The problem with sweaty forearms.

I practice Ashtanga yoga. I have followed an Ashtanga practice for about nine or ten years. In case you aren’t well versed in your yogas (what? c’mon, guys, there’s only about 90 zillion kinds!), Ashtanga is really old, really traditional, really demanding and really awesome. If you’ve ever taken, or heard of, power flow or vinyasa flow, then you have actually experienced some of Ashtanga (it’s the basis for a lot of “power” or “vinyasa” classes).

Ashtanga has six series and I practice the first one. Have done for nine or ten years. It’s not easy, either (in case you think I’m just being a slacker). I think there is probably maybe one ninja yogi who can do all of them. I’m not really exaggerating, either. You need to be pretty in touch, physically and spiritually, to get there. But, hey; that’s why it’s called a “yoga practice” and not a “yoga perfect”.

Ashtanga is a six-day-a-week practice, with four days of self-led, or Mysore Style (named after the place called Mysore in India where the yoga originated), and then two led Primary (or first series) classes: One on Friday and one on Sunday.

So, now you know about the style of yoga I practice/study/teach.

You sweat a lot in Primary. It’s not hot yoga, per se, but it does get pretty hot. Today, in headstand, I had an issue with sweaty forearms. Actually, I had issues with sweaty limbs throughout the class, because it’s tricky to twist yourself into a pretzel if you’re slick like a body builder who’s oiled up for the “after” photos.

Headstand looks like this:

This isn't me. In case you think I'm a man. I am not.

This isn’t me. In case you think I’m a man. I am not.

Now, imagine your forearms are sweaty, as is your mat. You can probably guess what happens when these are the conditions for the basis of your headstanding. If you guessed that your elbows start to sneak out, slowly but surely, then you are correct. The problem with this is that I’m nowhere near ready to practice this pose:

I think this might break the law of gravity. And my neck.

I think this might break the law of gravity. And my neck.

I figured I had about 0.0002 seconds before I went over and took the whole row with me, à la Bambi:

So, I slipped down, literally but safely, and chilled out in Child’s Pose, which is pretty comfy. I actually used to sleep like that, when I was a kid.

Nothing like a swift kick of adrenaline before Savasana (or Corpse Pose).

Okay, I’m out. My sister is taking me to the RCMP Musical Ride, which I love and try to see whenever I can! If I’d stayed with the RCMP/joined after graduating, I’d totally have aimed to be in the Musical Ride. So cool.

Floor barre.

Yep, tonight I made my Ballet Yoga Bend & Stretch class do a floor barre. I started them at the barre for some foot warm-ups and pliés (because pliés look stupid on the floor and feel worse). This is when I remembered that I spent the whole weekend snowboarding. My quads were none too impressed with me, might I add. Neither was I with them, however, so it all worked out in the end.

My favourite moment was when, just as we were beginning tendues on the floor, a student asked, “Are my heels supposed to pop off the ground like yours?” This innocent question allowed me to explain that I have rather, erm, robust calf muscles and that I’m knock-kneed, so no, she didn’t have to force her legs into mimicking mine.

The next comment: “This is way harder than at the barre,” followed by a chorus of agreement, told me that this was just what they needed. It’s much trickier to stick out your derrière to compensate for your forward-tipping torso (also known as “cheating”) when your rear is seated on the floor. Ha! Best way to demonstrate how much they were pushing alignment, without pointing fingers, evAR. And I would know, because after 20+ years of dancing, this kid knows every trick in the book!

Tell you what: They’re gonna feel that tomorrow! Unfortunately, so am I, since I did the whole class with them, but still, you guys. STILL. I feel better knowing that they’re going to hurt a little tomorrow. I wonder if that makes me a bad person or a good teacher. All I know is dancing and yoga is hard work, but it’s the kind of burn that lets you know you did something awesome for your body (even if your body disagrees the next morning). It takes years of hard work and dedication to look this good:

Grandmaman made these leg warmers. I wore them tonight!

Also, in completely unrelated news, my work blog, Health-bent, was about allergies this week. Because I know they’re coming. Know how I know? The crows. They’re building their nests, getting ready to swoop down on me, spraying me with pollen. Because crows think I want their babies. Just for the record, I don’t. Anyway, I had to include this image here, because I was pretty pleased with myself for getting it into my work blog. Oh how I laughed. Gillian, this one’s for you! Who knew cleansing your sinuses was this much awesome? This guy!



On Curling (hair, not rocks) and Tuesdays

Yeah, so I’m about to run off to bed, but I wanted to post something quickly. We’re holding our Workplace Health & Safety 2012 Conference, so I was being all conference-y today.

Today being Tuesday, I also taught my last class of Yoga Ballet Bend & Stretch at Oak Bay Rec. I called the desk, fervently hoping that there would not be enough students for the next session to run, but alas! The class is a go.

Don’t get me wrong, my friends: It’s not that the class hasn’t been fun. It’s just that it takes more prep and has fewer students, so it’s more work/time, less pay (not that it’s just about the money, but when we’re tallying up pros and cons, it counts) and quite frankly, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m too darn busy. I was hoping to reclaim my Tuesdays, since the class is smack dab in the middle of the night (7–8:15 pm).

Anyway, whatever. It’s running, so I decided that rather than wallow in it, I’ll get stoked about it instead. I tried wallowing and it wasn’t much fun. So now, I’m trying to wrangle up as many students as possible, to make the class as fun as possible. The more, the merrier, right? We’ll see. At least I’ll be done in another 8 weeks, which will also have seen the end of my Camosun class (another good thing, but still another thing, nonetheless). Basically, my weeknights are gonna feel free like Hermes in a sunbeam, all at once. It’s going to be amazing. In 8 weeks, I mean. It’ll be amazing then.

Oh and also, I’m curling my hair in a creative way that my friend Annie told me about. I have a sneaking suspicion it works better when you have longer hair. Time will tell. More specifically, about 7 hours will tell, because that’s about how long I’ll be asleep on this experiment (also known as my head).

Ciao, guys!