Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy 2010!

After a long vacation (1.5 weeks!), I am back at work at lab, back in the studio for both practice and teaching, and back at the computer to blog. I can't believe how fast it went, it seems like maybe it was a dream that I snapped awake from so quickly that it doesn't seem real, like it is fading in the distance. Ok, enough romanticizing about the holidays...

Monday was my first day back at both jobs. Finally had students in my Monday night class, after changing it to Hatha Level 1, from Ashtanga-Vinyasa Fusion. Monday nights at 7:30 pm is a little late I guess to market a hot, sweaty, full-o-cardio, kind of practice. Although I think the real kicker was that a very established teacher was doing a dynamic flow in the class before mine, and there had never been a class after. So we move on to Hatha 1 for now, which was really fun to teach.

My practice has felt like a calico cat lately, with patchwork contributions from everywhere. FitTV, Anusara, Ashtanga, Sivananda, Iyengar, etc. It has been really fun just finding my way. However, I do crave structure and progress, and answering to a regular teacher has always forced me to stick with it. Which is why I fell in love with Ashtanga in the first place. I've heard people say that if you are a Pitta, Type A personality, that you will naturally align with Ashtanga, but what you really need is a practice to balance out the Pitta, like a restorative type. I can't tell if me being ok with being away from a daily mysore, or even led, ashtanga practice is a function of me seeking what I am needing, or if it is a function of my personality changing. And I'm falling into a style of practice that matches my constitution, rather than complementing it...

Friday, December 4, 2009

Yoga/Resistance Training

A show on Fit TV last night had a workout that combined asana with resistance training. It was very interesting. Basically, you get into a pose, like triangle, with one small weight in each hand. Then you make some movement, like opening and closing your arms while in Triangle. It was really unique, and felt great. That's one of my favorite things about asana. You can get one kind of enjoyment and benefit from holding a pose for a really long time, and another set of benefits and enjoyment from constant motion.

The workouts I've been doing from Fit TV are not all yoga based. And I've definitely noticed strength. However, it's interesting how combining any other workout with yoga can change your practice. My core strength has improved, and my arms, upper back, and shoulders are stronger. But, I've lost flexibility in my shoulders as interlacing my fingers behind my back and straightening my arms is REALLY hard for me now. I go back and forth on being an asana purist. Some times I feel like doing any other workouts is contradictory or disadvantageous to both the mental and physical benefits of the practice. Other times, I feel a synergistic effect. Probably has more to do with my state of mind than the reality of things.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fit TV

Last night I found out that channel 68 on our cable line-up is called "Fit TV". My first thought was, "well, that is an interesting oxymoron!". When I saw that it is a bunch of work-out shows where you can follow along with the TV, and exercise in the comfort of your living room or bedroom, I was weirdly excited. These shows are so oddly artificial, yet somewhat addicting. I ended up working out with my TV for a lot longer than I meant to, just to see what would happen next. I think I'll add this to my exercise routine for a while, because it is nice to have someone else tell you what to do and when. And the movements are so different from what I'm doing in my yoga practice. Plus, I feel like my TV owes me for the hours it has sucked out of my life. It's about time TV started pitching in and doing something useful!

I can't even being to say how much I am enjoying Triangle Yoga. So glad to have found a studio, and a kula, here in Chapel Hill. Everyone is really nice, and the atmosphere is a lot less competitive than what I experienced in Austin. The teachers are extremely qualified, and the classes I've taken so far have been wonderful.

Hoping to keep a daily practice through Thanksgiving, so I'll post again soon.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Core Power Yoga

Took a great class over the weekend at Triangle Yoga called "Core Power Yoga". I'm attending as many classes there as I can squeeze into my schedule so that I can meet the other instructors and see what the classes are like. This one was really great because it was so different from Ashtanga that it made me work new muscles, and old muscles in new ways. I've always found it amazing that no matter how long you have been practicing Ashtanga, and no matter how much endurance you have for the series, another yoga class can come along and kick your butt. For example I'm always humbled in Anusara classes, where we hold warrior for what seems like forever, and my thigh is SCREAMING at me, and every ounce of me wants to flow and to move on!

Had visitors over the weekend, and didn't get to practice other than the above mentioned class. I feel crappy today as a result. I can't believe how fast I've wanted/needed my daily practice. I feel cloudy, sluggish, and generally pissed off today...going to class tonight at 5:45, thank goodness.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hurts so good!

Last night I completed a half primary (through navasana), including all surya namaskar, all standing, all finishing, and all vinyasas, in about 45 minutes. I have no idea what happened between Sunday and yesterday, but the practice felt really good for the first time since I came back to it. However, it took a few hours for me to recover from practice, and today I am a walking zombie!

I think I'll go over to triangle yoga today or tomorrow for my first group class in a long time.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Day 4, back in the swing of things

Today will be the fourth consecutive day of getting back to my Ashtanga practice. I was amazed at how much strength and stamina I had lost over the past several months of not practicing; however, I am equally amazed how fast it is coming back to me. On day one, I was winded during Surya Namaskara B, had trouble even lifting up, much less jumping back during the primary series, and could not lift my toes off the ground to come into sirsasana with straight legs. Yesterday (on day 3) I made it through standing before breaking a good sweat, could lift my legs halfway up to sirsasana, and can do a two-part jump back during vinyasas where my feet momentarily support my weight on the way back. This progress is propelling me forward, and I find myself daydreaming about the practice during the day. I missed the physical practice, but even more I missed the commitment and the mental aspects that inevitably come along with it.

I do notice that I am tired during the day, just like I was when I first began practicing Ashtanga yoga. I sleep really deeply at night, and feel in general a bit run down. I remember this takes a little while to pass, but that it eventually does. Can't wait to leave work, and get onto the mat.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

No Teacher, then BE the Teacher

I have always subscribed to the 'inner guru' idea that your greatest teacher is within. Sometimes, however, my inner lazy person is at odds with my inner guru! But I'm moving my practice forward without a teacher at the moment, and while it is slow going, at least it is going! :)

Also, because of the need for Ashtanga teachers in this area, I decided to look for a nearby studio to teach at. I'll be teaching "Ashtanga Fusion" at Triangle Yoga here in Chapel Hill. I'm really excited to get to know the community around here, and to get back to teaching.

Just got Kino MacGregor's Intermediate series in the mail this weekend. Going to start moving through series at home. This should be interesting ;)

Oh, and as an update to the hip stuff I posted about a while ago, the right hip is feeling much better, after taking it easy, and doing gentle stretches on that side for months...but now the left hip is feeling EXACTLY how the right one was a while ago! So, I'm just going to try to work it out through the practice. Crazy hips.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ok, seriously back this time!

Completed the PhD, moved back to Chapel Hill, NC for a post doctoral position. Have no teacher here, so I am practicing to Kino MacGregor's DVDs, which are pretty great.

Took WAY too much time off from this practice, my body is tight. I feel like I am worse off than when I started the practice years ago. Could be due to the amount of walking and biking I'm doing, now that I'm living so close to work. I'm hoping that like relearning from a book, this will come back twice as fast as it did the first time. There are parts that never left, like sirsasana, ujjayi, trikonasana, and sarvangasana.

Ordered the intermediate series DVD today, so that when my practice is back, I can work on second from home as well. That will be interesting without a teacher!

I was so blessed in Austin to have so many wonderful Ashtanga teachers available. It's a case of you don't know what you have until it is gone. I did a search today, and there are VERY few ashtanga classes in Chapel Hill, may have to venture to Durham or Raleigh.

Friday, June 12, 2009

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

My husband and I spent a week in the Bahamas with family to celebrate after my last post. We stayed in Grand Bahama at West End, and then Port Lucaya. I am awestruck by the people there. So friendly and happy!

Returned to Austin on June 8th, and started slowly integrating my practice back into my life with sun salutations, random poses, basically whatever I felt like doing at each moment. I discovered something unsettling. Supta Badha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle) is impossible now. At first I thought it was tightness in the hips, but the left hip has been opening, and the right one is pain, not tightness. I cannot externally rotate it very far without some serious pain deep in the hip. Am worried it could be a labral tear...but don't want to go to the doctor or PT just yet.

Luckily, this pain only comes in external rotation in Supta Badha Konasana, Badha Konasana, and all other poses so far, it is okay. So, I will continue with gentle yoga for the immediate future until I gain strength and stamina. :)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I'm Back....

from the longest blogging hiatus ever! (well that's probably not totally true, but it was a long time).

I had to streamline life for a while as I completed my PhD. Now that it is finished, I feel ready to get back to this blog with the attention it deserves.

Yoga also took a backseat to finishing my degree, I hope to pick up my daily (or at least several times weekly) practice, and you will all be the first to hear about each step along the way.

The first step, which maybe wasn't the best way to EASE back in, was to take a hot yoga class at Yoga Vida 707. This was last week, and I was sore for at least 4 days...crazy...strength and stamina, GONE.

Looking forward to getting back into the swing of things.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Get out there and VOTE!

If you are in the US reading this post,


Thank you.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Ah, the details...Don't sweat the small stuff?!

Every so often I get absolutely obsessed with jumping through and back. I can jump through with shins crossed and I can jump back with a tiny pause where my toes touch the mat. So, you can guess that I have been reading the blog "Ashtanga Jump Back" often :)

Yesterday he posted a video by Sadie Nardini that demonstrates "Shakti" kicks that can help build strength for jumping back and through, and floating in general. So I watched it, and then I watched many many others of her videos on You Tube. Fun stuff. I did the kicks yesterday, and I am super sore in my serratus anterior muscles, and other back and shoulder muscles. It's so funny, I know that floating is not important, I have developed perfectly acceptable modifications so that I don't lose my flow in the practice....but when I see someone doing it, I want it so bad!

We will see how long this phase lasts this time :)

Friday, September 19, 2008


I just heard "Beautiful Day" by U2, and was taken back, very vividly, to Johnny Kest's Detox Flow. He was BLASTING this song while everyone in the room was flowing to their own breath. Weird. I guess that was an important moment for me, to associate it so strongly, so quickly to that song. If anyone else reading this was there, go listen to that song, maybe turn it up a little louder than usual. I'm curious if you will have the same experience ;)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

108th post

I went to another Anusara intensive last night with Christina Sell, super fun stuff. We worked on the inner spiral of the legs, with a focus on keeping the shins/calves stable to isolate and open the hips. We did poses/variations that I have never seen in person! Loved it.

Christina made a quick comment about how to beginners in an alignment based form of yoga (like Anusara), the details can seem overwhelming. It was like she was talking specifically to me :) I have not felt so judgemental of myself in a yoga class in a while. I have not yet figured out how to isolate many subtle muscles/movements. It is like starting asana all over again, when I had no awareness/connection to many large muscle groups, except now it is much more subtle.

It is a good opportunity for me to observe my thoughts, and keep a sense of humor about them. I've heard people say that "who you are on the mat is who you are off the mat". Sounds silly, but I really started to notice how true that is, I am competitive, judgemental, full of ego, but also, observant, devoted, analytical, and searching for transformation.

Taught a led primary immediately after again. Decided to "take it up a notch". Realized I was becoming to comfy in the role of a teacher who coddles her students. So there was a lot less demo-ing, and a lot less language like "if you feel comfortable..." We'll see how it goes, but I realized I need to hand some of the responsibility to the student.

Things are going well in lab. Had a meeting with my boss this past weekend, about my graduation timeline. We came up with a very reasonable plan to finish up my graduate career, and if all goes well, I'll graduate in (or before) May. It was a great meeting, where I found out that he agrees with me that I've done enough to start writing my dissertation up very soon. It was quite a relief considering he is very hard to read, and could have just as easily told me the opposite. I was ready to defend myself, and present my reasons why I thought I was ready, all this pent up aggression, and I didn't need it at all!

I'm in the process of writing up my second first-author project for publication. I'm flying solo. I'm getting the article to the point where I would be happy submitting it to a journal, and then handing it over to my boss for review. It is actually a fun process, I am such a dork!

It has been really challenging finding a balance amongst all this. The closer I get to graduation, the more in love with Neuroscience I get, the more time I want to spend at lab, and reading the literature. However, I'm more "in love" than ever with yoga. Teaching and practicing. I'm at a place where I feel like I am doing both things half-assed. There just aren't enough hours in the day. But the bottom line is I need both in my life, and am not willing to give either up, so I need to figure out a way to be okay with the way things are :)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Anusara Intensive

I managed to make it to the second installment of the "Anusara Intensive" at Seventh Street Yoga last night with Christina Sell. It was so fun. I think the concepts were basic to those familiar with this form of yoga, but for me, a newbie, it was absolutely perfect. I am so sore in muscles in my back that I didn't even know I had :) I'm so looking forward to next week.

I had to teach a led Ashtanga class immediately after, and my muscles were fatigued. I had 5 people in the class who had not taken an ashtanga class before, so I needed to demo a lot. It was funny because I was shaking and quivering, I bet they thought I was a weenie! :) It was a fun class nonetheless, with a lot of excitement and energy in the students.

This weekend is Hurricane Ike. I'm dreaming up sequences to practice from home since I don't think any studios will be having class. Any suggestions for poses appropriate for hurricanes? :) Nakrasana? Matsayasana? Apanasana? :)