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!


For Jan 23

I came into class on the 23rd with a lackluster attitude. I recognized that, gave myself a few minutes to respect the fact that that was where I was. I questioned why I was feeling that way, and then I resolved to change my attitude through my practice.

The mini lecture that we started practice with was about right attitudes - ha! We were encouraged to start with the right attitude, but I couldn't, even though I tried. So I stuck to my original resolution, that I would use practice to work through my bad attitude. And I did! Especially with the part where we breathed in a sequence - beginning, middle, and end... matching it to the beginning, middle, and end of each movement in our sun salutations.

I found that toward the end of practice, I was actually looking forward to meditation! And when we were done, I wanted to sit longer!

Talk about a change in attitude - and it was a great feeling. :)


For Jan 22

This day we started to really study meditation. I learned that you have to be willing to sit, and be open to what surfaces in the mind. Most importantly, I learned that when you start to get uncomfortable, THAT is the time to keep sitting, because then you will start to work through things, or at least recognize what issues need attention. If you always get up when you start to feel agitated, it will take much longer to work out your issues.

Practice was challenging, and towards the end, my muscles felt super tired - weak, but good. I find that with the harder practices, my breathing speeds up, making it hard to keep my movements slow and steady. If breath leads and movement follows, it's difficult to keep a smooth, slow pace. Then, when I'm trying to focus on slowing down my breathing, I have trouble fine tuning the poses.

All of this makes me feel like I am moving to fast, but yet I need to keep up with the class. It makes it hard to know what I should prioritize.


Blog for Jan 20

I think January 20th was actually the day I started to slide, and give in the idea that maybe I had overcommitted myself.

I was late to class. I left work late, and once I realized I was going to be late anyway, I decided to lay down for a few minutes and relax in the quiet. Then I felt naughty, so I booked it down to Chinatown, and actually wasn't as late as I expected.

But that feeling of just wanting to lay down had taken root, and that's when the struggle really started!

In class, we learned about the legend of Patanjali, and then we practiced. After practice, we did a kriya meditation, which is when you try to control the flow of prana. It was a wonderful exercise, and though I was tired after class, my mind felt at ease.


Facing the Music

So, it's been over a month since I blogged. So much for a daily commitment! And, I'm sad to say I took a break from doing yoga every day.

When I started this commitment, I wasn't sure if or when I would enroll in teacher training, and let me tell you, teacher training is intense!

Towards the end of my first month, I took a day off of yoga. And when we reached the break in month 2, I caught a cold and decided to give myself a body vacation. Then I geared back up, started doing yoga again, and BAM. Another cold. What's up with that?

BUT, I did journal some by hand, so I will convert those entries to blog entries. For the days I didn't practice, I'll just tally up a total, and own it. I won't hit 365 days of practice in a year, but I will finish the year!!! And I'll be a certified instructor when I'm done. I think that kind of makes up for a few missed days here and there. ;)