October 29, 2015
When I began my yoga revival back in June, I committed to a half hour 6 days a week. With the exception of some travel weeks, and extra busy weeks, I’ve stuck to this. I’m now midway through week 19.
My summer asana practices were generally heat inducing sun salutations, with a few standing poses, and a brief sitting meditation. But my daily yoga practice has not evolved into as much time doing asana as I anticipated back in June. Frequently I do not get my practice in before the evening meal, and often wind up sitting for 30 minutes of meditation afterwards – with at least a semi-full belly. This is always challenging, and often rewarding. But I do want more asana. My head maybe tight, but my muscles are tighter.
I realize that the evolution of my yoga practice is as much (or more) about time management than anything else. I find my eating schedule is the biggest challenge, but lately I feel like I’ve overcome this to a large extent, thanks to the practice strap.
When I do a forward bend shortly after eating, I instantly feel discomfort (and indigestion if I continue for long). But if I lie on my back, and lasso my foot with a practice strap, I can get that all-important hamstring stretch without discomfort or indigestion. The strap also facilitates one of the most difficult stretches of all for me – crossed-legged knee to chest pose. My muscles over to the side of my hips (psoas?) are so tight I feel like I need a big hammer and chisel to break through them. Breathing into this stretch ALWAYS causes me discomfort, but afterwards, when sitting cross legged (“Indian style”) I feel so much MORE comfortable. So this stretch has made its way into the daily practice. My asana practice has evolved after all.
I’m hoping my morning laziness will give way to a morning yoga practice. It’s great to get it under your belt early, and can set the tone for a great day. I think some snow this winter might help. Nothing motivates me to get out of bed like skiing, and yoga before skiing is a necessity for me.
But don’t give up on a good, needed stretch just because your belly is not empty. Grab a strap, and whatever other props you need to get comfortable, and breathe into those tight areas. There is no doubt; a little yoga goes a long way.