Monday, June 29, 2015

A little Twist ~ and Summer of Renewal Challenge - Day 9

What's going on today? It's scorching hot outside. I won't complain too much since I'm the one that doesn't like winter.  I'm nursing a right thumb that has a gash in it from a razor mishap, and a toe cut from a yoga mishap....good stuff.  The razor ordeal bled and hurts significantly more but I hid the humongous band-aid that I have on it pretty well on my photos....and still managed to crack the cheesiest smile possible for the cam.

I've been working on backbends with my splits - but it's going slowly so I opted to do a frontal twist with both arms folded:

I have a goal to hopefully do a backbend combined split by next year??  I set the goal further away so I don't get my hopes up. lol.  It's so much fun to experiment and learn along the way what your body can do or is willing to do.

For the Summer of Renewal Challenge, it's Day 9 - which means the Extended Side Angle Pose or Utthita Parsvakonasana:

One more day left of the SOR challenge and then - July.  I decided to add on a Splits Challenge in addition to the Back to Back Challenge just for fun!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Summer of Renewal Challenge - Day 8

Two poses today. The Summer of Renewal Challenge pose is the Upward Seated Wide Angle Pose or Urdhva Upavistha Konasana:

This was my first time attempting this pose in its entirety - so I know I have a lot of work to do with this pose, the back needs to be much straighter.  Legs straighter.  The word 'straighter' is going to be used a lot in my dictionary. 

And the full lotus pose or Padmasana:

Can't wait to finish out 2 more days of this month and move to July.  Have already gotten my challenge month for July up and ready to go, although I see a few days I will be missing, but most of the month, I will be finishing out. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

YGB Challenge - Day 27 and Summer of Renewal Challenge - Day 7

The challenge pose for today is Virabhadrasana 3 or Warrior 3 for the Summer of Renewal:

Oh Warrior, you are often times my friend and then on somedays, you are my can't decide whether you want to work with me or to not comply.....some days you are really easy to do and other days, I just don't understand you.  As much as I wanted a straighter line on my back, this was the best I could do for today.  Always a good challenge, Warrior, but I will get you next time. ;))

And, Day 27 for the Yoga Gives Back Challenge is the Ekapadasirsasana or the Leg Behind the Head Pose:

Since I can not do the full leg placement behind my head, this is a modified version, drawing as tightly and closely the leg to your upper body.  It was a really intense feeling. Although I feel my hips are pretty open, I'm not flexible enough to completely pull back the leg all the way, oh my!!!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Summer of Renewal Challenge - Day 6

Lots of warming up exercises today before I did the splits or Hanumanasana pose.  I was trying to be graceful and do something different with my hands up in the air, but I ~ ~ seriously, have no idea what I was to trying to accomplish with my hands.

The splits is always so much fun and I'm enjoying playing with variations of what I can do with it in the future.

Todays challenge pose is the Tree Pose or Vrksasana and my take on it:

What a busy and long week it's been, looking forward to some rest and downtime next week.  Hubs is still going strong on his 30-day yoga challenge of his own.  He has completed 7 days so far so that's pretty good and I'm excited.  He is enjoying and is enthusiastic about it.  Just amazing......I think it has really brought us, as a couple, a bit closer together.......we laugh together and joke together.... again, like we used to.....I hope it will continue.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Summer of Renewal Challenge - Day 5

There are some days I wake up and really feel like being obnoxiously loud, as in - music loud - because most people who know me know that I'm NOT really (verbally) loud.  But there are those special days where you feel like being the opposite and so I turned up the music and started a ballerina kind-of-a-dancer ~ just because it's one of my most favorite poses ever!!

One would think that loud music and ballet doesn't really go hand in hand but I'm sort of strange that way. It's whatever works to soothe the body and soul. ;))

I'm feeling good today, very energetic - even in this heat that normally might give me a headache, everything just feels awesome so far today.   And.....For the challenge pose of the day - we have a half moon or Ardha Chandrasana:

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Summer of Renewal Challenge - Day 4

Love starting out my mornings with a lot of stretching before I do the major poses.  Working out the kinks in my back first thing upon awakening is the best.

And, one of my very cool Instagram yogi's is co-hosting a day on the Summer of Renewal Challenge - so, ofcourse, I wanted to help support him on his day by joining in on the challenge pose that he personally picked which is the Plow Pose or Halasana:

Ooh, this was a pose I actually haven't done in a while......a real back burner for me, so glad I got to practice it today.  If you want to check out his IG feed @onemanyogajourney - lots of inspiration! Totally inspired by all men who do yoga....they are so amazing!~

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Summer of Renewal Challenge - Days 2 & 3

Hopping right along with Day 2 and Day 3 of the new challenge that I started.  Whooooohooo.  I've temporarily cured my editing woes by using husband's work computer while I figure out a time to get my laptop in for service.

Day 3 is the Extended Hand to Big Toe pose or Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana:

And Day 2 is the Downward Dog or Adho Mukha Svanasana:

Monday, June 22, 2015

YGB Challenge - Day 23 and Summer of Renewal Challenge - Day 1

So I'm blogging from my phone right now. My laptop died on me. Gah!!! I love using my phone a lot! But I completely depend on my laptop for more precise editing tools and other components so I'm feeling a bit lost right now without the bigger machine! Guess it's a trip to the store to get it fixed.  We've gone through so many laptops in this house.  Anyways, enough rambling. Soooo much going on. Not that I don't already have a gazillion things to do but I decided to join in on, yet, another challenge! Will get to that in a bit. For today's challenge it is the Bharadvajasana seated twist.

One leg is bent, the other leg is a half lotus pose. Take one arm and place on the knee of the lotus leg.  The other arm reaches behind your back and comes around to touch the foot that is in the half lotus.  Great stretch for your back! 

I have a little one on a very brief break and then he returns to school next week, so it's been busy around here. 

I threw in another challenge because I think I've deemed myself officially crazy and will try to keep up with it even though I don't have half of the computer tech that I need right now.  So the other challenge is the Summer of Renewal Challenge - and Day 1 for that challenge is the Virasana or Hero Pose:

This is a simple pose but still requires a straight back, deep breaths and a uniformed line to really feel the intensity of the pose.

In other fun news, I'm also thrilled that after 10 months of hinting, nudging, semi-pleading, and semi use of my charming skills - that my husband finally gave in and was willing to accept a 30-Day Beginners Yoga Challenge!!!! I was sooooo thrilled. My heart was happy. Very happy! I'm not really sure what changed his mind but when he told me he would do it, my mind was blown away.  I know that this will change him. It has changed me and I know it will do the same for him. But it has to be kept up and completed or else the chance of realizing its success will not be made I truly believe it will bring him, as it has for me, a better sense of self, better discipline, more happiness, less stress, a sense of good, a sense that everything and anything can be conquered.  We are both in our 40's. I am older than he is and it is a critical time in our lives where change is absolutely necessary.  No one knows more than I, how hard I've fought to bring this to a reality.  While so many thought that this journey was just another simple hobby for me, it was so much more than that.  I really wanted to involve my husband at some point. I wasn't sure I could do it but I kept going and kept dropping small hints. It is a breakthrough that only I will really understand at this time.  It's personal and it means a lot to me. 

I'll be monitoring him from the sidelines, cheering him on and making sure he doesn't over do it or injure himself. I want for his journey to be just as fulfilling as it has been for me...

YGB Challenge - Day 22

The Flying Peacock pose can always be an intimidating one because you are literally pressing your hands/elbow and balancing into your stomach area.  It takes a great amount of concentration and I remember when I was first learning it how hard it was.  I am still challenged by it on some days but learning to shift my weight and re-position my hands really helps:

I think I still could have done a little better with my feet hold. Hopefully next time.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

YGB Challenge - Day 20

The Bhujapidasana or Shoulder Pressing Pose is a super complicated one for me - it's a good prep pose that leads up to the full firefly pose:

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Parallel vs. Perpendicular

You know I have a few favorite poses that I seem to do over and over again and although I realize I need to keep on venturing out and studying the poses I haven't tried yet, there are some poses that challenge me and keep pulling me back in to practice them. I don't know, somehow the Fallen Angel pose always makes me want to come back for more.  It's definitely a favorite and I find myself continuously improving my form with it.  I can tell by my older photos I've been able to slightly inch my right leg closer and closer to my left leg.

I couldn't even get that right leg vertical for a long time so there has been progress.  I'll probably skip a few poses here and there for the June challenge and will most likely only finish out 4-5 more and that's it for me for June.

Standing Pigeon

Yesterday, I wanted to try something new.  I had yet to give the Standing Pigeon pose a try.  I've done several variations of seated pigeon poses and the flying pigeon, but never a full upright stance.  It is a really intense feeling for the legs and hips:

This process prepares you to bend over and transition into the full flying pigeon pose. You could really feel this one all over and much more so afterwards after a few rounds of it.  

So before I started my session, I had a quick few minutes for meditation, and some reflection - and even messed around with my hair - ha! Yesterday was a definitely a day for much needed pampering.

It is good for the soul.  To just sit, relax, and not really have to think about any worries or problems.  It's just a full spirit of relaxation, and it felt nice.  I need to do this more often.  I really do.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

YGB Challenge - Day 17

Ustrasana or the Camel Pose continues to be a great challenge for me.  I'm slowly learning what works for me in this pose, what I'm doing wrong, and how I can keep working towards the angle that I want for my upper torso.  I decided to do a small variation of the classic pose....

Backtrack, I think the word 'wrong' is pretty harsh for anyone in yoga.  I'm learning that 'perfection' is not always an option.  I need to remember that I'm doing this for whatever works for me and my body type, and just for me only!  It can definitely be intimidating to see how everyone else does the same pose and say, 'Wow, how awesome is that?!' ....and then say to myself, "Now why doesn't my body look like that?"  or "Why can't I move like that?"  It's impossible to compare......and if I am to become the person I eventually want to be with my journey ~ both mentally and emotionally, then in time I will learn that there is no such thing as perfectionism.  There are personal skill levels that will be set, tactfulness, and constant learning.....and the learning phase will always be the most valuable.....for learning increases wisdom and patience.......not perfectionism.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

YGB Challenge - Day 16

The Purna Salabhasana or Full Locust Pose is definitely a good stretching challenge!!

I'm essentially trying to raise my torso upwards and lifting my legs as high as possible, keeping the head uplifted as well, and then top it all off by throwing in complete alignment!! Phew.  I'm tired just typing all that!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

YGB Challenge - Day 13

The Urdhvadhanurasana Pose or Wheel Pose is todays challenge and since I can not do a full back bend yet, this, of course, is modified.  I'm normally not one who plays with props but every once-in-a-while I will be inspired to:

So fun playing with chairs.  I may have played with them a little too much! I then took double chairs and used them for practicing additional arm balancing/strengthening, pushing up and down, and alignment.

Too fun, I need to do this more often!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Trying to touch the feet....

I didn't do todays challenge pose for obvious reasons in which I posted about earlier, so instead I worked on other poses that help the back become more flexible and strong.  I'm still working on the pigeon pose and trying to hit my head with my foot.

Or pull in my feet with both arms - but I know I'm not quite there yet.  Still a ways to go with back bends.  I haven't been really concentrating on back bends but more so, enjoying other poses. Some poses are definitely more interesting to me than others, I'm sure that is the same feeling with everyone, we all have our favorites.  Although I need to keep in mind that some of the poses we hate are most often the important ones.

I'm exhausted.  I don't know how I run around all day and then am still awake at midnight when I know my body wants to go to sleep at about 5 p.m.  Busy days, busy momma.  Sometimes it's just nice to sit here for a minute and write - even if only for a minute.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

More back work...

I've been doing some additional exercises that concentrate on the back, not necessarily any that have to do with the current challenge that I'm playing along with.  The seated spinal twist pose is always a favorite and there are so many interesting variations as well:

The shoulder stand I haven't done in a while:

And a shoulder stand variation with a 90 degree angle, plow pose combination:

YGB Challenge - Day 11

There is an additional jumping element to the Nakrasana or Crocodile pose, but because this lady here decided to just do the best low plank pose she could do - minus the hops, lol:

Perhaps I will do a video someday doing the crocodile hops.  It looks hard but I will definitely give it a try.....

So..... two days ago, I found out that my 'Journey to a Handstand/Headstand' has been abruptly changed. In fact, it has ended, and, strangely - I'm actually ok with it.  I will no longer be attempting any pose that requires a full and complete upside down tilt, for there may be an increased risk of damage to my eyes down the road of life.  Every other pose, I can attempt, just not the inversions. Albeit, I was slightly sad hearing the news, but the sadness didn't last long.....for not only do I highly value my eye sight today but also -- my vision 10-20 years from now.

I am super happy that I have at least attempted as far as I could with achieving a headstand - HERE and handstand - HERE with the wall support.  It's been exhilarating to feel what I felt being inverted.  I certainly don't see this as being a set back, but more so, a learning experience.  I've already accomplished some goals that I've set out to do in the last 10 months.  I should be more than happy with it.  There's nothing to be disappointed about....there's a lot more learning to do and fun to be had in the process.....

Goodbye handstand was a great experience overall.....

Onwards with the remainder of the month!

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

YGB Challenge - Day 10

I've been so busy today I almost forgot to post - Garbha Pindasana or the womb embryo pose.

Running thin on time so I'm off and running again. Hopefully will write more tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

YGB Challenge - Day 9

I've gotten a little better with the Firefly pose or Titthibhasana. I've still got a ways to go before I can straighten my legs but here is the most recent pose:

It's judgment call, I know the right way to straighten the legs and I can still do it 'my' way.....without letting the buttocks go lower, so I just need to decide which is more comfortable and I think I can eventually straighten the leg with a wider stance.  What is it with me and wider stances? 

Monday, June 8, 2015

YGB Challenge - Day 8

The Horse Face Pose or Vatayanasana is a super difficult pose, I couldn't even do it - and after many attempts, I had to completely modify it my way:

So instead of placing my left leg inwards - I chose to bend at the knee - outwards, still super hard to balance.  This was the best I could do.  Excited for the rest of the month!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

YGB Challenge - Day 7

Today is Bakasana or Crow Pose.  There is a difference between crow and crane pose.  Crow is when your arms are bent.  Crane is when you can straighten the arms entirely.  I'm not able to do Crane yet, but I hope to soon:

Overall, a very difficult pose to maneuver.  That's it.  Don't have time to write too much today.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

YGB Challenge - Day 6

Today is Cow faced pose or Gomukhasana:

This pose I did a long time ago with the addition of my arms binding towards my back.

And for a non-challenge pose, I did a Fallen Angel Pose for fun:

I'm starting to get that right leg of mine as parallel as I can to my left leg.  Getting there!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

YGB Challenge - Day 4

It's a beautiful Thursday morning.  I have so much to do so posting real quick my day - the Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana or standing leg raise.  This is really difficult. I still have not gotten this pose correctly but am slowly working on it.

Trying to stand on one leg and raising the other leg and balancing. Today was a real good practice. Accomplished a lot.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

YGB Challenge - Day 3

Prasarita Padottanasana A or the wide stance forward bend, is a good hip opener and for the hamstrings too. I actually prefer to stretch my legs wider but sometimes I will try to pull my stance inwards a bit more.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

YGB Challenge - Day 2

Today is supposed to be the Parsvakonasana B.  But I chose to do A.  The Extended Side Angle Pose:

Gotta break the rules every now and then. I may throw in the B -Revolved pose later.  I always love a good stretch!!

Monday, June 1, 2015

YGB Challenge - Day 1

So it's a new day - a BEAUTIFUL, sunny day too! A new month!! Wow, June, can't believe it is June.  I'm starting the June Challenge for YogaGivesBack.  I'm so excited to see how much more I can learn.

Normally, with the Ardha Matsyendrasana Pose or Seated Spinal Twist, I will either put both arms to the side or behind me with the twist.  Today, I wanted to experiment with placing one arm over and under my leg - and taking the other arm and clasping both hands together.

The intensity of doing something different with the arms gives this twist a whole different meaning.....very intense - so much more than just letting your arms fall on the ground. Wow!!! I could really feel it.

Here is the back side of it:

That's it for Day 1.