Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Day Eight: The Peacock and Scorpion

I've discovered the second best spotter (after my husband of course) is my front door. The past few days, I have been focusing on scorpion and peacock. Although I still need the door for support, I've been practicing the second to last step of scorpion, lifting my head up toward my toes after flattening my hands and forearms on the floor. As you've seen many times before, my goal is this:
I can't emphasize how much my home practice has changed my yoga asana experience. As my mother-in-law says, "Once begun, half done."

Saturday, August 25, 2007

11 Days until Sivananda Teacher Training

I'm not proud to say that I took a couple days off the TTC challenge, but I'm back on the mat tomorrow. I had my last Sivananda class at Baltimore Yoga Village on Thursday before the TTC because BYV is on vacation this week. I felt good about the practice and ready as I can be for the course. Actually, I can't wait to get up there. Simultaneously, I realize that I'll miss my freedom and the amenities of Baltimore, not to mention the people (especially my new husband). The newest challenge added to my practice is the peacock. I can raise my head, but not my legs. I'll keep you updated on my progress.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The two-week challenge...

Last night began my two-week TTC prep challenge. Luckily, I have a supportive husband that spots me while I try to achieve these lofty goals. I can't stress enough the importance of a home practice. I always have my Sivananda Companion to Yoga beside the mat and I follow the asanas in the easy to understand chart in the middle of the book. The illustrations and descriptions/instructions are very helpful. Although attending class regularly is just as important, it is amazing how much progress you can make if you supplement classes with your practice at home.

I focused on scorpion, crow (transitioning into headstand), and cobra (working towards king cobra). Having my husband for a spotter helped me overcome my fear of falling and find my balance without worrying about injury. I am working on the first step in achieving cobra, by beginning with a traditional headstand but then bending my knees and arching my back to find a balance. I found my balance for a few seconds at a time, but I am still wobbly. After building confidence in the first step, I will look up at the ceiling and use my hands and forearms like big feet.

Next, I worked on transitioning from crow into a headstand. I've heard of people breaking their noses after falling out of crow, so I put a pillow in front of my face for safety and confidence. After a few false starts, I guided the top of my head to the floor with my knees resting on the backs of my forearms and palms pressed flat on the floor. Suddenly, I was back where I started the first time I tried headstand! I could tell that my abdominal strength was lacking and I would have to work everyday to get my feet up into headstand with only my palms and crown as support.

For the first time, I tried king cobra, thinking that it would be a lot easier than it looked. Then my husband told me that my feet were a couple feet from my head and I realized that my spine has a long way to go before my toes touch the back of my head. One of the best lessons I've learned in the process of learning yoga (which I'm sure will never end) is that I am capable of achieving things I never thought possible, if I work hard and stay committed.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Change in Plans...

Turns out that I will be leaving for Woodbourne, NY in 16 days for TTC. I called the Sivananda Yoga Ranch yesterday and they had an opening, so I took the plunge and enrolled in their September training. It is a wonderful feeling to know that I am so close to living at the ashram for a month and experiencing the challenge of TTC.

The next two weeks will be filled with PRACTICE, READ, and more PRACTICE! I found some beautiful pictures of the Yoga Ranch on flickr.com. If you're interested, click here. I hope to update the blog a few times while I'm there, but if not, I'll have lots to share in October!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I'm back

Last night, my new husband and I returned to Baltimore. We had a fantastic honeymoon in Vancouver and a beautiful wedding. I couldn't have dreamed the past week to be anything better. The past week was gluttonous to say the least and I have decided to ditch processed sugar the same way I ditched cigarettes and alcohol almost two years ago-cold turkey. I managed to practice yoga twice during the honeymoon, but tomorrow its back to class. Only a little more than six weeks until TTC and I want to be as prepared as possible. My goal is to acheive Vrischikasana (Scorpion) before leaving for TTC. I'll keep you posted on my progress and struggles.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Bakasana: The Crow

Again, this is not a photograph of myself in crow, but you get the idea... At first, bakasana (crow pose) seemed even more impossible than headstand, but as I grew more proficient in headstand, I became more determined to conquer crow. I had my fair share of frustration and falling on my face, but slowly my tip toes came of the mat for a second, then two, then three, until I realized that the posture is more about balance than strength. My teacher kept telling me to look forward, focus on the balance, and let go of my fears.

Practicing at home helped a lot. As my wedding drew closer, I put a pillow on the mat to catch my face. I didn't want to walk down the aisle with a freshly broken nose. At the brink of complete frustration and self-loathing, my teacher stood next to me and demonstrated crow. I mimicked his moments and placement of knees on the backs of my upper arms (as if they were shelves). Finally, I felt the balance! Each time I work on crow I build my confidence and hold it longer. My new challenge is moving into headstand out of crow. There is always something new to achieve and discover.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Best of Baltimore

I hope you'll check out my post at About Baltimore and cast your vote in City Paper's 2007 Best of Baltimore polls.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Earth-Friendly Tips at Allie's Answers

If you are looking for ways to make your way of life more earth-friendly, without spending a bundle and completely changing your lifestyle, check out Allie's Answers. Allie writes daily about easy and enjoyable ways to modify your cleaning, shopping, eating, and consumer habits in ways that are better for the environment. You'll also be up to date on the latest eco-news. I feel more connected and positive about my environment after integrating Allie's tips into my life. I highly recommend checking out Allie's Answers! Here is Allie's bio from the site:

I’m a thirty-something writer who loves hiking, camping, and all things outdoors. I live on the East Coast with my husband, enormous dog, and three legged cat.

Not everyone can afford to trade in their car for a Prius, or install solar panels on their house, but everyone can be more mindful of their purchases and their actions. Going green doesn’t have to be complicated. It can even help you simplify and save money.

Going green is a learning process, and I’m here learning right along with you. Let’s adjust our goals, think strategically, and make a difference.

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