Thursday, December 31, 2009

231/365 - I'm Back

Sunday Off
Monday 6:30 pm with Rohit
Tuesday 6:30 pm with Libby
Wednesday the 23rd through Monday 28th Off (Merry Christmas!)
Tuesday 10:30 am with Lenette
Wednesday 6:30 pm with Rohit
Thursday 10:30 am with Rohit

This is by far the longest I've taken without posting. My apologies to any of you who were anxiously awaiting what I might next say. The Wednesday through Monday break was also the longest I've taken off with no yoga at all. I'm not entirely sure why I didn't make it to a class while on Long Island. Maybe I didn't feel like it. Maybe its proof that I didn't really like the studio there.

I'm not going to summarize each or the last five classes in any detail. I learned something fairly big in each of the first two. First, Rohit said I'm falling out of Standing Bow the way I am because I'm charging forward before I've gotten all I can out of the backward kick. He's getting to be more and more of a stickler on this point, and his advice really helps me. The idea is to kick back with your leg (creating the back arch) until you can't kick back anymore. Then you start to kick up, and its that kicking that drives your body forward. It's not simply a matter of bending at the waist. Rather, you should have no choice but to bend at the waist. This tip has since helped both with the stretching feeling in the pose, and in my ability to hold it. Of course, my new improved Standing Bow doesn't look as cool as the way I was doing, but it will get there.

In the second class, Libby called me out a few times for not locking my elbows. I make a very big deal about keeping the elbows locked in Half Moon, and I can do it pretty well. But there are so many other poses that call for the locked elbow, and its so easy to relax the idea in these poses. First Backbend, Balancing Stick, Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee, Half Tortoise are the main ones, but I may be missing something. This is very similar to the same point that Janna has been making about Half Tortoise. It's obviously one of those things that I "know" yet forget with such ease.

As for the three most recent classes, I've had some real stamina problems, especially in the second class after the break. I dropped a set each of Triangle, Standing Separate Leg Head to Knee, Tree!!!, Camel and Rabbit. I wanted to drop even more. This morning I did better, but still lost a set of Triangle and Tree. I've never skipped tree pose before, and I think its related to my blood pressure. Coming out of the tuck in the earlier pose, I get a little dizzy, and I think that may be a sudden drop in blood pressure. And then I can barely balance on two feet, much less one.

The only other thing is another, and different, pain in my left knee. This time it's on the inside at the back and I don't think it has anything to do with any of the earlier problems. My calf has some related tightness, so I think I must have just pulled something a bit carrying luggage and stuff up and down stairs. This time, I can't fully flex the knee at all. Japanese sitting position is impossible. Third part of Awkward is a major challenge, and I can't go all the way down. Fixed firm is a pipe dream, and Half Tortoise and Rabbit don't get the set-ups they deserve, and suffer pretty badly as a result.

After class this morning, a tranplant from Los Angeles who is new to our studio said that I was "really intense." I'm taking that as a compliment. I do think it's a bit odd that other people see me that way.

The day 295 meditation talks about doubts cropping up over meditation. It's so easy to doubt meditation. As soon as you ask yourself whether you are meditating properly, or even whether you are meditating at all, then you aren't. And at the start (where I am now), thoughts like that crop up all the time.

Once again, Gates assures us that it's not rocket science. There isn't any great body of knowledge needed to start meditation. Rather, like so much else in yoga, you just let go of the doubt and do it. The nice thing to hear is that asana and pranayama are already forms of meditation, but they are in some ways more difficult. With the meditation he's talking about, all you need to do is focus.

On a personal note, I've found one very nice bonus to my recent blood pressure worries. I've got a wrist monitor that may or may not be accurate. The doctor told me to take readings in the morning and the evening. The monitor suggests resting for 10 to 15 minutes before taking the readings. Voila! This is an instant time set aside for meditation. And I've got to do it anyway for other reasons, so I've been trying to do it right.


Cat said...

your little pointers that you post really do help! sometimes you just need to be reminded on those! can't wait to try standing bow tomorrow with new knowledge of kicking till i'm forced to bend forward:)

Bosco said...

Duffy, I am happy you are back to your blog. I have missed it! I also appreciate Rohit's coaching on standing bow and will try it out this afternoon.

I empathize with your stamina deficit. It is built over long steady periods of regular practice, and seems to vaporize at a much fast rate if you don't practice.

bikramyogachick said...

Welcome back Duffy!