Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Year Has Come to a Close!

Well, my year of yoga is over.

Did I succeed in practicing yoga and blogging about yoga every day? No.
But I did succeed on a far more relevant level. I lived yoga every day this year. There was not a single day that yoga didn't help me change my thoughts, my actions, my posture, my breath.

I also learned a very valuable lesson. It doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful. A year ago, I would have considered this outcome a failure. Not today though. Today, I consider it to be beyond success. It became so much more than a goal on a calendar.

I accomplished so much in this year, and for that I am so grateful.

I finished my 200 hour yoga teacher training. I made wonderful new friends. I met people who inspire me. I became part of a 'kula' - a word I didn't even know existed last August. I changed my body. I changed my mind. I changed my heart.

And though the year is over, yoga is not. I am pulled toward thinking about the future, and all that my journey with yoga may bring, but I've learned instead to shift focus to the present. Today, I feel strong and vibrant and in love with yoga. And that is more than good enough for me!



Saturday, February 27, 2010

For Jan 29

Back to class!

I was really starting to feel the buildup of exercise in the space between my shoulder blades. While doing a partner exercise in wheel pose, it felt like something was going to snap in my back - not a feeling I liked! It's a heavy pressure, very uncomfortable, borderline on painful depending on the force being applied. So when my partner used the belt to draw my hips away from my shoulders, it was not a good thing for me.

All in all though, I felt like practice was exhilarating, minus that one pose of course! They say back bends should typically be avoided at night because they compress your adrenal glands and cause an increase in adrenaline that will keep you up. But for me, they are such hard work that I find them energizing at first, and then I'm just wiped out. I slept heavy that night, so I guess exertion won the battle against adrenaline.


For Jan 28

Feeling guilty for skipping the day prior, but still not feeling 100%, I chose a light practice - a series of sun salutations while the dogs were out for their walk with my husband. Quiet house, quiet practice, quiet mind.


For Jan 27

This was a true sick day for me. My blood sugar levels were through the roof, I was dizzy, and I felt like walking was an effort.

I skipped my teacher training class, and spent the afternoon and evening on the couch, curled up under a blanket, watching tv.

One thing about diabetes - exercise is key to control of your sugar, but when your sugars are too high, you're not supposed to exercise. Diabolical, isn't it?


For Jan 26

On this day, for my homework practice, I chose a series that focused on Chaturanga, because I felt I needed the strength and the fine tuning on my form. Evidently, I was dipping too much, which can cause shoulder damage in the long run.

Part of the series had me practicing the pose with the soles of my feet pressed against a wall for support. I did not like tat! It felt very limiting... but maybe it was just limiting my bad habits! ;)

I did gain an increased awareness in the power of my legs though, once I came away from the wall and valued my ability to engage them more.


Friday, February 26, 2010

For Jan 25

In my 'homework' practice, I played with the relationship between centering my lower ribs, and opening my chest, while in downward dog. I felt like I found a good space there, with a little less arch in my lower back than I normally have, and a little more lightness in my upper back - and that's where I really have to pay attention. Flexibility, proper alignment, and awareness do not come naturally for me in that area.

I *think* I finally made the correction on my own that my teacher makes for me in class. That's a sign of progress!

Playing with that position of the ribs seemed to create a space for me that allowed me to feel the difference between my normal, and the correct alignment. My teacher talks about the butterfly effect on the upper back, where the lower ends of the scapulae fan outward like the wings of a butterfly, and the spine stands alone, centered, like the body of a butterfly.

After feeling like I made that correction, I couldn't recreate it. But at least now I think I know what feeling I'm looking for, and I can keep trying!


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

For Jan 24

Ok, I'm starting to see a pattern here. I was struggling through class again! I was literally dripping with sweat, and trying to find a balance between the will to stay in the pose, and my body's needs since my muscles were still feeling the work from the day before.

This is where I find a personal obstacle - dealing with diabetes in conjunction with so much exercise. I don't know what's normal fatigue, and what is pushing too far for me personally.

More than anything, I am learning that just because I do yoga (almost) every day, and just because I've been doing it for years, I'm not automatically ready for every pose, or even for the final stages of some of the more basic poses. At least not when I'm actually in right alignment!

Meditation was excellent though. I couldn't feel the lightness of the body in my back during class, but that lightness was tangible while seated in meditation. Tangible and wonderful! Our meditation practice was one where we guided the breath in one nostril, while visualizing it, and then exhaled out the opposite nostril, but without the hand mudra actually closing one nostril off.

At the beginning of this instructor program, I worried about the meditation portions, since it's not something I've enjoyed before. But now I'm finding that I look forward to it every class!