Bring it on

I am looking forward to my yoga over the next month. I have extended use-it-or lose-it vacation time between now and the end of the year so I will not be restricted to the availability of yoga in the evening at Thrive. I can pick my classes throughout the day (at least, when I am not being called into the office to finish off last-minute essential work). Although Christmas and New Years wipe out two days, and other days have reduced schedules, I can still fit in a session, almost every day.

What’s been frustrating is that since the Brian Kest workshop, I have not had an opportunity to build up momentum in my practice. My brother’s funeral, a week-long business trip and the weeks preparing for it, my daughter’s move back home and upheaval in the household, working late, family matters, Christmas parties and receptions at work, the Metro Red Line making it unpredictable as to when I’ll get home, have all contorted my yoga routine into fits and starts. At most, I manage to get in three sessions a week, not enough to allow me to get into a rhythm.

I have not been disciplined enough to have a home practice. At most, I fit in some meditation, perhaps, some pranayama. It’s those days away from class when my body backslides: any extra range of movement is shrunken by disuse, any skill at swinging into handstand does not set into the muscle memory. A home practice does not have to be elaborate. I could work one theme, say, hamstrings, and focus on that for a week. I know I have areas that need systematic work over time to show a breakthrough — the back, shoulders, hips.

Another intention is to keep it simple. I’ve been steering myself to exclusively vinyasa 2-3 classes, except for Susan Bowen’s Saturday morning class. I usually take Marylou McNamara’s Hatha yoga classes. Lisa Johnson’s classes are along the same line. I’ve taken Dana Cohen’s vinyasa flow all levels on Tuesday, and she has fairly accessible style that does not demand master skill levels. I also took her yin yoga workshop and it required a lot of discipline and mental stamina.

So What’s my point? I am trying to keep my practice simple. I don’t want to overreach or impose my A-type yoga personality and sets goals and targets that may keep me striving for excellence, but not be aware of what other rewards yoga can give me. I keep telling myself: relax and don’t work so hard; it’s the ease and grace of the practice that will carry me the farthest.

Oh yeah! And Desirée Rumbaugh is coming back to Thrive Yoga on January 15-17 for a weekend workshop: The Heart Stimulus Plan (four sessions of 2-2.5 hours). The last time I took her workshop, I really muscled my way through many new poses — and tore the meniscus in my right knee. So I want to be ready this time, with healthy knees, a body that shifted into a gear appropriate (building on conditioning, strength, strong fundamentals, all guided by mindfulness) for the workshop, and the right attitude. So I have four weeks to prepare myself for the challenge, and much better chances of accomplishing than with the Kest workshop due to personal issues.