September, 2011

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Day Twenty-two (of Thirty)

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Low plank was my enemy tonight.  I try not to make enemies of postures.  But then came a cue having us take sphinx into a low down dog for a good long while and I made an even bigger enemy, haha.

My two sorer spots right now are between my shoulders and my hamstrings (from yesterday?), so even downward dogs which normally I’m quite content to stay nearly forever… in had me counting down.  …like really counting down.

So tonight was one of those nights that required searching for a way to stick with it (or not) rather than a night where persistence and initiative seem to come out of nowhere.

The good thing, er very good thing, is that “having one of those nights” means really reminding myself why I’m there on my mat.

A killer back?  Sure… but that why doesn’t keep me in my low sphinx dog for long.

More to deal with tension, to accept what comes, to know my approach to these sorts of things, to experience strength, to experience calm, to access my centre, to be in the moment, to cut through my drama, to access my heart and breath, to remember, to celebrate, to accept, to subvert, to explore passion… cheesy, but those whys keep me there.

And maybe more importantly those whys get me to my next pose if I drop to my knees for a second, or a minute, or many minutes.

Those whys are the ones I see in the eyes of my mat neighbours when we greet to open and close each practice.

Those whys make enemies………friends.

Day Twenty-one (of Thirty)

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

I didn’t have to go tonight.

(Follow my logic: I’ve already “missed” a night.  i.e. Day 9, so I won’t get that coveted double-entry… tonight was the last night in the second week, and doing 6 in each 7 day week is sufficient for continuing on in the [sticking with that year long pass draw] challenge; I’d already done 6).

I was going to maybe not go.  I had 6:00 booked online, but was going to gauge it.  Tipping the scale for the decision a bit was that I left my shorts and shirt wrapped in a towel on my bed at home somehow as I headed for work.

But.

I went.  I stopped at the condo before the studio (a nightmare downtown in rush hour).

I went and I didn’t feel that I HAD to be there; I felt I WANTED to be there….. something I maybe didn’t realize was subconsciously difficult to do mid-challenge.  So.  Rather than a must do this, must do this, must do this mentality… tonight I benefited from a doing this, doing this, doing this mentality.  Tonight was for me and not for the sticker chart.

And. It rocked.  I got that leg up on the wall for our hamstring, pelvic bowl work.  First time ever, modestly successfully.  Read: without grunting, dropping my leg continually, and rolling my eyes.  My suspicions were confirmed when our instructor indicated this leg up the wall stuff IS more difficult for guys!  i.e. almost unbearably difficult.  I bird of paradised which I hadn’t done in awhile.  And I just had a ton of energy and a ton of willingness to take things into full-pose.

So, so, so, so, so good.

Then to top it all off I:

  • had a dessert night with my favourite kiwi afterwards.
  • en route, I heard more about the Australian Adventure.
  • am kind of getting increasingly excited about the Fall and volleyball and some upcoming work projects.
I’m hesitant to type only nine day to go! …knowing there will likely be many days that don’t feel like “only” at all.  Tonight, though, has me feeling some days will breeze by!  🙂

Day Twenty (of Thirty)

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Morning yoga.

I made it at 6:00 with work clothes at the ready.   These morning classes are a challenge for me: I’m groggy, I have the day ahead on the brain, and there’s all the logistics of showering and organizing and being where I need to be when I need to be.

All that said, I got to get to yoga and THEN home rush free.  I now have an entire evening ahead of me.  …to relax, regroup, and snack.  I’m now rewarded for this morning’s investment of time and energy.

Volleyball was fun; firsts are always a bit chaotic, and tonight’s first was a first home game of the season, a first time coaching volleyball (ever!) .  We barely just formed our team and haven’t even practiced… but they did great!  Our young folk are so resilient….. something I can maybe learn from as the insanity that is work, university, and yoga keeps me playing catch-up.

OH, and have I mentioned AUSTRALIA is officially booked!!! So nice having something to look forward to: great friends, sand, and sun!  Winter break on the other side of the world, is a bit hard to wrap my head around, still… but it’s only a few months away.

Hopefully I have a nice beach body from the consistent yoga postures.  =P

Day Nineteen (of Thirty)

Monday, September 26th, 2011

Monday is Level 2 Yoga then Level 1 African Double Whammy.

Yoga.  Rocked.  i.e best of the challenge?  I came was super present and focused and my body seemed to do what the cues (and I) were asking of it.  It was the small room with few there and this kept me accountable and with it.  There’s something about the energy of these classes and the other practitioners I quite like.  Level 2 is a bit more demanding (physically and brain wise) so I wouldn’t want to do them nightly, but they are fast becoming a highlight of the week, and a great way to start the work routine.

It’s funny, because really I’ve been choosing them because they’re at 5:30 and allow me to get to my next class.  Kind of neat, how it all has a meant-to-be flavour.

I’m coughing pretty bad right now, but it didn’t get in the way too much (germy kids? or the fact that my home and workplace have ZERO air exchange?).

African though is another story.  It starts over 10 minutes late after I rush to get there.  The drumming doesn’t start until HALF AN HOUR later.  It’s hot.  I’m grumpy.  ………and honestly probably a bit tired and worn out.  Still, good exercise and a good challenge but definitely not the best of the year.  It’s always hard to know when I’m uninspired or the space is.  Maybe I’ll chalk this class up to my own headspace.

Meh.  Can’t win them all.

Tomorrow.  …a morning practice so I can zip to Volleyball after school with the Jr. Boys.  No rest for the [flexible?].

Day Seventeen and Eighteen (of Thirty)

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

SATURDAY:
Today was a noon practice but for some reason it felt more like an evening one.  Usually day and morning practices have a very different feel and energy for me, but this one kind of kept the same spirit of my evening ones.  The room wasn’t so full and my Friday wasn’t so wild, making for a nice calm and intimate practice.  Like a dummy, I lined my mat up to the wrong stickers; I feel pretty unwithit when I don’t follow routines because now I know them quite well.   It’s funny because when I first came to the studio I had NO idea how everyone knew which studio, when to enter, when classes face the mirror versus face the centre versus take place at an angle versus take place along the wall.   haha, So different than mid 2008… which, really, isn’t so long ago.  Although it feel like a century!  Both today’s class and yesterday’s had music which can be quite motivating.  Obviously it isn’t hard rock or pop… it’s piano music and chanting.  It makes me wonder if I could implement music, etc. into more of my routines.  Sometimes, my self-diagnosed attention deficiencies present a problem there.

SUNDAY:
Sunday.  Group practice.  Today’s was with the studio owner.  Admittedly, I attend less of her classes typically than other instructors… mostly due to scheduling.  When I do have classes with her, I’m then sometimes am not used to the amount of open exploration time, or the prominence of balance and arm poses (and feel a bit anonymous and a bit of an outsider, as others are SO used to these elements, and the flow of these classes). I have the potential to get confused and frustrated.  I go in knowing I have the potential to be confused and frustrated and it all becomes a bit of a self fulfilling prophesy.   That said, I have long LOVEd how these classes open with story-telling and some of the back story of poses.

Today, knowing all this, I set the intention of authentic listening before I arrived (rather then, as usual, after the beginning meditation).  I hoped it would allow me to better understand cues, choose elements for open exploration, and consider the benefits of a class that is less-routine for me.

And it rocked.

I played, and listened, and left appreciating how really these classes are set-up to harvest a creative process… something as a teacher, I know is difficult to teach and instil.  I arrived, tried, and continually made a conscious effort to keep an open mind and be present.  We did some arm balances against the wall, and I went in bravely quite aware that we were prepared to make it happen.

Afterwards my parents and grandma came for an awesome visit and walk (and Lazy Loaf and Kettle combo).  It was an awesome Sunday day, begun with an awesome Sunday practice.

Day Sixteen (of Thirty)

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

I remembered something tonight, early in the practice, that I’d forgotten for awhile.

Intention setting.

For many, if not most of my yoga practices I have an intention.  Sometimes we’re cued to set one; sometimes I just do. Usually I come up with it at the beginning just after the beginning meditation/breathing and before the first movement.  I try not to over think it, and go with what surfaces the quickest.  Sometimes I intentionally don’t set one, so that I can go with what comes up throughout the time on the mat.

Lately, though, for whatever reason, I hadn’t been.

Tonight, I stood and on my first forward fold….. it just came to me: hmmm…… how about an intention.  And one came in half of a half of a flash:

Playfulness.

The EXACT of all my practices lately.  While those practices didn’t have one “officially” have a focus; had they had one it would have been more about strength, core, fine-tuning, more, more, more.

Then for 90 minutes I tried to keep things light and play.

And it saved the night.  I came in tired.  But I smiled, and the room did too.  There was lots of laughter in the room at cues.  I wasn’t as tired as I let myself try to do things only to enjoy them.  I wasn’t worried about holding, or pushing, or doing.  Just playing.  Simple. I stayed and left not so tired.  Although I was COMPLETELY out for our final Savasana.

Talk about life off the mat: I think I could maybe bring some of this into my work life, too.  Enjoying the moment, the learning, the day, the colleagues, and the learning.  Instead of accomplishing the whole year before September finishes.

Play.

Day Fifteen (of Thirty)

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

I won’t get in to whiny, self-indulgentness here… but I’m played out.

I’m not panicking about it.  I’m not blaming work, or yoga, or tomorrow’s Autumnal Equinox.  It has both nothing and everything to do with the heat, the marking, the coaching, and the week.

I’m just played out.

I got to yoga today and took two blocks; I laid down on my stomach with one cheek to the side with a block under each shoulder and instantly fell asleep.  Literally.  (I woke up for the practice, so it wasn’t like the class had to watch me toss and turn for 90 minutes, haha).

Should I have went to Restorative at 7:15 instead of Hot Foundation at 6:00?  Probably yes.  BUT two cheeseburgers and some X Factor after Hot Foundation served as a bit of an overindulgent Restorative regardless.

Time. for. bed.

Day Fourteen (of Thirty)

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

After school these days, I. am. spent.

6:00 p.m. yoga means three things:

  1. Ensuring I’m on the Deerfoot at 4:30 p.m.
  2. Ensuring I’m at school between 7:00 and 7:30 a.m. to ensure I can do 4:30 and not fall behind on my workload.  A workload that left me declining a research assistant position via e-mail this morning…. despite really, really wanting it.
  3. Using 3:38 to 4:30 SUPER strategically.

This is a bit of a traffic game.  If traffic is great, I’m mondo early.  If traffic is the opposite of great or I’m a bit behind 4:30, I cut it close.

Then I get to the studio and it’s exactly what I need: quiet space, familiarity, humidifiers, friendly hellos, warmth, filtered water, a lie down/stretch/or seated meditation.

…and I go.

Today I was on the cusp of a nice long Child’s Pose or Savasana for most of the latter half of practice… but I didn’t do it.  It’s not that I was averse to relaxing and resting and stretching… it’s that all the residue thinking/talking/doing/deciding of the day was still better burned-off with movement than with anything else despite near-exhuastion.

Then at the end an adjustment into Savasana and that’s it… another practice behind me.  Hamstrings longer and brain less double time.

Tomorrow’s the summit of the 30 Days; I wonder what I’ll mark it with.