A month of yoga: week 2

Monday: Vinyasa flow

Or,

Let’s talk about sweat, baby.

Slightly better at managing my frustration this week, and more handstand practice that went well. But oh my god, the sweating. The room was hot before the class started, and 30 minutes in I had to turn over my top mat as it was already getting slippery (if this is too much tmi, apologies, there’s more Sweat Talk coming).

You would think that after doing regular yoga for almost 9 months now I’d be sweating less, wouldn’t you? Well, you would be wrong. I have to take 2 towels to every class – one to put at the top of the mat so my hands don’t slip, the other to mop myself with at regular intervals. I’ve got wristbands too (I can’t get on with headbands, too uncomfortable). For a long time I really hated feeling sweaty, which is probably why I avoided doing any exercise for most of my life. Now, I’m trying to be very zen about the perspiration situation, but I do still find it enormously distracting – I’ll be trying to hold Warrior 3, focussing on my dristi point, when I’ll notice sweat dripping into my eye. Nice. Or I’ll be attempting to get into Crow but my arms and legs will be too slippery, so I end up in an undignified heap on the floor. AARGH.

*zen face*

Jillian Michaels of 30 Day Shred fame says that sweat is fear leaving your body (the highlight of my brief attempt at that torture was shouting SHUT UP, JILLIAN at that bit). I’ve no idea what it could be but I am clearly bloody TERRIFIED of something… 😉

Wednesday: Jivamukti followed by De-Stress & Yoga Nidra

I didn’t do any home practice on Tuesday – late home, had to catch up with the Great British Sewing Bee final (Heather? Really?), too lazy – and I woke up on Wednesday morning feeling very stiff. It didn’t ease off during the day – every time I got up from sitting down I felt like an old lady. Hmm, could my body be telling me something? Consequently I approached Jivamukti rather tentatively, but soon I could feel the benefit of all that lovely stretching. Don’t worry, I still took it gently – the last thing I want is a knackered back.

Minor epiphany during side plank – using my core to push my hips up made it much stronger (before, I was sagging at the hips and all my weight was going through the supporting arm, which made it really hard to hold).

Thursday: home practice

Spent a few minutes practising Tree, a pose I struggle with in classes. I have got much better at the physicality of the pose (I can rest my foot on my thigh now, instead of my calf) but holding it is challenging, I think because there are lots of things to be distracted by in class – other students wobbling, the flippin’ SWEATING. More forward bend practice and some twists and I was ready for sleep.

So that’s almost week 2 done. I’m doing a workshop on backbends tomorrow, which I’ll include in next week’s update. Namaste!

 

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A month of yoga: week 1

I have been doing a lot of yoga lately. My yoga studio (Jiva Health, in Wimbledon – if you are near, GO, they are lovely and brilliant) is running a Spring challenge (details here). This is the perfect thing for me to deepen my commitment to my practice (yeah, I can’t believe I say this kind of stuff now, either 😉 ). I’m aiming to get to at least three classes a week, and to develop my home practice. Here are my thoughts on week one.

Monday: Vinyasa Flow class

This class is quite woo-woo, focussing on a different chakra and the related crystal each week, but don’t let the woo-woo fool you – it is also HARD (for me). I have noticed that I start strongly then fade into a wobbly mess two thirds of the way in. Then I get cross with myself – I like to be good at things and I get frustrated when I think I’m not – and forget to focus on my breath. So I’m trying to let it go a little bit (no, I haven’t seen Frozen yet, but that song is everywhere). It’s…a process. I felt really strong in shoulder stand though, which was a real boost as it’s a pose I have had trouble holding up for more than a few breaths until now.

Tuesday: home practice

I attempted to do 10 minutes before my morning shower, but that was a non-starter – I can’t move until my brain is awake and that doesn’t happen until I’ve had a cup of tea. So instead I did some sun salutations and stretches/twists for 15 minutes before bed, and it was gorgeous.

Wednesday: Jivamukti followed by De-Stress & Yoga Nidra

I love Wednesdays. Jivamukti is fast and flowing (so.much.sweat, and it’s not even hot yoga) so the De-Stress class is the perfect counterfoil. I’ve really noticed over the last week or so that my seated forward bend is improving – after months of not being able to move my hands much past my thighs I can now grab my big toes. Practice, practice and all is coming… (my head is nowhere near my knees yet though).

Yoga nidra is sort of an extended savasana (relaxation), and it’s intensely lovely.

Thursday: home practice

I was staying at a friend’s, so didn’t have a mat but I managed to sneak in 15 minutes before bed. I focussed a little more this time on my seated forward bend as it’s a good pose to work on when you’ve not got much room, or if you’re without a mat.

Friday: home practice

I did not feel like attempting downward dog after a few glasses of wine, so stuck with some gentle seated forward bend practice and a rest in supta baddha konasana.

Saturday: Level 1 Vinyasa flow

Now this class is supposed to be for beginners, so I often make the mistake of thinking it will be, if not easy, at least a tad simpler than the Monday or Wednesday night classes. And lo, I struggle. I’m not sure what was up with me this time but I just could not focus during the balance poses – my legs felt like they belonged to someone else. Again, I got frustrated – it’s like my brain is trying to derail me, telling me “pfft, you can’t do this”, so I really have to concentrate on using my breath to combat that inner critic (I figure if I breathe REALLY LOUD I’ll drown her out). Class ended on a high, though, with praise from teacher for my handstand practice against the wall. So, a lot of stuff still to work on but some progress too. A positive end to week one 🙂

 

*Image by Fine Day Press on Etsy, here