Monthly Archives: March 2016

The Neck

Do you find yourself straining your neck in yoga? I try to follow the dialogue but must be doing something wrong as many classes result in me feeling my neck is achy or pulled. In separate standing leg pose (the one before triangle) I get that your eyes should go between your toes or a little in front, but that’s usually when I get my first tingle. Then in triangle when your neck and shoulder are supposed to touch and your eyes look past your fingers, I definitely feel something there. The pose after triangle where you neck comes up last… at that point I definitely feel some sort of discomfort. Many of the spine strengthening postures also have the “look up with your eyes” which somehow in my mind seems to also mean “move your neck” I hear that with cobra, airplane, bow… usually by rabbit, my neck is a hot mess. Perhaps there are small adjustments that a teacher just can’t make with every student, or it could be my neck is where I hold a lot of tension and it just also comes through in class. I suspect I’m probably doing a few things wrong though. Will just have to keep trying!

 

Namaste

 

Injured

It figures, trying to get my attendance back to a more normal level, I pushed myself to attend a class I normally sleep through. It seemed unremarkable at the time but I woke up this morning at around 3am in a lot of pain. Anytime I moved or switched sides, I felt a shooting pain on my left side, from under my armpit to my chest. After determining I was not having a heart attack, I tried to figure out what happened. Could I have slept in an awkward position? Was it my 6:30 am yoga class that took until now to act up? I wasn’t sure but yoga seemed the more likely culprit.  Seemed odd as I felt no pain during or after class, but I do recall I pushed very hard in triangle. Could my “stretch up (especially) and stretch down” be partially to blame?

The incredibly sharp pain that kept me up since 3am reminded me that I have never seriously got injured in almost 2 years of yoga. Sometimes my left wrist acts up or my left hip aches if I don’t take a day off or if I just moved in a slightly off way. But that’s it. I canceled by morning class, realizing I could barely move. My husband helped me get dressed and I headed to work. The pain seemed to be a bit better as the day went on but my left side is clearly in pain. To make matters worse, I’m left handed.

I’ve been trying to think, do I take a hot bath when I get home? Do I ice my left side? Do I dare take a class tomorrow or wait and see how I feel?

Yogis, how have you recovered from an injury?

Small Goals

Today I am excited as after trying for quite a while, I was able to wake up super early and take what I call the “crack of dawn” class (this is earlier than my normal early class). The fact that I did it, on a snowy (!) Monday makes me happy happy happy. No excuses. How was the class itself? Only eh, as I am still struggling to make up for lost ground over the past month and a few extra pounds are making forward bending pathetic (hello, my head is no where near touching my knee again in separate standing head to knee). However, today I told myself, after getting up and making it to class to focus on what I could do, not what I couldn’t. You know what I found… my halfmoon is decent, as is my backbend, my triangle is respectable as is my tree.  I could get all the way down in fixed firm, I did both camels and I ended solid with the breathing. Why beat yourself up with failing and limitations. Try try and try!

Wishing everyone a great week. Namaste!

 

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Mind Games

Humid tough yoga class this morning, where I sat out 1 set of triangle and didn’t push 100% through the spine series. Still I went, it’s in the books, and I feel good. What’s amazing to me is how hard it is to talk myself into going to yoga class. I know not everyone has this problem, however,  I certainly do. Despite the fact that I like taking class, feel great after and know this has been super helpful to my health, I often battle myself to go to class. It’s crazy, exhausting and often the voices that say stay home, win.

I think part of the reason is I prefer to take the crack of dawn/early am classes in my studio which requires me to up and moving around 5:30am. This technically means I should be in bed by 9pm, but this generally doesn’t happen, so I’m tired and already creating prime and fertile ground for excuses. I always have sleep problems, so depending on how the night was, it can be tricky.

The other reasons are that yoga is time consuming and a shlep. On weekends it takes me around 45 min to get to class, plus the 90 min class and then 20 min after to shower and dress. That’s big chunk of time. Especially when I want to relax.

Last, class is HARD and I’m not a natural. Most of the time I’m in a groove with this is me, I’m working on it, I’m getting better… but sometimes I imagine myself in a particularly taxing posture I stink at, and then class seems less appealing.

I’m working on dealing with all this, mostly by sucking it up, shutting the voices in my head and just going to class, but I’d love to hear anyone else’s tricks and techniques for mind games.
Namaste

 

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It’s a Process

Boy, it’s a process getting back in the groove after gaining weight and being sick. The double whammy combo is quite the knockout. Standing head to knee, separate standing head to knee and rabbit continue to be challenging with my stomach literally making these postures much tougher. Today I mostly just lifted my leg up in SH2K so I’d be on 1 leg—sigh.  I am getting back in the routine of going to class though, so I know I’ll get back. I am watching my food more carefully as well to speed up the process. I’m already following a fairly stringent eating plan that’s mostly vegan, but you’d be surprised what you can binge on if you want… hello Ben and Jerry’s non dairy?!? I am trying not to think of the yo-yo progress of the past few months and instead forge ahead with more steady improvements. I used to add some cardio (spin, hit intensity on the elliptical) a few days a week I wasn’t doing yoga and I found that gave me more endurance and felt doing cardio was probably good for my weight and heart. Now I am thinking of adding weight training instead. I bought a Groupon for 3 sessions with a trainer than specializes in 10 minute high intensity training. Too good to be true? I’ll let you know!

How’s your routine coming?

Namaste

Stomach

After being busy and sick on and off for the past month, my eating and work outs have taken a big hit. A gain of about 10 lbs (I’m only 5′ tall) has resulted in some postures being close to impossible, while my flexibility has made some other more challenging as well. I know it’s temporary and I’m back on the path toward progress, but the yoyo nature of my practice (ups and downs vs. ups and more ups) can get frustrating. We’re all human and I try to be forgiving.

Here’s what I’ve noticed… when I gain weight, postures like rabbit and the separate standing head to knee (the pose after triangle) and wind removing pose (when you need to grab your two legs together) are disasters. My stomach simply gets in the way. I try my best, but I can’t really do my best because my belly makes striving beyond challenging.

When I miss classes and flexibility takes a hit I feel it most in the pada hastasana (hands to feet), standing head to knee and seated head to knee at the end. Interestingly, poses like triangle and camel seem more forgiving and I don’t notice decline.

When you miss some classes, where do you notice the difference yogis?

 

My New Yoga Mat

My husband got me an Aurorae Synergy Yoga Mat and Towel for our anniversary. (Ironically, I got him 2 sessions with a running coach, so we both had sports on our minds). I had been using the standard towel and mat for class since I started, so this was something different. It’s basically a towel bolted onto a mat for basically the same price as a mat.

I LOVE IT! No more fidgeting and fussing adjusting the towel as it shifts and bunches under my toes. No more chaffing with my skin against a rough towel… no more carrying two things. The towel on this mat is totally comfortable and I haven’t slipped at all.

The only downside is for rabbit, I need to bring a little towel since this mat and towel are attached and you really can’t grab the whole mat and wrap it around your ankles. The site said to wash the mat every few weeks, not yet sure how that will work as after 4 classes I think my mat may be pretty stinky. I spray it after use and that helps but it is supposed to be machine washable or I’ll just soak it in the bathtub the way I have my other mats.

I think this has helped me focus more, fidget less and just be more comfortable!

Highly recommended…

Namaste!

 

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