Monthly Archives: November 2012

Random Yoga Stuff: Yoga and Driving

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Having a car makes my life much easier, in general. When I hear people compliment public transport in my city, I usually assume they either do not *really* rely on it, or that they live on top of a metro station, literally.

Having a car makes it easier to cart around my yoga mat(s) and clothes (for days I go directly from work and need to change without going home). It makes getting to new studios easier, which means I can take advantage of more new student deals. Needing to find parking can be a hassle and can make me late, but so could public transport.
I think the most unfortunate thing about driving to yoga is this: today the teacher talked about loving kindness. I felt all nice and peaceful in savasana. Then I left to drive home. I cannot necessarily put a finger on the specific feelings I experienced while driving home … and driving generally … but it is definitely¬† not loving kindness.

Thanksgiving

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It should probably go without saying that I’m grateful for coffee and yoga. Running and dogs are on that “of course” list too.

More broadly, I’m grateful for my health.¬† I haven’t always been kind to my body and I still put it through a lot: running, yoga when I’m tired, working outside in cold weather, general clumsiness. I’ve been much harder on my body in the past too. I can’t say I’m never critical of it, but I’m much happier and more accepting than I used to me. This focus on my physical body may sound shallow. But I do think being physically healthy and well, and having an okay relationship to one’s own body, is an important foundation for many other things. At least for me it is.

I am also grateful for stability. I have a consistent place to live, that I like and have improved. My job has its challenges but is relatively stable and secure. My relationship with my family has its challenges too, but its mostly peaceful. I’m back running with my group regularly and going to yoga regularly.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Sadness (before gratitude)

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What is saddest about conflict is that people have to experience it. It’s not just that there is a risk that they will be injured or killed (that is of course bad enough), but that an experience bad enough can change anyone.

An acquaintance, a current Facebook friend I met through a past job, is a yoga teacher from Brooklyn who is currently living in Israel, temporarily, I think. She had an eating disorder and grew up in a fairly restrictive environment, and she volunteers as a yoga teacher in her free time to provide yoga to trauma survivors, including young people. She’s vegan. She posts on Facebook the pleas of animal rescue organizations trying to help pit bulls.

She seems to be filled with anger and fear about what is going on, and I can’t say I blame her. Read the rest of this entry

Running Safety

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I recently explained to a running friend why I stick to city routes for my long runs, rather than running through the nice big park: I’m afraid of getting lost, and also, an intern was murdered in that park ten years ago.

This is a little ironic. People are almost certainly murdered more frequently in the low-income urban areas I run in instead of the park. The city streets are only “safer” from a certain perspective. Read the rest of this entry

Why I’m Afraid of Headstand

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My recent success getting into headstand (with a teacher’s help) has definitely made me more courageous taking chances with this pose, but I can’t say I’ve completely gotten over my fear.

When I was 7 or 8, I had a bad experience with a sommersault in gym class: I could never do it, someone pushed me (litterally, with a hand on the back, I rolled awkwardly and came down so hard on my back that it knocked the wind out of me. My neck hurt and I could not breath – for what seemed like a long time, but was probably several seconds.
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Headstand Success!

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A teacher helped me into classical bound headstand yesterday – and I could totally get up and hold it with just a little bit of balance support. I’ve been practicing yoga for almost 3 years now and I’ve never gone up in this kind of headstand. Yay!

I already know most typical instructions or cues, even though I haven’t been able to get up into the pose. He had the added idea to lock your thumbs. I thought this would be hard to maintain, and would kind of change where I put my head in relation to my hands, but I think it actually helped. I’m afraid of falling over backwards in any kind of headstand (and in crow, somehow), and locking my thumbs made me feel like my head was more secure and I was less likely to tip over. In reality, my thumbs probably have pretty little to do with tipping over.

It turns out that I was not getting my hips up quite high enough for my feet to go up easily, and I also needed to bend just a little (forward-ish) at the hips. This sounds counter-intuitive, but it keeps my back straighter and also helps with balance.

It felt great! I was nervous but it was very cool to realize it’s not my arms or core preventing me from getting up. And once I was up, I could stay a while. It is not as if I was dreaming about the day I’d do classical bound headstand … but it is always nice to realize that you are already capable of something you didn’t expect.

How I Found Yoga

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I had a crazy French housemate who didn’t believe that I went for runs. I walked the last block or so – which she always saw from her vantage point parked at the house – and I’m not super skinny, so, in her opinion, I guess I was an unexpected runner.

She invited me to a spinning class at her super cheap gym. The gym had a $33/month membership rate, pretty good under any circumstances, and members got some kind of reward points for bringing new people in. In retrospect I think she also invited me because she thought I wouldn’t be able to do the class (she was pretty toxic). I did the class! She was surprised. I ended up joining the gym, going to more spinning classes, and taking a yoga class on a whim.
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