Sleeping in Savasana

My yoga journey

Kino MacGregor Ashtanga Weekend

Ekk! So I’m going to have to change my personal yoga practice from predominantly yin to returning to Ashtanga. I’ve booked into a weekend immersion with Kino MacGregor in September.

I’ve not done any ashtanga for over a year but I loved my morning mysore practice even if I did get injured during it. I’m not entirely sure that I’ll be able to manage all 11 hours of yoga over the weekend but as long as I stick to my theory of not doing everything and that it’s ok to skip poses that hurt my hip then I think I’ll be fine.

It’s mainly that I want to meet Kino and get my book signed that I’m pushing myself to do it. Plus it’s not for 8 months so that gives me time to get back into dynamic yoga practice.

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Balance and Recovery

A quick update on my injury and yoga life in general. I hurt my elbow two weeks ago and I was really worried about a weekend of training that was booked for this past weekend and that I wouldn’t be recovered enough to do a full two and half days of training. I did the weekend wearing an elbow support and it was a bit sore at times but generally ok.

It’s all about finding a balance between the different activities that I do. For the time being I’ve decided to stop doing Mysore classes as it’s such a big commitment and I don’t really have time for them along with everything else that I have going on in the next few months. I’ve learnt a lot in a month of classes and I think it’s something that I’ll go back to but not until at least next year.


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Trying to get back to practice

After a few days rest I thought that my elbow was feeling better so last night I decided that I’d go to practice this morning. Especially as it was Friday and it would be a led primary series and I wouldn’t need to remember the sequence myself.

At 6.03am alarm went off and I got up, dressed and made tea to drink on the way to practice. I just missed one bus and the next that went 2 minutes’ walk from the studio was late so I got a different bus that stopped about a 10 minute walk away.  The end result was that I arrived at the studio late. About 10 minutes after practice started. The teacher wandered across and told me ‘It’s too late.’ That was it, I had to leave. I felt frustrated at myself and at him. It’s not his fault it’s mine for not making the earlier bus, for taking time to make tea, for not rushing down the road from the bus stop. Either way I’m annoyed that I felt ready to try after four days of rest and then wasn’t in time to try.

I ended up in the office stupidly early and as no-one else was in tried a few poses to see how my elbow felt. It started to hurt after only a few minutes of practice so I may not have managed a full practice anyhow.

Still I’m now in the office, showered and getting on with work far earlier than usual and feeling a bit annoyed with myself. I’m going to try to do the Urban Triathlon tomorrow as I think it’ll be ok and I’ll just modify anything that hurts.

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Sense of Community

One of the things that I’ve realised I’m finding challenging with Mysore classes is that it’s not that social by comparison to my regular classes. Because you can start at any time after 6.30am and you just need to allow time for finishing by 8.45am it doesn’t have the same opportunity to chat either before or after class as everyone arrives and finishes at different times.

Because of bus times so early in the morning I arrive after practice has started and as I’m currently still learning the sequence my practice only takes about an hour. This means that most of the others are still practicing when I’m finished. It means that some days I don’t really talk to anyone at practice other than getting corrections or instructions from the teacher. I think it might also be that I’m the new girl who doesn’t know how to do everything so I’m feeling a little isolated anyhow so the lack of opportunity to chat maybe makes me feel a bit more like everyone else knows each other and I’m the outsider.

The Sweaty Betty yoga class that I have been going to for most of this year and I ‘know’ about half of the people that are there most weeks I find a lot more social. We generally have a chat about other events that we’re training for and about how we found the class. It’s a really nice group of people and I think we’re quite welcoming to new people. Most of the conversation is superficial and about either new clothes that they’ve got in store, other classes or events that someone is going to or has been to, if we’re going to be their next week and such like but it’s a nice connection and sense of community.

The Sweaty Betty Get Fit For Free campaign starting in September is called Body by Simone and is very much more of a dance class than I’m used to. Because I know that a few of the other girls that I know will be going along to classes I’m going to at least try the first class. Plus you never know I might discover a hidden talent and love of aerobics.

Plus the promo video looks quite fun

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Frustration at progress

A new week and a new discovery / set of thoughts about Mysore practice and how it compares to regular classes. This morning in class I was a bit frustrated as I felt that I was so far behind everyone else and I don’t yet know the sequence fully and I keep getting things wrong.

I know that the whole point of Mysore is that you practice your own version of the sequence and gradually build it up. It’s just frustrating when I feel that I’m getting stuck trying to remember the order of even the basic poses and the correct alignment of each pose. At the same time another person in the same room is doing back drops into wheel. It makes me very much feel like the new girl who doesn’t have a clue. I guess I still am and I know that some of the others are very advanced and are already teaching yoga or doing teacher training.

This is defiantly going to be an exercise in leaving my ego at the door and focusing on my practice. I’m not currently 100% sure that I’m going to keep up Mysore classes longer term but I am really enjoying getting up and doing yoga in the mornings. I’m going to keep going for at least another month so that I’ve done two months of it. One of the other studios in Edinburgh does led classes five mornings a week so I may take out a pass with them and try a month of classes there in October.

I also have to be patient with myself in terms of how quickly I know how to do each pose and part of the sequence. I realise that I am not breathing so deeply and much quicker in poses that I’m not sure of in comparison to the parts that I know.

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Feeling like I failed

This morning my alarm went off at 6.03am and instead of getting up, having a shower and going to yoga I reset it for an hour and a half later and when back to sleep. The past two weeks have been very busy and I was just really tired and a bit sore from training last night. I felt that my body needed more sleep and that going to practice would leave me exhausted for the rest of the day.

Now I’m up and at work I feel that I should have got up and gone and practiced yoga even if I was tired. I’m trying not to beat myself up about it and I know that I aim to go tomorrow morning and then will go on Friday for led practice.  I want this to be a sustainable practice and Mysore is a big commitment. I need to listen to my body and not push myself too much too soon plus I may need to ensure that I get to bed a little sooner on the nights that I have practice the next day.

On a more positive note one of the reasons that I was tired was that I was training last night and managed to do some really good handstands.

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Learning the Sanskrit Names

One of the challenges that I’ve found with starting Mysore classes is that the teacher uses mainly the Sanskrit names for the poses. I know a few of them and I’m quite happy if I’m told that utkatasana is next and can do chair pose quite happily. In the seated sequence I think I’m often going in the wrong order and being told that I need to do Janu Sirsasana or Pascimottasana next is very confusing for me.

Sanskrit is a beautiful language and looks very pretty written down in comparison to Roman/Latin written text. I guess that’s why so many yogi’s get tattoos in Sanskrit. I love the way that the letters look even in simple words like ‘Om’

I’m turning once again to the cheat sheets. They have the pictures and Sanskrit names under each pose, which will help. I also bought Kino MacGregor’s book, The Power of Ashtanga Yoga. I started reading it last night and I think it’ll help with remembering the poses and sequence. It includes the full primary series with each pose in detail and a photo montage of the whole sequence. Plus it’s a really nice coffee table book with beautiful pictures of the poses and lots of guidance on alignment, the benefits of the poses and options for adaptation if you can’t get into the full variation of the pose.


This morning I was feeling a little overwhelmed at a certain points in my practice. I was trying to remember the sequence, the names, the correct alignment and it all seemed very difficult. I guess if it was easy then more people would do it and there wouldn’t just have been three of us practicing this morning. I think it’s also because the group is so small that I get so many corrections and so much guidance, so it’s good but hard work. I hope that it’s going to get easier with time and that I will remember more of the sequence and the correct names so will need less guidance. Also I should try to remember that I’ve only been doing this style of class for less than two weeks so I can’t expect to be perfect at it straight away no matter how much I want to be.

I’m not even going to attempt to learn the opening and closing chants just yet, even if they are very pretty when written out and have a lovely meaning.




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Learning the primary sequence

It was a challenge to remember the sequence and the order of things but I was much more confident in doing my second class and only needed a few prompts to get much further along the Ashtanga primary series. In general once I knew which bit of the sequence was next I could do the four or five poses in that section, I forgot a few poses and had to go back and do them in the right order but it was generally ok. I think I should remember most of it without prompting in another week or so.

I have found that the has this very useful webpage with the full sequence and I had a read of it on the bus to practice which I think helped. I’m going to print them out and have them in my yoga bag to look at on the way to class each day. If I though it was allowed I’d put them next to my mat but I’m assuming that it would break the being present in class and focusing on the movement and breath only.

In Mysore classes you get a lot more attention and adjustments that I generally am used to. Today was the busiest that the class has been and there were six of us. Mainly the adjustments have been minor but there are some poses that I’m finding more difficult now that I’m being made to do them ‘correctly’ rather than the slightly lazy way that I had been doing them.

Another thing that the teacher of the Mysore classes has told me that I’d not realised before is that I tend to ‘hide in my breath’. In less ‘yogic’ terms, I tend to shallow breath and forget about my breath when in difficult poses. It’s something that I hadn’t noticed before but this type of practice is all about the breath and it’s an area that I need to work on. To quote Etty Hillesum “Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths”

I’ve not got practice this Friday as it’s a moon day so Ashtanga practitioners have a day off. I’m planning to go to a hot yoga class in the evening instead.

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First ‘proper’ Mysore Class

This morning after a lovely weekend doing acrobatics and handstands in a field in Northumbria, which included camping, I got up and went to my first proper Mysore class. When my alarm went off I considering sleeping some more instead of going to class but I decided that I needed to stretch out and that if I’m going to commit to a month of doing classes then I can’t skip the second day.

This morning the class wasn’t led so it was my first challenge in remembering the primary sequence. Needless to say I didn’t remember that much and got things wrong but the teacher was really lovely at adding poses and helping me with what to do. It’s a really challenging thing to do so early in the morning but I felt so much better afterwards. My shoulders have released off and I made it into the office feeling relaxed and ready to get on with stuff rather than drained after a busy weekend.

I’m looking forward to seeing how much I remember of the sequence on Wednesday morning and how far I manage to get without needing prompting. I also have decided that I need to make sure that I have a little something to eat when I get up as my stomach was rumbling lots by the end of class.

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Morning Mysore Class

So I did it. I got up when my alarm went off at 6.03am, yes I set my alarm for odd times but it seems a bit more friendly to get up at 6.03 rather than 6.00. I had a quick shower, got dressed and left the house by 6.24am to head to class. The studio is on the other side of town and as I had to come back home afterwards I drove across. There was almost no traffic so it took less than 10 minutes and it was a beautiful sunny morning. Even if I get the bus it should take less than 20 minutes to get there.

As today is Friday the class was a little different from normal Mysore practice and it was the full ahsatanga primary series. I arrived a little late so I missed the first two sun salutation A’s. It was very much a counted class rather than a taught class. The teacher, Chris didn’t demonstrate poses and simply said the names or descriptions. He gave individual corrections either verbally or physically. It was a little challenging towards the end of the class as it was poses that I don’t do regularly and some that I didn’t really understand what we were meant to be doing so I had to look at others to check that I was going it correctly. I really enjoyed it and think that even if I don’t continue with a full Mysore practice I will try to continue doing the full primary series on Friday’s.

The class was very small with only four of us their this morning but I don’t know if this is as it was a led class so you needed to be there from the start rather than being able to drop in later on. I have seen two of the others at different classes before and from hearing them talk afterwards I know that they are both taking part in Yoga Teacher training (I knew that one of them was) so I don’t feel so bad that their practice was much more advance than mine. Also I was glad to see that I got the ‘uniform’ correct for class, two of the others were also wearing Sweaty Betty leggings.

I’m looking forward to next week and starting the ‘proper’ Mysore classes. I think the main challenge for me will be remembering the sequence myself, at least while I’m building up to the full sequence, which will take a while.

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