I had one of those big birthdays last week, the kind with a zero in it. My six brothers and sisters got me a gift certificate to Kripalu, a yoga center in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts . I haven’t decided what to do with it yet, but I’m very excited about going there.
And (not related), we’re going to do YoMo again in June. It’ll be interesting for me, because my husband and I are going on a two-week road trip the last two weeks in June. At least I can carry props in the car. I have a new baby-sized computer (also a birthday present) with which I can write YoMo posts.
I haven’t posted here in a week. I don’t have a great deal to say except that my first yoga teacher, Margaret, was back in town over the weekend and I went to a two-hour class with her on Saturday. It was outstanding in many ways, not the least of which is that I am so comfortable with her teaching style. She’s straightforward, detailed, matter-of-fact, and has high expectation.
I almost didn’t go because I’ve been thinking I’m not quite ready, my shoulders are still funky, I’m scared, and other excuses. Then I did go, and realized that I’m so close to back to normal that I could go to any class. I’d be stuck with some limitations, but those are all the same limitations I’ve dealt with all my life. Woohoo!
I am always looking for good yoga blogs. Oddly enough, while there are many Ashtanga blogs, and even more about the most superficial aspects of yoga (clothes, for example), I haven’t found very many Iyengar blogs.
I just added the Yoga Column, an Iyengar blog, to the list on the right. The author, Sheila, has a very friendly writing style, and she makes observations about her own practice rather than being too teacher-ish (something I am sometimes guilty of). She also includes an “Iyengar insight” with every post. Those are excellent reminders to me about what I’m doing. Thank you, Sheila.
I have been taking classes at the Yoga Center of Lawrence since spring of 2000. It’s a lovely space. I’m in photo mode lately due to Two Eye Workshop, a new blog a friend and I are doing. The idea is to post a photo every day so that we get in the habit of taking pictures. It’s working. I have been carrying my camera everywhere. (Apologies for the self-promotion.)
Finally, after a year, the sciatica is in abeyance and my hands and arms are strong enough to haul myself out of the hanging upside down pose. I’d been doing an alternate inversion with feet on the wall pointing down, legs straight, and the sling around the top of my hips – essentially Dandasana (staff) upside down against the wall. Now I can go back to the bat-like inversion.
I began my morning practice today at about 7 am. I sat and centered myself, did some arm stretches and a couple of down dogs to get started. Then I went into Trikonasana (triangle). Because I was bent over to the side, I had a good view into the tree out my window. There was a big barred owl, still as could be, except for his head that swiveled around on his ball-bearing neck.
Fine. I did Trikonasana twice on each side. Was I paying full attention to my asana? No. I was watching the owl. At one point a junco came up close to the owl. He glared at the junco, who flitted away. (I don’t know if owls eat smaller birds. Maybe.)
I did two on each side of Parsvakonasana (extended side angle), still watching the owl. He was only about 30 feet from me.
Then I laid down on the mat to do Supta Padangusthasana (supine hand to big toe). I admit that I did this so I could keep watching the bird and doing yoga at the same time.
Suddenly three crows swooped down to the owl, chattering and harrassing him. The owl took off down the field to get away. He landed in a cedar halfway down the hedgerow. The crows followed, and were joined by another. The owl flew off again, and this time another crow joined the chase. The last I saw was the owl flapping away, followed by the five crows. Poor guy.
I finished my practice with Jathara Parivartanasana (reclining twist) and a long Savasana (corpse). What a strange Wild Kingdom practice.
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.
It’s always challenging when your teacher goes to a workshop. Mary Obendorfer was at the YCL last weekend. I could only go to the pranayama classes on Saturday and Sunday mornings. I think my teacher Kim went to everything. Today’s class was spectacular and very hard. We loved it.
Today I had help with my morning yoga practice. I sat down to begin, and the cat came up desperately needing to be nuzzled. I patted and stroked and nudged him. Then he needed to be fed. I went upstairs, fed him, let him out, and started the coffee. Then I came back down to the mat. This time the dog followed me. I knelt in Virasana (hero). He sat down and leaned against me. I put my arm around him. Then I chanted the invocation to Patanjali. The dog was melting into my side. When I was done, adding “Om shanti shanti shanti om,” he went upstairs. It was a pretty nice start to my practice.
(My brother’s first dog was named Shanti, and I always think of her when I chant for peace.)
Some time ago I had an exercise routine where I got up early every morning and spent 20 minutes on the stair machine. I realized that if you do something every single day at the same time, you don’t evaluate it. You just do it.
The parallel is in brushing your teeth. I brush my teeth every day. I don’t think about it. I don’t think, “Oh, goody, I don’t have to brush my teeth today,” or “All right, I guess I’ll brush my teeth today.”