Friday, October 10, 2008


4:30 pm with Miranda

I started out very distracted.  For the first 30-40 minutes I found it very hard to focus, and my mind wandered quite a bit.  Then I managed to let go and just listen to Miranda and follow along, and everything came into place.  The floor series was one of the best I've had in a while.  It's amazing how much a wandering mind interferes.  The trouble is finding a reliable cure for it.  It's pretty easy right now for me to force my body to be still during postures.  It's much, much harder to get the same kind of control over my mind.  And it's too bad, because when my mind is quiet and I'm focusing just on what's there, everything goes wonderfully.

My knee was much improved over yesterday.  It felt stronger and looser during the day, and that stayed with me during class.   I got down a little further in Fixed Firm.  A few more days with the same progress and my butt would be on the floor again.  Japanese sitting position was much closer to straight up than its been.  And I didn't feel any limitations from my knee in the final stretch.  So things are looking up.

I read an interesting passage on fixing the knees in a Hatha Yoga Anatomy book.  It recommended standing with your feet spread as far as possible while still parallel.  From this position, you will do a forward bend and a backward arch.  Then twist to the left as much as you can while keeping your feet in place, and do the bend and arch again.  Then twist to the right.  It then describes eight hand positions to try while doing this.  This makes 48 poses in all:  3 trunk positions, forward and backward bend, eight hand/arm positions.   In all positions, of course, you need to lock the knees (engage quads and hamstrings while lifting kneecap).  The book says that this exercise will work all of the knees supporting muscles, and ultimately should cure any minor knee ailment.

I've tried them a bit.  The book recommends starting with 5 minutes a day, and working up to maybe 15 minutes if the knee is pretty bad.  It's astonishing how directly the forward bend goes to the sore point in my knee when I twist to the left.  Even more amazing is how much better the knee started to feel almost instantly on having done this.  I will definitely be adding these little stretches to my arsenal, a few times a day.  I'm also going to look a bit more closely at the book.  If it has much more practical information like this, then its definitely worth it.

Yanzi is talking about trying Bikram, maybe Monday morning.  It's only taken six months, but I think my physical results may finally have persuaded her that its worth a try.  In some ways, this may be a good thing.  Back in February we went to a gym yoga class together, and she did not like how loud I was, breathing, gasping, some groaning, etc...  Back then I was a mess.  Now, I don't make nearly as much noise (I don't think I make any at all, really, except maybe after a bad Locust), and I think she might actually enjoy going to class with me -- if she can stand the heat and the relative slowness (she likes Latin dancing, and this is a far cry from that).  Here's hoping...

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