Friday, August 27, 2010

Just in time for National Yoga Month! (with a long aside)

I'm planning on doing a 30-day challenge in September. Not just because it's on my 30 Before 30 list. There are a couple of answers to "Why do this now?"

1. September actually has only 30 days. Just four months can claim that! For some reason, it works better in my mind this way. I think I'd be inclined to excuse myself for one day if I were to challenge in a 31-day month. This may make no sense, at all, but it's how my brain works... Also, it isn't cold yet, so I can get a good sweat on even in a mostly-home practice.

2. My life finally has a semblance of routine: I work at the yoga studio one night and one day a week. I go to work and I come home and I play with dogs. Sometimes I cook, sometimes the boyfriend does. It's all very boring, but I wouldn't have it any other way. (Well, that's not entirely true. I wish I could magically transport myself to work in an instant, but it's not going to happen, and I love where I live and I love where I work, so. That's that.)

3. The New York asana competition is in October, and participating is also on my 30 Before 30 list. Doing this challenge will help me prepare for that in a couple ways. Getting stronger with postures. Getting stronger in general. Losing a couple of pounds (maybe). Developing Bikram's five aspects of the mind (that's a great link; you should click it!): faith, determination, self-control, concentration and patience. Taking part in the competition might not happen, however, because 1) My emails to Bikram Yoga NYC have gone unanswered; 2) I can't seem to find anything about this year's competition, including a date, and 3) My back is kind of angry.

Aside/explanation about the back; feel free to skip this:

I've had lower back pain on and off for years now, and I'm used to it, and it's a dull-ache kinda thing. Yoga helps, etc, etc. I love, LOVE backbending. However, over the past three weeks to a month, I've developed pretty bad pain and stiffness in my midback. Well, the muscles have always been tight, but now my spine really feels stiff. Backbending HURTS. Feels like a metal rod is in my spine.

In a trip to the chiropractor Wednesday (the first such visit in over two years), I learned that the apex of my pain is right at the apex of my spine's scoliotic curve, like the point on the left side of this character: < . OK, maybe it's not quite that severe, but it feels like it! I also learned that my spine is more of a wreck than I had assumed/accepted. The doc actually asked me, "What happened to you?" as though she thought I'd been in a car accident, or something. Maybe she was hoping to keep steady any business from me. Not to worry, doc.

It was interesting to hear her rundown of my structural issues, as her observations actually validated a lot of perceptions (proprioceptions?) I'd had. For example, even when my feet are together, toes and heels touching, I feel like my left hip is waaay forward of the right one. And I feel like my head is constantly tilted to the right. And like my right shoulder is trying to reach forward to touch my wacky left hip. (This explains why my half-moon to the right comes extremely naturally — I'm already halfway there.) And on and on. And I was right!!!

Well, she did some work on my neck (my chin goes straight down now! Yay!) and my wonky lower back, and although I was sore yesterday, it was a good sore. Just like I've heard at yoga, my body didn't get into so much pain overnight; it's unreasonable to expect it to get awesome overnight.

That doesn't, however, keep me from wanting it to be awesome overnight. In Thursday's class, I still had the midback pain, and in the first backbend I just tried to breathe through the pain/fear (about which a post is started and sitting in draft version). The second one I did OK, though nowhere near its usual depth. The last thing I wanted to do was jam everything up. Which brings me back to...

End aside/explanation. Sheesh, that was long.

4. My back is kind of angry. A challenge, undertaken with care and concern and compassion, can work wonders for my spine, especially in concert with chiropractic.

What I hope to learn from you, lovelies, is why you do challenges. And what are some of the biggest obstacles to completing them? How do you address those obstacles? I won't be able to use the "I don't have enough time" excuse most days. My time commitment will be exactly 90 minutes (or however long the CD really is), since at least three days a week I'll be practicing at home. It's nice to have dealt with that excuse (my favorite, by the way) up front. Let's see if I don't talk myself out of it. :)

It's good to blog again. If you're a blogger, yoga-related or otherwise, know that I am always inspired (or at least entertained!) by what you've been writing. I so look forward to hearing your thoughts!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

So much to say, so much to say...

But where has my time gone? Been wondering if I should think about looking into modes of internet access for my laptop while I do the commuting thing every day. That's two whole hours a day I could be relating my yogic summer adventures (or lack thereof, honestly)... I could get caught up, at least.

But today... Today calls for a note to self.

For several days now, but especially today, I've been itching to stretch out these tight muscles and creaky bones. I was once again compelled to bust out a triangle in the bathroom stall. My left hip wanted more, more of that tinglyburnygetdeepinthere sensation. The lower back demanded it, too. It felt good to move into the posture for just a quick couple of seconds, to shush those clamoring voices for a while.

It'll be hard to keep this in mind, of course, in just over three hours, when the ABSOLUTE LAST thing I want to do is two sets of triangle.

The stoke, the motivation, the itch to do our yoga often comes easily outside the studio.

How do you honor that fire while in the studio, in the heat of the moment?

(Can't wait to post pics and a roundup soon. Very soon. Just as soon as I find a new mini-USB cable. Puppy chewed the old one...)