small decisions

om-shanti

Normally on Thursdays I go to spin class and I go to a hot power yoga class. I went to bed early last night, because I was exhausted and my joints were and still are not feeling so good.  I didn’t feel like going to my classes today. I woke up this morning, feeling rested and ready to take on the new day. I’ve packed my gym bag and lunchtime yoga looks like it’s on the horizon still, however, I’m still feeling rather spent.

It’s days like this that I find difficult. I don’t know if I’m talking myself out of attending classes or if I’m trying to listen to what my body needs, which may be some rest.

I had a good friend tell me a couple of years ago, that if I’m feeling tired or starting to feel like I’m under the weather I should go to yoga.  It may seem counterintuitive, but this piece of advice usually works. So I made the decision to attend the yoga class.

It worked, by the time we were going through our flow, I was feeling far more energized than I had since the day before and I was appreciating where I was today, not yesterday and not where I want to be in my practice tomorrow or in a month, but appreciating that I was having a day where I was tired and my joints were reminding me they’re arthritic, but I can still practice yoga.

I made the decision after class to give spin a miss today.  Normally I have a lot of joint swelling in my knees directly after class for about 10-15 minutes and I was concerned that it could have been longer, considering how my body was feeling.

Surprise and Delight

I ran in late to my lunch time yoga class, in a bit of a tizzy, I set up my mat and ran to the change rooms, and whizzed back in and joined the class in downward dog.  

However, I was surprised and delighted when I received an unexpected gift from a fellow classmate, that I had never met, Andrea. She was kind enough to give me a new headband from Lululemon.  She works at the Lululemon Britomart store and when she saw me rushing around the yoga studio, she thought I could do with an unexpected delight in my hectic day.  Funniest part of the story, I thought someone had accidentally left the headband on my mat, so I handed in to the studio for lost property.   I was told after I returned from the change rooms what really happened. So I waited to say thank you and introduce myself to Andrea.

Fantastic brand initiative by Lululemon and their team and a nice small gesture, that I won’t soon forget either.

my new awesome headband. Thanks for the surpise and delight in the middle of my day!

my new awesome headband. Thanks for the surpise and delight in the middle of my day!

Yoga ruins your life. Oh yesss. It does.

Yoga ruins your life. Oh yesss. It does..

saw this fantastic post on http://andrealeber.com blog and thought that I absolutely must share.

This is my first time reading someone else’s blog and using the share button for WordPress. So if for some reason I’ve done something wrong, let me know, and I’ll correct my mistake.

SUP yoga summer goals

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I did yoga on a stand up paddle board and I loved it.  I went again this weekend and I’ve come up with two goals for the board.

By March 26 2014 I want to be able to successfully do a headstand and crane (or crow) pose whilst on the board.

Practicing headstand and crane on the beach, prepping to transfer to the board

Practicing headstand and crane on the beach, prepping to transfer to the board

I don’t have a paddle board and I’ve only done two yoga classes on a board, but I really want to get this sussed on the board. I hope I can crush this goal this summer.

If you don’t know anything about headstands or crane pose here is a quick heads up.

Headstands – also known as Shirshasana is considered a fountain of youth pose, along with all inversions. Your blood rushes to your head, your skin is hanging in the opposite direction, essentially you’re going against the flow of gravity.  The longer you hold a headstand, the stronger your core becomes.  I’m pretty new to headstand and can hold it 5-8 breaths. I’d like to get up to 10 breaths. Personally I also find doing a headstand helps if I feel a headache coming on, and usually if I’m feeling low on energy, headstands make me feel more energetic.

Crane or Crow  – also known as Bakasana is another inversion as your head is dipped below your heart. This pose is amazing for your entire yoga practice. It’s a really good pose to become more mindful as I set my gaze, calm my mind and focus on my breathe. I also find that crane is a great pose that gets me to think more mindfully about the muscles I’m using. Crane can be considered a difficult pose and it’s the same pose that makes me smile every time I lift off.

Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga

Here we are in St. Mary's Bay, enjoying SUP yoga. The photo is from Flux Westhaven

Here we are in St. Mary’s Bay, enjoying SUP yoga. The photo is from Flux Westhaven

Last week I tried Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga for the first time and I loved it!

I wanted to try something new on my birthday, because I think its important to spend your birthday that way.

I woke up early on Saturday morning and drove across the Auckland Harbour bridge to get to the class and I was looking forward to it, and was apprehensive too.

I had been wanting to try SUP yoga for a little while and had not had the opportunity, but to be fair, I wouldn’t have taken the opportunity earlier.  I had it in my head that I wasn’t good enough to do it.

I’m not sure what gave me the impression. It wasn’t a sense of self worth that I was missing, but it was the actual physical strength that I thought I lacked.  I had put it into my head I had to be either good at yoga or at paddle boarding or both. I didn’t realize that had gotten in my own way, until I was presented with the opportunity to SUP yoga for my birthday.  I immediately said yes, and then all the excuses came bubbling up to the surface to make me doubt my decision. However, I had already made the decision to commit and I really wanted to do something new and challenging for my birthday.

So I went and I did it and if you forgot what I wrote above, I loved it.

Getting out the anchor point was a bit of a challenge, because I had only paddled boarded once, in March, and didn’t really remember any of the technique and tips. I had already made the decision that while I didn’t want to fall in, that I would be OK if I did and it would contribute to a memorable experience. Sidebar: I definitely prescribe to the idea that if you’re not falling you’re not having fun or pushing yourself; although sometimes I forget that when I take a particularly nasty fall.

Our instructor, Katrina,  had gotten a gauge of how comfortable on paddle boards we were, and also how comfortable we were doing yoga. She lead the session according to our abilities and offered modifications to poses to make them easier or harder, as suited for each individual.

It didn’t take long for me to realize the best way for me to enjoy myself on the board, stay with my breath, focus, listen to my body and find my stability, and stay with it.

The best part of doing it was the fact that I got out of my own way. If I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t have realized just how much I enjoyed it.

If you are in Auckland, I would highly recommend coming out for a SUP yoga session. Katrina teaches every Wednesday at 6pm and every Saturday at 8am. Contact Flux to book your spot

Wanderlust Auckland

Recently added to the Wanderlust Auckland experience is the one day Yoga in the City event next year in March, held at Western Springs Park. 

My understanding is that there is going to be a big four day Wanderlust in NZ for 2015, and may be in the Taupo region, who knows.

I really enjoy yoga, but attending something like this is a bit out of my comfort zone; so of course, I’m trying to lean into the idea of attending.

At the very least, it couldn’t be a bad experience and at the very best it could be a very fascinating one.

Check out this video from the creators of Wanderlust as they talk about their NYC in the city event.

Play: yoga

My form isn't perfect, but there it is anyway, upward bow, full wheel,  urdhva dhanurasana, whatever you prefer to call it.

My form isn’t perfect, but there it is anyway, upward bow, full wheel, urdhva dhanurasana, whatever you prefer to call it.

I’v tried yoga before, however it was always halfheartedly.  Part of it was because I thought of it as exercise, and the other part – though I didn’t know it at the time – was because I hadn’t found the right style of yoga for me.  Once I had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) I started to consider yoga being part of my lifestyle.  Since making that lifestyle commitment, I have practiced for months at a time, however I have moved every six months for the last four years, so it still has been very difficult to practice regularly.  Over the last 2 years practicing yoga has been something I’ve really enjoyed and I find it really easy to get to my mat.  Every time I fall out of practice, I think that I missed yoga or wonder when I’ll next start; then when I start again and I’m in class, we start moving through poses and it hits me, just how much I needed it and that feeling reminds me how much I love it.  When we moved to Auckland in December, it was top of my priority list to find a yoga studio and by April I had started.

I’m not an advanced yogi by any stretch of the imagination but I am where I need to be right now in my practice.  It means that I can still be ambitious about where I’d like to take my practice, but I don’t have to beat myself up that I’m not there yet.  It means that I can smile as I fall out of balancing postures that just the day before I was able to hold. It means that I can try a new pose, have zero expectation to nail it first go, and just be excited that I was able to figure out how the heck to get into that position.

Yoga has meant that I’m not being as hard on myself and as a result on others. It also has given me back my confidence with movement and strength after getting my RA, and for that reason alone, I will continue to dedicate 1 out 24 hrs a day at getting on the mat.