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Archive for the ‘yoga’ Category

January is Yoga Practice Month (YoMo)

I’ve been working on YoMo, or Yoga Practice Month, which will take place in January 2009.  You can read about it on my yoga blog, or on the Yoga Center of Lawrence website.

I don’t know why these monthly challenges, like this, or NaNoWriMo, or NaBloPoMo, are so appealing to me.  Perhaps it’s my life-long habit of procrastination, which responds well to deadlines.

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Here are a couple of things I’m wondering about throwing away:

  1. The “holiday gift pack” I received containing body splash and lotion, heavily perfumed.  Scented stuff drives me nuts, but I hate to throw it away.  I don’t know anyone I’d be willing to give it to.  The bottles are not recyclable, by the way.
    Linguistic note: I only use the word ‘gift’ when it’s from someone I don’t really know.  If it’s a friend or a family member, I use the word ‘present.’
  2. Ohhh, a wonderful yoga book, B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga: The Path to Holistic Health.  I bought it a couple of years ago, and recommend it highly to anyone with a serious yoga practice.  Here’s the deal.  The book came out without sufficient editing and proofreading, and the Iyengar family was very unhappy.  The new edition is all fixed, but they want people to throw away the original version.  I just hate throwing away any book, especially a hardcover book.  I am afraid it would be irresponsible to give it to someone else, even Goodwill, because who knows what’s wrong in it.  (I’m not nuts about spending another $35, but I might anyway, because the book is so great.)

I guess I’m very lucky to have these dilemmas. We have food on the table and a roof over our heads.

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  1. The light at sunset made it look like the field was glowing.
  2. I started Practice Notes, a new blog about home yoga practice. It seemed to me that the 9 or 10 people who read this blog don’t really care. Also, it seems jargon-y in this context to use the names of the poses that I am most familiar with. In a yoga-focused context, no problem.
  3. I did about 15 loads of laundry today. Why should that make me happy? I don’t know, but it does. I love it when everything is clean – all the little rugs, the towels, sheets from every bed in the house, etc. When B was little, he sometimes was Mighty Kid, zooming around the house battling the forces of evil. I had two names. If he needed an enemy, I was Danger Woman. If I was another good superhero, he called me Laundry Woman. I was Laundry Woman today.
  4. I am doing some very fun work on websites today. It’s not likely that many of my readers will know what this is, but let me just say: CSS is wonderful. OK, enough of that.
  5. We’re having great leftovers for dinner. Potato-sausage soup, and spinach frittata with feta.
  6. Life is pretty good.

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Eagle, eagle, owl

Today I was driving back from town and took the river road over the oxbow lake near our house. As I crossed the lake, I saw a bald eagle flying overhead. It registered in a sort of matter-of-fact way. “Oh, hmm, an eagle,” in the way you might notice a bluejay. Then I whipped my head back around. “Cool! An eagle!” That’s the first one I’ve seen in a couple of years, although they next along the river less than a mile from our house. So of course then I had an eagle eye out (hehehe, couldn’t resist) the rest of the way home, and sure enough, there was another one roosting in a tree at the river’s edge.

Later in the afternoon I was driving along Highway 40, going 55, and glanced at a road sign. Whoa! A lovely barred owl was perched on top of the sign.

It’s been a good day.

Oh yeah, and I did an hour and a half yoga practice this morning.

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Weedy yoga

I’m still headachy, but better. I did a very slow batch of seated poses this morning, ending with supta baddha konasana and savasana. Tomorrow I go walking in the early morning again, assuming I’m back to normal. I feel like a hurricane whipped through my head.

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No yoga today

In The White Album, Joan Didion wrote an essay on migraines called “In Bed.” I don’t have a copy of the book any more, but I believe she mentions that if she had a gun in her purse while having a migraine, she’d use it on herself.

That was me today. It’s over, but I’m a bowl of moldy jello. I’ll do yoga tomorrow.

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Today’s yoga

I haven’t skipped any yoga days, but I’ve missed a couple of writing days. And I have to say that Saturday and Sunday were pretty lame for yoga. I wasn’t feeling well, so my practice was nothing much.

Today was my first day back to early-morning walking. I got up at 5, did yoga for 40 minutes, and then went for a 45 minute walk. The yoga was all seated poses, because I’m still coddling my post-surgical foot. Swastikasana, adho mukha swastikasana, dandasana, paschimottanasana, upavista konasana (my very hardest pose and one I’m trying to do every day), baddha konasana, supta padangusthasana, savasana. I’m trying to do these poses very slowly and relaxedly, as Paul Grilley proposes in Yin Yoga. It’s hard not to be hasty (“How’s my time? Do I have time for one more before my walk? Am I gonna be late?”).

So far that’s 10 days in a row. (I started daily practice before the beginning of WoYoPracMo.)

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WoYoPracMo day 1

I got off easy today. I went to the New Year’s Day class at the yoga center, so I didn’t have to make myself wake up early to practice. It was the first time I’d been to class in over two months because of my foot surgery. There were a couple of things I couldn’t do, but on the whole, it was perfect. Standing poses, seated poses, restorative poses, ahhh. A great start.

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WoYoPracMo

I’ve signed up for World Yoga Practice Month, or WoYoPracMo, which is similar to National Blog Posting Month, or NaBloPoMo. You just commit to practicing yoga every day for the month of January. You don’t get in trouble for slacking off. It’s just a way of giving some structure and impetus to your home practice.

I had a really good solid home practice going last year. It transformed the way I did yoga. For the last 7 years I’ve been taking classes at the B.K.S. Iyengar Yoga Center of Lawrence. I’ve had an off-and-on home practice some of the time. From June of 2006 to January of 2007 I did yoga every day. In February my father died, and my practice fell off the rails. I don’t know why grief should have shifted things, but it did. Once I got off track, I couldn’t quite get back on, and my only practice was in class once or twice a week. So I’m very glad to have an external reason to practice daily again.

Benefits of daily home practice:

  • My practice became more internal. When you’re in class, you’re focused on your poses, sure, but also on the teacher, and on the other students. I try to be in the front of the class so that I’m not distracted by the other students. When I’m practicing at home, I pay attention to my own alignment, breathing, and focus.
  • My practice got stronger. When I first started practicing alone, I tended to use asanas that I like and that are easy for me. Then I decided that I should add in at least one hard one every time. Then I learned about practice for study from Mary Obendorfer, in which your practice is focused on one pose and you use related poses to develop the one. And in that situation, I do poses that I might not otherwise do.
  • I learned more about sequencing asanas. If I just start, with no focus, I am likely to practice for a shorter time and in a more random way. That’s not the case when I practice with my friend Jill. We can do a thoughtful and valuable practice choosing asanas on the fly. But on my own I seem to get lazy. Sometimes I write out a sequence for myself, and sometimes I use one from a book or Yoga Journal, and sometimes I think it through in advance.
  • A big one: All my poses improved and I became stronger and more limber. Now that benefit is mostly gone, after a year of not practicing much at home and two months of foot-surgery related inactivity. I look forward to getting it back.

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