The Long and Winding Yoga Road

Two years in and I’m still so yoga challenged. I’ve been in a different routine the last month or 2, doing cardio more and yoga less, but still going, and sometimes it’s good to mix things up. I’m actually surprised the cardio hasn’t made my yoga worse since it does tend to tighten all the muscles, especially my hips.

I keep persevering and progress is slow but hinted at. My nose is back to my knee, inching toward my forehead at the posture after triangle.  My leg is slightly higher in standing bow…no watershed moments but little hints and hues… I’ll take it.

Summer, especially with this crazy humidity and meshugas in the air (year of the monkey everyone tells me!), is tough, so it’s good to have a routine or a plan or plan to have a plan make things happen.

I am finding:

Little progress in standing head to knee. Still so tough

Generally better balance on balancing stick

By second set of triangle, I am in pain but can usually (70%) talk myself into staying upright

I still try with toe stand and I still can’t remotely balance yet. I go down and I fall.

The spine series is still close to impossible for me

I am doing both camel and rabbit and trying not to exit the postures early

Flexibility is getting slightly better, slowly…

I have trouble staying in savassana for more than 2 min.

 

Namaste!

 

Can you say humid?

Dang. Hot yoga when it’s 83% humidity is not easy nor pretty. I was impressed that most of the class (including myself) made it through all the postures. Especially since our teacher this morning is known as Ms. Hot, one of those who when she opens the windows, opens them a crack, the tiniest crack possible in fact.

My practice seems to be in a holding pattern. Since I’ve been doing more of the gym the past month, and going to yoga 2-3x a week, I can’t really complain, although I’m starting to inch it up a bit in effort. Hold postures longer, get back into them when I fall out… you know the drill.

Today though, I’m happy just to have class done. That feeling that you did something hard, in especially hard conditions. Back tomorrow. Namaste!

Yoga Wheel

You may have seen them lately–Dharma Wheel, Mandala Wheel, Yoga Wheel… they are basically a round padded prop you put under your back to help you reverse the damage of hunching all day and create a more flexible spine. I purchased one because I have incredibly tight shoulders and thought this might help. I have been building up to about 10 minutes a day using it. I can only do the most basic postures and even that is challenging. I do feel by chest and back stretching and basically reversing the motion of being leaning forward. I’m curious to see if this relieves some of my shoulder pain and helps with any of my yoga postures. It’s too soon to see any difference, and I also probably have to increase the time I’m on it. Let’s see: Sit 10 hours a day. Yoga wheel: 10 minutes. I don’t think I’ll see a revolution with that. I do seem to have slightly less shoulder pain which is encouraging. One of my yoga teachers makes and sells them, so I figured if he uses it, it’s probably something to be explored. It’s also nice to do some stretching outside of the postures, so this is a nice addition to my routine. I’ll keep you posted on progress. If anyone uses a yoga wheel, let me know how it’s going.

Namaste!

 

$_35

An extra hand

I took a class recently where the teacher is known for helping students one on one with postures. This usually means some postures are held longer, other times savasannas are longer… depending on what the teacher is doing with a specific student. I’ve noticed not always, but usually, the teacher picks advanced, very talented students… well this time I got picked in standing bow… on my bad side no less.  It was so interesting because he created an environment that you couldn’t fall, so you could try different techniques to see what was most effective. I know the dialogue says pull in opposite directions, 50-50 and I thought I was puling, however, when the teacher pulled me, he really pulled. I mean a stretch 10x stronger than I was doing. The other interesting thing, since set 1 is one minute, is that he said pull, then for 10 seconds relax, and let the body stretch more–that worked. The other news is I got a mandala wheel or dharma well to help stretch my back. I’ve been doing it for 5-6 minutes 2x a day… it really helps me overcome my hunching all day while seated and the corresponding tight shoulders i’ve developed (that impact almost every yoga pose!) I’d highly recommend it. The wheel comes with pictures, most that I’m not flexible enough to do, but just putting it under your back and stretching seems to work. Other than that, I’ve been going to early classes to try and beat the heat. It is brutal in my studio..

 

Namaste

You Don’t Quit

So, I continue to establish a regular routine and get back into the yoga groove. I still don’t have the flexibility I did a few months ago and some extra lbs make certain postures more challenging. Last week I went to class 3x and worked out at the gym 2x, focusing on cardio. I was shocked at how “bad” my cardio was compared to the past. As good of a workout as yoga is, it simply can’t do everything. I lowered my previous levels and got myself moving. It felt good, although of course, stiffens everything up, making yoga all the more challenging.

The week has started well though, with a July 4th yoga class and a class this am. I find it almost impossible to really give me all through the entire class, as in push push push. I just burn out. I certainly hold the poses and try to do the correct form, but it feels like I really need to pick a handful of postures and put the most energy into them… strategically.  I had a substitute teacher today that was excellent, so that’s always inspiring. To hear a slightly different instruction or perspective. I’ve been working on toe stand, I can go down, but I am extremely wobbly.  I’ve also been working harder on my backbend. I seem to have made no progress since I started there, so it’s become a posture of focus

This week is about keeping routine, not making excuses and trying my best. You?

Namaste.

Climbing Back

Another hiatus from yoga (work travel largely) has resulted in a little over 2 week break from class. Went back today and it was anything but pretty. Remembering that on my best day I’m below average, you can only imagine what 2 weeks off does… It does get frustrating and I do get discouraged. The worst you ask: Where to start… pada hastasana–I’ve never been able to “scoop” my hands under my ankles due (I think) to very tight shoulders, however, now it’s pretty bad. My back bends are definitely not as deep, my head to knee-let’s not even go there. I didn’t try toe–just did 2 trees this time… On locust, arms are not going under my body…rabbit is a disaster and my flexibility appears totally shot at the end with head to knee pose… I mean, really! I’m sure tomorrow will be even more challenging as I’ll be achy and stiff to top it off.

However, I know this is a process. I know I’m doing yoga for me and not to be a champion. I know I can only get better if I can keep trying… maybe not good, but better. And through all the disgust and disappointment is a small voice that just keeps whispering… shhh. just go to class… so that’s my plan. Let’s see how many I can fit in this week.

Work gets in the way

All of a sudden I’ve had a lot of work travel. This is generally good business news, but can create havoc with a steady yoga practice. I keep missing 2-3 days for travel and then play catch up, taking 2-3 classes the rest of the week. Was in Boston earlier this week, M-T, so went to class yesterday and today. And will try to go this weekend.

Going out of the country for a week starting Mon, so that’s another whole week without my steady practice. It feels like the last 3-4 months (maybe longer) have been catching up, treading water and falling behind. I know it’s all a process and it doesn’t have to be perfect… it just seems harder to create momentum, get in a rhythm and see actual improvements. I still can’t do things I could 6 months ago.

I realize how appealing I’m starting to find a routine and when something interrupts it, I generally find it stressful and agitating. I’m trying to roll with what comes my way and not get too caught up in details.

How do you manage your practice when things change?

 

 

Summer Heat

OK. I feel like I’m whining about the heat again.  It is close to unbearable in my studio and I take the first class of the day!! I’m so happy I finish the class that it dawns on me only later but progress is minimal. I can barely bend or grab or hold, so while the class is hard, I’m not working hard on my postures. I’m too busy trying to breathe and survive. This is kind of disappointing to me,  because while I like the heat, I like to have enough energy to push myself. Now I’m happy if I’m still standing the first half of class. Before I tried to minimize fidgeting, now I tell myself to fidget away if it helps me get through the 90 minutes.

I’m still definitely not back to earlier days, especially on front folds/bends where I have added bulk and as a result, the postures are all more difficult. Going to try to up my attendance and see if that helps with: the heat, my flexibility and my weight. However, I keep trying. In part, because I’m dealing with a lot of stress and I believe that yoga is helping more than maybe I even realize to help offload it.

How’s your spring/summer yoga going?

 

 

Back and Achy

So 2 weeks away from Bikram yoga takes its toll. I went on vacation for a week and then had a crazy work week. What do I notice? Balance suffers and my hard fought flexibility  took flight. It’s tough to remember when your head could almost touch your knee and now even when bend you can only get the top of your nose to reach. Still, the only option is to try to release the disappointment and judgement (O so easy to bash myself!) and persevere. However long it takes to get back, it takes. Trying to be gentle and continue to encourage myself, especially as the weather outside and in the hot room gets more steamy. The other thing I noticed was that the hot room has been like a sauna. Especially for weekend later in the day classes. So anything I can do and anytime I go, even with my less than ideal performance, I’m trying to stay positive. This morning at 7, it was also super humid. This tests another kind of strength-not flexibility but endurance. The classes have been ugly and rough, but they are successes if I can finish them and try to focus. So, this week is my attempt to “get back at it”

Let’s see how it goes…

Namaste

Less Water=Better Class?

I’ve been experimenting with water in class lately. The hot room has been especially hot (read earlier posts) so I initially thought I would need to drink more water to feel better. What I’ve discovered is that’s not necessarily true. I find the less water I drink in party time, the better. Although the balance series is intense, I seem to get through it stronger with very little water. I take a decent sip during savasanna between standing and the floor and again some water at fixed firm. I have found this seems to give me the most energy and endurance. I’m not exactly sure why, but it’s taken me nearly 2 years to figure it out. When I first started classes I would gulp too much water and then be extremely uncomfortable on the floor. A few times I felt something rumbling and ran out of class to throw up (always water). I think I was getting used to the heat and trying to balance water. I now tend to drink more water after class and drink throughout the day.

What’s your water rituals?