27 October 2008

Someone reads this blog!

Downward Deegs was included in a Top 100 Yoga and Meditation Blogs. I am very happy to be recognized as such!

Huffington Post debunks yoga myths

I thought this was an interesting read and even moresore considering it came from the political site, Huffington Post.
Yoga Bunk: Debunked

Be careful what you wish for!

I think "be careful what you wish for" is my rubric for October. And I think I have learned my lesson. It started at the beginning of this month when I was up in northern Michigan with my husband at really great bed and breakfast/inn called Neahtawanta Inn that also had a fantastic yoga space that was always open to use. We also brought our road bikes and on Saturday did a long ride all through the Mission Peninsula. That felt so good, we decided we would go back to the inn, do some yoga and then head to Traverse City for dinner, on our bikes. The ride would be about 20 miles there and back. It was also cold outside. But I was game! So we set out, got to town and had some great fish tacos and well, then I didn't want to ride back at all. I was not looking forward to it. I was wishing I didn't have to. But there was no other way home. So we got on our bikes and not three blocks from the restaurant, I crashed! My tired got caught in a seam in the concrete, and since I was clipped in and it happened so fast I was just face down on the ground before I knew it. And ripped my new pants! Bloody of knee and jarred to boot, Chad and I agreed that I could not make the 11 mile ride back and I would have to wait at the bookstore for him to ride back and then come pick me up in the car. I got my wish! But not how I expected to or wanted to! I was sore for a week and still have a crapped up scabby knee to show for it.

My second lesson came yesterday at Power Yoga. I last posted about how the thighs were underworked in yoga and I felt that I needed to work on strengthening them. Well, I wasn't exactly sure I how I was going to go about doing that, but I didn't have to know because the opportunity came in spades last night at yoga. It was like Jo (the teacher) read my post and was trying to whip my ass for saying such things about yoga! It was so ironic to me that in the middle of class I had to laugh to myself - once again, I "wished" for something and "received" it, though not how I would have expected to.

What's the real lesson here? Let up on expectation. Let up on wishes. Just accept the moment and do not grasp at what is not there, or else, it'll BE there!

22 October 2008

The thighs have it, or not!

Yesterday I went to a new fitness class called Pure Barre. It's pretty much a hybrid between ballet, Pilates and weight-training. Well, it was pretty great because today I am totally sore! The class spends a lot of time each area of the body (upper body, legs, bum & all the while, the core), and the thigh section 'bout did me in. The rest I could totally handle swimmingly, but when it came to thigh work I realized where my weak point was. Then I got to thinking about how my yoga practice has increased my strength in a major way, especially my upper body and core, but uhhhh, the thighs? Not so much. Then it dawned on me that in the Ashtanga yoga practice (at least not the primary series) there really isn't THAT many poses that really require a ton of thigh strength. There's Chair Pose and the Warrior sequence, but aside from that I notice the thighs just aren't asked to work as much as say the arms or core. While I knew this on some level because the Warrior poses are never my favorite, I came face to face with the deficit in my legs yesterday. My thighs just vibrated with the work I was asking them to do. Sure, I run along with doing yoga, but obviously this was something on a whole new level for my sturdy gams. I am way excited about this though, I am looking forward to bringing more power to my legs and I anticipate I will enjoy the Warrior poses more in general.

20 October 2008

Jam out!

Yesterday evening I was putting on my jammies and in the middle of doing so I started some kinda spontaneous yoga practice. Half jammied, half dressed. Sometimes it's like I really not in control of this vessel I walk around in...

16 October 2008

Today I left work a little early, it's a gorgeous and crisp autumn day. My plans were scattered, but I resolved that I would go home and then make a big batch of white bean soup. I also planned to go to a vinyasa class nearby later in the evening so I came home and put on my "comfy" or some might say "active" clothes. But once I was in the kitchen ready to cook, somehow I ended up with my wind-vest and running shoes on. My body had different plans for me! Next thing I knew I was outside for a run! Cool! Then I was home in my yoga room ready to stretch after the run, but nope, I was doing a full-on practice! So much for soup making! Looks like I'll be eat an Amy's frozen burrito!

Sometimes I think about expanding this blog to encompass more of my life, but I think I am wary of a)opening my life up that much in a public forum, b)boring people (if I am not already) c) feeling like I need to post way more than I need to d) feeling overwhelmed by all my interests/ideas/activities because I might try to TALK about them too much!

Nonetheless, I think I'll let it be organic, like today's post. Running, cooking, yoga, working, cat-petting - today.

13 October 2008

What Bubbles Up

Yoga has a powerful way of checking you in with yourself entirely. It's not often in our culture that we just stop and listen to our own breath, it's a rare event for many of us to tune into what our complete being is communicating to us. All you need to do to be "doing yoga" is bringing awareness to your breath, just sitting and breathing with intention is yoga, and at times it's a lot harder to do that than a sweaty, vigorous practice. It is for this reason, this keying in with ourselves on the mat that sometimes intense emotions bubble up. It isn't out of the ordinary to find yourself in tears in certain pose. We spend so much time disconnected, outward looking and in a hurry; achieving, planning and accomplishing. While doing these things we are also storing up, in our beings deep feelings, intense emotions or memories - and since there is often no place for them in our society of locomotion, they remain stored. Until, you slow down, turn inward, and listen.

Recently, my friend sent me an email about her yoga practice, which is now a one year old. She described this emotional release quite nicely I felt,

"Yoga has been weird for me, in a good way. I can't tell you how many times I have cried during yoga. ESPECIALLY in pigeon. I have SO much stuff stored up in my hips and glutes, it's crazy. Of course my practice on the mat directly reflects my mental state... when I am unbalanced in life I totally tip over. But this last class yesterday was really weird... I went in feeling weak (physically and emotionally) and totally unfocused and unbalanced, and had one of the strongest practices I've ever done. I wish I'd had that headstand on video. It was GORGEOUS!! And steady! And effortless! I seriously could have stayed on my head for another 30 breaths without much effort. I felt totally transformed after that class. It was definitely what I needed yesterday."

I love how she describes crying during yoga and then her paragraph moves almost effortlessly to elation and the feeling of transformation. Yoga can be a catalyst for you to find respite in your own being if you allow it to be so.