January 8, Tuesday:

Surya Namaskara, A & B 5x

Padangusthasana, Padahastasana

Uttita Trikonasana, Parivritta Trikonasana

Utthita Parsvakonasana, Parivritta Parsvakonasana

Prasarita Padottanasana A, B, C, D and Parsvottanasana.

I once again mixed up Parivritta Trikonasana with Utthita Parsvakonasana.

My mind was racing a bit, but this was actually the best personal practice I’ve had. I was sweating profusely just after the third repetition of Namaskara B!

I thought the Prasaritas were going to be, well, intense, but I’m handling them well. Seeing serious growth day by day now! It’s the toughest on my feet, which are always in pain after D. And then you segue into balancing? Woah!

The practice is so well-designed. I love how your heart rate gets pumping after the Namaskaras. You’re sweating a lot, and you’re already tired. Yes, I’m serious: tired. If you’re doing it right, anyway.

But that heat and energy brings calm. Contradictory, huh? But today I really focused on deep, full inhales after the Namaskaras. On enjoying the postures. And it just felt great!

One of the things I’m starting to do is practice with more of a rhythm. In studio they would have you, say, complete utthita trikonasana. You inhale to come out of the pose, and then you would exhale, positioning for the next pose. Well, David Swenson’s guide says you go from that inhale out of the pose to exhaling right into the next pose! I’ve started to do it and it makes a subtle but big difference; it becomes more of a moving meditation.

The first month I began to practice my body felt tight. Now it’s beginning to loosen up.

Yet — again contradictorily — as B.K.S. Iyengar (or is it Pattabhi Jois?) says, yoga practice turns your body into a diamond. There is no doubt I am losing fat and gaining muscle.

When you jump back in the Namaskaras, your weight supposed to be entirely in your upper body / arms. Your hips are to be raised high to the sky. That builds strength rapidly! I’m now able to get my body significantly raised off the ground, solely supported by my arms, instead of cheating by kicking my legs out parallel to the ground. Ten reps of those? And you have the 15 push-ups into downward dog…

Don’t ever let someone tell you yoga is just flexibility.

On Friday, the day of the New Moon, you traditionally skip practice. I am going to use that day for reflection. I am going to fast, and I am also going to study Swenson’s manual and work on my drishti points, and any other part of technique I can hone in on.

Oh yeah: I did not practice at 7 am, as promised. Instead it was at 4 PM. That is because (johns incoming!) I woke up in the night early — again — at 3:30. I read for an hour and tried to go back to sleep, but at 5 my mom got up. I should’ve practiced at 6, like I alllmost did, but it was cold, and I laid back under the covers… and dreamed many a dream. And kept sleeping. It felt really good!

To make up for it I’ll start practicing at 6am every day. I realize, I can turn waking up early into a strength. 2, 2:30? Okay, not really. But 3:30? That’s close enough to my goal — 4:30 or 4 — that I can man up, work a little alchemic magic, and just get my practice off the ground.

We’ll see how tomorrow goes!

January 9, Wednesday:

Surya Namaskara, A & B 5x

Padangusthasana, Padahastasana

Uttita Trikonasana, Parivritta Trikonasana

Utthita Parsvakonasana, Parivritta Parsvakonasana

Prasarita Padottanasana A, B, C, D and Parsvottanasana.

Woke up at 6, didn’t start until 6:50 or so.

I am less flexible in the morning than the evening. I’m sure it being colder has something to do with it, but it’s more than that.

Gotta do it, though. Doesn’t matter the context. A good day of practice. At first I was thinking a lot, but my focus increased throughout.

January 10, Thursday:

Surya Namaskara, A & B 5x

Padangusthasana, Padahastasana

Uttita Trikonasana, Parivritta Trikonasana

Utthita Parsvakonasana, Parivritta Parsvakonasana

Prasarita Padottanasana A, B, C, D and Parsvottanasana.

Woke up at 3:30. Stayed up — begrudgingly — and began at 5:20 or so. Holla at cha boy!

Difficult to start. Stiff to begin. But warmed up quickly. By 3rd rep of Namaskara B I was feeling good. Strong practice today. Improvement is coming more quickly than I expected!

Tomorrow is off!

January 11, Friday:

New Moon!

January 12, Saturday:

Surya Namaskara, A & B 5x

Padangusthasana, Padahastasana

Uttita Trikonasana, Parivritta Trikonasana

Utthita Parsvakonasana, Parivritta Parsvakonasana

Prasarita Padottanasana A, B, C, D and Parsvottanasana.

Woke up at 2. Stayed up and practiced at 4:30. It is now 8am and I am tired, but eff it. Better to stick with it and keep practicing at 4:30. I am grateful I have done this before; it is not as painful or as challenging as it was the first time.

Good practice. They’re getting better and better. I just feel more imbued with energy, and am better able to transfer that increased energy into the practice.

January 13, Sunday:

Surya Namaskara, A & B 5x

Padangusthasana, Padahastasana

Uttita Trikonasana, Parivritta Trikonasana

Utthita Parsvakonasana, Parivritta Parsvakonasana

Prasarita Padottanasana A, B, C, D and Parsvottanasana.

Woke at 5:22 I believe. As always, uncomfortable to start, but a strong practice once warmed up. I assumed my feet would bother me for a while; the Prasaritas are hard on them. But they seem to be adjusting quickly.

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