Focus, breathe, and focus some more!

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PRANAYAMA

After yesterday’s talking to from Bharath, I made a commitment to not move at all during Pranayama class. Translation = 30-45 minutes of pain.

I spent the early morning practicing sitting crossed legged for as long as possible and it turns out my hips were actually really good today. The problem was, with all that preparation, by the time Pranayama came around, my hips had had their fair share of torture for the day and were a little stiff!

As we began Kapalbhati breathing, I recall thinking “…this is ok, i am fine, focus on the inhalation, focus on the exhalation, stop thinking about your hips, inhalation, exhalation, focus Jessica! Inhale….” Nadi Suddi breathing was next (no break between techniques, you remain still) - inhale 4 breathes, retain 16, exhale 8. This one seems to take forever to get through and by the end of it my hips are well and truly burning and my right leg could just as easily be detached from my body. When Bharath then told us to prepare for Bramari breathing (sounds like a bee is in your head) I had a near panic attack. By this point I’m screaming in my mind to pull it together, don’t move, focus, breathe, focus, breathe…

I successfully made it through the session without moving a muscle, but by the end of it my legs were so numb, and my hips and back so stiff, I actually couldn’t move. Myself, and many others around me, all continued to sit for a while longer as we slowly released our legs little by little. It took about five minutes to be able to move again. I couldn’t help but laugh as I watched everyone, myself included, walk down the stairs of the Shala holding onto the rails for dear life. The things we put ourselves through! But of course, we all know this is about discipline and consciously choosing to control our minds. To strengthen the mind. I think mine needs a little more work…

POSTURE PROGRESSION

I’m really enjoying yoga the deeper my practice becomes. Although we are moving into some intense asanas, it’s incredible what our bodies are capable of once we just listen to them, apply correct technique and are patient. For example, Chakrasana. I am now doing this posture with only three limbs on the floor at a time (I’m very strong in this asana for some reason, which is interesting considering I have such a bad back). I am now preparing to do a full Salabasana asana, I can do forward and backward rolls (seems simple but it’s actually a little tricky and not something I have ever done before) and I’m headed for the splits! (Still a little way off - but I’m on my way!). As Bharath always says - this is about playing with our bodies. Of course we need to do so safely, but in essence, we are experimenting and just enjoying the process of reaching new limits, feeling new sensations, noticing new challenges. It’s great fun really. Again, it’s extremely challenging, but there is nothing better than finishing a class knowing you did something great for your body through playing and experimenting with it.

I was a little disappointed to learn today it is strongly recommended women do not do Mayurasana (peacock). I have been wanting to learn this asana for sometime, however this can cause significant damage to a woman's’ reproductive organs. Bharath didn’t come to this conclusion lightly. He has spent many years looking deeper into this asana and the pros / cons for women doing it, but unfortunately he has consistently reached the same conclusion. Bummer. The stubborn part of me wants to go ahead and do it anyway, but of course the sensible, more rational side of Jessica knows to listen to this advice. And I shall.

NOTHING LIKE A HOME COOKED MEAL

Here at Good Touch Apartments, the lovely owner and his wife cook for everyone each Thursday. They are always so excited to offer this food to their guests - completely free of charge. Traditional South Indian food. Lovely potato curry, chickpea curry and wheat flour breads (Im not sure what these are called… but they are all made by her!). Considering i can’t cook, it is lovely to finish the day with a home cooked meal once a week.

The owner is such a wonderful man. He loves to chat with us all. Tonight we were talking about a famous female Indian Guru who will be in Mysore in March (I don’t know her though - tee hee). This lovely man (I can’t recall his name) has offered to take me to see her. How sweet. And how exciting! This will be an experience.

NOT FEELING WELL

During class tonight I noticed I’m beginning to get a scratchy throat which is worrying me. The last thing i need is to get sick. A few others have been away on and off this week, so I hope something isn’t going around which I’ve contracted. Hmm. Will wait and see. I have my medicine box with me, so worst comes to worst, I may need to take something to kill this bug before it gets worse. Will give it another day or so.  

INDIAN DRIVERS

On a very side note - I have learned that in India you just walk through intersections and it will all be fine. If you wait, you will wait forever. If you walk, the drivers will just dodge you. You could walk blindfolded and I think you would be fine (don’t try it though!). If you think about it, the drivers here must be quite skilled as they are constantly having to dodge other vehicles driving in all directions, people walking on roads, dogs running around, cows.. There is no roadkill here at all either. I think, through being such a hectic place, the drivers here really are pretty attuned to what’s going on. Because if you’re not - then you will be off your bike in seconds. Just an observation.

Enough from me. It’s time for tea and bed. Goodnight.

Namaste xx


Examples of asanas

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Chakrasana - 3 limbs (I don’t think I look this graceful yet!)

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Mayurasana