Yoga marches on, and we’ve made it to the second week of the Yoga Journal 21-Day Challenge. This a super nice change-up from the dvds that we’ve been using to practice with the last few months – new poses, and new instructors, and so far, I’m liking it really well.

There have been a few sessions so far with Jason Crandell as the instructor (here’s a rather good one), and I’ve already decided that were he based anywhere near where we live, that I would go out of my way to attend his classes. It’s not just that his offered practices include a lot of poses that I really like (I do love me some triangle pose), but the manner in which the practice is presented is pretty great –

Listen: I’m always a little worried about injuring myself. See, I’m a bit of a klutz. Not like bobbling, face-planting, walk into trees kind of klutz, but the kind who can be imprecise of movement when not paying attention. Also, I multi-task. This is to say, I generally have at least one mystery bruise, and practicing yoga really calls on all my concentration. So, being asked to stretch and grow and push is nice, but I have to be super careful every time not to try to push too far, or lose concentration while stretching and growing – otherwise my lower back goes and makes that sick wet popping sound, and then by morning I’m hunched (again*).

So when Jason Crandell leads us through a series of half sun salutations at the beginning of the practice, it’s kind of heavenly. These are asana that I can wrap my head around, and that totally helps me ease into the practice, ease into the concentration, ease into the space where my body feels more bendy than stiff. Which means I’m less likely to hurt myself in the process of the practice.

This is not to say that I don’t like a challenge, because I do. A few years ago I was really into these Baron Baptiste dvds that I had picked up,** and my favorite thing about those practices was how he kind of wheedled me into trying new stuff. Like crow pose – at some point he tells you to pick up one knee, and then the other. “Why not? Why not try?” is what I think he says. And while I’m there, I think, “Hell, sure, why not?” A few times I got there, into crow, and was so startled I laughed and tipped over onto my forehead,*** but I did get there. This was well and truly a delight.

I’m working on getting back there – to a place of strength. It’s on my agenda for this year, a goal if you will. I’ve been doing yoga on and off now since the year Man Cub was born, and I’m still a beginner, you know. It’s like, I’ll practice for a few months, and then something happens – I get sick, or my back stuff flares up, or life just gets in the way – and I find it’s suddenly been a month since the last time I did yoga (or three months), and here I am starting all over again. But this is what I want: I want to get through that barrier this time. I want to accumulate some stamina that allows me to do more than thirty-five minutes of practice without feeling like over-boiled noodles. I want to be able to sleep better because my body works right. I want my head to calm down. I want to get to the next level.

So this practice is a good switch-up – when it’s over, I’ll go back to the handful of dvds that we have and keep going. I also want to see if I can’t cobble together some kind of personal practice from what I already love. All I know is that this time I feel more committed than I have in years, and I start physical therapy tomorrow about the back issues. So between the two things, I may, in fact, be ready. Here. We. Go.

***

*And complaining.
**I’m hoping I can work my way up to being strong enough again to return to them – they were super fun.
***This, as it turns out, is my M.O. It happened a few times in wheel pose. And every time I find myself in half-moon pose, I have no idea how exactly I got there, other than by following the instructor’s directions, and I giggle myself right out of it.

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