June Review:

From the bottom to the top! From merely practicing Sun Salutations to now practicing one hour a day, including all of Standing and Finishing Sequence. From feet that were killing me to much improved foot strength and balance. Even my ability to spread and ground my toes nice and wide has improved by leaps and bounds! No longer have to bend my knees much (if at all) during Prasarita Padottanasana A-D.

Spectacularly improved cardio; simply don’t get tired anymore. Challenged, yes; flat-out tired, no.

Went from practicing predominantly in the evening to practicing predominantly in the morning. Went from sleeping at 10PM to 12 AM to sleeping from 8:30-9PM.

Went from practicing 6 days a week to practicing 7 days a week.

Went from forcing myself to practice every day to resigning myself to practice every day.

July Goals:

Add in the entire Primary Series. Re-establish complete intimacy with each and every pose, from name to modifications. Re-establish practice of the more rigorous modifications  of Vinyasas.

Week 1

7.1:

It’s 3 PM and I’ve yet to practice. My fault. A conglomerate of things: I woke up slightly later than normal (7 AM) because I went to sleep later than normal (10 PM); it was not as searingly hot as I expected, so I procrastinated, waiting for the Sun to come out; something came up around noon; and then, when I was done, it was 2 PM, it was searingly hot, and I was hungry. One thing leads to another and…

I am going to at least do the Sun Salutations. Of course. And I am not precluding the possiblity of practicing my usual fare; we’ll see how I feel after Surya Namaskara A & B.

But I can “afford” to reward myself with this small break. I was particularly close to calling it “quits” and only doing Sun Salutations last Tuesday. But I found an inner reservoir of energy I did not know I had and made it through the entire week!

That’s the first time I’ve ever done a significant practice (>45 minutes) for every single day of the week, I believe.

One week from now is a New Moon, so one week from now is my next day off. Who knows how today will go, but if I do make it and practice the usual, chances are I’ll make it through this week without a break, too! That’d be awesome!

7.3:

Close call yesterday! I had a morning engagement I was looking forward to, to the point that monkey mind wanted to rationalize skipping practice. But after Monday it was more important than ever to get back on track.

It was a rough practice, though, and I blame the marijuana hangover for much of it. I stopped after Standing Sequence, I was so wiped out!

I was wiped out this morning, too, but I forced myself to complete the 14 poses in Finishing. Urdha Dhanurasana is no joke, especially when it’s right after the sequence of Balancing –> Chair — Warrior! Physically speaking, that Balancing into the Utkatasana and Warrior poses is the most challenging heretofore.

Yoga is one of those things that really teaches you by practicing. Work with your body and mind and learn not to resist. Consistency. The rest follows.

7.4:

Off

Accept it, love thyself, and ATTACK THE NEXT DAY WITH INTENSE VIGOR!

7.5:

I got all up in dem poses! Focus, intensity, and a whole lotta sweat. It was 82 degrees!

I almost didn’t even practice today! I began at 6 PM. Just been feeling melancholic, in the midst of a trough of the unpredictable swings of life. I shocked myself, though, put it together, and did it! Standing, Finishing, and the first five poses of Primary, as planned!

7.6:

Procrastinated a bit today, but ended up practicing at 1. Reeeeally had to make myself do this one. Was not feeling it at all. Was talking to Getty on FB for an hour and a half or so and we ended up talking longer than I thought, so I had to just hop right into the practice without any mental gymnastics to prepare myself for what is to come. BAM! I had many thoughts about quitting, but I just rode it out.

I was flooded with sweat today, taking 2-3 breaks to wipe it off. The mat was so slippery that Prasarita Padottanasana A-D suffered the consequences.

Physically, though, I am really improving by leaps and bounds! It sort of sneaks up on ya. You can go weeks without seeing much tangible benefit, and then it just seems to coalesce in a neat package of excellence.

I certainly pushed myself today. Technique was not as precise as I prefer, and I was a bit lazy around the edges, but by the end of Standing Sequence I was sure I was going to end there. But nope: just one more pose! One more pose! Just keep doing one more pose until you literally can’t do anymore!

And ended up doing them all.

Most challenging pose: Urdhva Danurasana. By the third repetition I just want to collapse! OH MAN!

Most comfortable pose: Sirsasana A & B. I was shocked at how much energy was in my reservoir! I have a lot more control than I give myself credit for.

7.7:

My best day of practice in seemingly forever! Focused, limber, sweaty. Time flew by!

Kathy intuited it, too, texting me around the time I must’ve been wrapping up my practice that she could feel my energy. “Light, but focused.” Correctamundo!

7.8:

NEW MOON

A scheduled day off! WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Feeling great!

7.9:

Strong practice. Did it in early evening so was very limber. Added two more poses.

7.10:

Much more challenging. Practiced at 8:30. Much tighter. Less energy.

7.11:

Honestly, every day I tell myself I want to say more about my practice. Like in the old days. During it I have insight, thoughts, frustrations, hopes, and focus. Then when I’m done? I feel great. It’s another practice. I did it. Let’s move on.

And so I don’t say much.

Whatever. Practiced in the early evening. Very loose. Felt strong.

My physique is becoming impressive. As is my practice.

7.12:

Copped out. Tired after coming home from work release. It was hot. But I was not that tired and not that hot.

Cop out, plain and simple.

I did the Sun Salutations and stopped. Felt a bit empty. I had a lot more energy to give.

I must love myself, however. Do my best! It’s not just physical best, but mental best, emotional best, spiritual best. Sometimes I am ready to give my physical best but not my mental or emotional.

Observe, learn, and come back strong the next day.

7.13:

This close to copping out again. Procrastinated til 3 despite having nothing to do. In the middle of the Salutations, my monkey mind was frantic. Back and forth: practice? Quit after Salutations? What do I do?

I kept thinking of how I had nothing to do, how this is my No. 1 priority. How I had been losing that sense of urgency in recent days/weeks and needed to firm my stronghold on it. How I could not allow my brain to train me. I did not fully practice yesterday, so I cannot reward my brain’s ministrations with another aborted practice. Teach it that it is going to practice whether it feels up to it or not.

After the last Surya Namaskara B, I took a breath and prepared to quit. But then I felt an urge! My body jumped! Feet shoulder width!

Muscle memory took over. I finished the rest of my practice. And my body has never felt better! Never felt more limber. It was stronger. Full of endurance.

My mind? Not so much. Was not particularly focused. But it got the job done.

7.14:

No thoughts of copping out. Thought about adding Sirsasana A-C, but decided to wait another day.

Strong practice. My throat is still bothering me a little. Every practice is tough, y’know, but I’ve pushed myself to the limit before. I know when I’m holding back and truly have the energy to accomplish it.

7.15:

Went to a heated flow class in Pasadena with Kathy. Worked up a sweat, but nothing too difficult. Was a nice change of pace. Love exploring new studios! It has a great atmosphere.

Still going to practice on my own, though.

7.17:

No practice yesterday. No practice today? Ruh-roh…

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