general blather

Yoga vacation

My sister and I went on a little yoga retreat to Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, thanks to birthday gift certificates from our wonderful brothers and sisters.  You can go for a specific program, or you can go for “retreat and renewal” or R&R, where you take whatever yoga classes and other daily offerings they have.  In addition to the daily yoga classes, we went to a posture class, a cooking demonstration (two kinds of sweet potato cakes with accompaniments), a pranayama class, an element yoga class (the elements being earth, fire, water, air, and ether), and a yoga-off-the-mat class which was essentially about paying attention to your own intuition.

The pranayama class was my favorite.  I’ve been trying for some time to establish a regular pranayama practice, and so this was very helpful.

It was interesting to go to the yoga classes.  I was afraid I would be too stiff and old and injured to do the poses, but it turned out to be no problem.  The first class I went to was an early morning gentle class, and it was reeeeeeeelllly gentle.  Practically a sleeping class.  I realized I could do more, so the next day I went to the moderate class.  I’m pretty sure the vigorous class would have been very uncomfortable for me.

Deb and I had an excellent time.  I’d go back, but I’m pretty sure I’d go for a specific program, where you’re in class with the same small group of students, rather than with whoever wants to show up.  Kripalu is a huge place.  The dining room serves 400-650 people a day.  This means that it can be rather impersonal, and when you’re there for R&R nobody is guiding you in any direction.

The location is just beautiful, nestled in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, and the leaves were just turning for fall.  The food is excellent, locally sourced when possible, fresh, and thoughtfully prepared.  No dessert in the cafeteria though!  Take chocolate if you go.

Now I’m on my way out the door to my regular Yoga Center class, and so looking forward to seeing familiar faces around me.

general blather

Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana

Dvi Pada Viparita Dandasana
Dvi Pada Viparita Dandasana
Ardha Chandrasana
Ardha Chandrasana

Jill and I practice together once a week. It’s a very casual sort of practice. We have a routine we’ve been doing, and each time we have to perform some triage in order to fit it into the time we have. It’s a delightful practice. We talk about various things, yoga and otherwise, and we help each other, and lately have been taking photographs.

I love Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana (two-footed inverted staff). I love it in the same way I love Ardha Chandrasana (half moon), because it’s such an extended stretch and yet I don’t have to be propped any more than anyone else. But boy, look at the thumbnail illustration! Not propped at all. Ah, maybe someday.

dwipadaviparitakarani_jk_lo
Jill
Me
Me
general blather

Individual differences

I’ve had various shoulder troubles on both sides, and at the moment both sides are feeling reasonably good. But boy, look at how different my Gomukhasana (cow face) arms are! That right shoulder is just plain stuck. On the other hand (so to speak), it’s thrilling to me that I can connect my fingers on the other side.

Crunky right shoulder
Crunky right shoulder
More flexible left shoulder
More flexible left shoulder
general blather

Dailyness

Today we’re in a very small hotel room, but still managed to practice before breakfast.

We’re driving on this trip, so I was able to bring a bag with yoga mats, straps and blocks.  I left the blankets and bolsters at home.  I’ll be glad to be home at the end of the week to practice in my own space.

I’ve still only missed one day of practice this month.

general blather

Utili-yoga

We’re traveling at the moment.  The last three days were spent in the car, hurtling across the midwest towards Rhode Island.  It’s hard to maintain a daily practice when you’re staying in motels, getting in at 10 pm or so, and leaving first thing in the morning.  In addition to the time problem, there’s the revoltingness of motel carpets to contend with.

I’ve been able to manage it more or less, with some standing poses at night to get the car buzz out, a couple of sun salutations in the morning, and car dogs (hands against bumper, stretching hips back, tucking shoulder blades down and in), gomukhasana (cow face), and uttanasana (standing forward bend) in rest areas.

This morning I was finally able to do a reasonably complete practice in the family room at our friends’ house. My husband did it with me, or most of it.  Aaah.

general blather

Traveling

We’re getting ready to leave town, and this time we’re driving.  We’ll be on the road for a couple of weeks, visiting family and friends in New England.  Taking the car means that we can bring a couple of yoga mats and maybe some blocks and blankets.  I’m hoping to be able to maintain my daily practice.  So far, I’m doing just fine.

general blather, YoMo

June 3, so far, so good

It’s the third day of YoMo, and I’m doing fine. My husband has taken yoga classes a couple of times but found it insufficiently fast and competitive. However, he’s having back trouble, and he asked me to get him started with a short yoga routine.

I’ve practiced with him for two days now. We did Virasana (hero), Adho Mukha Virasana (downward facing hero), Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward facing dog), Uttanasana (standing forward bend), Malasana (garland), Jathara Parivartanasana (turning the belly), and Savasana (corpse). I had to restrain myself from adding more, because I want the practice to be easy and straightforward so he’ll keep doing it.

This is helpful for keeping me on track for YoMo.

Virasana
Virasana
Virasana forward bend
Virasana forward bend
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Adho Mukha Svanasana
Uttanasana I
Uttanasana I
Jathara Parivartanasana
Jathara Parivartanasana
Savasana
Savasana
general blather, self-talk, YoMo

YoMo begins, can’t find my notes!

During my morning practice yesterday I wrote myself several notes about things to write about relative to YoMo.  I’ll be writing a couple of emails a week to participants who signed up to practice yoga every day during the month of June, and I’ve been thinking about what to say.  My desk is a big mess and now I can’t find the notes.

I keep my yoga space very neat.  I have a cabinet for my props, and I keep the floor clear to make it easy to get started without any fuss.  My desk is another matter entirely.  Maybe that should be part of my yoga practice this month: the yoga of daily living.

On the other hand, maybe I should be kinder to myself.  The notes will turn up.  And I just remembered one of the things I was going to write about.

general blather

Supta Virasana again

I know, I’ve written about this pose a lot.  This is just a short post to say how happy I am that I have persevered through difficulties with it.  In the nine years I’ve been practicing, this is the one asana that has changed the most for me.  When I started, I sometimes used as many as six bolsters in a pyramid, and even then my hips and quads were screaming, screaming, screaming.

I can do it on one bolster now, with one blanket under my head, and one folded blanket under my sitting bones.  I still only do it Eka Pada – or one-legged, to protect my back, and that might always be true. 

The best part is that I enjoy it.  I get right into it, leaning smoothly back on my elbows, tucking my tailbone, with no fuss.

To me this means I’ll be able to make the same kinds of improvements in other poses. Yay.

Supta Virasana
Supta Virasana