HeartEdu

Matters of the Heart in Story Format – Tales of a Vancouver Girl

Category: yoga

Firefly Pose: As ridiculous as wearing a faux fur coat while balancing a pizza box on your head

I know I’ve been blogging quite a bit about crafty things, but worry not, I am still running and doing yoga.

The last few yoga classes have been interesting. For the first time, we tried Firefly Pose. It looks like this:

firefly pose

Taken from Yoga Journal

It’s sanskrit name makes me laugh: Tittibhasana. There’s a dirty joke in there somewhere.

I was trying this pose, and kept falling on my butt. That is, until Sveena told me to use my core, and keep my shoulders above my arms. Well, that did the trick. I’d have to use my core and push my weight forward onto my hands.

I got my legs up although not straight like in the photo above. I’ve got tight hamstrings. My legs were out, but my big toes were touching. I’m sure I didn’t look ridiculous, but I certainly felt silly. I may as well have been wearing a faux-fur coat balancing a pizza box on my head. You start off in a squat, if you’re wondering how one even ends up in this pose.

I feel that it’s very easy to push yourself too far in yoga class. The point is to listen to the limits of your body. However, I apparently have the opposite problem. I think I have reached my limit (which isn’t my true limit). Sveena observes me in Warrior 1, and tells me to widen my stance. It goes something like this, “Widen your stance.” So I do. “More.” So I do some more. “More. You’re strong enough!” At which point, my feet are apart at practically the length of my mat. She wasn’t wrong though. I think I just feel I’ve hit my limit because my hips, quads, and hammies are tight from running.

Warrior 1

Warrior 1. Photo from Yoga Journal

I went out for a 5.5 km run earlier this week and was sending good vibes to the runners in Boston. I was running hills, and it was a bit brutal.

I almost took an extra walk break because I saw a cat that I’ve petted before. It’s a friendly fluffy grey cat. However, in the past when I have stopped to pet it, I would get up after 3 seconds and say, “I have to run again now” and it would look somewhat confused and disappointed. I saved us both the heartache this time around.

I felt like I was super slow during my run, but apparently, my fastest kilometre was 6’07”, which isn’t bad, I suppose. On my cool down (which was walking up a hill, go figure), I snapped a shot of some tulips I saw.

Pretty tulips!

Pretty tulips!

I love how they planted so many different colours next to each other!

Core: As challenging as walking and eating a burrito

I was sweating all over the place in my Flow yoga class this morning. I woke up at at 20 minutes before class was supposed to start, and almost gave up on going. Nathan said he would drive me though. So NICE! I was still groggy  when I rolled into class with my bed head. My meditation felt good though since I was rushing and anxious. I do not recommend rushing to a yoga class. It made me feel uneasy and almost neurotic.

I think my body was pretty tired this class as I threw in running, swimming, and another yoga class earlier this week. Both yoga classes were focused on core, but I don’t mean core-specific poses. It was more like, Warrior 1? Where’s your core? Warrior 2? Where’s your core? Handstand? Where’s your core? You get the picture.

I don’t think I really knew what someone meant when they said, “Engage your core!” I do now though. It’s like your core is in Angry Cat in all your poses, but you have to keep your shoulders open and relaxed. I find it’s as challenging as walking and eating a burrito at the same time. Salsa ALL over the place.

This is angry cat pose

This is angry cat pose

What’s funny is that I feel like my body is curving in like a C…but it’s not actually the case, I’m just so used to having my body curve the other way where open shoulders is my priority, and core is secondary.

My hamstrings are tight, I think from the running + swimming. When we did our shoulder stand and moved into plow pose, I could feel my hammies pulling more than I’m used to.

This is plow pose. Does it look like a plow to you?

This is plow pose. Does it look like a plow to you?

When I left the studio, I walked by this quaint little courtyard that looks like it needs some Summer or something.

Quaint little courtyard

Quaint little courtyard…but it looks like it needs some Summer or something.

Soon enough, little courtyard! Stay in the moment. Namaste!

Daffodils: “Winter ain’t no thang!”

Beautiful day in Vancouver. Daffodils greeted me on my way to the skytrain station. Did you know that daffodils return each spring? They survive through winter, and then bloom into their bright happy selves as if winter ain’t no thang. There’s a spiritual lesson in that, I’m sure.

Image

Good morning, daffodils!

Nathan and I headed off to the yoga studio after work and my favourite teacher, Sveena, was teaching. Sveena is VERY technical. She’ll get as nitty gritty as down to the position of your fingers. You could be in down dog, and she’ll say, “You’re over-stretching your pinky.” Although, that may sound completely ridiculous to someone who does not do yoga, it makes a world of difference in releasing strain from one’s hands.

I’ve been under her tutelage for 4 years now. She rarely adjusts me anymore. She’ll tell me, “Your left elbow needs to..” and before she even gets to finish her sentence, I’ve already adjusted: unlocked and hugged in my arms. There are a lot of half-finished sentences for me in Sveena’s classes. If I could collect them all and make them into fridge magnets, I’m pretty sure I could arrange them in a way that would make a funny Mad-Libs type story.

I did have some troubles finding my core in plank today. Sveena came over, gently touched my back (where my core is), and I corrected myself.

Image

A time when my plank felt right and not so weird. This was taken during a hike a few years ago. I’m using it to drink out of a stream.

Funny thing is, I thought it was lower than where it really was. Even more odd, I went into a wall-less headstand and knew exactly where my core was and remained in this position for 10 long breaths. I typically have a hard time finding my core upside down, and no problems finding it right side up. Which in hindsight is interesting, since the core has to be engaged in the same way in whatever pose you’re in. Only difference is perspective. There has got to be a spiritual lesson in that that I can take off the mat.

So, two main spiritual lessons today…but I’m beginning to think that they’re the same lesson in different forms.

Staying out of the drama of my mind

Ever since I started blogging, I stopped meditating. I also haven’t been to yoga in three weeks. I think this has been the longest hiatus in 4 years. I am paying for it. Without yoga and meditation, I have been scatterbrained, and anxious…maybe even a little bit angry. My shoulders have started to curve forward and I am closing my heart and muting my voice from the world. My hips/quads/hammies/IT band are tight, storing anger and aggression. I’ve caught myself holding my breath.

Yes, I’ve been running, and I’ve been hiking…but these activities actually make me more aggressive and assertive. These characteristics aren’t negative, but I do need a balance to know that there is a time and place for all emotions.

I am now back at building up my foundation and am a ways away from forearm stand, hand stand, bird of paradise and other poses that make me feel exalted.

Image

This was last year. I don’t even know what this might feel like now.

I managed the peel myself off the couch today and went to not one yoga class, but two: 1) Vinyasa Flow, and 2) Yin for a whopping 2.5 hours of yoga. I kept slipping into a meditative state during the two classes. Although my muscles were tight, my body was hungry for the stretches. I did have some anger bubble up in Yin class, but I was observing the feeling and not getting myself worked up about it. Basically, I did not interact with the feeling and stayed out of its drama. The mind played interesting tricks on me but it eventually simmered down. I guess it was hungry for meditation.

While in corpse pose after the Yin practice, I felt a weird anxious energy in my palms and second chakra. It went away a few minutes later. Maybe I unlocked something.

I need more yoga. My mind and body are starving.

With this Yoga Hand, I eat Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Nathan and I met up with Bean and Miana for a beautiful 1.5 hour hike at Mosquito Creek this afternoon. This hike included sliding down the side of a mountain (on unpaved path…in my sneakers), crossing moving water, and climbing up a steep mountain that made me feel like as though a disco inferno was happening in my glutes, hammies, and quads. There was John Travolta action happening in those muscles – white jumper, greased hair and all.

To encourage me on this hike, Bean and Miana would say, “My mom did this hike.” Miana’s mom is retired and a senior. That just made me feel…old? Nope, that cliche does not work here.

Clockwise from top: Heritage Tree, Moving Water, View after the Hike, tiniest Pine cone ever!

Clockwise from top: Heritage Tree, Moving Water, View after the Hike, tiniest Pine cone ever!

There were plenty of Heritage Trees on this hike. Heritage Trees in BC are trees that are a hundred years of age or older and are protected from being chopped. It’s like The Untouchables, but less mafia, and more trees. From the looks of these beauties, they were older than 100. This tree grew AROUND a boulder. Who does that? This tree does!

IMG_0435

This tree grew around a boulder. This tree gives zero futz!

At a point where Bean was taking gorgeous photos of waterfalls (I will see if I can post them later), Miana and I were getting our yoga on. She took a pretty epic shot of me in my exalted warrior and warrior 2.

hiking and warriors

It’s epic because of where the sun hits on my leg. It’s also epic because in the first pic, my hand looks like it’s saying: “With this hand, I eat grilled cheese sandwiches and burgers!”

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