Friday, 2 May 2014

Gettin' on my mat

One day. Maybe.
Back in February 2011 I discovered Ashtanga yoga. I'd dabbled in yoga for many years before, enjoying the stretch but not wholly committed. Ashtanga did it for me. It's a vigorous, strong and challenging dynamic practice where movements flow into each other - totally perfect for motivated and driven personalities. I stuck with classes one or twice a week for over a year - until the studio closed. It reopened a long time later but by then I was on to circus school.

I've had an itch - one that only Ashtanga can scratch. I went to class a few weeks ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was back there on Tuesday night. The studio is a good 30 minute drive from home so it isn't exactly down the road and so it doesn't fit in very well with my aim to simplify my activities (more doing, less commuting).

Here's the thing. Ashtanga has various 'series'; primary, secondary/ intermediate and advanced. I don't know if I'll ever get on to a full secondary series in my lifetime... or even proper execution of the more challenging asanas of Primary Series... But because every class follows the same series of movements, you can learn them and self-practice, which is very much encouraged.

Well... for the most part I know the Series - and have for a few years. But I very, very rarely self-practice. Even though I like the idea of it.

It's almost like going to the studio sets the mood. It's quiet. I like the soft incense scent. It's a blank, open space. I enjoy the led class, where the teacher calls the postures and breaths. I enjoy the company of other people in the class and the synchronised movements.

Home. Well. I work from home and I have a bunch of hobbies so there is never a shortage of work, planning or tasks to be done. Never a shortage. It's challenging to create that blank space; to totally tune out.

A Facebook buddy, Lisa (yes, same name as mine) posted recently about a 30-day yoga challenge that she was doing, starting 1 May. I think she's doing a studio-based, hot yoga (heated room) challenge.

And so I got to thinking that maybe I needed to make a commitment to yoga for a set period. To get me on my mat. So I'm joining Lisa on her yoga challenge by self-practicing daily (and attending the odd class here and there) for the next month.

Being as physically demanding as it is, I'm starting off with just the warm-up sequence, standing postures and finishing sequence while my body adapts. I'll work up to doing the full sequence much later.

My big challenge this month is going to be to keep up with regular practice while I'm at Expedition Africa this month - keeping in mind too that my annual pre-birthday running game starts on 12 May. It will be enough of a challenge to get in daily runs AND a self-practice on 2-4hrs sleep a night. I may need to cut my loses on the yoga just to get in the runs for the duration of the event. Go with the flow, for sure.

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