poses, sequences

Boring, not boring

I’ve been doing the same basic sequence for a couple of weeks now.  It’s the one I wrote about before, a combination of the Iyengar sciatica sequence with Sam Dworkis’s Recovery Yoga added in.  It’s good, and I’m happy to be doing it, and I’m not bored.  It just seems boring to write about it again.

I do wonder about the Bikram yoga, where it’s the same sequence forever, no matter how you feel or what you did last time.

A couple of mornings this week I only had time for a teeny bit before my walk, so I did standing poses.  Not boring!  I am always amazed that these poses that I learned in my first intro class can continue to be interesting and challenging.

sequences

Better

I feel a lot happier when I can practice in a sequence than just doing interstitial yoga.  The flow of my, hmm, what do we call it, well-being, maybe, goes along with the asanas.   I start by going inward, either with the invocation to Patanjali, or ten Oms, or three Oms, or just silence.  Then I do standing poses, get warm, get energized, start paying attention to my breath.  Then maybe I go upside down (hanging, followed by supported shoulderstand and/or Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana), then gradually get down on the floor, getting more and more peaceful, breathing easily, until I do Savasana (corpse) and then finish with gratitude and a reminder of my own place in the universe.

I did that today.  Definitely better.

self-talk, sequences

Good day

I almost didn’t make it onto the mat today.  I got up with all good intentions, and put on my yoga clothes right away.  Then I ate breakfast.  Then I picked beets, peas, beans, and lettuce out of the garden.  Then I washed all the veg.  Then I talked on the phone to two out of three sisters.  Then I sent a couple of emails.  Whoa!  It’s after 11:00!

I pushed myself down the stairs.  Then I played a game on my phone (which I use as a timer for yoga).

THEN I got on the mat.  I did pretty much the same sciatica sequence that I’ve been doing this week.  Parts of it aren’t doable because of the state of my shoulders and hands, but most of the poses are just right.  I practiced for two hours.

I’m so glad I really did it.

P.S.  Before I got Lyme disease and its arthritis, I had worked my way into allllllmost sitting on the floor in Virasana (Hero pose, where you kneel with your knees together and your feet on either side of your hips).  All I needed was one folded blanket.  After the onset of the arthritis, I needed six folded blankets, and it didn’t feel good.  I’ve now improved enough to remove three blankets.  Yay!

general blather, sequences

Today’s class

I went to my Ageless yoga class today. It was just plain great. We did mostly supported poses – rope dog, rope uttanasana, supported wide-angle forward bend, supported shoulderstand, but we worked hard in them. The trajectory of the sequence went from easy to hard to relaxed. We also did one of my faves, Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana. (To see a series of pics of this pose, scroll down to almost the bottom of the page of that link. It’s the chair backbends. Wicked good.)

Not much else to say about it. I’m happy I went, even though I feel like I’m wearing a rubber suit of someone else’s (much stiffer) body.

self-talk, sequences

Amnesia all over again

Gosh, what does it take to get me on the mat?  Why do I keep forgetting how great it is?

I’ve been feeling unwell, with very stiff and sore joints.  This means that many poses are not available to me right now.  (I’m attempting to avoid saying “I can’t.”)  So I start the silly line of thinking that there’s nothing much I can do except for maybe Supta Baddha Konasana (reclined cobbler’s pose).

Yesterday I got up and put on yoga clothes, thinking I’d practice first thing.  Instead, I ate breakfast, which effectively postponed my practice for a couple of hours.  By then I was embroiled in other (NOT so important) projects, so I put it off.  Finally around 3:00 I went down to do an abbreviated practice.  I mean, how long can a couple of restorative poses take?

As it turned out, I did a lot.  The more I practiced, the more things I thought of that I can do.  Poses involving various permutations of my limbs are not so good – the inflammation makes everything feel unstable.  So I hung upside down, did Parsvottanasana (wobbly, but OK), chair and standing twists (ahhhh), supported shoulderstand, rope dog, supta baddha konasana, a couple of seated forward bends (more mental than actual, but still OK), Dwi Pada Viparita Dandasana (two-footed inverted staff, one of my faves) over a chair, Viparita Karani (legs up the wall), and Savasana.

Oh, please, self, remember this!

poses, sequences

Nice practice this morning

It wasn’t much out of the ordinary.  As usual, I was sleepy and didn’t have much time.  I did seated forward bends, downward facing dogs, dolphin poses, and whatever you call Chaturanga on your forearms.  A couple of Parsvottanasanas (what is the English for that?  Standing forward bends?), Jathara Parivrtanasana (reclining twist), Viparita Karani (legs up the wall), and a very good Savasana.

I read a great comment about Savasana recently, and it’s bugging me that I can’t remember where.  It might have been in Yoga Anatomy, by Leslie Kaminoff, or in this month’s Yoga Journal, but I can’t find it.  I’m going to keep hunting.  The gist of it was that in Savasana we focus on breathing and relaxation.  Otherwise it’s just a nap.

mulling things over, sequences

Short practices

I would love to know how other people do short practices.  I don’t seem to be able to.  One asana does not a practice make, in my opinion.  Doing a downward-facing dog between the shower and getting dressed is flossing yoga.

[Digression:  My friend Jill made a comment once about “flossing yoga” by which she meant, it turned out later, the kind of yoga you do while flossing your teeth.  Tree pose, for example?  I misunderstood her explanation and thought of flossing yoga as any of the intermittent yoga poses you do during the day, like when you’re reaching for something on the floor and wing up into Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon) against the kitchen cabinets, and then of course you have to do the other side to even things up.]

This morning I turned off the alarm and thus overslept enough so that I only had 25 minutes for yoga and no more.  Even if I don’t chant the Invocation to Patanjali (quietly so I don’t wake up my husband, who will think I am weird, or the dog, who will want to go outside), I really don’t feel right just starting right in.  I need to do some little centering thing, even if it’s just hands in Namaskarasana (prayer pose) and eyes closed, breathing quietly.  So then I think to myself, “Three poses only!  That’s all the time there is!”  Adho Mukha Virasana (downward-facing hero), Adho Mukha Svanasana (downward-facing dog), Uttanasana (standing forward bend).  But then I find myself adding something more.  “Oh, I’ll just throw in one quick Trikonasana (triangle pose).”

I’ve been very well trained by my teachers, and so I can’t just stop.  I have to do at least five minutes of Savasana (corpse pose).  Nor can I leap up from the mat after that – there’s the returning-to-the-world seated pose for a moment, where I feel grateful for the day, and promise  to practice compassion.

Before I know it my time is up, and maybe I’ve gone over by 5, 10, 20 minutes, and my ride is waiting, or I have to go take a speed shower instead of a leisurely one, or do whatever else is pulling me toward the day.

What about those short practices?  What’s in them?  Sukhasana (easy seated pose), Trikonasana (triangle), Savasana (corpse)?

poses, sequences

Limitations

I have various limitations, some permanent, like my iron banded hamstrings, and some temporary, like the foot surgery I had in November and the digestive weirdness I’m experiencing lately. However, I’m quite intent on doing whatever practice I can, no matter what. Right now I’m doing almost entirely seated poses, because my doctor told me not to do standing poses until the bones have been completely healed in my foot. This is good. If I do my poses very slowly I can do a lovely long practice without ever standing up.

These are the poses I’m doing often, if not all every day.

  • Sukhasana (with Invocation to Patanjali, very quietly because my son is asleep and my husband might laugh at me)
  • Adho Mukha Sukhasana very very slowly
  • Baddha Gulyasana
  • Gomukhasana arms
  • Virasana
  • Arm work again
  • Dandasana
  • Paschimottanasana
  • Trianga Mukhikapada Paschimottanasana
  • Upavista Konasana—My very hardest pose, so I try to do it several times, holding as long as I can keep from falling over backwards.
  • Baddha Konasana
  • Some kinda seated twist depending on how my foot feels
  • Parighasana, which I think is strictly speaking a standing pose, but I can do it and it’s excellent for the adductors.
  • Supta Padangusthasana
  • Urdhva Prasarita Padasana