Wednesday, June 23, 2010

23-24.06.10 A little cleansed

Wed: 90 min guided class; Thurs: 30 min personal

Yesterday I was cleansing. I was juicing and souping all day--eating and drinking all of those liquids seemed to take most of my energy. I felt more tired than usual, but I went to a yoga class yesterday afternoon that I had been wanting to go to. It was a "progressive" class, which means that it was for more advanced yoginis (and yogis, I suppose).

The class was a good choice. The instructor was from Canada, and I felt like I was at home as I listened to her voice. I enjoyed the class and felt appropriately challenged. But I did begin to get a little frustrated as I felt like I wanted to go into deeper backbends or inversions. But then, to my surprise, she allowed us to do both of those things. Either she read my frustration or she was very in tune with the class. I don't know that others in the class were dying for a bigger backbend than floor bow or dying to do a bigger inversion than shoulder stand... but I really appreciated the freedom within the class to do what my body was craving. I felt like I had a little more trouble with balancing than usual, and I was thinking that could be due to the fasting effects.

And then, upon arriving home, I began to think that after one day, I'm not so sure the juice/soup fast thing is for me. I felt good, I felt full (which I didn't think I would), I didn't crave anything... but I didn't really like it either. I didn't feel like I was doing something super special for my body. I felt more like I was forcing myself to down these juices and soups that I didn't really enjoy, which is the opposite of how I had just felt in my yoga practice. It was a lot of effort to eat each one, and I felt like I was forcing myself to do it just for the sake of saying I did it.

I decided last night that I would put Days 2 and 3 of the fast in the freezer and use them as single day fasts over the next several weeks. I didn't feel like forcing myself to finish the fast was what my body needed. I was proud of what I was able to do on Day 1 and that I didn't cheat at all.

However, just about 30 minutes before I was planning to go to bed last night, I started seeing flashes of lights and my head felt like it was being jackhammered. Billy said "I think that's a migraine..." and I dashed under the covers to sleep before the pain intensified.

When I woke up, I felt like I had a hangover. My head had a dull ache that seemed like the memory of a much more extreme ache. I wanted to practice yoga before work, so I went into the living room to see what I could manage. I couldn't do any flow because of the pounding in my head, so I went and had a half cup of diet coke (what? no caffeine for 36 hours?!). And then I began again. I started with some static holds and gradually began working a little harder, as I began to feel better. By the end of the half hour, I was able to go up into handstands and feel ok.

As I showered and got ready this morning, I had to admit that I did feel like I was glowing a little bit. Whether it was the day of fasting, or the excitement over my approaching morning cup of coffee, I'm not sure. But I felt good. So I won't hesitate to do the one day fasting again... but it may be awhile before I want to do a 3 day fast.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

18-22.06.10 WHiiiiirrrrring

Fri: 15 mins; Sat: 35 mins; Sun: off; Mon: 40 mins personal with sister via skype, 60 mins teaching; Tues: 20 mins

This past weekend was full of planning and stressful, but mostly wonderful. I had surprised my Billy for his birthday, and wanted everything to be happy, easy, and smiley all weekend long. Mainly, I knew he would prefer a lack of planning, but that meant I still had to do a lot of planning on the front end so that we wouldn't have to do any planning during the celebratory weekend. But, even though we didn't need to plan during the weekend, I still felt a lot of worry about things going well.

Once the weekend was over, I still felt lingering worry. Stress at work on Monday and then anticipatory anxiety toward my upcoming juice/soup fast on Tuesday added to the lingering worry.

Several times over the past several days I've tried to stop, relax, focus on my breath, and halt my brain's constant activity. I haven't been very successful at relaxing the constant whirring during my day, but I've found peace through my yoga--in my personal practice, in my sharing yoga with my sister, and in my teaching. I feel grateful for my practice and what I'm able to find through it, but I'm frustrated at my inability to tune in to my body and breath at other points in my life.

Over the next three days I'll be doing a juice/soup cleanse. I'm nervous about how stressed or anxious I may feel and how I may be able to respond to those feelings while on the cleanse. I'm afraid that my mind may freak out during this time and that I may not be able to calm it. I've tried to prep my mind as much as possible, as well as planning my days and how I'll transport the juices while keeping them cool. So, in trying to prepare to not feel anxious, I've done a ton of planning--which has kept me from being present thoughout my day today, and has increased my anxiety.

I'm hoping to focus on cleansing my mind as my body goes through this cleanse over the next three days. Cleanse time starts as soon as I wake up. Mind and body: whirring out the whirring.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

15-17.06.10 Reflections

Tues: 30 mins; Wed: off; Thurs: 1 hr guided w/Martine

I've done new things this week: kicking up to my headstand with my left leg, and going in and out of headstand with straight legs--in the middle of the room. I'm doing things I haven't done before; things that amaze me every day. I can't believe that I do new things almost every week. The effect of my daily personal practice is easy to see in my asana development. I see it other places too, but it isn't as obvious.

However, today I got an email from a friend who had read my yoga blog. She said that one of the entries really gave her something to think about, encouraged her, and "touched" her. Reading that message from her felt more amazing than any recent advancements in asana... reading that made me feel like my yoga practice matters. Or, rather, it reminded me of the number of levels on which my yoga practice matters.

Sometimes continually trying to grow and deepen as a yogini and as a person is hard. And sometimes it is so easy and natural and endlessly rewarding that it more than balances.

To my spatially-far-but-lovingly-close friend: thank you for your response; I love and support you.

Monday, June 14, 2010

14.06.10 Billytime

45 min early morning skype yoga w sister; 90 min guided class (w Billy in attendance!)

Today was a public holiday in Australia; hooray! It is so exciting to have holidays that I've never had before. Even though today wasn't a super exciting holiday to me personally, being able to spend the day with Billy after he's been out of the country for two weeks was a special treat.

I got up early to do yoga with Shayna on skype, like we normally do after I teach Monday 6am cycling class. Even though I didn't have to get up for the 6am cycling (because of the HOLIDAY!), I still "met" Shay for our yoga date. I had considered sleeping in a little, but when I got up and saw her smiling Sunday-afternoon self, I was glad I had made the effort to spend that special time with her.

Then, after I had finished yogaing with sister, Billy got up and ran with me to Rozelle for a yoga class. When we got to the yoga studio, Billy wasn't feeling so well after the long early morning run. He wasn't able to enjoy the heated yoga room, and ended up spending most of the class in resting positions. I felt guilty for dragging him to the class, but tried to concentrate on enjoying my practice. I did enjoy the class, and spent the final savasana with my right hand extended to rest on Billy's arm.

Afterward, I talked with Billy about how he had felt during the practice. Even though he hadn't personally enjoyed his physical experience, he was glad to spend the time with me. I told him that he was practicing yoga by allowing me to do what I needed to do and appreciating my need for that time. Even though he wasn't engaged in a full asana practice this morning, he did his yoga with me. And that's one of the millions of reasons that I love him.

12-13.06.10 Pregnancy Yoga Training

15 hours training over the weekend!!

i honestly don't know how to blog about the experience i had over the weekend. i deepened my understanding of pre- and post-natal asana, of what it means to be pregnant and give birth, of the support available (and not available) to pregnant women, and deepend my convictions of the type of pregnancy and birth i would like to experience. the course i took was amazing, eye-opening, exciting, inspiring, and... did i say amazing?? i loved the energy i felt in this training, the women i shared time with, and the content of the workshop.

my favorite things that i learned/realized/was able to internalize:
1. it is a ridiculous idea to propoes that women must "carry on as normal" while pregnant
2. yoga tachers can offer a strong context of support to pregnant women
3. i can create space and give permission to pregnant mothers to relax and NOT do
4. not all pregnant women are excited about their pregnancy; react to new pregnancy admissions with "how do you feel about that?"

what i got from the workshop personally: (besides "a lot")
one of the exercises we did was to map out the physical, emotional, and psychological changes a woman may be going through during her pregnancy, as well as all of the different types of support she may have available to her. after this exercise, we were asked to respond with our impressions of the activity. i was surprised that this activity didn't increase my anxieties. in contrast, it really helped me to see all of the issues laid out on paper, and it helped me to know that other people think about these things; they are universal anxieties. and seeing all of the types of support a woman has available made me feel supported as a woman who is nearing a pregnancy.

additionally, as katie (our instructor) was talking about the need for pregnant women to slow down, i was able to HEAR what katie was saying. while many people have told me that it is OKAY to not do so many things, either when sick, injured, or during a future pregnancy, i haven't really HEARD what they have been saying to me. i know that billy has been anxious about an impending pregnancy because he is afraid i will still run 1.5 hours and then do 1.5 hours of yoga each day without exception. he's nervous i won't be able to slow down for a pregnancy or a child.

but after this weekend, i noticed myself saying, "yeah, that would be ok. i don't need to do crazy backbends and inversions and twists and one-armed balances for a few months. i have the rest of my life to do that." and i was pleasantly surprised. i shared these new feelings with billy, and he told me that it was as if a 10 pound weight had been lifted off of him.

after this workshop, i feel more confident in myself as a practitioner and teacher of yoga... and as a wife and woman. i'm glowing with possibility.


update (first two weeks of june)

4.25 hours total personal practice; 5.5 hours teaching; 2.5 hours guided classes

i've kept with yogaing the past two weeks. but i've been slack on blogging, and i know reflecting back on my yoga practice and teaching is important. but even though i haven't been writing, i've been talking. i've found that i discuss yoga with most people in my life now. i talk about my personal practice of the past few days, or how a class went; i talk about meeting my sister on skype and how our yoga session went; i talk about how i felt after taking or teaching a class.

i remember that i used to keep my yoga to myself. i would occasionally mention that i teach yoga classes to someone, but i didn't talk a lot about it. i think that i talk more about it now because i'm more confident. constantly talking about yoga, and getting words and support from others has really supported my development also.

over the past couple of weeks, the love of my life has been out of the country. yoga has helped me through the highs and lows i've experienced while he was gone. i found myself a little less confident in my teaching while he was gone, but i didn't really realize that it could have been due to the anxiety/lonliness i was feeling until reflecting back on the past 2 weeks. that could also be why i didn't find the time to blog during that time. i did use my other supports a lot, though. and i did talk a lot about my practice and my teaching over that time with those people as well.

so i'm just updating the blog. saying that things have been well, and even though i haven't been keeping up with the blogging, i'm forgiving myself for that. i'm allowing it to be ok, and being kind to myself. now that's living yoga-y.