Ouch! What's going on? "Core" continues to hurt ... Injury!!! Actually, this is what is known as "good pain" as I know (hope!) it will go away this weekend. It's been, hmmm, 20 months+ (who's been counting?!?) since I first stepped on a yoga mat and the experience can only be described as "transforming". Better blood ciculation, better digestion, straighter spine (my brother asked the other day: "Have you grown?"), more and stronger muscles, more confidence etc. But when I first started, I thought I was just going to practise once a week (frankly, when I signed my first 12-month contract, what went through my head was less how I would benfit from yoga but roughly how much each class would cost and how I could make it as cheap as possible. I AM so cheap!) ... anyway, what propelled me and a fellow colleague to the yoga studio (advertised below!!) was 1) it was only a skip and a hop from our office then and 2) my neck was SO TENSE it began to block off circulation to my brain, hence I was having occasional "fainting spells" (I only discovered after having checked the ticker, which was fine, and a session at the acupuncturist - the day of the Sichuan Earthquake ...)
And that was how it started. At the beginning, I used to lie on the mat, staring at the ceiling thinking: this is weird, it's like being a character in some movie ... the first few classes were a killer ... bending forward meant hands going down as far as where the knees are, and after each class I felt completely drained. Then there was the "spiritual" aspects of yoga. I used to think my instructors were kinda crazy. What ARE they talking about: breathing into areas you feel pain, inner body bright? Err, What? However I soon before accustomed to this new language (verbal and physical) and after a few weeks, one class became two, two became three ... and before you can say shavasana I was doing double classes and the more physically demanding classes.
My yoga gear ... dog not included
(and stop looking at the Mickey Mouse pillow case and bed sheet)
Having good teachers is one of the major motivations and I was lucky to have quite a few. Each of them has a different style/take on yoga practice and, to be honest, after awhile you kind of fall in love with them all because these are very kind, gentle and generous people (unlike many I encounter in my professional life!) The trick for progression is also to start off easy, with understanding instructors, before moving onto the more challenging classes/instructors. That is what I did. The first year was basically spent understanding what yoga is: the importance of breathing and alignment before applying your understanding to the practice. I love the spiritual stuff too ... but then, not all instructors are into that, and those who are, they don't usually hang around forever. The past six months I have been following a different set of instructors who are basically more into the physical aspect. Which is fine with me. But am hoping to strike a more "phsycial/metaphysical" balance in the coming months.
There is a two-day, eight-hour workshop coming up next month and I've signed up for it. Alighment is still an issue because of my tight hips etc (see my New Year Resolutions) but, perhaps because I am relatively light (not over 130lbs), inversion poses seem, to/for me, more manageable. I'm looking forward to that because I will be able to assess where I am at today and how to move forward from here.