Flip flops are the only things I’m going to put on my feet today. I’ve done a yoga class. Side crow as a peak pose in my living room was pretty satisfying. Best thing is that I’m sure my instructor couldn’t see how rubbish it was 😊.
What is everyone up to today?
Me – I’m in the garden. My toes are getting some sun. My 🎧 are on and I am loving today. If you have any great music to recommend send it my way. I’m not moving from here unless it is to dance around the garden with a wine 🍾.
Tomorrow – it never comes so I’ll just be focusing on today, toes, tanning and temptation…(it was the only other t I could thing of!).
During the outbreak of COVID-19 things have changed. For my Yoga studio that has meant adapting to keep the business going. Adapting to offer something to those of us who go there. I am continually amazed at how we adapt to significant change. There are some people who can’t, depending on their jobs / businesses, but others have the ability to create new ways of working.
I have a job where I have to still have to go in to work. Thankfully I love my job so doing extra just now is a given – no questions asked just get on with it. So how bloody pleased am I that my Yoga Studio in Edinburgh has picked up on the Zoom platform to keep a good schedule of classes going.
It’s not my first time using Zoom or video meetings / conferences / chats. I am using FaceTime more and more with friends to catch up now that I can’t go out and see them. The group identity is still strong as we FaceTime with a glass of wine, a comfy seat, some music on and chat.
A fellow blogger introduced me to Zoom! Lee did a trial run last week (maybe it was the week before) and so with the app downloaded I was already on-board and online for when my Yoga Studio put out the message that they were starting classes this way.
Thank You and Yeeeeeessss!!! Whilst I will still do Joe Wicks PE (its good fun and you can pick up on it on YouTube even if you missed the live feed) I need Yoga in my life that isn’t the DVD / TV style. No offence to all those lovely people sitting under a tree or in a walled garden doing their yoga to the world….I just like the realism of the instructors I know, the fellow Yogis I see at class and the connection we already all have.
Zoom gives the teachers the ability to watch, correct and interact with us. We get to see faces that we haven’t seen since the studio had to close it’s doors due to the COVID-19 lockdown.
My First Zoom Yoga Class
I am bloody knackered now! I should have pipped for the Yin class but that is not for a few days. So full body flow it was. The funny thing is I thought I wouldn’t work as hard as I usually would when in the studio. But…our teacher was on it, watching and feeding back to us all. It is strange doing it in my living room but I have a mat, blocks and a strap – what more do you need!! I even had a little scent burner going for ambience.
Full body is a mix of things but it definitely includes a lot of strength work. Today thankfully that was legs and back rather than purely focusing on core. So starting off in Dolphin to Down Dog repetitions and moving on to low / high plank repetitions set the tone that by the end of it I expected to be a bit sweaty. When we were popping back from forward fold to plank (and then to chaturanga) I definitely felt like I was working hard!
Moving into back work is my favourite as I really enjoy working on this area of the body. So lots of back bends leading into bow pose. We were then given some pretty ingenious holds for the upper back by holding a V with our forearms out front from warrior two.
Balances. Always a problem for me and I still tried my best even when they could only see me on a little computer screen. Balances with strength holds are even bloody worse but I gave it my best shot! I didn’t even fall over even though I still have a slightly weak ankle from a trip a few weeks back. Go me haha!
A big thing in yoga. Gratitude – yes I am definitely feeling it. For having brilliant colleagues, for all the key workers regardless of what work they are doing, and for staying safe. I was thankful to be on my mat today, just focused on how my body was feeling, what it could do today and my breath. Namaste
Rain….Rain….Rain…Rain. When will it bloody stop? Just a hint of sunshine and mild temperatures is what I need to stop me feeling dreary and old in dreary old Edinburgh.
We have had two storms in a row now. Storm Ciara (I know a Ciara and this kind of fits with her personality) brought snow, slush, rain, rain, slush, wind and a bit more wind for good measure. That was a lovely week for my commute to Glasgow (not!).
Ice formed on the new bridge across the forth – closing it. its always slightly amusing to Edinburgers born and bred when the Fifers can’t get in. Sorry, I do mean it only in the nicest of ways (a bit of banter). I have friends from Fife. Thankfully my blog is anonymous so I will still have friends from Fife.
Then along comes Storm Dennis. Dennis the absolute right wee menace. I think Edinburgh probably has gotten off lightly with this one. It looks horrendous down in England but then there always is something about the national reporting that we, in Scotland, just don’t trust. The joke that does the rounds:
In England its a weather warning, in Scotland your mum just tells you to get your big coat on.
What Dennis has done is drench us all. Absolutely pissing down, drenching, power shower like rain.
Yesterday I spent my afternoon in yoga (weather was fine at this point) and then the gym. My gym is massive and there aren’t many windows (the only ones look out onto a bank). So I was happy, in a warm place (a little sweaty but still feeling ok) working on my chest and arm (muscles obviously). I was even happier when I got in the pool afterwards for a little swim and a really bubbly jaccuzi. Even more happy when I went back down stairs and lay down in the steam room.
As a side note there is no way to lie down in a steam room and not make noises like a big sucker type fart. I have tried lots of different ways. It is just not graceful.
Extra side note…it was only me in there yesterday so I wasn’t moving around making farting like noises in front of other people.
Being very steamy by this point I had a long shower and spent ages on my hair. Washing, blowdrying and straightening it. Then upstairs I bounced to the doors of the Omni Centre (my gym is in a city centre complex type place), to a sight of near devastation. People were outside walking at angles…brollies were blowing around mostly inside out. I looked round at the pub…looked outside….looked round at the pub…outside….aghhh it can’t be that bad I thought. I thought wrong.
It was. I somehow miraculously kept my newly washed and dried hair dry by putting it in a bun, putting on a bobble hat then adding another layer by putting up my jacket hood. My jacket is kind of waterproof and definitely windproof. By the time I had tailed it down into a coffee shop in the New Town I was literally soaked. My jacket is not fully waterproof. My trainers, sopping, my sockies…sopping, even my bloody boobs were wet. My hair was dry. Oh how chuffed I was with that (almost did a fist pump). My legs – I had on a new pair of Nike track pants (somewhere between yoga pants and tracky bottoms). They are like weird little miracles. They were dry. I don’t understand why given how much rain there was and the fact that eventually I was jumping through puddles and splashing about. But there you have it…track pant miracles.
The Storm Continues
Today I haven’t even bothered to go out. I stayed in bed for most of the morning and read. I contemplated the gym today but everything aches already from my sessions this week.
So I have done some house stuff and have listened to some new music podcasts. I just can’t make my mind up on doing anything more today. Slightly frustrated with the weather but also loving the feeling of being snug in the house. What else are you meant to do in a storm?
I was at yoga last night for a Yin class. Yin isn’t always comfortable but it is relaxing. There’s that fine line of finding your edge in the pose (stretches) and staying there for a good while (sometimes 5 minutes or more). It’s the balance of finding ease through effort.
The teacher last night described it as trying to disconnect from the effort. The attempt to relax and submit your body to whatever the pose is whilst you are also at the edge of your stretch. It can sometimes be a difficult balance to find. Its kind of a life thing too.
I usually go on a Sunday night when I’m already relaxed from the weekend. So this was different. Having worked right through from last week, a Monday night before my cheeky wee Tuesday off, really confused my body.
I know that my muscles are more often in a state of tension than they are in complete relaxation. Ask my Thai massage lady (Sue…literally the best and I really hope she comes back from her winter break in Thailand soon!), or the weird physio I saw for for an injury last year.
Its probably a work thing. But I don’t notice the possibility that my muscles are in a state of hyperarousal. Its functional as a response to some environments but it feels like a relaxed norm. I don’t know how to fully describe it but I only notably notice my difficulties in moving from tension to relaxation if I am lying on a beach (Carribean or Koh Samui preferably) or if I am in Yin. On a beach I get the difference, in Yin I have to consciously submit my muscles to relaxation then try and be in the stillness. I can do this on a Sunday. A Monday after a run of work…clearly not!
Last night I was present and I was on my edge. This wasn’t hard to get to given it was hip opener and hamstrings as a focus. My hammies are not the most flexible. I wasn’t balanced though. My body felt different in every area and on both sides. I know this is likely to be the case usually; in Yin it is so noticeable. I couldn’t let my quads go in forwards folds, my glutes in frog. Its not like they are brilliantly toned and lovey muscles…they are just tense.
Maybe its just a representation of the last few weeks. No matter the reason it doesn’t matter. I got my body last night, I worked with it and got some stillness. Some ease in the effort. Some relaxation. A Monday night relaxation. Its different to my Sunday night relaxation but my Tuesday off long lie was worth getting to.
*The header is a photo from a holiday in Koh Samui a couple of years ago. It was beautiful there.
Just what I needed the morning after a leg day in the gym. Just what I didn’tneed after a leg day in the gym. Mermaid or a King Pigeon is one of my favourite peak poses in a yoga flow. Maybe not after a leg day though.
I didn’t quite get the full pose in the picture above. Slightly adapted with my front hand on a block in front. Still pretty damn good for me given how tight my quads and hip flexors are.
Mermaid pose involves a deep stretch of your quads, open hip flexors, chest opening and a backbend. Plenty of opportunity then to get it wrong. Coming from a pigeon pose you need everything to squeeze into the centre to even give you lift in the first place. Then to grab the foot you need enough alignment, back bend and chest opening. To put the foot into your elbow so you can bind to the front hand…well I can’t get there.
I have been working on my shoulders and posture for ages so this bit I don’t find difficult. I can do the bind easily. But what I find really hard is the quad stretch and open hip flexors so I can’t get the bind with my leg in play. It just won’t yet go far enough to hook it into my elbow. Hence a block. My quads aren’t quite there yet so the adaptation works for me.
The benefits. Pretty much the whole pose if you can do it correctly. If not then even the adaptations offer the same benefits. So a day after leg day in the gym my legs thanked me for pigeon and for the stretch in mermaid.
This is the part my legs didn’t thank me for. Worse still I turned up for a mid morning class a little fatigued with the intention of hiding at the back. With the intention also to use child’s pose if I needed to. So it was ironically amusing that others had cancelled and I ended up with only one other person. Pants! No place to hide then. I figured I would do my best. Full body flow classes are pretty much just that – working everything. The instructor whilst lovely is not one for an easy breezy relaxed almost yin like class. Pants!
The flows to get there involved far too many (in my sore leg state of opinion) high crescent lunges with chest openers, twists and strengthening moves. These moves mean you are static in that high crescent lunge for ages at a time. Working some pretty big muscles. Breathing is meant to help. Breathing doesn’t always help.
Every time she said “come back to high crescent lunge as it helps for strength” I died a little inside. There was no where to hide. Sometimes you just have to get on with it. Yes they need strength but the high lunges also stretch the quads.
Lots of flows later we finally land on the mat for a lot of pigeon work. Next thing you know – mermaid pose and the foot is easy to catch. Working it into the elbow…possibly harder. Both me and the bloke who were the only two there didn’t quite get fully into the pose. But we both worked really hard to get to where we were. We both were pretty chuffed at our acheivement.
My knees and my feet were sweaty. His…I didn’t want to stare.
Yes it felt amazing. It felt lovely the day after my leg day. My shoulders are sitting better (down and back) and everything feels a little more open. The getting there…not so much.