A Simple Sequence

Here is my practice sequence from last week. I’ve been trying to rest a hip strain (the massage therapist and acupuncturist said it needs 4-12 WEEKS of rest), so this gentle sequence from Dr. Amrit Raj was much appreciated. (He was in town for a “Yoga & Ayurveda” workshop at Exhale.)

This is a light sequence, safe for anyone. We did about 10-20 reps each one. The numbers in front are just my mnemonic device. Start off sitting, with legs extended.

10 – Flex toes about 10x (inhale point, exhale flex)
9 – Flex feet about 10x
8 – Circle ankles about 5x each way
7 – Flex knee about 10x each side (clasp foot, bend knee to chest, then straighten leg)
6 – Flex hips about 10x (butterfly position inhale up, exhale forward)
5 – Round spine and roll forward and back about 10x
4 – On stomach, hold bow pose about 30 seconds
– Rock forward and back about 10x
– Rock side to side about 10x
3 – Clench fingers about 10x (sitting, with arms extended up)
2 – Flex hands about 10x
1 – Circle wrists about 5x each way
0 – Circle shoulders about 5x each way (with arms bent, hands on shoulders)
1 – Turn neck left, right, up, down about 5x
2 – Turn eyes left, right, up, down about 5x

Then 5 minutes of alternate nostril breathing
Then 5 minutes of meditation

I did this every morning last week, and by the middle of the week a chronic charley horse in my foot was completely gone.

Out of Practice

Since I’ve been working full-time for the past 2.5 years, I’m feeling a little out-of-practice. I kept practicing at least 2-3 times a week during that period, but that’s really not enough for a yoga teacher (so I gave up my last class a few months ago). When you’re practicing 5, 6, 7+ times a week, you don’t have to demo a pose in order to feel it and give good instructions. Your muscle memory is so strong that you can look at a student and know what they’re feeling. You can teach a class without any planning, because at each pose you know what would feel right next.

Now, I’m feeling heavy and scatterbrained. My muscles ache in just about every pose. My ego is obsessed with how I compare to others in the room. I sit down but can’t focus; my brain is still practicing multi-tasking.

So this week, my first off, I’ve gone to 2 Vinyasa classes at my local studio, and done a Kundalini DVD. It’s nice to let someone else plan the sequence; I can just focus on 100% effort (and accommodating my hip strain). I just have to conquer the first hurdle getting there on my own, and they can lead me through the rest.

Yoga Log

I’ve quit my day job and started this yoga log. I’ve been practicing yoga about 7 years now, and it’s still hard to keep up a regular practice sometimes. Mine has evolved considerably according to my lifestyle, job, diet, and location.

When I first moved to New York it was strongly athletic, very fast paced (Bikram, Ashtanga, and Atmananda) those were the only classes that really seemed to clear my stress. Kundalini also provided a fun alternative. Later, I wanted to slow down and study the poses in a bit more detail, so I tried Iyengar, Sivananda and more traditional Hatha. Now I’m back to Vinyasa and Kundalini. The current goal is to alternate Vinyasa days (sweat, stretch, strengthen, shine) with Kundalini or Pilates days (core and gland balance) or restorative sessions as desired. There’s a lot to say on each of these styles but I will address each one later.

There are a few somewhat unrelated blogs that have inspired this effort. Half of Me, Dress a Day, Jane in Progress… It’s amazing how a simple story from someone’s daily life can inspire your own. Monkey see, monkey do. So I thought a blog might help me practice more, help me notice more about my own practice, and provide ideas for anyone else out there trying to live a healthier life, or to use yoga for transformation.

Yogi Bhajan (the man who brought Kundalini yoga to the West, and who can be seen on the Yogi Tea boxes) said that women should break a sweat every day. I think it’s true, and for everyone.

This is kind of a cheesy entry but it’s a start.

yoga for lightness