cyber shala open thread, drop by, have some tea, chat a while

Ugh, I’m exhausted, spent all week cleaning the yurt to get ready for upcoming PAR-TEH.  Party’s are fun but the pre-cleaning is HELL.  On the upside, there is plenty of room on the floor right now to spread my mat.

So how did y’all fare this week?  How’s practice treating you?  (Or you, it?)

11 thoughts on “cyber shala open thread, drop by, have some tea, chat a while

  1. maya Post author

    Three full primaries, two surys. SLOG. I’m totally slogging lately. I want me some floaty sweet practices! Grind, grind, grind, like moving around bags of cement.

    1. louise

      That reads like dedication Maya! Doing it even though it’s hard and you’ve got a ton of other stuff. Cleaning before parties seems so futile as you end up cleaning up after them too but it’s good to have a purge of piles of stuff. Maybe that will free up your cement bags 😉

      Meanwhile, I’m still on standing sequence, every day except the moon day which I didn’t remember until I rolled out my mat and I literally danced on it when I realised I didn’t have to practice. What is wrong with me!?

      I also went for a run this week, I hadn’t been for ages and remembered why as soon as my hip/bum/piriformis ache started again after weeks of relative calm. So I feel this week that running is really not for me anymore as it jars my yoga practice so out of joint and that walking is more than good enough. Walking, yoga, swimming with the emphasis on yoga asana from now on. A hard lesson learned but it was good to learn what ails me. I can still run for a London bus if I have to but hey, they are every ten minutes anyway. No long evening runs might give me more energy in the mornings and stop my shirking.

      Do any of you exercise regularly? I know Ashtanga isn’t ‘exercise’ but it feels like it is a regular physical journey. Do you think Ashtanga works on cardio vascular enough? Can you run for short spurt without wheezing and spluttering? I’m talking to the over 40s here 😉

      1. maya Post author

        Hi Louise! Haha, yes about dancing on the mat when realizing you are free of that particular requirement…and then feeling guilty for being so glad! I have TOTALLY been there.

        As for other exercise… I do not run. Not even to catch a bus. It’s like a thing with me now. I’ve given it up. Seriously, every time I’ve run in the past five years I’ve pulled my hamstring AGAIN. It’s like that attachment has become my Achilles heel. Warmed up, its fine. Sudden run for the bus, SPROING. Six months to get it right again. Also, I had two babies in two years and for a LONG time after that it felt like running would make my organs fall out. Sorry if TMI! Things finally tightened up again, but by then the hamstring started being an issue…

        So, instead, I bike and I walk my dog. Biking: not on the roads because I am a scardy cat. I have my bike on a trainer and I do 30 min sessions several evenings a week, especially in the winter when it warms me up (I get SUPER COLD these days). Here is a post I wrote about it. I like to go out all with intervals. SUFFERFEST! I fantasize that over time my metabolism will pick up and I won’t be so cold all the time. Also, I walk my dog about a mile a day. I keep it brisk, but he likes to stop and sniff, so just low level aerobic, but there is benefit in that, I think.

        I do not think Ashtanga (at least the way I practice it) is aerobic enough for me. It’s low level aerobic, so it’s not useless! But I really don’t think it pushes things enough. Here is a post I did where I did a Primary hooked up to a heartrate monitor, with a cool graph, I love graphs. When I get on the bike, I can feel my heart pounding in my chest, sweat is pouring off of me, my body flushes hot, and I’ve got an elevated everything for an hour or more after. I can do an entire primary without dropping a bead of sweat and maybe I notice my heart beating during navasana, but that’s about it. Maybe I practice too easy, haha.


        1. louise

          Indeed we do, UP THE SHIRKERS! I don’t sweat either, I thought I was just other worldly as I didn’t sweat in Mysore either and it was super hot there. Maybe I’m toxin free? (very doubtful).

          I am beginning to understand that running is going to bring back my injury immediately so that’s a no no from now on. Same as you. What a bummer. But I love the feeling, the heat and the heart pump. So walking super fast doesn’t hurt but produces the same brisk activity returns.
          I think Ashtanga does work on the cardio vascular but the work up and work down make it seem as though it’s not. If I’ve ever had to stop right after suryas, (me? stop after suryas?) my heart is bamming away like a tin drum. Thanks for the response, made me laugh X

  2. henry

    Hi Maya! I had a bit of a setback three weeks ago, right after my last post, in fact. I aggravated a pinched nerve in my lower back, and have been recovering since then.

    I still get on my mat for an hour 5 days a week. I began with restorative yoga and Kundalini (what much of my first year of yoga looked like). The first week was bad, but I am feeling much better. I am now doing sun salutations followed by whatever I feel moved to do, often the standing sequence from Ashtanga or Bikram.

    I began walking with my wife every Saturday and Sunday, 4.5 miles each day, and have worked in 2.3 miles on Tuesdays and Thursdays as well. We usually average 3.5 mph, or a brisk pace, according to the phone app she uses.

    Louise, I do think the walking has been a good compliment to my practice; we vary our speed to bring an element of “interval training” into it. It keeps my currently unfocused yoga practice from letting me get soft.

    Can you tell I love all types of yoga? Anything that’s breakfast, seafood, or yoga, I will take like a kid in a candy store.

    I am thinking I need recommit to Primary for a while, and let the energy of the morning (I hit the mat at 5 am sharp) determine if I go all out to Navasana, or go slow and steady, with long breaths, no jump backs, and no vinyasas between poses, until I run out of time. I tend to shy away from Ashtanga when I am nursing an injury, instead of adapting it.

    1. maya Post author

      Jesus, 5am. Just getting to the mat at 5 is a practice in an of itself. I used to get up at 5 to write, when my kids were little. Now forget it. Major props to you, sir!

  3. Pamela

    Hi All: I’m back in town and read over the comments I missed while I was gone.

    Love the Gillian Lynne links – she’s so inspiring. My favorite is when she talks about how people disapproved when she married her much younger husband and the interviewer asks what they say now, “They’ve either died, or they look silly.” HA!

    She made me remember Vanda Scaravelli – a teacher that my first yoga teacher admired. If I did it right, photos here.

    Also thanks for the heads up on the Joe Friel book. I’m going to check the library. I feel like this book might be the answer to a question I haven’t articulated yet.

    I did not practice while I was away and then was swamped when I returned so just managed to sneak in a couple of practices in the past few days and it was a slog for me, too. At first it felt great to stretch into all the sticky spots but after 15 minutes it was like time had stopped. Instead of focusing on my breath, I focused on: is this enough yet? Or, how has it only been 25 minutes? I was reminded of Louise’s comment about why can’t practice be more like putting your face into chocolate cake.

    Just wanted to say a quick hello. I’m behind on everything. Hope everyone has good practice this week.

    1. maya Post author

      OMG I want a chocolate cake practice. NOW. Okay, this is probably terrible, so NOT YOGA but…sometimes when I really am distracted by the clock and I really don’t want to practice and I’m totally making myself but hating it (it happens like that sometimes) I listen to an audiobook or a TED lecture or something while I practice. I know, I know, I’m supposed to be focused and breathing and meditating and citta vrtti nirodhah, but gah, sometimes I can’t do it. So I distract myself and I get it done. Shame on me, bad yogini, no cookie. Is it better to do this and get through a half primary, or to not show up at all? I’m thinking my body reaps the bennies of the asana practice, even if my mind doesn’t…

  4. Rebecca

    hi All –
    that is a good question about doing exercise in addition to the ashtanga practice. I well recall Maya’s investigation of the aerobic properties of ashtanga (conclusion after testing: not fully aerobic). I do a ton of walking – a big triangle around town: from home to walk girls to school, from there to cafe where I study, and from there to campus where I teach. Sometimes back to school to pick up girls. If the whole thing happens, I’ll usually have the dog with me and it’s probably around 5 or 6 miles, with a little bit of off leash squirrel time. (for the dog) Then I’ve spent quite a bit of the day walking and maybe less time doing my work, but I usually feel really grounded and good. However, it doesn’t solve the aerobic problem: I feel the urge to run about. I had a long-time running practice but stopped that for the most part when I picked up ashtanga again 3.5 years ago. I go running sporadically now, and that seems to be okay for my (40-plus) body, although sometimes I feel like it’s an indulgence. As one of my yoga teachers said once, “When I run, my hips are aching but my spirit is soaring.”
    This week I practiced every day but modified for a weird little “twinge” in the ribcage that turned into a screamingly painful condition for an hour or two, then mostly went away. Most of my injuries seem to start out as tiny little twinges, then they might develop or not. A yoga teacher I got to know in Berlin, Nir Tiomkin, seemed to dislike the use of the word “injury” (maybe because it implied a concrete and definite condition rather than a fluid and changing one?) and I was thinking about that: maybe that’s the wrong word.
    happy practicing!

    1. maya Post author

      David Williams said something about not running because it was too injury-making, and his goal was to practice yoga for the rest of his life, so injuries were to be avoided at all costs. he swims (he lives in hawaii).

      I don’t know…you can call it whatever, it still hurts. 🙂

  5. louise

    I’ve nothing much to add except what a great cyber shala we have! Thanks Maya.
    Injury isn’t a great word I agree, Rebecca. And they do evolve, ebb and flow like everything else. Some are really stickers though!
    Welcome back Pamela and you all seem to like walking. It’s a marvellous thing. Travel for free whilst improving strength and stamina.


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