Sunday, May 31, 2015

May Challenge - Day 31

Today is the Final Relaxation Pose or Savasana:


I've completed another month of challenges and am looking forward to possibly 2 more months.  August - I'm not sure of - with summer break, it's always busier than normal, so we'll see but even if I don't do a full monthly challenge - I will try to incorporate as much practice as I can - regardless of my schedule.....I continue to be inspired by so many out there!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

May Challenge - Day 30

The Parsvottanasana or Intense Side Stretch is exactly that but I chose to widen my stance only because I'm much more comfortable this way, be it right or wrong, I would rather stretch my legs out further than closer.


This widened stance helps me get into position for the splits.  After a couple of warmups with this pose, I can switch down to the splits. That's it for today. Super busy weekend again.  Can't believe tomorrow is the last day of May.....this year is just flying by too quickly.

Friday, May 29, 2015

May Challenge - Day 29

I'm not very good at the deep forward bends like this Dolphin Pose:


And when I say deep, I mean the ability to really pull my torso inwards and completely straighten my back. My arms aren't exactly where I wanted them placed. This pose and the downward dog have always been my enemy.  I will practice more as these poses are the pre-cursor to the more difficult hand/headstands.

Two more days, so excited to finish up this month and move on!!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Reflection

It's a beautiful Thursday afternoon, have been running around quite a bit this morning - just doing little things, errands, things at home. Got home and wanted to practice some more headstands but really, I thought I hadn't played around with splits lately so I practiced my Hanumanasana technique.


It definitely gets easier with each practice, that makes it all the more worthwhile.  So many thoughts on my mind as I sit here typing.  I have an important event coming up this week and I'm kind of nervous about it.  Normally, I'm not nervous about 'these' types of things. But for some reason, I am about this one.  It helps to write things down.  Writing always calms my nerves, it's so soothing.  I'm looking forward to finishing out the rest of the months challenge and I've decided to move forward with the monthly challenge in June.  I was going to take a break in-between each month, but let's just go for it! Yay!

May Challenge - Day 28

Today is the Tripod Headstand or Muktahastasirsasana A.  I've been practicing for a couple of days now just to get it going.  Up 'til now, I have not ever attempted the headstand so I did this in one day to get the feel for it:


I was able to drop my head down to the ground after completing a crow pose.  That, in itself was the scariest part, for the longest time, I didn't want to drop my head down for fear of breaking my neck.

After I held this pose for a while, I moved on over to the wall and was able to thrust both legs up onto the wall to straighten:


Looking forward to practicing some more on this this week!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

May Challenge - Day 27

The Paschimottanasana or the Seated Forward Fold is a difficult one:


It engages so much with your spine, legs, and arms.  I did way too much today and am totally sore from head to toe....every part of my body - oh my!  Some days I do too much and other days too little.  I need to find that perfect rhythm of 'just right' so that I'm not too exhausted at the end of the day.

I did also maneuver the Ekapada Koundinyasana which is one of my favorites for arm balancing:


Ever since I learned the side crow, it's been one of the most addictive for me, I love playing with any side crow and its many variations.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

May Challenge - Day 26

Purvattasana or Upward Plank Pose can be a hard one sometimes, you are literally stretching out your entire body while trying to maintain alignment and firmness in your hips, back, arms, and legs:


That is a lot to think about and keep in mind while you are right side up on your body, phew!!

Didn't I say I was going to touch up on the word, 'fear?' Yes, I think I did, and I must be avoiding it big time - as I see 'fear' looming around the corner for Day 28.......I'm not quite confident with headstands yet, I haven't even attempted it as I've only been concentrating on handstand improvements.....so Day 28 will be interesting on how I handle it....I'm sure there will be modifications. Have I learned to let go of fear yet? No, not yet.  I'm not there yet, and I KNOW it.  Because if I had, there would be no fear of what is to come.  But I do know this, I have already let go of 'some' fear with other poses, poses that I thought would be virtually impossible for me to obtain at one point in time.  Poses that I only dreamed in my head of doing....I will know when I no longer have a fear of inversions.  That is my ultimate goal.

Monday, May 25, 2015

May Challenge - Day 25

Today is the Anjanayasana pose or the Low Lunge pose:


This was a good stretchy, stretchy for me.  I'm wanting to do a few more variations with this lunge with my arms and legs. So much I want to do - if there were only 48 hrs. in one day that would be nice. ;)  Keeping it short and real today.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

May Challenge - Day 24

Todays challenge is the Camel Pose. I have improved by far this pose.  I look back at my older photos and realize how far I've progressed, have gotten the torso and upper chest out a little more to straighten:


I still don't think it's perfect and I could still make it better.  A good spinal workout and is great for deeper back bending poses. Oh my, you can really feel this one!

Todays yogi assignment is to Love your Body. Acceptance! Another hard one for anyone, and I truly believe, especially for women, as society is especially critical of women and their bodies. I was always the one that had really low self esteem as a young school girl, was always very nerdy, not athletic, was always the type that got pushed around in the hallways at school and teased.  I grew up with amazingly athletic girlfriends who were cheerleaders and were popular, while I enrolled in Drafting class with all the boys...LOL. True story. Drafting class was a riot, all the guys helped me and I helped them.....we were going to build our dream, multi-billion dollar glass encased building and sell it in Vegas.....they were the architects and I was the interior designer and sales manager...haha!! I loved hanging around with the guys because they 'understood' me. ;))

I only started to accept my body once college was done with and I got out into the 'real' world.  The world of work.  Hard work at times.  By then, I was more confident and accepting of who I was and what I have, and not so much what I didn't have.  And I believe I've always been this way since.......although now, as an adult, I'm not so much a tomboy anymore like back then.......I do admit, I do love girly things now......but I don't do a lot of things to myself that are high maintenance.  I'm actually pretty low maintenance. I love to be all natural to my body and I don't put or use harsh chemicals on my hair or any other part of me.  I can't stand make-up.  I try to eat healthy. I try to be patient.

Now, in my mid-40's, I think I've finally accepted who I am as a woman and as a girl who wants to be just 'me'.  Goodness, I've been wordy lately, have no idea why. 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

May Challenge - Day 23

Today is Ardha Matsyendrasana - a seated twisted pose that really works your legs and back:


Today, I have a bit of time to rattle on more - I usually don't but today I wanted to discuss Forgiveness.    A lot of these challenges, I get from following @kinoyoga and @beachyogagirl on Instagram.  Not only do millions of yogis follow their Challenges but they also impart advice on some of their posts.  Todays challenge from @kinoyoga is Forgiveness.  Aim to forgive at least one person or entity in your life.  It is hard, yes??  Some people can do it easily, some can't.  I believe we really, as humans, hold on to the negative aspects of life and those who have brought negativity and harm into our lives.  We hold on to it so much that it is hard to forgive, to just let it go.........only then can you be TRULY at peace and fully happy. 

But it's important to learn to let go..........to forgive someone who has wronged you in your life and look past that or perhaps I have offended someone and am asking for their forgiveness......it's terribly difficult......I want so much to get to that point and hopefully someday I will.  I will try my very best down the road of life to achieve this challenge.  

In the next few posts, I will want to discuss 'fear' and how it relates to yoga.  It's really a beautiful Saturday morning and can't wait to get out there and just enjoy my day.  Hold on to what is good, and learn to slowly let go of the bad.

Someone whom I so admire and trust, once told me, 'It wasn't anything you did wrong.'  Just simply, 'Enjoy the moments when it is good.'

Thursday, May 21, 2015

May Challenge - Day 21

It's super early Thursday morning - didn't sleep much last night and am up early already so I might as well get my post in for the day before everyone awakens.


The side plank has always been a favorite of mine and I love to play around with it and hold in different positions.  It's a great foundation pose that builds strength for some of the more difficult ones.  I always strive to keep my arms as straight and aligned as possible.

So lately, my family and a few close friends who have seen me say that I have lost some weight. Yikes.  Not intentionally.  When I first started yoga, my goal was to gain strength mentally and physically, not to lose weight at all.  So I've been checking myself on the scale to make sure I don't lose too much. I'm not sure what more I can do as I already eat like crazy.  I feel really good physically on the inside so I'm not sure why I keep losing the weight. :|  I'll figure it out at some point.  Onwards with my day and so excited for finish out the rest of this months challenge!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

May Challenge - Day 20

Been such a busy day that I'm now just getting to my post...ugh...too much stuff on my plate right now. But I like keeping busy.  It gives me that extra push to be motivated.  Todays pose is Marichasana A:


It's another deep forward bend with one leg straight out and one leg tucked tight inwards.  I still can't go all the way down with my back and head.  I think I've done this pose before last year and I think I actually had better form than this time.

For the non-challenge pose, I like to do variations of dancer poses, my all time favorite pose to shape my form.


The dancer poses are less stressful for me.  They are really a pause and reflection moment and I give myself the time to work on being more graceful and not always feeling the need to challenge myself with strength as much.  They are great as a warm-up or a cool down pose.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

May Challenge - Day 19

Haven't done the Bow Pose for a while, phew, I really had to stretch out my back a bit for todays challenge:


And I had at it again with the Flying Pigeon Pose. Gets a bit easier each time although I did fall pretty bad with this one but was able to recover and hold for a longer period of time with my left leg.


That was hard.   Good workout.

Monday, May 18, 2015

May Challenge - Day 18

This forward bend, seated position, is actually pretty hard for me....it's more difficult than it looks.  The objective is to squeeze tightly your abs, inhale and pull forward - lean forward as far as you can stretch on one leg:


I can't go all the way down.  It's a really good stretching exercise! And it is a wonderful warm-up routine before any strenuous exercise regimen.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

May Challenge - Days 14, 15, 16, & 17

I pressed out a lot during my session today and went ahead of schedule and cranked out Days 14 through 17.  After this, I need a serious re-charge of my system.  I will be back on Monday to sync up again with Day 18.

Day 17, the extended side angle pose:


Day 16, the seated pose:


Day 15, Standing Head to Knee/Toe:


Day 14, the crow/crane pose:


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

May Challenge - Day 13

Day 13 is the boat pose - my hate/hate relationship is the boat pose. It's hard. I know it is good for the abs if you want to tone your abs, so it's best that I improve this pose:


I'm not going to blog too much tonight.  I am frustrated and upset. :( But tomorrow is a new day, and perhaps tomorrow will be better.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

May Challenge - Day 12

Gotta hurry with this one today, I'm pressed for time.....so the Prasarita Padottanasana C. is a difficult pose.  This is my modified version as I can't get my arms to go any deeper to the ground.


Side view:


I'm off and running.

Monday, May 11, 2015

May Challenge - Day 11

The Chair pose 'looks' easy, but is it?  I'm always amazed at how I, as well as other people, may underestimate the power of the beginner poses.  Seemingly easy to manipulate by sight, but I think the deeper meaning is the stance and feeling it inside your body:


Being able to focus and hold the pose for a bit is always a good challenge.

I normally don't make my videos public - every now and then I will.  Been practicing my 8 angle pose and I've improved, getting lower to the ground and really holding it tighter and longer was a great feeling. Cranking it out to some upbeat music, so contradictory to the quietness and serenity of yoga, isn't it? Nah, I needed some loud in the background:



That's it for my Monday.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

May Challenge - Day 10

The Triangle Pose is great for opening up the hips and a good back work up as well. Precision is key and is always a component that I work towards with any pose:


It's been a busy Mother's Day, I'm completely exhausted.  But I'm glad I got in todays challenge pose.  Just want to really crawl into bed right now and close my eyes....that kind of tiredness. Ready for another busy week ahead!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

May Challenge - Day 9

This pose has great significance for me....Exactly 9 months ago, this was the very first pose I attempted when my whole yoga journey began - the Tree Pose:


It was one week before I turned 44, I had looked at myself in the mirror one day and decided that I 'needed' a change - I 'wanted' a change.  I wanted something totally new in my life.  I felt overwhelmed, tired, I saw lines on my face I never saw before, I saw lines on my legs that I never saw before.  I was stressed and I 'desired' something NEW, REFRESHING, something exciting.

We are all allowed to feel what we feel and that is ok.......I won't sit here today and look back and say, "Oh yea, I just wanted to start exercising...."  No, that's not what it was about.....it was about ME wanting to become a different person......not about changing my personality or anything.....just wanting to experience something that I never was.  

Then I saw one of my friends posting her yoga photos and I thought....what on earth is she doing? What is that? And as I looked at her twisted and contorted bodily postures, I thought....."Let me try that!"  Noooooo,  there's no way on earth I could do that....I'm aging, I'm not 20, I'm not that exuberant person in my 30's, the go-get 'em type of girl that I was in my mid 30's, the invincible person that you feel at that age - I can't do that stuff.

Or can I?

So I tried it, and she motivated me and she gave me tips and she said if I didn't like it, I certainly didn't have to continue.  So I made an attempt to at least try the beginner poses.....and after awhile, I thought.....this isn't so bad.  But how do I fit all this into my somewhat chaotic life as it was and is now.....impossible.

I never looked back.....it was intensely enjoyable and I'm so glad I stuck with the journey.  I was forewarned of the falls, the cuts, the scrapes, the bumps, the rug burns, the bruises, but I forged on and said - I like this.  And I can fit it into my current schedule.

Am I a much stronger person mentally and physically? Perhaps a bit physically....mentally.....I think that takes more time, to become the completely whole person that can handle all stressors without completely being emotional each time, is that possible? I don't know.

I know it will take much more time though for me to become the person that I want to be with my journey.  And I think in time it will happen, but for now, I truly enjoy my yoga practice each and every day.

Friday, May 8, 2015

May Challenge - Day 8

The Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana has always been a hard one for me.  There are some poses that you can move and shape your body so much easier than others.  It's really fascinating.  This one requires a lot of balancing while trying to keep your back and leg straight - while lifting your other leg.


I am still practicing this as I feel this is one of my weaker poses, one day I will be able to get that raised leg perfectly straight and up much higher...one day. 

Tomorrows pose is one that I have a high sentimental value for - :)) Until then....

Thursday, May 7, 2015

May Challenge - Day 7

I chose another Beginner Pose and Advanced Pose combination today. For the challenge pose - the full Lotus:



Easier to get into the pose than to maintain and meditate....still always working on my meditation and trying to clear my mind and relax.

And the advanced pose - the full flying pigeon - very similar to the flying lizard but instead of tucking my entire leg underneath my arm, I am balancing my one foot on the outer edge of one arm:


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

May Challenge - Day 6

Today is Warrior 2 - Whoaaa, whoaa, yeah.....I feel like a ninja....mmmm....ok, I'm such the daydreamer sometimes.  Really, I am. This is a fun pose, the key is to level your arms, reach out as far as you possibly can. Breathe in and tighten your abdominal muscles.  Keep your foot at a 90 degree angle and press down on your hips:


Feel the intensity as you stretch and press down.  It doesn't seem like much but you can really feel the stretch if you tighten your muscles firmly. The back should be as straight as possible as well.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

May Challenge - Day 5

I chose to do an easy pose today - the challenge pose - and then a difficult one, because I've got a little adrenaline rush this morning. So the challenge pose is the Warrior 1:


And I have not tried the Flying Lizard Pose - it's so similar to the Pigeon and Peacock but a very different feeling and just with one leg extension this time:


Onwards with Day 6 tomorrow.  Love having these challenges. Really keeps me motivated.

Monday, May 4, 2015

May Challenge - Day 4

Today is the Cobra pose for the daily challenge:


I had a little extra time so I threw in more for my session this morning - including this half fish pose with leg and arm twist:


And a variation on more side planks:


That pretty much wraps up my day.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

May Challenge - Day 3

Today is the Four Limbed Staff Pose:


To me, this feels even more intense than the high plank because you are even lower to the ground so you are using all of your strength possible to push your body upwards - align, and then to hold.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, even some of the simpler poses are quite demanding.  I remember when I wasn't quite strong enough to push off from my hands only, and was using my entire forearm and elbow for support.  It's definitely been a fun, yet hard working journey.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

May Challenge - Day 2

Day 2 is the original Plank Pose, this is actually one of the first poses I attempted when I started yoga.  I remember at the time that it was pretty difficult for me, to balance and straighten the entire length of your body.


Although why is my buttocks so high up in the air? Have no idea. This is a great foundation pose that builds up the arm strength.  It's a beautiful Saturday morning, can't wait to get outside and enjoy!

Friday, May 1, 2015

May Challenge - Day 1

Wow. I've been busy this past week running around from one meeting to another.  Except for a few stop and drop yoga poses wherever I was, I got in about 3-5 minutes tops each day....not much but it counts.  I've been so stressed lately that I decided to do another monthly challenge to somewhat preserve my sanity, whatever left I have of it....to motivate me for the remainder of May, and to continue to build my overall core strength.  As always, I find the challenges through Instagram goodness:


I chose a more simple challenge - but still, it serves its purpose of strengthening and toning my body. So my Day 1 is the classic Downward Dog:


Will most likely keep my posts this month extremely short with just my pose for the day and a few words as I already know May will be another tight month.  Whoop, let's do this!!