yogi

140805 Rest Day Theory and Yogi Time Lapse

Today's grain of wisdom to roll around is the notion of a recovery day. One might think - "A recovery day from yoga?! I thought yoga was active recovery." One might not be considering all of the variables.  When a person dedicates his or herself to a "daily" practice that means daily for a LIFETIME. That is a HUGE mental burden in and of itself - physical practice aside. In order for the spirit to feel fresh and ready to receive the benefits of a daily yoga practice (or any discipline for that matter) a rest day is essential. Does that mean you lay on the couch and undo the work you have done. Not necessarily - but the occasional "treat yoself day" is sometimes just what you need - that's a completely different subject though. 

A rest day means something different to everyone but I do encourage you to examine you practice, whatever it may be, and scale back your efforts to 25% or less of what you might normally take on.  For example, yesterday I did a 15 minute meditation.  I'll spare you the time lapse its really boring.  Before bed I was feeling tight in my low back and hips so I did pigeon, cow-face pose, and seated spinal twist - maybe 10 additional minutes of yoga on top of my meditation. Just enough to keep me limber but enough extra time for a nap.  I was really tired and I need more rest than even yoga could afford me. Today's power practice just reinforced what a good idea that was. I nailed poses that are normally just beyond my ability because I'm "too tired" or my shoulders are sore...so on so forth. Today there were no excuses - just powerful, fun, refreshing vinyasa.  It felt so good.

Just as yin yoga is a mental challenge, creating a healthy lifelong relationship with you practice can also be deceptively difficult.  Give yourself a break, enjoy one day off a week and see your practice and your gratitude for your practice take on a whole new depth.

Weekend yogic endeavors: arm balances, yin, splits

I do a lot of time lapses but I included a real-time clip of one of my yin sessions.  The hardest part of a yin session is being mentally strong enough to push past the pain incrementally until your body breaks.  Then the second hardest part is staying beyond your edge for a few breaths so that you move the edge back just a little bit at a time.  Check out how long it takes me to get into my fullest forward fold in the second video.

20140730 Yogi Time Lapse

I've been doing puppy dog pose regularly as well as hero pose.  The reason is that my thoracic spine and knees are two areas that could use good bit of improvement.  Some interesting changes have resulted in my body over the past several days.  

My sternum is no stranger to popping and becoming open with a good back bend first thing in the morning.  This morning, though, it was caught in a weird place.  My higher up.  After some light floor stretching, I stood up, took a back bend and it popped back open.  It felt less like the sternum was stuck and more like the intercostal muscles at the top of the rib cage.  One way or the other, I lengthened then settled back into an only muscle pattern during sleep but the new feeling of tightness and release just serves to indicate that change is indeed occurring daily.

As for my knees, there has been significantly less popping in my "trick knee" - my left knee.  My gait and alignment have been off since I was a kid and I have sustained multiple ankle injuries in both ankles so its no wonder my knees make clicks and pops.  Over time my right knee has stopped all the noise but the lateral ligaments in my left knee have been worrying me lately.  Hero pose seems to have helped greatly though.  In the last few days my "trick knee" has fallen silent. Additionally, the peroneus muslces along the outside calf on both of my legs are feeling very stretched.  Again, my calves have been brutally tight after years of sports, sport-related injury and not stretching.  Good things are afoot (or knee or calf).

20140729 Yogi Time Lapse

This time lapse is one part Ashtanga through the floor series (Marichyasana A), one part targeting my weaknesses (knees and shoulders) and one part meditation. This location is The Peace Practice on Memorial Avenue.

Losing the Yoga Studio and Moving: The Effects on My Practice and Yours

Losing the Yoga Studio and Moving: The Effects on My Practice and Yours

When the going gets stuff and the tough threatens your very home, do yoga.  Flow with your yoga and learn to ride the eddies and drifts that might otherwise sink you.  Congruence Yoga is moving onward and upward :)