Saturday, October 18, 2014

Namas-Saturday....get it? It's a yoga pun.

Since July I've been practicing Ashtanga Yoga as close to every day as possible. And I've made some huge strides. In addition it's becoming an essential part of my daily life and mental health. Because let's be honest, Grad School is notoriously horrible for your mental health. You can read a shocking article on the subject by Science Careers, reporting that nearly 60% of all graduate students self report mental health issues. And I am most certainly one of the 60%, especially this time of year when daylight hours in Calgary inevitably overlap with lab hours.

So as a preventative measure before winter sets in, here's to yoga!

This morning I attended Dana Blonde's Ashtagna Level 1-2 class at 10am at the Yoga Shala here in Calgary. And here are some things about that:

  1. I hate morning yoga, those first forward bends during sun salutations, oh the toes seem so far away, I really need a couple hours of moving around to loosen my legs up.
  2. Especially because yesterday I did not practice asanas, instead I attended a Yoga Philosophy class at the Yoga Studio North, by Anne Douglas, and sat on the world's second most uncomfortable chair for two hours and took notes. (I had previously sat on the world's  first most uncomfortable chair the last time I attended a workshop at the Yoga Studio North, and arrived early this time to avoid that situation)
  3. So at yoga this morning I chanted this mantra in my brain during my sun salutations "Don't Notice Me, Don't Notice Me, Don't Notice Me" hoping to avoid Dana's attention for an adjustment. Hoping to have a easy class of it.
  4. I figured I could get away with it, sure my mat was located right at the front of the room, but come on, it was a full house, so maybe I'd get lucky.
  5. NOOOPPPE the mantra did not pay off. She decided to 'assist' me in Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana or the balancing posture where you hold you leg up by your big toe.
  6. And let me tell you, the assist just makes you work your but off, my quads were screaming by the time we got to part C.
  7. On the other hand, I felt hugely empowered and impressed to have had my leg held way higher in the air than normally, and smiled (while gritting my teeth) through the whole thing.
  8. During the seated postures I made a literal huge jump forward today, I managed to jump directly through from downward dog to seating, in one motion, keeping my hands planted, about half the time. A feat which I have previously only managed once or twice, and has been a mini goal lately. I guess after being forced (forced is a strong word, but yeah) to work harder than my lazy brain wanted to during those balancing postures I committed to working extra hard throughout, and it totally paid off. Thank you Dana.
  9. We then took some time to explore some postures from the begining of the seond series, which was great, especially because we skipped Navasana while we were at it.
  10. Then poof! I guess it was karmic payback for my earlier ill intentioned mantra, but I got spotted for an assist again, this time working through the shoulder stand sequence. But it was a great assist, because even tho I thought for sure I would fall the second my elbows came off the ground to get into Urdhva Padmasana, or flying lotus pose, I was well supported and it was great.
So that was my yoga today, an unexpectedly great way to end a very full week, and I walked out of the studio feeling so full of goodness.

In other news, the September issue (I think) of Yoga Journal recommended the book Going Om, which is a collection of short stories by yogis who are also writers; and I picked it up last night. I can't wait to curl up with it tonight, it features some authors I've previously enjoyed (Cheryl Strayed and Suzanne Morrison).

Any how, since yoga is such an important thing for me lately, I'm going to be writing about it here every Saturday in a post series titled Namas-Saturday. (Namaste.... get it?) so now you have that to look forward to!



  1. Sounds like an amazing class. I am looking forward to this new series of yours! I haven't been very good about practicing lately, I need to get back on the mat!