning? 

Viparita Karani
Viparita Karani
Savasana
Savasana
breath, mulling things over, self-talk

Obstacles, pushed aside

Yesterday I was quite chuffed that I had a good practice. I did a blend of the Iyengar sciatica sequence from the big (and I believe somewhat inaccurate in its first edition) Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health by B.K.S. Iyengar and Sam Dworkis’s Recovery Yoga. I started after I had gone for a walk and done general morning doodah.

Today I got up early because I was uncomfortable. So I went right downstairs to do the same sequence. I was the opposite of chuffed, whatever that might be. Blue, I guess. I just couldn’t get close to the level I’d been able to do the day before. My left leg was nowhere near vertical in Supta Padangusthasana, my standing poses were weak, and I didn’t have the energy for Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana.

Obstacles: Illness, doubt, lack of perseverance

So I leaned more in the direction of Recovery Yoga, slowing down, observing each movement, breathing with movement and not trying so hard to replicate yesterday. That was good. I didn’t spring upstairs afterwards, but I didn’t feel so blue, and it’s been a good day in general.