Thursday, April 20, 2017

Self-Practice Journal, Week 14

For one of my RYT classes this semester, I'm required to keep a weekly self-practice journal. This is for yoga practices I do on my own, not guided in a studio, gym, or via video. Each week I'll have a post that details at least three of my self-practices.

Week 14
Practice 1
Date: Saturday, April 15 7:30-815p
Intention: Brahmana practice
Content: Forearm plank to Dolphin, transition to hands and knees, then prone.
Baby Bhujangasana to Sphinx
Downward Dog
Virabhadrasana I and II, transition to hands and knees, then kneeling.
Virasana (on block), then recline (Supta Virasana)
Matsyasana on block
Legs-up-the-wall (without block first, then add block)
Ananda Balasana (Happy Baby)
Reflection: I LOVE doing Matsyasana on a block or bolster. It's still challenging, but it lends enough support that I can work on puffing my chest (I have a tendency to forget about that element of back bends). This was a good practice to do to cement the concepts we discussed in class; back bends are warming and need good prep. And after the discussion we had about not immediately countering a pose, I'm more aware of how I sequence things and the effects the poses could have if done from one extreme to the next. This sequence definitely felt like it was building up to something and then giving my back a chance to relax/neutralize (legs-up-the-wall) before going into something considered a counter to the back bend. I felt less discomfort in my back after prepping it more thoroughly, using a prop, and neutralizing.

Practice 2
Date: Tuesday, April 25, 8:30-9:30p
Intention: Yoga for menstruation
Content: (taken from Yoga Sequencing by Mark Stephens)
Supta Baddha Konasana (blocks under thighs), knees to chest, Ananda Balasana
Supta Padangusthasana, each leg (with a strap)
Supta Virasana (with block, partial recline)
Cat-Cow, with alternate-leg-extensions
Downward Dog to Balasana (5x)
Bridge Pose (with a block)
Supine spinal twists
Wide-Legged Forward Fold
Seated Forward Fold (with pillows on the thighs to support the upper body)
Legs-up-the-wall (without block)
Reflection: This definitely worked through some of the discomfort I was experiencing in my lower back earlier in the day. Having a bolster would be nice for a sequence like this since I wanted the poses to be more restorative. I can make due with about three pillows, but it's not the same. After doing a back-bending seqeunce last month in an attempt to help with cramps, I see how doing more to compress the front of the belly is beneficial.

Practice 3
Date: Wednesday, April 26 7:30-8p
Intention: Samana practice
Content: Seated lateral stretches, easy seated twists, Cat-cow with variations (extending arms and legs for balance), low lunge (each side), downward dog, forward fold.
Lunge over right, then revolve
Parivrtta Trikonasana (over right)
Trikonasana (over right)
Lunge over right, then forward to fold
Lunge over left, then revolve
Parivrtta Trikonasana (over left)
Trikonasana (over left)
Lunge over left, then forward to fold
Malasana (transition to sit)
Marichyasana I (left leg extended 1st), then bind the twist
Marichyasana I (right leg extended 2nd), then bind the twist
Seated forward fold
Knees to chest, supine spinal twists, ananda balasana, windshield wipers with bent knees (more gentle spinal twist)
Reflection: I'm a Pitta, so I love twists. And now that I know more about the energetics of poses, it's fun to experiment with them. This felt especially good as I work through my cycle; today the back pain wasn't present, so I felt ready to twist. This was a nice sequence for paying attention to either side of my body, and acknowledging the changes after doing the sequence on one side.

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