Sunday, January 8, 2012

(Friends and Wine Help You) Aim True - Day Five

On Saturday I had a full, wonderful day with my dear friend Christi, and we took this class together in her beautiful yoga/sewing/meditation/craft/etc. room, complete with candles and incense. I wish I had that room to practice in EVERY day. Sigh.

Basics for a Solid Yoga Practice
Vinyasa Flow
Level 1
Kathryn Budig

Learn the basics of a solid yoga practice. Open your hips and chest to build strength through Chaturanga (push-up) modifications leading to Sun Salutations. Perfect for the new yogi looking to build strength and awareness.

This class was posted on YogaGlo on August 12, 2010, and I originally took it on January 3, 2011.
  • 5/84 Kathryn Budig YogaGlo classes complete.
  • 3/5 I had taken at least once before. 
If you're really paying attention, you'll notice that I broke my own rule and skipped ahead a couple of classes today. That was for two reasons. First of all, after four intense Kathryn classes this week (and teaching ten classes myself) I was SORE on Saturday. Especially in my arms and shoulders. The thought of a kick-ass, fast-paced Vinyasa practice was making me feel both petrified and angry. The second reason was that my friend Christi doesn't practice yoga as regularly as I do, and has an old elbow injury that she really has to be careful about. I didn't want her to put herself at risk of injury to practice with me. It was worth it to break my own rule to be able to practice with a friend, though, and I'll get back on track chronologically tomorrow.

I'm actually a big fan of foundational classes, even having practiced yoga for years. For one thing, and especially in Vinyasa Flow, you can start going through poses so fast, that you start being a little (a lot?)  careless about form in order to keep up. There are a lot of ways you can really injure yourself doing chaturanga incorrectly (and rotator cuff injuries are no joke) and yet so many people practice this style of yoga day after day after day, never REALLY learning how to properly do chaturanga. I think the reason really boils down to the fact that performing chaturanga correctly is REALLY, REALLY DIFFICULT. It's hard freakin' work, it requires a great deal of shoulder and upper body strength, and so if you're trying to get through a bazillion sun salutations and you want to look like a badass, you start skimping on alignment in order to make it easier on your body. The problem is, what feels "easier" can actually end up hurting you in both the short and long run. All this to say that I think it's important and essential to go back and revisit the building blocks of what yoga teachers often call "taking a vinyasa" - which is commonly linking downdog to plank to chaturanga to updog to downdog with the rhythm of the breath. (To be nit picky, the word vinyasa actually means "to place in a special way" - vi means "special" and nyasa means "to place" - and the nuances are many. Yoga Chicago has an article here that says "There are four basic definitions of vinyasa: 1) the linking of body movement with breath; 2) a specific sequence of breath-synchronized movements used to transition between sustained postures; 3) setting an intention for one's personal yoga practice and taking the necessary steps toward reaching that goal; and 4) a type of yoga class." 

So yes, this practice was pretty basic for me, and relatively easy. But it was GREAT for me to take not only for checking in with my own practice and alignment in poses I do often, but also to brush up on different exercises and variations I can use to teach my beginner level students these important foundational tools.  

This was a 45 minute class, which was only made possible by the fact that there was no led savasana to end. Kathryn said to take a five or ten minute savasana if you wanted to, but you'd have to set your own alarm to do that. Christi and I dealt with this by following the class immediately with a 20 minutes guided savasna by meditation guru and master, Harshada Wagner. I'm telling you, this is probably the most relaxing 20 minutes you can claim. If you have a subscription to YogaGlo, TAKE THIS CLASS. It's kind of like drinking hot chai whilst wrapped in soft blankets, sitting in a warm candle-lit room, watching snow fall on the mountains outside your window. Truly delicious, cozy and restorative. (I have an epic crush on Harshada, by the way. He's so damn cute that it's really a shame to close your eyes while he is on your computer screen, leading you into deep meditation with his soothing, sexy voice. Heeheehee!)

After it was over, Christi and I split a bottle of wine, so I took a photo to sum up our practice. I am especially proud of my mala bead placement. =) I also had to get a photo of the adorable way my nieces, Madeline and Lily, helped me decorate my yoga blogs a few weeks ago. They are so adorable and amazing! I never have an excuse to feel unloved, that's for sure.

We got Chinese take-out and had some more wine, and later two of our close friends, Devin and Holly, came over for a full-blown girls night, complete with candy cane martinis. Holly brought the most mouth-watering food: prosciutto-wrapped, goat cheese stuffed dates, a date dip made with cumin and ginger, stuffed grape leaves with Greek yogurt dip and fresh pita bread. We listened to music, talked about everything you can imagine (I may or may not have told a few embarrassing stories I shouldn't have - but that's what girl friends are for, right?) and ended the night watching an episode of An Idiot Abroad. Then this morning Christi made us all waffles and sausages, and this afternoon Christi and I got back on our mats for a restorative class via YogaGlo - a sixth bonus day of yoga for me! This class, titled "Wipe the Slate Clean" was a lot of long holds (hold is not the right word...more like long MELTS) in simple but deeply restorative postures. It was the ideal way to end my week of mostly challenging classes. What an absolutely fantastic day/evening/morning/afternoon.

Week one is DONE, and I actually did it - I took five Kathryn Budig classes and wrote about them. I'm actually really excited now about week two. This is turning out to be a lot more fun than I thought it would be, and that is going to make it easier to keep going. Seeing that I still have 80 classes or so to go is daunting, but I'm up for the challenge! If this project makes the month of January more bearable for me (I usually LOATHE it with passion) I will feel incredible, and so far it's working. 2012 is off to such a fantastic start!



  1. An amazing 24 hours of good conversations, good affirmations, good movement, good yummies! I adore you, my beloved friend.

  2. I soooo wish I could have been there with you guys! Sounds like you had a wonderful weekend,

  3. That sounds like the most wonderful weekend! Good work finishing the first week. I am proud of you!