30 days of yoga, Uncategorized
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Day 17: Progress

Yoga Fundamentals with Vanessa @ 7:30pm – 8:30pm @ Urban Yoga – Business Bay

Escape the chaos of your day, reconnect with your breath, and let your body soften where it’s been gripping onto stress. In this class we playfully explore the underlying patterns that can help us work more efficiently with our bodies and minds. We take a detailed look at how we move & transition from pose to pose. We take the time to notice the subtleties of the breath and the inner workings of our individual bodies. This is an hour for waking up to new possibilities and discovering how the natural intelligence of the body can help set you on a new path.

Journal entry

Day 17 is over the halfway mark of my challenge, and if you asked me 17 days ago what I thought my practice would look and feel like on Day 17, I would have said

“I shall be a yogi goddess with 43k followers on Instagram because of how awesomely flexible and strong I will be. And I will look absolutely fabulous in my pretzel shapes and handstands. Naturally.”

Of course, that is totally and utterly crazy. And so far from the truth.

But I did think I’d be better, or I should say, further along in my practice. More advanced. I am still so many inches away from the headstand I envisioned, so many steps away from the bird of paradise I muse about.

As a student of tennis, my expectation of progress has been highly biased. From lesson to lesson with a racquet in my hand, the progress is discernible, not just from session to session, but even throughout a session itself. It’s a continuous ego boost; a potent drug with no harmful side effects.

Yoga is the opposite.

Instead of a drug that feels good, it’s learning how to cope without that drug, and to keep going in spite of its absence. It’s an ongoing powerful lesson in humility. The definition of progress ceases to be one of physical progress, but rather of mental progress; the ability to keep going when the effects and outcome are not always clear. To keep breathing when it feels easier to just stop. To continue to show up, practice, and be.

Fundamentals is a back-to-basics practice I have learned to really appreciate. To me, it is half anatomy lesson, half yoga practice, and Vanessa’s instructions help me in visualising the how of every pose and transition.

Now there is one basic flow transition that eludes me, the basic vinyasa at the core of every flow practice, and today I am really really frustrated that I continue to struggle with it. On Day 17. Getting from chaturanga to urdhva mukhas hvanasana (Upward-facing Dog) toadho mukha shvanasana (Downward facing Dog) is impossible.

But I try. Every time.

My weak and achy shoulders make the correct form of chaturanga almost impossible for my body to do, and the transition from Up Dog to Down Dog, when attempted as it should be done, feels like it might break my lower back in two. In every practice, I give it a go, wondering if today will be the day, but so far it is not. My shoulders are non-compromising, and my lower back seems to have taken a stand against this whole thing.

I feel deflated, but continue to practice practice and practice… the journey is long, but I there’s no retreating now, the only way to move is forward.

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