Fallen angel

Earlier this week, I saw a picture of Amber, a teacher from my yoga studio (yes, I’m calling it mine) in an awesome inversion arm balance pose. Right away, I thought to myself “must try this pose now!” However, I decided to wait, because it’s not a good idea to throw yourself into a pose you don’t know.

When I went to the stuido later that day, Amber was there. I told her I just had to know how to get in to the amazing pose. She told me it’s called fallen angel, which is just perfect, because I fall all the time! Then she pulled out a mat and demonstrated how to get into in, right there in the lobby, because she’s awesome like that.

Today, since I have the day off, I figured it would be a great time to try it out. I stretched out my neck first, because there is a strange face-pressed-into-the-floor thing going on. And then, I did it! Sort of. It’s not perfect, but it was my first time, so I’m just happy I tried and managed to somewhat get into it.

First, I started off in side crow.

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Then, I placed the side of my face onto the floor. You don’t want to smush your face too much here. Also, here is a great view of my butt for you.

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After that came the tricky part. I had to lift my left leg straight up, leave my right knee on my elbow and point the toes up.

My first try looked like this. Notice the intense look of concentration on my face.

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I tried again (many, many times) and finally got it to this point. My right shoulder is only about a millimeter off the ground, and it should be level with the left shoulder, and my right leg is not pointing up enough, but come on, this is freakin amazing!

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You can come out of it gracefully, going back into side crow, then slowly coming up. Or, you can do what I did and tumble out in one big heap. Either way works well.

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You can check out Amber in fallen angel. How fabulous is she?

I think this might be my new favourite pose. If any of my teachers are reading this, can we please do this pose next time?

Balance is the key to life

Earlier this month, I decided to do an arm balance challenge. One arm balance a day. It went pretty well for a while, then I lost a few days to random excuses such as I’m tired, I forgot, I have bruises everywhere from falling over. Oh well. I can’t go back to those days and actually do an arm balance, so I’m going to focus on today and the rest of the month.

Here are a few shots from before my little break and from today.

Side Crow – Parsva Bakasana

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Crow pose – Bakasana

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Teddy bear headstand

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More side crow

I’m doing something funny with my toes here!

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Crow pose from another angle

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Scissors pose – Astavakrasana

The scissors pose that wasn’t meant to be. I couldn’t get my toes off the ground.

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Eight angle pose – Astavakrasana

Well. Sort of.

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To be fair to myself, there were days where I might not have taken a picture, but I did go to a yoga class where I practiced arm balances. I’ve realized I am awesome at side crow on one side, but I fall over on th other side. Something else to work on!

If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough

A while back, I saw that written over a picture of a girl doing a headstand and I thought “yes! This is exactly it. This is what I want.” I tell everyone that I’ll do a headstand one day. Any inversion, really, but the headstand is my goal.

However, I realized I talk a lot, but I don’t do much. I’m happy when we practice arm balances in class, because that’s where I need to start. But what about all the classes I go to that don’t have arm balances? Or the days when I don’t practice at all?

At the begining of the month, I wrote about challenges. I love a good challenge, but it has to mean something, it has to lead somewhere. That’s when I rememebered my headstand, and my arm balance challenge was born. It’s pretty simple. Do one arm balance pose a day. That’s it. Oh, and take a picture. Because I like pictures.

Sometimes, I can only hold the pose for the few seconds it takes for the picture to be taken. But that’s ok. It’s better than not doing anything at all.

Here’s what I’ve got so far.

February 3rd – crow pose

I started off with my favourite, because it’s the easiest for me.

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February 4th – side crow

In a skirt, no less.

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February 5th – Eight angle pose

In my bird dress and feather necklace (it’s a whole avian concept, in case you don’t get it). This pose needs a lot of work. I know you can’t see my feet, but I assure you they’re not on the ground. My arms are the only thing holding me up.

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February 6th – shoulder-pressing pose

I don’t like this picture. The angle is weird. But the only other picture I have from this day is me falling out of crow pose. I have a big bruise on my knee now. This pose is difficult because I always feel like either my arms are too short or my butt is too heavy. Let’s go with the arms. Also, my legs really are nowhere near my shoulders. something else to work on.

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February 7th – teddy bear headstand

I’m not sure if this is the actual name for this pose, but I like it. It’s cute.

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February 8th – crow pose

This is the crow pose that almost wasn’t. I forgot to do my pose of the day until I was going to bed, so I was tired and cranky. I could barely lift my toes up off the ground.

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February 9th – scissors pose

Again, not sure if this is the right name. It looks like my head is on the ground, but it’s not, it’s just my hair. I see the placement of my left arm is a little off. This one is hard, but it’s one of my favourites.

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I’m enjoying this challenge so far. Some days, I don’t really feel like it, but after I’ve done it, I feel really proud of myself, even if I fall over. I like taking pictures because it’s like a mirror. I can see exactly what I need to work on. It’s one thing to feel the pose, but sometimes, seeing it helps too.

An open letter to hot yoga

Dear hot yoga,

I love you. You don’t have to say anything, I know you feel the same way I do. How do I know? Easy. You give me so much.

Some people don’t understand my attraction to you. They say you’re too hot, too sweaty, too intense. Don’t worry, I always defend you. I tell them how amazing you make me feel.

I think our relationship is based on the little things, like that time we did side crow. Remember that? We should do it again soon. I also love it when we practice inversions. Keeps things interesting.

My love for you is so strong, it’s got me almost regretting my latest haircut. I wasn’t thinking of you when I got bangs. I had one of those “I need to be my own person” moments and chopped off my hair. Now, it’s always sticking to my face, no matter how many bobby pins I use. I know, I know. My fault, not yours.

You bring out the best in me. You make me feel so strong, like there’s nothing I can’t do. I never imagined I would do an arm balance, and look at me now. I might still fall sometimes (ok, a lot of times) but I know that’s just because you’re giving me time to get there.

It’s almost magical the way you can completely change my mood. If I’m having a bad day, I just spend an hour with you and I feel so much better! If I’m tired, you give me energy. I try to give you as much as I can. Time, sweat, energy, effort. If I have it to give, it’s yours to take.

I know I spend time with the others sometimes, but running and gym are just not in the same league as you. You have nothing to worry about. Dancing is pretty cool, but she’s different. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. Both of you are awesome. (But I love you best.)

I might not see you this weekend, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be thinking about you. I can’t wait to see what you’ll make me discover about myself next time!

Thanks for everything,

Me.

P.S. I’ve included one of my favourite pictures of us. It was the first time we did wheel!

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Looking for the beat

I like to try new things. If you’ve read any of my posts before, you know this. Last week, my friend Ichih asked me if I wanted to go to a hip-hop dance class with her. I couldn’t, because I was busy being a Rocky Horror first-timer, but last night, I was free! I’ve done hip-hop before, although badly, so I thought I knew what to expect.

Well, I was wrong. Not only was it not actually hip-hop, it was some kind of awesome hip-hop-and-something-else hybrid. I’m told this is called house. Wait a minute, I don’t like house. I’m sure I don’t. I think I don’t? Talk about trying something new.

When we got to the studio, there was a dance hall class going on. Right away, I was excited to dance. What we did was completely different, but it kind of set the mood. It was a small, one-room studio and everyone seemed to know each other. But not in a we’re cool ’cause we all know each other and you’re the new girl so we won’t talk to you high school way. Not, it felt like a house party.

At first, we started sliding around from side to side. We rubbed our shoes in baby powder, which made me feel like Nadia Comaneci or something. I’ve always wanted to do that and then slap my hands together and have the white powder go everywhere. I couldn’t really justify putting my hands in the powder, however, so I just pretended in my head.

Sarah and Rise, our instructors, told us the sliding motion was kind of like skating. I’m pretty sure they meant roller skating, but I decided they meant ice skating, because I’m good at that. I convinced myself would be good at this house stuff too. About 15 minutes in, I realized it didn’t matter at all how good anyone was, it was just a bunch of people dancing.

It was like being in a club, but not having to worry about not being dressed right. Before the class, Ichih told me to wear baggy clothes. I realized I don’t have any. None that I can wear in public, that is. So I went with my yoga stuff. When in doubt, go with the lulu.

We slid around from side to side for a while, then slid our feet to the front, then up, one at a time. We had to crunch down while bringing the foot up. Yeah, that wasn’t working for me. I looked like a giraffe getting a drink of water. Awkward.

After the class was over, everyone just hung out and danced some more. I tried to do all the moves I learned and it was fun, if not particularly attractive. We even did some kind of push-up dance off kind of thing. I can barely do 2 push ups, let alone all these different, crazy varieties. But every push-up session needs someone saying “Why are we doing this? Good job everyone else, I’ll just lay here and watch.”

I had an awesome time and I made some new friends, so I’d say the evening was a success!

Although this is not a post about yoga, I had to add this next part. I went to an amazing power class with Jen at Pure this morning. I’ve been doing mostly yin lately, so it felt wonderful to push myself and try to do things I normally can’t do. Well. I did side crow. Side crow! How awesome is that? I had to share!