Saturday, March 6, 2010

05-07.03.10 Turning in and Tuning in

05.03.10 Friday
Yoga Time: 20 mins
Today I worked out at home, since I was feeling congested and didn't think I could go swimming. I did a heartrate-escalating ball (big, therapeutic ball plus med ball) workout, extended to 90 minutes to feel like I got enough activity. I did this because I could sit on the large ball and do bouncing with pauses at the top of each bounce, which put minimum weight on my left foot. Anyway, after all that bouncing, my knees were feeling a little tired. So I moved right into my yoga practice, hoping to stretch out my knees and all of the other areas that are feeling a little "off" ... which tends to be a lot of places with all the crutching I've been doing. Trying to get my body back to a place of neutrality after doing so many things that it isn't used to takes a lot more work than I'm accustomed to. I had to really concentrate on choosing each asana and what it would do for my out-of-whack body. While this felt a little frustrating, it was also good to know that I could find poses that I needed, and that they helped. When I completed my practice today, even though it was short, I felt accomplished. My body felt back in line and less sore, and the fact that I got my body there, made my ego feel happy.

06.03.10 Saturday
DAY OFF (everything!)
I couldn't sleep Friday night because of how sick I felt. So Saturday was a day of rest. I slept on and off throughout the day, and didn't try to do any activity. I planned to do a meditation later in the day, but I couldn't even breathe through my nose, so I just spent some time reflecting on my yoga journey thus far.

The conclusion I came to was that I have cultivated a priority of listening to my body. That is something that I've been actively NOT doing for a quite a while. I'm used to super over-indulging in sweets occasionally, but then going for a 20-25 km run the next day to help even my body out. I'm used to running through knee and foot pain, limping along as far as I can. I'm used to pushing hard in yoga and never taking time to reflect or meditate.

While I'm not claiming to be totally in tune with my body yet, I am not doing the active ignoring anymore. When I want to eat a bag of candy, I think about why I want to eat it. Am I hungry? Is there something I need to talk about? When I feel pain somewhere in my body, I reflect back on activities that could have caused it. I stop doing what is causing the pain and try to think about how I can even my body out.

I think a lot of this listening has been a result of two things: 1) having the daily yoga practice and 2) journaling about it. Since I never had a daily practice without the journaling attached to it, I'm unsure if one or the other would have given me the same amount of healing. But having a daily practice, and taking daily time to reflect back on it, has given me two chances per day to actively tune in. Tuning in so often is good practice--it has started to become routine.

07.03.10 Sunday
Yoga Time: Teaching: 1 hr asana, 30 min meditation
Personal Practice: 20 mins
Today I taught Martine's St. Leonard's class. I challenged myself today to teach the hour class without any sun salutations. I love sun salutations--how they warm up the body, all the variations you can throw in, the ritual of it--but I wanted to try something different. I regularly do sun salutations at the beginning of classes. Sometimes I do several variations and spend about half an hour working through them all. Today, I did some other things that warmed up the body... and I LOVED THEM! I did deep yoga squats up into side stretches and then a side-facing warrior I and twisting sequence. Both of these worked well for flowing, breathing, and getting the body warm. Since the class was full, it was also amazing to see everyone moving in sync. I was so happy to watch the class and see everyone working and breathing together. I stopped for a moment just to watch; I was so amazed at the beauty. Several people came up after class and told me how much they had enjoyed the class. I was so happy to see the energy I had felt reflected in my students' words and faces.

Like the first time I taught guided meditation a few weeks ago, I was anxious about the meditation component of the class. So, again, I turned to YJ and incorporated some of their monthly ideas about meditating. We practiced the technique of vayu pratyahara (wind withdrawal) or prana pratyahara (life force withdrawal) that cuts off the senses and their exploration of the world. By turning inward and focusing on vital points of the body (traditionally 18, but I took YJ's advice and started with 12), we were able to tune out the world and tune into our inner awareness. We went up and down the ladder of the vital points 3 times. I really enjoyed leading this practice, but plan to try it on my own so that I can get the full experience.

Later, when I had a few moments to myself in the middle of teaching a couple of classes today, I stole a room at my local gym for 2o minutes of personal practice. I say "steal" bc I felt like I had to hide myself away. I had 30 minutes before my Pilates class started, but my class was arriving and kept finding me and asking me things. It was hard to concentrate on myself and my practice. I made it through the practice pretty well, though, and felt ready to go for the Pilates class. Not quite as tuned into myself as I would have liked, but there's always next time.

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