Friday, August 31, 2012


It has been four days, today, since I have practiced yoga. I would practice today, but alas, it is a moon day; and then, low and behold, tomorrow is a Saturday. It is with a sad regret that I think I may cut back my practice to merely the Surya Namaskara A's and B's and three closing postures until the closing of my pregnancy. Lately, I've been having back pains and with my baby sitting so low in my stomach it makes it almost uncomfortable to twist and move in certain directions. Reclining seems to be the position I sit in.

On a good note though, I have printed off a copy of the Hatha Yoga Pradipika and the Samkhya Karika. :) I may not get to them for some time but I have them printed and available at my disposal. I was going to print of Gita As It Was but I can't find a copy that is printable. I found a readable document though so that is pulled up in my browser. Just have to find time to read it.

I'm still slowly making it through the Sutras, and I do mean slowly. I think I'm reading approximately 8 books and only 3 are for pleasure. My pleasure readings: Guruji by Guy Donahaye and Eddie Stern; Ashtanga Yoga: Practice and Philosophy by Gregor Maehle; and then I still haven't finished Yoga Mala yet. I put that one on hold for a few days even though I should have finished it long ago. I actually may start back over from the beginning once I finish my classes in November.

I want to fully dedicate my time to both Maehle's book, as well as Yoga Mala so that I can take notes (better ones). I think once I have a firm grasp of my practice I will then delve deeper into my studies of the history of texts available. I've heard and read about Yoga Makaranda by Krishnamacharya so I may print that out also and add it to my ever growing pile of unread texts.

I think I should have plenty of texts to bring with me to the hospital in case I have a terribly long laboring process. Quite honestly, I'm getting nervous about it. I was so against having an epidural before but am beginning to think long and hard about actually saying "yep, I want that medication." No need being in pain if they can provide relief, right? We'll see. I'm still going to try the ol' no med way first. Maybe my breath work will help guide me along my birthing process, but if all else fails the epidural will be my back up plan. I'm just ready for my baby to be here so I don't feel like I have a ten pound sack sitting on my intestines. Not to mention the wiggling and squirming is kind of weird too. Most women actually enjoy the movement and are thrilled when their baby moves around, and I'm sure if he had more room to move I'd be ok but I am about to be 32 weeks pregnant and still look more fat than pregnant (from the front and back).

Ending of 31 Weeks
See... not much room for the little tyke to be rolling around. He's not small thing in there, I mean he is, but then again he isn't. Nevertheless, I shall wait (impatiently) for the day that he is born. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Thighs Back and Tailbone Down

These movements are common and heard quite often in yoga practices.

I had never really felt what it truly meant to accomplish this action before a few days ago. I examined what those specific movements would feel like and I have to say that it took loads of pressure off of my back. I hadn't realized how far I was leaning back in order to sustain the carriage of my baby.

I felt as if I went from leaning way back to standing straight backed. It was amazing. I guess it took being pregnant to feel what it is supposed to feel like when pressing the thighs back and pointing the tailbone down (or tucking it under).

I've been practicing it a lot throughout the day because I've been noticing/catching myself letting my back sink in quite a bit. It's like it has become my new mental note haha. Except I even catch myself correcting my posture while sitting as well.

I did that many times today while I was at school. If it was standing, I was telling myself "thighs back, tailbone down." And if I was sitting, it was more or less, "tuck tailbone and straighten back." My back is less of a mess today than it has been.

How come they don't tell pregnant women this more often in regards to their posture while pregnant? Obviously, there are benefits to performing yoga postures. Even one as simple as Tadasana to help alleviate back problems.

A woman I followed for a while through podcasting, Elsie Escobar, posted a link on her facebook page that actually relates to this. It is a video of Noah Maze going over the proper way of standing in Tadasana, Mountain Pose with Noah and Tara, and so it was nice to come across it as a reinforcement of proper alignment.

I find that this is most helpful to me when I'm being lazy, which tends to happen quite a bit while I'm doing homework. Most times I'll round my back or at others I'll slouch in general. Then I'll find that my back becomes sore and needs to be stretched out. As of late though, I've noticed less back pain (minus that which my pregnancy puts upon me).

Through these findings, I feel that it would be adequate to explore many more postures to see how they truly relate or help me in certain ways. More for my own understanding outside of books. It is one thing to read the ways it helps, and another thing to completely explore it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

T'was a Sad and Unmotivated Day

Woke up this morning ready to feed the little tyke (Isaac) and noticed he had a bummed right front leg. Naturally, I was concerned he was hurt and might need some sort of medical attention. Made the WORST mistake of my day. Took him to the vet to get looked at.

Those bastards TOOK him from me and said I couldn't take him home because it was illegal to rehabilitate wild animals without a permit!!!! I'm not sure if she noticed or not but pregnant ladies don't like being told they can't have a cute cuddly little squirrel. She wouldn't let me hold him again and said that there was a lady that would rehabilitate him about 20 miles up north. I was devastated. Quite literally. Turned into a blubbering bafoon. My husband had to drive us home. The only thing that kept me from taking him back was that I'd probably hurt him in the process of taking him from her, well that is unless I knocked her unconscious. Not to mention they have all my information so I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have been long before the cops were at my door step.

Nevertheless, I was devastated all day at the loss of this little fella. I didn't realize I had acquired such an attachment for him in so quick a time period. Zack tried calling the main Vet at the clinic and he said he'd see what he could do but I'm not getting my hopes up.

I just have to rest assured knowing that, if he's in a wildlife rehabilitation center, he'll get good care and eventually be released back into the wild. Honestly though, that didn't make me feel better at all. I pretty much moped all day. It was/is pathetic really, I know, but I can't help it. I want Isaac back. NOW.

Needless to say, today was a practice-less day. I may do some calming practice later, but honestly I don't feel like doing crap. I read some Statistics and now I think I may continue on with my Sutra reading, up to 1.8 (although I don't really understand it all that much). I may have to get a different commentary or go to a workshop on the Sutras.

Do they have such a thing?

Seems everyone is talking about workshops and intensives these days. Either I'll read "I'm going to a workshop/intensive" or "Hey, we're holding a workshop/intensive". Makes me quite upset really. I live in the middle of BFE and the nearest workshops to me are at least 2 hours or more away, and at the moment, the idea of riding in a car that long to and from a workshop seems daunting and unnecessary on my aching back. I do want to go to a workshop though.

I need to find one in the states that is close to me.

I'm not sure how to really find one though..........

Goodbye Isaac! May you have a long and healthy life!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Ask and You Shall Receive.

Ain't he precious!!!?!? My husband walked in the room holding him and brightened my mood right up. Nothing like helping a little one back to health and back to the outdoors. Little fella was starving when I went to feed him.

My mood brightened and here in a minute I may step onto my mat for just a quick practice. :)

Oh and I named him Isaac after the tropical depression :). I've already had a Gus who was named after Hurricane Gustav.

One of Those Days

I woke up in a fantastic mood... but what happened? It went from "yay its a good day" to "I feel like poop and being lazy" all in a matter of three hours. I've been trying to get myself on my mat ALLL day. Almost literally. I look at my mat and then at a book, back to my mat, book, mat, book, maybe some TV, and back to the mat. But not only is my desire to get on it not there, I also have no desire to do any forward bending. That pretty much kills the whole Ashtanga practice in one fell swoop. I mean I want to practice because I know I'll feel better after I do even 5 sun salutations or maybe more, but I still haven't made it to my mat.

The most productive thing I've done today is make a pot of chili. Yep that's about it. Well and went shopping. Maybe that's where my slump attitude came from?

Tomorrow marks the beginning of  31 weeks being pregnant. I'm beginning to feel it now. Can't believe it took me 31 weeks to start getting all the frumpy/grumpy feelings. Of course, it could have something to do with getting kicked all the time, or having a rolling ball of flesh in your stomach attempting to get comfortable while making me UNcomfortable. I swear, he wiggles so much that I'm not sure his cord isn't around his neck. Not to mention the fact that he decided a while back that he wasn't going to move up out of my pelvic region, and therefore, I can feel him press on my groins if I'm sitting forward in a cross-legged position. And yes, I do mean that if I sit forward (or lean forward) I can feel it when he decides to stretch on not just one of my inner thighs but BOTH of them at the same time.

Ok, enough baby talk though. I need motivation to get on my mat. How does one stay motivated to maintain a 6-day a week practice? (Granted Friday is a moon day)

This conundrum is baffling me.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

First Heels Down!!!!

Ok, so today was the first day EVER that I have successfully managed to get BOTH heels on the ground, simultaneously, in Down Dog!!! I was thrilled, shocked, ecstatic even :). I thought maybe my tendons were too short for me to reach my heels to the ground, but alas I have accomplished the feat!

Now, with that being said, I did this while completing a prenatal yoga practice. Before the practice I completed 5 Surya Namaskara A's because I didn't know that the instructor in the video would be completing her prenatal version of the salutations. Nevertheless, the sequence was built by Elena Brower. I'm beginning to like her way of teaching more and more as I watch her videos on YogaGlo. Her teaching resembles a teacher I followed a while back, so it was easy to adapt to her style and even feel comfortable in it.

The practice itself was interesting. It may be because of my pregnancy hormones but I felt so relaxed with this practice as I flowed through it. It felt as if I was able to go deep into poses and just relinquish all my worries as I stayed in the postures. Quite a nice thing to have when one needs it.

Learning to relinquish things needs to be incorporated into my daily life. I find that I try to structure things way too often, and then when things go awry I feel so helpless and even angry. Through my practices I'm beginning to at least try to take control of my relinquishment issues.

My husband and I are awaiting some news and my relinquishing issues have surfaced, which is where today's practice became of use. I haven't been able to make any set plans for anything (outside of pregnancy) due to the fact that the next few months could go one way or the other. Vague details, I know, but I don't want to jinx my husband (or me for that matter).

Anyways, on to homework and then hopefully more Sutra studies :)

Friday, August 24, 2012

Practice and Two Sutras!

Ok so the reading of the next two sutras actually happened last night but I at least made it through two more :).

I woke up this morning with the intent to practice (somewhat) yoga. I didn't realize the time, however, when I rolled out of bed. My alarm had gone off, and so had my husbands. See, if it was my alarm that I awoke to I would have been fine, but waking to my husbands is something totally different. Nevertheless, I rolled from the bed, grabbed my mat, and laid it on the living room floor. I finished some morning necessities and looked at the clock.... 8:30. It was 8:30 when I rolled out of bed!!!! I was appalled at myself. BUT, I resumed my activities and got onto my yoga mat.

I made it through 5 Surya Namaskara A's before I realized that I absolutely did not want to continue with B's. Therefore, I stopped at the fifth set and then let myself flow through a few different poses that stretched my body in places that felt wonderful. I had no set practice, I just went. The results were quite lovely actually. I was in a pretty good mood all day (even with the campus bookstore being retarded as all get out and not getting to spend too much quality time with my husband).

I was full of energy most of the day, and I only really sat around and did homework, or attempted to. Tomorrow I'm hoping to do things a bit differently. Well, the wake up part at least. I will probably still sit around and do homework, but this is merely because I have two chapters of Nutrition to read as well as two chapters of Statistics to read. Ugh, Statistics will most likely be the death of me. :/ I can't stand it. I'd rather take Calculus, but the prereqs didn't call for Calc... no it called for Stat.. Poop on them. Who needs Stat? Apparently I do.

On a completely different note. I'm quite eager to receive my edition of Elena Brower and Erica Jago's newest book Art of Attention. They are doing wonderful things with this book. Elena provided the sequences and Erica is drawing the "asanaglyphs" for them. It's pretty nifty stuff. Wish I was as innovative as that. Not to mention, if you contribute to their cause a teacher is given a book free of charge to help worth while causes like Africa Yoga Project and Akasha Project. I want to hold this book in my hands because it means that it has actually been completed and that others are benefiting from the book.

Tomorrow is a new day and I hope to stride forward and make it a great day. Yay for Saturdays!.... Wow, I just realized that tomorrow is Saturday. Therefore, I will not be completing Ashtanga but I probably will do an easy prenatal class. Thank God for YogaGlo. :)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Inconducive Tendencies Towards Practice

There was every intention in my body and mind to practice this morning before breakfast, or at least before lunch. Then my phone rang. Tis the season of schools to randomly call in their subs for classes that need a teacher present. That ringing made my entire day feel horrible. Not only did I have an unsuitable lunch, but I also had a horrible mind set in regards to work. Oh, and my plans for practice were messed up YET again. I may have had a slight breakdown.

The kids were ok for the half day that I had me, but when I got home I just wanted to forget that I had been there. I kept close to my husband until he had to leave for work. He is definitely my rock. Best guy I've met (other than grandfather and my dad of course). 

So what did I do in order to pep up my day? I worked on my anatomy homework, took my dogs for a ten minute walk, and then came inside and did a pregnancy workout from the magazine Fit Pregnancy. I have come to a small conclusion. 

I may not practice every day right now but doing something active is better than nothing active. And since I ate about an hour ago, I have about another hour until I can do a relaxing yoga sequence. Even if it only takes me 20 minutes. I WILL get some sort of practice in. It is vital to my being. I can feel my internal organs being sluggish because they haven't been twisted or squeezed (slightly, oh so slightly) lately. So, therefore, soft twists and easy inversions are welcoming me tonight.

I declare that I will have a good day tomorrow and I will brush off things that appear bad to my happy mood. The end :)!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Long Day of Nothingness

Today started out quite slow; I missed yoga this morning due to the inability to sleep well through the night and finally dozing off properly at about 3:30 am, and then I had to go to work where I sat all day in a chair as I babysat little fourth graders doing math work. Now, normally I wouldn't complain, but my bladder (on three different occurrences) screamed at me to get up and leave the room to tend to business. Sadly, I had to wait for someone to cover the classroom so that I could leave to relieve myself. This was such a horrible feeling. I felt trapped. Not sure it's supposed to feel that way. I am not sure how teachers do it on a regular basis even when they're NOT pregnant. There aren't many people you can exactly say, "hey can you watch my kids while I go pee please" and actually get a "yes" response from. Usually, it is someone on the same hall... if they aren't busy, which they usually are. Not to mention, you don't want to exactly disrupt their class to go and empty your tiny little squashed bladder.

Nevertheless, I did work while the kids did work all day and only managed to get a meager amount of work done. Thankfully, I don't have many assignments due this week that require much work. Notes are what's getting to me. That and checking my messages in Blackboard.

Anyways, I fully intend to put all school books aside to at least read one sutra commentary tonight. :/ Saddening I know. That isn't as sad as my missing TWO days of practice. I feel so lazy and..... blah. That is about the only way to express the feeling that came to mind. I literally just feel like laying around and being lazy. That is not a normal feeling for me. If my body isn't active than at least my mind is engaged somehow or another.

Tomorrow is a new day. I will strive for at least a 60 minute practice and hope for a 90 minute practice. I hope that the practice brings peace and awareness to my body so that I can relinquish my impatience.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Possible Skipped Practice

Woke up this morning quite a bit later than I intended. Too late to get in any semblance of a practice due to the fact that I had a prenatal appointment today. The further the day has gone on, the less I feel like even approaching my mat. I'm trying to muster the energy to even think about practicing. I'm noticing that if I don't practice in the mornings... I probably won't the later the day goes. Which sucks because tomorrow I have to be at the Upper Elementary School tomorrow at 7:30 and that means I have to leave my house by at least 7:00. That would put me getting up at 5 am and as far as I'm concerned, my eyes haven't been opened that early in a while. Not even usually to go potty (which is saying something for a pregnant woman).

I've only made it to the third sutra and haven't progressed further into my study due to the beginning of certain college courses. I'm hoping that things slow down enough that I can either find time in the morning for reading or in the evenings before bed. Today, I am not sure if it will happen though. I like to jump into studies, but studies that are graded take a bit more precedence than my personal studies, unfortunately. I wish I were more organized so that I could better plan my days. Maybe I'll get to that point one day.

Study time resumes. Sorry for the lame post.

Monday, August 20, 2012

New Courses and a Good Practice.. sort of

I made it to Navasana without many hiccups this morning. Random dog walked through our yard and cats meandered by but was able to immediately bring my awareness back to my breath. What did I notice? Well, I noticed that my breathing was not as smooth or even as I had wanted it to be. I felt like I was snoring more than breathing..... I haven't the foggiest idea why. Maybe what I think is ujjayi is definitely not. :/ I've tried reading to better understand how to practice this technique during my morning practice but feel silly attempting it. I feel like my exhales are much louder than they should be and my inhales are feeling more like a regular breath, yet I feel as if I'm attempting to slightly contract my throat but then again I also feel as if I'm going to not get enough air.

Is it possible to panic while practicing ujjayi? Because I sometimes feel as if I don't get adequate oxygen during practice. This could totally be a pregnancy thing since "shortness of breath" is quite common the further along one becomes. Either way, I feel like I'm either doing it wrong or not doing it at all and just making noises. So while my practice this morning was nice and I feel all good and stretched, I also feel like I failed in my attempt at a breathing exercise. I call it a win/lose for this morning. :/

Not only was I able to wake at 6:30 this morning, UN-assisted I might add and no alarm clock needed :), but I started five online classes for this semester as well. Blackboard, the online medium we're using for the courses, is having "server problems"...... You'd think after years of using Blackboard that these problems wouldn't arise EVERY time classes start at the beginnings of semesters and yet they still happen. Annoying for those of us who like to hop right in and get the information they need before starting the week and then diving in. All I want to do is figure out what I need to read and what I need to do so I can plan my week and OTHER readings around these courses. Not to mention I have to plan my work around my pregnancy too. Ok off that horse.

On a different note, I read through the commentaries of sutras I.2 and I.3 last night. Felt much better reading these after tackling the first sutra. I guess I have to switch my mind frame from American writing to a much different writing style in order to fully understand and enjoy the text that is being laid out. Maehle states that everything is stated as it is for the purpose of not loosing anything in translation. Which makes sense. You can only water down a piece of information so much before you tend to lose meaning. I would name a particular text that would make a good example but that would only start controversy, and therefore, I will refrain from making such an accusation. But, I can understand the necessity of making sure that one fully comprehends one thing before moving on to the next section. If I'm not mistaken, his statement was in reference to the third sutra. "Then the seer abides in his own nature," he said that one must truly understand the explanation of this sutra before moving to the fourth.

Time for some Microbio or Nutrition reading now. Oh yay. :)...

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Woke Up To Practice And....

I woke up this morning with the intent to delve deeper into my practice but was soon distracted and told otherwise by a four legged creature. He snuck up on me.
Hey I want to help!

This little ball of fluff decided that he was more important than me concentrating on my practice.

What are those shiny things?

Sure it was easy in the beginning to ignore him as he wound around my legs. Mostly, it was doable because he moved out of my way when I moved to switch into Chaturanga Dandasana or Down Dog. But this changed when he realized that I was, indeed, NOT paying him any attention. He began pestering me. By pestering me I mean climbing my legs and hopping onto my back. 

Who is that cat? Can he play?

I was attempting to practice the Fundamentals when ^ I took this. He hopped off my back and decided he wanted to play with my phone (which I was using to try to capture a photo of him on my back). Obviously, picture on back was avoided by him. Clever kitty.

Nope, not on the belly!

Beginning with the seated postures, he decided I didn't need to fold down onto my belly and put himself in the way. Tail wrapping around my face and neck. I must say that trying to concentrate on breathing, folding, toe grabbing, and cat tail up my noes.... that was a task. I guess it is good practice in attempting to block outside distractions.

I love attention!

I gave up on concentrating 100% and pet him so that he would at least move out of my way a little bit. After I pet him he started attacking my mala (refer to picture addressing "shiny things" which at the time were my rings). He attempted to split open my rudraksha beads with his teeth. Very annoying since my necklace cost me a few pennies.

Nevertheless, I was able to finish the practice out with a nice finishing sequence of modified poses and a short savasana. (I'm not good at staying in savasana too long. I get antsy.) I need to practice it more but laying on my side feels awkward and then my arm falls asleep. I've tried many arm positions but can't get comfortable. Maybe it's in my mind, maybe it's not but I shall keep trying to find a position. That is until I can lay on my back again.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Thought Keeps Resurfacing.. Help?

Reading through the first Sutra, as commented on by Maehle, I kept thinking about something I had read. He discusses the three qualities or gunas (Tamas, Rajas, and Sattva), and the discussion has stuck with me for quite a bit actually. In regards to the states of mind, I would have classified myself as being restless.... but after reading the description of rajas being predominant and what it entails to be a restless mind, I'm not sure I want to be a restless mind.

      "With the restless (kshipta) state of mind, rajas is predominant. This mind is associated with hyperactivity, excess movement, and one thought chasing the next. It is said that this type of mind can only reach concentration through intense hatred, such as in destroying one's imagined enemies. The restless mind is very unsuitable for yoga, and one dominated by a restless mind rarely takes it up. If they nevertheless do so, it is often only in the hope of gaining magical powers to vanquish their enemies" (Maehle 142).

The bold section is what kept bugging me. I may have a restless mind (by my standards) but I am in no way fueled by intense hatred or in need of destroying anyone or anything. I happen to quite like making things prosper or nurture things. Sure, I may get a little annoyed sometimes (ie. when my dogs act like ninnies at night because there is lightening and thunder going on) but I in no way want to hurt anything or anyone. Well, unless it's required for meat, then that is a totally different story and not one I exactly relish doing.

Anyway, am I looking too deep into this little section of commentary? Or perhaps, am I missing something key and vital to the discussion?

I remember reading earlier in the History and Lineage of Yoga section that each state of mind is the byproduct of years of falling away from themselves and nature (or divine). The states went from suspended (nirodha), single-pointed mind (ekagra chitta), distracted mind (vikshipta chita), infatuated mind (mudha chitta). Restless mind is also categorized later in the next chapter, which is where my confusion, or at least hesitation, has prompted itself.

I'm going to re-read the first commentary because I think I was too tired last night to fully process the words I was reading. Of course, I may end up with the same thought resurfacing in my head even after reading it over again.

Is it possible to have a restless mind but not feel intense feelings of hatred? Is my state of mind not restless? I'll leave that for another time to ponder. I don't want to fret too much about it.

Today is a rest day, but my mind will be active as I read through this first sutra again. This much in-depth thinking and I only have 151 pages to read... I think it might possibly take me a while. Haha.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Interesting Ideas About Patanjali...

I was reading through Gregor Maehle's Ashtanga Yoga: Practice & Philosophy last night and came across a tidbit of information that I had never been privy to prior to reading it in the book.

It's the story of Patanjali, or rather Ananta, and how (or why) he's depicted as having a thousand heads. Ananta (Patanjali) was a serpent who spied on Lord Shiva as he was instructing his consort Uma a discourse on yoga. For his treachery, Ananta was required to disseminate what he had heard to the humans. Only, he wasn't well received in snake form and therefore, at the direction of Lord Shiva, he took the form of man and imparted his wisdom on mankind.

This was said to be a mythological reason for no one knowing the background of Patanjali's life. Now, I'm not sure how accurate this information is, but Maehle's book seems to be pretty well researched so the lore may hold up as far as lore goes. Not sure how I feel about believing there's truth behind the lore. As a Christian I'm not sur it would be wholly correct for me to believe its true. Then again, I can't for sure say that it is not. I'll leave that as a mystery and take the story for what it is, a story about a man (or serpent, for those who believe without a doubt) that has passed on great knowledge of the systems of yoga to humans. Or at least made it accessible and understandable for us.

Tonight I get to start on the fourth part of Maehle's book... Philosophy: The Yoga Sutras and am a bit apprehensive to read it actually. Not sure why though.

Today was a moon day, I'm not sure how I feel about having a moon day right before Saturday. That is two off days in a row and I was just starting to get back into a routine of practice on a day to day basis moving through to the half way point. I'm tempted to at least do some sort of yoga today and tomorrow. Light, light yoga. More for my baby bump growth than anything. I may just do a night time relax sequence. Nothing to strenuous since it's supposed to be rest days.

Until next time :)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Sooo many translations....

Ok, a yoga teacher certification is probably on every yogi's mind at least a few times during their journey. For the past year, it has been on mine. Before my pregnancy it was a close possibility but now, the further I get and closer to birth time, the less of a possibility it has become... at least for now. My husband wants our son to "talk" before I attempt to leave for a teacher training. Granted (depending where we are) there are plenty of trainings close to home so I would only need a babysitter for certain times, unless it is a multiple week intensive. Nevertheless, I'm getting restless and trying to find ways to battle this restlessness.

So, I was trying to find texts that would most likely be required (or at least touched on) during the certification process. Outside of the Yoga Sutras, the Hatha Yoga Pradipika has been listed on sites but I'm not sure which translation would be the best to read. I guess that goes for the Yoga Sutras as well. There are so many translations that it's hard to know which translations are worthy of reading. Granted there is a section dedicated to the Sutras in Gregor Maehle's book, I want a copy of my own. Even if it means printing it myself.

I'm trying to find texts that will help prepare me or even make my teacher training certification that much better. I already own Yoga Mala and have almost completed it. I also have Guruji but haven't started that one. What others are good? I'm sure it also depends on your discipline or style of yoga.

I guess for now I'm just going to delve myself into the practice I'm continuing, as well as find ways to broaden my knowledge base in Ashtanga yoga and older texts. I want to find Four Chapters on Freedom but it appears that Amazon has that listed for several hundred dollars, which I find ridiculous.

Nevertheless, I'll be reading through the Yoga Sutra text in Gregor's book for now. :)

Signing off,
Yoga Hopeful

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Mala Beads and a Rough Practice

Last Christmas I purchased a set of mala beads from Tiny Devotions and have been looking at their crop of new malas coming out. They're so beautiful but at $108 I just can't pay for a new necklace or wrist stack. I do want a wrist stack though. The next thing I get may be either an Amazonite mala or the sacred stack... we'll see.

I need to cleanse my mala but it was quite cloudy out today. Dang those clouds. Also, those clouds almost put a damper on my practice. Actually, my mood today put the damper on that. Yesterday and today have been....hectic to say the least. Break down yesterday (I think the backbends I did got to me) and then today, my proctor for my exit exams told me she can't be my proctor. I... was... PISSED! I'll figure something out, just wish I knew this earlier. If you're busy, say you're busy and don't feed me bull crap.

After my emotions played across my body and got the best of me, I decided it was time to find out what to do. Money is running real tight lately with me not working (although I'm trying), so my emotions are running ramped. My practice, at least, helps to ground me and bring me back to reality.

I'm trying to at least make it through the Half-Primary section of the practice each day. Today it was a bit hard to concentrate. It was humid outside, the mosquitos were ridiculous, and my mind was not willing to focus. I think I broke a sweat more from trying to focus my attention inward rather than actually performing the practice itself.
I only went through three Surya Namaskara A & B since it was so warm. I actually made it all the way through to Navasana and the closing three poses. Savasana (Corpse Pose) was quite nice, though, at least until I was eaten by mosquitos. There needs to be a killer of mosquitos that is readily accessible.

Oh, I neglected to mention I got up way later than I wanted to, but I'm going to try and get up early again tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Private Session Including My Husband

Sunday, my practice wasn't as focused as I had wished it to be. That is partially due to the fact that my husband came home in the middle of it and disrupted my focus. I ended up quitting my practice there because I couldn't get my focus back. I wasn't upset by the disruption though, I had completed 5 sets of both Surya Namaskara's so I felt ok to just stop there.

I'm still trying to make my way through Gregor Maehle's book on Ashtanga. It's quite interesting, but after yesterday, I want to go back and start taking notes so that I can refer back to them when I need help. There is quite a bit of good information in the book, and most I need to sift through twice to make sure I get it or at least attempt to understand.

Yesterday was quite possibly the most interesting day I've had in a while. My husband agreed to allow me to schedule a private session with a yoga teacher up north of our area. I wanted to make sure that I wasn't doing something in my practice that could potentially hurt me or my baby. The woman I went to see is trained in prenatal yoga and also yoga therapy. She's quite wonderful actually. Nevertheless, we were going over my Ashtanga practice, and even though she wasn't a certified Ashtanga teacher, she has taken many classes and workshops in how to instruct or at least adjust for certain positions and she knows the counts.

Stevi (from Southern Star Yoga in Oxford, Ms) is definitely closer to me than driving to New Orleans to have a class with Melanie Fawer (which I would drastically love to do). Anyways, my husband accompanied me to the class :). I was grateful for the company on the trip since it is an hour and 10 minute drive. When I was about to go into the studio and set up my mat, Stevi asked Zack if he wanted to join us in the practice! I was shocked when he actually agreed. Mostly because he was wearing jeans haha. He did practice though. It was much better than the first time he tried to give it a shot. His balance was much better too.

However, Stevi's comments towards me were more of a shock for me. I guess because I adjusted the poses as I went along she was surprised, but she said I should be a yoga teacher. My thoughts were basically, "Well yeah that is what I'm aiming for!" but actually said "I'm hoping to be one". Not only that, but when we were finished she said she didn't know why I needed her to confirm that I was doing things right because my "practice looked beautiful and needed minimal adjustments." The minimal adjustments were basically helping me to reach my heels to the ground and adjusting my hips once in a pose.

I was relieved by her comments. Especially, since I've only practices Ashtanga in front of a teacher once in my entire practice. I thought I would need more adjustments than I did. :) I left there beaming with pride. Although, she understood my need for having a teacher look me over during practice and encouraged me to come back as often as I wanted. She gave me some papers from a workshop she attended in Thailand on the practice of Ashtanga. She made notes on it in reference to my pregnancy. Most are common sense when it comes to pregnancy.

Anyways, onwards with my practice and journey :).

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Yesterday and Today (Saturday)

Granted my practice hasn't been as.... strenuous as it use to be I'm still going to take my rest days on Saturday. Might as well stay in the practice so as to not fall out completely.

I actually did a modified version of Ashtanga yesterday for my practice. I ended up doing 5 Surya Namaskara A's and 3 Surya Namaskara B's followed by the Fundamentals section of the series. Granted I ended up putting more breath work into it than normal. Rather than taking one breath during the Surya Namaskara's I think I ended up putting two or three in place of the one. It actually seemed to center me more so than just the one breath.

The fundamentals felt really good to go through. It was like coming home. I knew them, but still felt as if I were exploring them. In Down Dog, I'm still attempting to reach my heels to the floor and am getting closer and closer each time I make a conscious note to work on pushing down through my heels (damn near every time). In regards to a different, more difficult pose (for me),—Standing Hand-to-Big-Toe Pose a.k.a. Utthita Hasta Padangustasana—I am still wobbling quite a bit when I bring my leg to the side. It's aggravating, even though I've been told my balance won't be the same while pregnant since I also have to account for the extra weight in my belly and the fact that I'm more susceptible to clumsiness. I don't think that is completely accurate though. I'm perfectly fine holding it out front... I mean I may wobble a bit but it isn't uncontrollable. The side however... that's totally different and I wish I could balance myself properly. I think I'm going to just keep my knee bent from now on and then have a teacher help me after I am recovered from giving birth. Not to mention I need to visit a teacher for alignment issues I know are there but am not sure how to correct.

Nevertheless, my practice ended on a good note. Savasana was nice to move into once I realized I had been practicing for a little over an hour.

Today, on the other hand, is Saturday and that means rest day. How come I don't feel much like resting though? Maybe because I've already rested this week? I'm not sure but if I do any sort of practice it will no doubt be a restorative practice. Something to connect me to myself. Call it a turn inwards. Although some days I wish I were a dog... they seem to be grounded so easily. Plop down and then they're grounded.

My goal for today is to get further into three different books. Totally different.

Numero Uno: Ashtanga Yoga: Practice and Philosophy by Gregor Maehle

Numero Dos: Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health by David Williams

and last but not least...

Numero Tres: The Women's Book of Yoga and Health: A Lifelong Guide to Wellness by Linda Sparrow and Patricia Walden

Maybe I'll get a chapter read in each book successfully by the end of the day. Three chapters seems like a good goal, right?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Husband, Yoga, Newbies

Well, I succeeded in my attempt to get Zachary on a yoga mat next to me. While the practice may have been a distracted one due to him not really knowing what to do and when, but the result of the practice was amazing. I laughed so much, at him of course, but we both felt good after we were done. Course, he was starved by that point since I made him wait to eat. He didn't say he disliked it so I'm hoping to get him on the mat again. He was good with sun salutation A and B... when I incorporated anything else, at least that I thought was easy, he made faces as he tried to gain his balance haha. I'll have to work on what seems simple.

Yesterday ended up being a skipped day of practice for me. Bummed me out but I didn't feel like unrolling my mat with the TV going or with eyes watching me. I can't seem to concentrate fully in that regard. I wish it was cooler outside so I could just practice outside. Soon I hope, though.

I may end up practicing today but it will have to be a 30 minute practice. I'm not sure exactly what I want to do. Maybe I'll do a flow of my own or find one on YogaGlo. I'm starting to like this website. Helps when you live in a town that is quite small and there isn't a yoga studio around for about 50-60 miles. Yayyy. Although I really want to attend a session. Maybe I'll convince hubby to go with me :).

On a different note, I'm trying out some new recipes as of late. Today, I'm going to fix a chicken taco but the tortilla will be lettuce instead of a flour/corn tortilla :). Yay. I'm excited to try it. I also made a vanilla creme brûlée, and an almond bread. Both I haven't tried yet but I fully intend to :). I have more recipes I'm going to try as well. They're all going in my binder for yummy recipes. My grandmother told me to start one, just wish I had her recipes haha.

There is this baby back rib pasta sauce I want to try. Sounds amazing and hey anything that has ribs and pasta sounds like a plan to me. More on that later though.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Wheat Belly Book and My Attempt to Convert My Husband

      I had read a review of Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health on Claudia's Blog, but wasn't so sure I really wanted to give up wheat even after reading the review. Nevertheless, I found that I could sample the book on my iPad through iBooks and so I did just that. I sampled it... 30 something pages of a sample. Those 30 pages were enough to reel me in for the remainder of the book though. In the first few pages, Dr. Williams makes outstanding charges and accusations against wheat and gluten. It's quite shocking. Not only does he make these charges, but also he backs up his words with research and his own personal findings.
      He mentions an experiment he does on himself to describe the difference between einkorn (an ancient grain) and modern day wheat, and the results are quite phenomenal when you look at them. Of course, someone could say that his findings were unique to his particular body and he even states that his findings are not conclusive:
         "My personal experience, of course, does not qualify as a clinical trial. But it raises some questions about the potential differences that span a distance of ten thousand years: ancient wheat that predates the changes introduced by human genetic intervention versus modern wheat."
      Nevertheless, his findings were pretty neat to look at. Although I'm not far in this book yet, it does have a certain appeal to it that makes me wonder. I don't eat wheat all that often anyway so I figure I can remove it from my gobbling mouth. To supplement bread though, I've ordered almond and coconut flour :). I've been wanting to try these anyway. I've also found a pretty interesting looking recipe for an odd type of bread. Ingredients include: eggs whites, whey protein, cream cheese, and onion powered!!! That seems simple enough. Reminds me of an angel food cake but not sweet haha. Gotta try it out. Maybe I'll find some unflavored whey tomorrow and give it a shot. ;)

      On a totally different note though, I'm trying to convince my husband to start doing yoga with me. He thinks he's incapable of doing it because the poses I work myself into are "hard"... and to think I thought I was doing all the easy stuff. He was supposed to do a 30 minute sequence with me today but that didn't quite work out so well. I told him that he'd be getting up and doing a sequence with me in the morning :). This should be interesting since he loves to sleep away the mornings and his mom is off tomorrow so we'll have to work side-by-side in our small room. I'm going to give it a go though. YogaGlow has plenty of beginner sequences though. He'll be fine I think. Maybe I can convert him into being a yogi with me :). That would be quite awesome.
      I did another prenatal sequence yesterday and today but still feel drawn back to my Ashtanga practice. 12 more weeks of pregnancy though :/. Maybe I'll just do the 5 rounds of sun salutation A and B tomorrow. Zack should be able to do those right? Heck they're pretty much the same thing over and over just at the pace of your breath. Or maybe I'll save that for after he tells me that is the last time he's doing yoga haha. I am definitely eager to see how well or not tomorrow morning goes. Course at the rate things are going, it's more than likely going to be a not since it is now 9:30 and he's still not home yet. Maybe I can rouse him in the morning before my stomach decides to eat itself. I can tell you it won't be a 7:00 wake up. That much I know.

      Anyways, we'll see how it all works out. I'll update you all tomorrow on how everything went.

I bid you all goodnight.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Taking a Break

      Styles of yoga are numerous and I chose Ashtanga as my style. Unfortunately for me, Ashtanga hasn't been kind to my pregnant body. Lets call what I'm taking... a sabbatical. A simple leave of absence until my body has repaired itself and I can fully devote myself to the practice once again. Until that time, however, I am using YogaGlow to fuel my yoga practice at the moment. I have found that I really enjoy the videos I've seen from Elena Brower. She really reminds me of Elsie Escobar with the way she describes moving into postures. It's quite refreshing. I love the way they both teach.
      It has really made me consider studying the Anusara Style of yoga. It seems rather interesting. I guess interesting wouldn't exactly be the right word for what my interests are. It resonates with me on a deep level. I am not giving up Ashtanga but I'm going to experiment with Anusara and also Vinyasa yoga too. Perhaps the latter two styles could help me delve deeper into my Ashtanga practice. It would certainly lead to a restorative practice for those times when I don't feel as if I can make it through the 2 hour Ashtanga Practice.
      So far I've been a week out of Ashtanga practice and I'm already missing it. I guess it is safe to say I will definitely return to it after pregnancy. I love the rigidity of the practice but I'm relishing in the variety I'm experiencing right now.
Tiffany Cruikshank