Janathon day 13: Clunk click

Given the fact that the weather’s supposed to get worse as the week goes on, I probably should have run tonight. Unfortunately between work and home, something went twang and left me with a very clunky and painful thoracic spine and shoulders, so it was back on the mat tonight.

I started to try a guided meditation, but was distracted by my shoulders and decided to try and free them up instead. It probably wasn’t the most perfect of example of yoga practice, but I rifled through my tired brain to move from one pose to the next. When my shoulders are misbehaving, I love Eagle pose. Alright, I love a seated Eagle pose, my balancing, standing Eagle looks more like a drunk, plummeting parrot. It’s easy enough to do at your desk, but twisty enough to look like you know what you’re doing.

I think the highlight of my session was saying to (non-Yoga) Ginge – what pose should I do? He suggested child’s pose and it turned out to be exactly what I needed. I hate it when he does that…

Janathon day twelve: starting yoga practice at home

I’ve not been going to my regular yoga class since I went back to work in July, but I went to a free class between Christmas and New Year (I do not tolerate the use of this Twixmas nonsense, if we’re going to call it anything it the “Festive Perineum” and oh how I wish I’d invented that phrase) and realised just how much I missed my time on the mat.

For ages I have been struggling with the concept of doing yoga at home. My problem is that if I’m going to do something, I want to do it well and if I don’t feel like I know what I’m doing, I procrastinate and try to avoid it. I know that I won’t be able to do poses at home in the same way as I do in class; I tend to rush more, without my teacher prompting us to make teeny adjustments I wonder if I’ll be doing things properly and I certainly won’t do an hour and half.

Eventually it dawned on me that my home practice will not be the same as going to a class, but that’s ok. This is why I pay money to be taught by a yogi with 30-odd years practice. So I googled (still procrastinating folks) “yoga practice at home”. The first thing that I learned is that I need a sacred space in which to unfurl my mat. This is my first challenge. We live in a house with 5 rooms. At any point in time, 4 of them contain stuff belonging to Mini-Ginge. The fifth room (our bedroom) still contains all of the stuff that we removed from the spare room so that we could put Mini-Ginge in it. The incense, candles and soft music may have to wait. Unless I can fashion a candleholder out of Duplo.

The second important thing is that it doesn’t matter how long I spend on my practice. Ten minutes daily is better than an hour once a week. Excellent.

Next problem… What poses do I do? Should I be putting together flowing vinyasas? Practising postures that I struggle with? Trying to balance my poses to incorporate all the styles of movement? Well according to the internet, I may only have to do ten minutes practice, but I really should include a warm up, a forward bend, a back bend, a seated pose, a balance, a twist, some breathing work and a meditation…

So back to the procrastination. But the procrastination was good because it meant that I found this – The Beginner’s Guide to Home Yoga Practice. I have a very strong suspicion that it was written especially for me although I don’t know how she could mind read so accurately. See all those worries up there? Solved. In just one article I was reassured, taught stuff and just a little bit inspired. If you’re thinking about doing yoga at home (or you’ve started and are feeling a bit lost), go now, read it, it’s absolutely brilliant and in tribute to it, today’s Janathon was the sequence at the end (behind the sofa, using my mat bag as a belt).

Juneathon day ten: imaginary yoga

Day ten very nearly didn’t happen. Well it would have happened, just not in the format that was planned. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to go to my yoga class, it was just that I’d have quite happily not gone to my yoga class. Mainly because I was very settled on the sofa watching my new favourite rubbish telly (Bondi Rescue since you ask, it’s got sharks and jellyfish and idiots nearly drowning – it’s brilliant). I was doing that thing of opting out of making a decision, I was waiting for Ginge to arrive home and had he been five minutes later, I would have shrugged my shoulders and stuck the kettle on.

I didn’t want to have to say out loud “I’m not going”, so I went.

And of course I had a lovely time.

It’s very easy to get caught up in the competitiveness of yoga. You see what other people are doing and you want to do the posture as deep or as flexed or as twisty as they do. You become so caught up in trying to make the shapes that you forget about how you are getting into them in the first place. In trying to be as fully in the posture as possible, you end up barely skimming the surface of it. This is how I came to spend part of the evening in cat pose just thinking about and imagining the movement of my arms and legs, rather than actually lifting anything up from the floor.

Then we moved onto balances and I spent the rest of the evening cheerfully falling over.

Juneathon day nine: hippy hippy shake

Today has been a very busy day. I’m not quite sure what possessed me this morning, but we were both up, fed, dressed and on our way to the supermarket by half nine. Shopping was amazingly brief so we braved the rain showers to walk down to the library for bounce and rhyme. As the name suggests, this involves bouncing and rhyming – lots of nursery rhymes, songs and actions – and today I learned that there is more than one verse to Hickory Dickory Dock, I never knew this! Anyway, this was all good upper body exercise for me – well, have you tried doing the actions to the Grand Old Duke of York with a 7kg wriggling kettlebell?

After we had bounced and rhymed, we had a stroll down to the doctors and back home for lunch. Lunch has to be relatively early on a Monday to avoid any unfortunate being sick in the pool incidents at swim-a-song (him, not me).

Tonight’s yoga involved some lovely hip opening, the added benefit being that as I lay on the floor I could see through the underside of our glass coffee table and found a bit of paper that I had been looking for (and was hidden from above).

Juneathon day seven: by the book

Thank you all for your loveliness about yesterday’s exertions. I’m hoping that tomorrow I will haul myself out without throwing a strop first.

Tonight I decided to consult one of my yoga books for inspiration (Essential Yoga since you ask) (other book sellers are available, although it’s only showing up as available on Kindle) and found a whole session building up to the sun salutation. What I learned from this is that it’s a lot easier having someone give you verbal instructions than trying to figure it out from a book. There was a lot of flicking between the overall plan and the instructions for the individual postures, which did not make for flowing practice. There was also a lot of “oh, so that’s what that’s called” and some sighs of relief when I reached a pose that I’m familiar with. All in all, about half an hour.

And in the absence of some soothing music, I had the background noise of pouring rain with occasional thunder.