Weeks 2 and 3 - Jan 19, 2010:
My yoga practice was pretty well sidetracked during the second week of January.
Average temperatures for this region this time of year range from highs of 40s to lows of 20s. That second week we saw highs not reaching double digits and lows in the negatives, and I'm not talking about wind chill either. Suffice to say it was cold.
The problem being that the camper we're living in was not designed to handle such cold temperatures and we were caught unprepared. And doing yoga on a floor hovering around 50 degrees (at most -- with our heaters cranked to max) was not something high on my to-do list.
But thankfully the temperatures have warmed back up (above normal now, we got to 60 today!) and I have returned gratefully to the mat.
I'm still working on the downward dog position. And I think I'm still making progress. In the last post I wrote that I found a more natural position taking up the full length of the mat. But lately I find myself bringing my feet closer to my hands and only using maybe three-quarters. The only reason I can say is that this feels more right to me the longer I practice.
One thing that really surprises me about down dog is how much that pose works the hamstrings. And one thing that yoga has definitely taught me about my body is that I have extremely tight hamstrings.
When I first started working on down dog it was a struggle to get my heels anywhere close to the mat. I'm getting better, and I can almost keep my feet flat now. But I really feel the burn in those particular muscles.
Another thing that working on this has really made me realize is that I need a teacher. I'm doing my best to learn these poses from the books, and trying to judge by feel when I'm doing it right. But I really can't see myself. My Beloved and I have tried the video thing some more, but what I need is real-time correction while I'm in the pose so that I can get a more direct sense of what I'm doing.
Luckily there is a local yoga teacher. Samantha Gillmore of Life Yoga in Nevada, Mo., offers classes all the time. And she's also offering a beginner's course at the local continuing education center starting the middle of February.
I've been putting off going to a class mainly because of budget reasons, but if I'm serious about this (and I am) I need to take a class. And that beginner's course is probably just what I'm looking for.
So in addition to working on down dog this week. I've also started the second pose in Yoga Journal's "Yoga for Beginners," Utthita Trikonasana, or Extended Triangle Pose.
I worked myself into that pose (or something similar anyway) for the first time today. And I am amazed at the feeling it creates in the chest. I am very excited about continuing to explore the new pose.
Again though I find myself frustrated by my sticky mat that is not sticky. The Extended Triangle Pose calls for a wide stance and I found my feet slipping while trying to hold the posture. Maybe a more sticky mat should be moved higher on my shopping list ... along with that class, oh and some blocks. I made-do tonight with a square pillow we have, but it wasn't quite the same thing as a solid block.