Time: 20 mins
Title: Toward Side Plank (w/ extended hand to foot)
This morning I woke up and went straight to the mat. I needed a plan. So I grabbed my Yoga Journal and followed the core-strengthening, hip and hamstring opening, extended hand to foot side plank sequence. The plan included, among other things, a laying, then standing, then side plank… all with the extended hand to foot. I really like the progression of that pose.
Completing this practice while so tired was interesting: clearing my mind was easy, because I hadn’t gotten my head going yet. However, even focusing on yoga was hard—I couldn’t find any focus at all.
After doing yoga first thing in the morning (as opposed to early in the morning but after running/cycling), I think it feels best for me to do something else first. Waking up my body a little makes the yoga seem more beneficial to me.
I felt a little disappointed with what I got out of my yoga today. But, later, as I was walking around the hospital during work, I noticed obese parents and overweight workers. I noticed children with injuries and in wheelchairs. Seeing all of these people who were limited in mobility in so many ways as I hurried through the hospital hallways, I thought again about my morning practice that I had been upset with. I thought about how lucky I was to be able to do what I had done this morning. And then I slowed down my hurried walk (a little).
Time: 20 mins
Title: Using My Yoga
I was so stressed today. I intended to do my yoga early this morning, but I couldn’t get out of bed. I got up a little late, had to rush to work, and got home late after my aerobics class, around 815. Billy wasn’t home yet—dinner was far from ready, and I had over-the-top stress deadlines at work. All I wanted was to get to my yoga. Billy came in as I was prepping dinner stuff and I still hadn’t yoga-ed. I snapped at him as he asked about my day. I stopped the prepping and just went to the living room. I grabbed my Yoga Journal to do the evening routine—lots of forward bends and some reclining twists.
I focused on my breath and on finding some internal peace. Through the first couple poses I felt like I was cheating—using the yoga instead of enjoying it or seeing where it would take me. But as I kept moving through the poses, I started to forget about that. I don’t know when it happened, but somehow the feelings disappeared.
Once I finished the 20 minutes, I was different. It changed my outlook and my feelings. I walked back into the kitchen and finished dinner prep and began talking with Billy.
When I started to think about it, I still kinda felt like I “used” my yoga… but I also didn’t care. But I think that I need good coping skills in my life that are there to be used. And discovering that yoga can be one of those is a valuable piece of knowledge.
Time: 20 mins + 1 hour
Title: Teaching and Learning
This morning I taught Martine’s yoga class at 54 Park St. Only one girl came to the class, and it was her second ever yoga class. I moved my mat next to hers and we explored the class together. The class was very informal and we talked as we moved through poses. She asked questions and I jumped in and out of poses to assist alignment.
At one point she had her right hand on a block in down dog. I didn’t know why so I went over to help her. She was using the block because her bones were placed slightly differently in her right arm and the length or extension was different. But it seemed to be throwing alignment off, so I asked her to try the pose without the block. She said that it felt okay, so we went with that.
I tried to really pay attention to her strengths and frustrations through the class. I wanted her to have fun but also to challenge her a little. I had her try some headstands, and she really liked trying them.
However, like Martine told me about corrections, I didn’t correct everything. I let her enjoy postures and try to get into some things herself.
It was difficult to balance all of the corrections/cues/paying close attention to her… but I think I did well because she really enjoyed the class and said it was the perfect start to her day.
I didn’t know what it was—whether it was because it was the first class I’ve taught since starting personal practice/journaling, or whether it was because it was the first class I’ve taught since learning more hands-on corrections, but either way, I felt like I elearned more in this class than any other. I cant even really put it into words. I just felt more… well… teacher-y. Maybe because I was feeling confident in my own practice, or maybe because she was new to yoga, but afterwards, I felt like I had really imparted wisdom.
After the class, I stayed in the room and spent 20 minutes going back over a few things I didn’t get to focus on in the class because I was helping her. Maybe that was what made the class feel so differing and teachery—that I was totally focused on one person’s yoga—and not mine. So going back to my yoga after the class felt very internal/personal… and pleasurable. I also loved being in that big, nice space and having exploration room.
When I made it out to Westmead for work, I was a little later than I wanted to be. But I felt so calm, I didn’t let a few minutes break my peace.
Time: 20 mins + 1 hour
This morning I did twenty minutes of yoga after a run. Most of the things I did concentrated on leg stretches because my legs needed it. I was feeling pretty powerful, so I tried a few headstands farther from the wall. I went up and down twice without touching the wall at all. I felt so good as I twisted and relaxed at the end. I’m so surprised how quickly my headstands have evolved. Only a couple of months ago, I was terrified of them and never practiced them (similar to my current relationship with handstands!).
Later today I took a yoga class from Amy at FF George St. I felt a little uncomfortable in her class because I felt rushed. She seemed to hold things for a few breaths and then hurry on. I as wondering if I felt uncomfortable because I had been getting so used to practicing on my own. Maybe I just wanted to be in charge? So I tried to breath and really let go of any expectations of which pose was next or how long we’d hold a certain pose. I was able to release most of the tension I had.
Then, as we got toward the end of class, she ran around adjusting everyone. Working with Martine, I learned to ease into touching participants, and not to rush any part of it—including the placement of hands on the body. I felt more unsettled after she adjusted me (in child’s pose) because of the rush. I don’t remember ever feeling like I didn’t like an adjustment before, but it could be because I hadn’t been trained in how to do them well. So perhaps I was just more sensitive to what makes a good adjustment.
Feeling that adjustment helped me understand the importance of how I touch someone, though. SO even though I didn’t like the adjustment, it helped me learn how I’d like to adjust.
Time: personal practice: off; 1.5 hours adjusting
Today was so busy: Big Day Out was all afternoon, so I didn’t have a chance to get any personal practice in. So, I am using it as my yoga day off. I did run in the morning, though. I think this might be a better strategy for me—to take a yoga day off once a week and a cardio day off once a week, but on different days. I think that might help me feel better with my time off. I probably really need the yoga on my cardio day-off to help get my head to a safer place.
I really enjoyed my assisting again today. I wasn’t as nervous today and instead was very excited about the opportunity to learn from Martine as assisting and correcting. Most people love receiving adjustments, so it makes my job easy. I tried to practice the approach I used with people today. As I walked up, I would try to find their breath and breathe with them. I also eased my hands slowly on to their bodies. When I took my hands off, I tried to do it as more of a caress off so that it didn’t feel sudden.
I felt that my assisting was more complete today. But I still felt a little unsure in a few poses. I think the participants felt comfortable with me, and that is my main concern right now.
Time: 40 mins
Today I have been a little crazy. I taught two classes this morning, and I have two more this afternoon. Right now I’m cooking for a diner party tonight, and between it all, I got Billy to hold me upside-down.
I was feeling so psyched, so I did twists, stretches, balances, and some headstands. I then wanted to spend a few minutes doing handstands. I got Billy to help, but I was having trouble kicking up. After several minutes, I got really frustrated. Billy wanted to help me, so he tried kicking up into a handstand to see what I was missing. Of course he got up on the first and second tries, which made me feel worse.
After trying again, I asked Billy to just lift me up so I could spend a couple of minutes in the handstand. He did that for me a few times. I felt so lucky to have him there helping me and encouraging me. I was actually surprised that I didn’t feel frustrated anymore.
I think it was the upside-down perspective; it turned me around.
Time: 20 mins
Title: A case of the Mondays… resolved.
I’m convinced my body is in rebellion today after teaching four classes and the personal practice yesterday. I’m sore and tired. I taught 6am cycling this morning and came home, looking forward to a 20 minute yoga break before getting ready for work.
I felt mentally tired, so I turned to a sequence I hadn’t done before from the YJ—the 15 minute morning practice. Unlike when I did one of the other 15 minute practices, I didn’t alter this one. I didn’t have the energy. I was hoping to cultivate some for my day through my practice, though. I made it through the forward bends and tree and subbed headstand for a handstand. Today I did the headstands in the middle of the room—all alone! I almost didn’t believe I had done them there! I then went through the sun salutes. I was so tired, though, that they were very slow and I used my knees for all of the planks, and I used cobra instead of upward facing dog.
I then took a full five minutes in savasana. As I lay there today, I tried to concentrate on energy. Breath as energy. The blood pumping through my heart as energy. The tingling sensations in my fingers as energy.
When I got up, I felt more tired… was that possible? So I went back to bed for 30 minutes. I felt a little let down that I couldn’t force myself to have energy. But I also felt good for slowing down the practice, resting more in it, and listening to my body. I’ve noticed that over the past couple of weeks, I’ve really paid more attention to how I feel and the sensations in my body.
I’ve been able to keep a lot more balanced view of my body, too. I even feel like I might one day be able to stop keeping a daily running tally of calories consumed in my head. Feeling like that was a realistic goal has never been part of my mindset before.
My mind seems to becoming healthier. I think I’m healing without working at it… which is the opposite of what I normally feel. I often feel that I work so hard at healing… but that I’m not moving anywhere.
As I started writing this today, I felt upset about the morning practice. But , as I finish this, I feel that I have resolved that feeling.