Monday, May 24, 2010

Yoga Challenge: Update, Practice and First Mysore!

(Thank you everyone for your beautiful and supportive comments on my "Fern Gully" post last Thursday! Definitely fun to see how many of you also connected with that movie- Christa and Zack were the best movie couple ever! and how many of you feel the same as I do. So I guess that makes me less weird- and more a part of an awesome bark-huggin' club!)

My 31 day, every day Yoga Challenge to raise money for the Canadian National Institute for the Blind is almost up (thank goodness!). I'm sooo close to my fundraising goal (just 45$ more before the end of the week! click here to donate!) and there have been moments of frustration and pride, that's for sure!

*** UPDATE: I have now achieved my goal thanks to a lovely supporter- Theresa!!! Thank you ALL so very much for helping me raise 500$ for The Canadian National Institute for the Blind. I could still raise even MORE, so if you'd still like to donate, my week isn't done yet! Yay!! (cue happy dance). Now off to Karma Yoga class!

 Hilly terrain in NB
For the most part, working full time and arriving home at supper time starving (after our 35 min walk) usually means that yoga happens between 8-9pm... resulting in lots of slower, yin type practice. Which is unusual for my vatta pitta self. I am still doing the full hour apartment 'friend' yoga once during the work week, yoga in the park (sometimes twice) on the weekends and a full yogaglo class once a week (solitary). So I guess it has been a lesson in balance.

What I did that was brand new was my first EVER Mysore class.... yep and I am definitely not an Ashtangi lol.

The wonderful Jack at Sunrise Studio advised that I take the Mysore class... however maybe I misrepresented my knowledge of the primary series. As in, the postures are all familiar, but knowing the sequence definitely is not.

In any case, I was so very nervous about attending this class. I read all (four!) of his blog posts about attending Mysore, I made Andrew come with me (he took a simultaneously offered Kripalu class and LOVED it) and studied the cheat sheets furiously while waiting to get started. Holy poop I was stressed. I really just wanted to run out of the studio... but since I was the only person there that wasn't really an option. hah.

Jack was wonderfully patient and I think soon realized that I was able to do the surya namaskars by myself (fingers together, I am a finger splayer!) and that was about it. I have never received so much 1:1 attention during a yoga practice in my life- I learned SO much! However, when other people started arriving, I felt a bit awkward... I was demanding a lot of the teacher's attention (at one point he just sat right in front of my mat!). 

I was also amazed at how FAST they were zipping through the postures... my sun sals and flows are very slow. I breathe slowly, lowering slowly to build strength and mindfulness of each posture, like flowing through water. I'm not so great at popping in and out of a pose without hurting myself.

This meant that there was no way I could complete the primary in 90 minutes (gasp!).

 pretty green swamp on our way home (lots of these marshes in NS)
In any case, I do believe that perhaps some more beginner, guided Ashtanga would be better for my next visit- but did I ever learn a LOT about my practice. :)

Also, I had my first real, oh crap how am I going to accomplish this, challenge with the yoga every day this weekend when Andrew and I went to visit the future "in-laws" in New Brunswick. They're pretty darn traditional (as you'll remember from our wedding issues) and although supportive of my yoga "thing", aren't exactly the yoga-types. 

My plan- go to the *one* yoga class offered that weekend (there are only three studios in the city) and practice in the bedroom each morning.

Well, the yoga studio owner was difficult to get in touch with (obviously not a fan of twitter... sigh perfect example of how it could be used for business!) and didn't provide the studio's actual address on the map. Just a red "A" flag with the general street name. Right. Didn't make it on time, came back seething mad (note to self, found my zen-killer; not finding yoga studios).

Wouldn't you know, it was a beautiful morning... so I practiced on their deck outside. Although a bit weird (since Andrew's mom I guess kept peaking out and asking "whatever is she doing??"), I managed to practice about 45min each day outside in the beautiful sunshine. Perfect!

What I have learned so far in this "yoga every day" journey:
  • having to do something every day kinda takes the fun out of it...
  • sun salutations get *real* boring after a few weeks
  • 30 minutes of practice can go by pretty quickly when I'm not too tired
  • Practicing with friends or at a class now feels like a freebie!
  • Andrew is ridiculously supportive, and without his encouragement I might have punked out a few nights (but I didn't!!)
  • I am NEVER going to be extremely bendy. Just a fact. Even with continuous practice. And that is O.K.
  • However, daily practice has allowed me to improve ever so slightly my forward hand to foot flexibility (although I may have pulled something...)
  • Practicing yoga for a good cause feels FANTASTIC. I highly advise it! (like Roseanne from itsallyogababy. She is participating in Yoga Mala Montreal on May 30th and raising money via 108 sun sals for Le Garde-Manger Pour Tous!). who provides hot meals for kids from underprivileged families in Montreal. You can help by donating!)
So now I can do this without (mostly) bending my knee!! For someone who couldn't touch her toes until two years of yoga, that's pretty darn good! Just took five years of practice to be able to do hand to big toe (kinda!). :)
 Yes! forward go!!
this face is "ahhh TAKE THE PICTURE BEFORE I FALL!" face 
My plan for this week (tentative) is to take a yoga class in a studio (since I'll be practicing every day anyways!). My last yoga hoorah! 

Will I practice every day after this is over? Probably not... but 20-30 minute yin yoga has actually been quite beneficial.. so I think I'll keep that :)

Blessings and Happy Victoria Day!

article and photographs copyright of EcoYogini at 


  1. I am taking a break from teaching in August, and you are giving me some good ideas. My personal practice has suffered horribly between my teaching and small children. When I have 45 min.s to myself, I usually don't feel like yoga. At all.

    Maybe some sort of vow is in order for August. Congrats on meeting your goal! (And I'm glad you got the picture before you fell over...I sure know that takethepicture,takethepicture, face!)

  2. I love what you have learned from this experience! And, probably, what your in-laws have learned as well... ;)

    Seriously though - don't judge yourself by/against your bendiness! Bendy does not a great Eco-Yogini make. And all that jazz.

    And, just look at those pics and think of when you started yoga... Never say never!!

  3. So proud of your project! This is a really big commitment. I suspect I would have the same conclusions that you had if I were doing this. Having to do it everyday can take the fun out! But it's a great experiment, and for a good cause!

    Way to go on trying something new, too. I'm just like that - I HAVE to do slow sequences. I can't keep up with the fast ones without pulling muscles.

  4. My first experience with Mysore came early during my very first class. After doing all kinds of stretches I'd never done before, I said "oh god, a mysore!" These are the jokes, folks...

    Seriously, I've been learning to never say never when it comes to the bendiness thing...or any other aspect of the asana, for instance, I've long thought that holding-the-toe-with-your-leg-sticking-right-out thing (that's holdtoewithlegstickingoutasana in Sanskrit) you're doing in the picture is probably impossible for me. But, then, a week or so, I didn't actually do it, but, got close enough to realize that, I will probably be able to at some point...and just today I bent backwards so far in camel I scared ya never know...

  5. I'm so inspired by your 31 day yoga challenge to raise money! I think I may do that later on in the summer.

    Ashtanga- have been playing with trying out this form of yoga for a while but it makes me SO nervous. I doubt I'd complete the primary series in 2 hours let alone 90 mins!

    We stayed with my parents-in-law over the weekend and the weather was glorious so I decided to practice some yoga when no-one was looking. Shame! I got some weird looks off them as they conveniently wandered in and out of the garden. They are very traditional too. Felt so much better after only 20 mins of yoga in the sunshine though :)

  6. congrats, you're almost there! thanks for sharing what you've learned ~ and for including the adorable pics.

    i also appreciate the plug for my 108SS challenge in montreal. thank you!

  7. Something that a teacher really love in a mysore class is a new person. You can give them so much more attention without detracting from the other students in the class.

    You can not stop and explain a pose in a lead class the same way that you can in a mysore class. The teacher and the student can take the time need to learn the pose while the other students continue on with their practice.

    If someone else wants attention they will get my attention.

    You should try another mysore class sometime soon. You will be surprised how much you will remember.

    I really enjoyed having you in the class last week.

    Come again.


  8. Thanks for being honest enough to admit that doing something every day kind of sucks the fun out of it. I felt that way too, when I did my challenge.

  9. Anything that I HAVE to do gets a thumbs down for me, it's my rebelious personality I guess. So I have to keep it kudos for doing such a great job for charity! It's nice that you found your groove and will keep the yin stretch...that sounds sooooo sweet.

    AND, wanted to mention it's funny that you spoke of Fern Gully, it is a favorite of mine/my kids and I was thinking of it the other day after watching Avatar...similarites????

    Yes, tree-huggers unite:)

  10. @Brenda: thank you! yes, maybe a vow or goal would be helpful getting you back in the groove. or maybe a weekend away of yoga... would that be possible??? :)

    @La Gitane: yep, I Think it was just as much an experience for the in-laws as well. (they even sponsored me- even though it was only after they saw that i actually WAS practicing every day- at least it was support!)

    @A Green Spell: yay for slow sequences!! and thank you- i'm hoping the "class every day this week" thing will help- i was getting bored.

    @Dr. Jay: bahaha, did other people laugh at your "mysore" pun??? they should have. Yay for handtobigtoepose almost getting it!! i guess you're right, never say never... but i can pretty much guarantee that certain poses are kinda out of my league. and i'm ok with that. :)

    for example- yay for handstand for you!!

    @Sarah- oh good, i wasn't the only one getting weird looks from in-law parental figures... haha. yay for yoga outside!!
    yep, ashtanga is interesting- but with the right teacher it can be enjoyable :)

    @roseanne: thank you and you are welcome! i still need to click on the "donate" button!!

    @Jack: I'm so glad that my level of inexperience was alright for the class. i really did learn SO much from the experience! thank you again for your patience and excellent guidance.

    @Jamie: haha, that's right I remember you saying that. had to be honest eh?

    @Mandy: yep avatar is kinda like an overgrown fern gully. I actually prefer fern gully for childhood memories and such. but Avatar was very fun. (writing terrible, concept-fun). :)

  11. woah! ive never been to a primary that was less than 2hrs! 90 minutes sounds crazy time.


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