Saturday, June 27, 2009


what up, yogery. it's been awhile. blogger is blocked in china now, so i'm writing to you from des moines, iowa. land of the corn.

today i feel unsettled. there's a lot going on here. i spread out the mat and did a few sun salutes, but it didn't mean anything to me. so i dropped to my belly and rested my head on my hands for a while.

pigeon with back leg
revolved dog
supine twist

and that's about it. i don't feel any more grounded than before, but being alone with my thoughts doesn't feel good, either.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Studio Om Again

I haven't done ANY yoga since my last post, a week ago!  Tonight I returned to Studio Om, stiff, tired, and desperate for yoga.  

It never ceases to amaze and delight me how many new things there are to discover in yoga.  I'd never tried a King Cobra.  I'd never walked my hands closer to my feet before pushing into urdvha danurasana (upward facing bow).  I'd never known that the pose that last week I didn't know the name of is called lizard and the direction it's heading is to put the crown of your head on the floor.  

I felt so grateful for Stephie and all the yoga teachers of the world who have created a space where we can go and actually have a chance at forgetting the things that are stressing us.  She opened class with a restorative matsyasana (fish), and I could feel my heart rising up and opening as the rest of my body at last sank heavy into gravity's pull, freed from the dramas of the week.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Studio Om

Went to a great class by Stephie last night at Studio Om.  I requested shoulder work and got lots of strengthening and stretching.  The pace felt just vigorous enough; it was challenging and cleansing.

Here's what I can remember: 

Sit, 3 part-breath
3 series A 
Series B with crow
Series B with crow, warrior I (she teaches it with the back foot flipped up on the toes, heel pressing back, like a lunge and she made an awesome adjustment that helped me feel a nice juicy backbend.  she told me to draw my low back backwards and strongly pull my shoulder blades down)
We also did low lunge where we had the top of our back foot to the earth and straightened our leg, which was a fun challenge.
parsvottonasana (pyramid)
Balancing poses (by talking afterwards I found out both my friend Neena and I got frustrated with ourselves during this section and now I add being able to hold my straight leg out in front of me parallel to the earth without help from my hand to the list of poses I need to do in order to qualify to be a yoga teacher:)  
Uttitha hasta padangustasana (extended hand to big toe)
Dandayamana janushirasana (standing head to knee). 
Don't know the name of this one, where your legs are in Warrior I position and you clasp your hands behind your back and lower your torso to the side of your thigh and lift your hands and stretch your shoulders.  it's surprisingly hard for me to balance on my left side)
sirsana II (tripod headstand) (here, thankfully, we both recovered our confidence in ourselves)
sasangasana (rabbit)
supported twist with bolster
savasana with option of bolster supporting spine

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

home practice

Poses I can't help but feel I should be able to do in order to qualify to teach anyone yoga: 

full king pigeon
handstand without wall help and without ungracefully throwing myself into it

that's all i can think of right now.  full splits and titibasana would be nice too i guess.  oh, and a drop-back from standing to upward bow. 

anyway for now i'm just diving in deeper into the poses that make me feel amazing...this morning i did:

started to work on handstand then realized i needed to warm up first
few half sun salutes
On the left side: dancer, eka pada galavasana (flying eagle? crow?)
down dog
side plank
down dog--uttanasana---roll up
Repeat right side
spent like 20 minutes in supine pada gustasana 
my legs felt soooo good after this that they felt like they belonged to a different body than my torso and shoulders. i almost just finished in savasana right there but i wanted to get that good feeling in my torso and shoulders too!
couple of upward facing bows but they felt a little stiff today
worked on my full pigeon using a strap.  even though i can't touch my foot to my head yet i'm getting closer and it still feels amazing.
left side pigeon--then cow-face legs then childs?
repeat other side
boat again?
roll to squat then uttanasana then standing.  odd ending.  for savasana i did legs up the wall outside on the balcony.  

Monday, June 1, 2009

The water is wide

My wandering led me to the bank of the Des Moines River last night.  I just sat there watching it for what felt like the longest time.  Then I laid and looked at it upside down.  River.  Breeze.  Lightning.  Darkness.  Silence.

I took off my shoes and practiced on the cement stage of the amphitheater right by the river.  Only 5 people walked by on the street above.  I love practicing, at least occasionally, without the constraints of a mat.  I don't like practicing in public but it was quiet enough here, and dark enough that I felt reasonably anonymous.

I did something like this though I can't remember very well because there wasn't much logic to it...I did not follow a more traditional order.   I just tried to let my body lead.  

lay upside down on the staircase
legs up the wall 
move to stage: ardha chandrasana (half-moon)
down dog
very soft, melty half sun salutations
thread the needle twist
(here a group of 3 kids came by so i morphed into something more 'normal' and contained-looking)
cow face (just the legs part)
urdhva dhanurasana (upward bow) this was one of my juiciest upward bows ever.  if there's a place you need to find space in, just make that your priority.  in this case i needed to feel space behind my heart and so i zeroed in on that and made the subtlest adjustments until i found it.  i almost could have stayed in bow all night.  played with doing it one-armed
happy baby
seated prasarita padottanasana (wide-legged forward fold)  did this one forEVer, first with a rounded back then with straight back and felt like i had new legs afterwards. 
uttanasana (forward fold)
squat to crow
finish salutation
supine twist

slow, content walk back to the car.  as soon as i got in, the sky let loose with a refreshing spring downpour.  i've got good timing.