Primary Friday: So Sleepy...

(image source)
The moon day couldn't keep me away from my mat today.  It's been a hectic week and I couldn't stand the thought of another practice compromised.  Sunday I had a solid full practice, then another nice practice on Monday, but it all felt apart after that.

Tuesday, my feet were dragging and I could barely keep myself awake.  I surrendered to a nap after school with the intention of waking up to do a late-afternoon practice, but when I woke up I felt tired, stiff, cold, and disoriented. I haven't felt so much resistance to the practice in a long time.  I couldn't do it.  My body firmly rejected any suggestion otherwise.  Instead, I managed to get on my mat for an hour in the evening, and actually had a very nice, light practice.  I felt like a different person afterwards.  It was probably just what I needed.

Wednesday, I was still feeling really resistant to the idea of an Ashtanga practice.  I'm not sure what the aversion was, but the thought of it made me want to bury myself in blankets and cry myself to sleep.  I nearly skipped practice altogether, but decided to try and pull myself out of the funk by getting out of the apartment and tapping into some community energy.  I took two classes from two of my favorite teachers at the home studio.  Between classes, I worked on backbends.  The change of pace was perfect, and it was really great to practice among fellow teachers and alongside some of my students.  I needed that.

By Thursday, I was itching to get back to my full practice, but still feeling strangely anemic.  With a full day planned, I had hoped to fit my full practice in during the afternoon, but again, I fell asleep.  It seems I can't make it through an entire day anymore without an extended afternoon nap.  By the time I awoke, I only had about an hour for practice.  I managed to satisfy my craving for Ashtanga with a whittled-down Primary that snapped me right out of my sleepy stupor.  Afterwards, on my way to the studio to teach my evening classes, I realized that there are few things in this world that a good practice and a shower won't fix.

I've heard exhaustion is sometimes experienced by those new to Intermediate.  Being reminded of this recently, it occurred to me that I have added a pretty good chunk of poses to my practice.  At the end of those two weeks with Swenson, I added in Bharadvajasana and Ardha Matsyendrasana.  A couple days later, I put Eka Pada back in there, with Yoganidrasana as the cherry on top. All of these are very core-intensive and asymmetrical postures, so they're all done twice with a vinyasa between sides.  That's a fair bit of work.  In the context of the practice, it feels like nothing, but looking at it more objectively, it's possible that I'm simply adjusting to the increased energetic demands of my practice over these past few weeks.

Still, today I was determined to get back on track, moon day be damned.  I woke with a headache, but self-medicated with coffee and tons of water.  The headache eased off, but wouldn't go away.  Nonetheless, I unrolled my mat for Primary this afternoon and I am so glad I did.  I had a fantastic practice.  It felt incredibly good to be back in the rhythm of Ashtanga.  There is something so freeing in it.

After practice, I made myself a protein and iron-rich dinner of sirloin, pinto beans, and sauteed spinach to give this chronic exhaustion a good, square kick in the ass.  I intend to rest tomorrow, do the whole oil bath routine and try to shove off this funk for good so I can start anew with morning practice next week.  Though I must admit, I'm afraid to find out what my Intermediate postures are going to feel like after nearly a week away.


  1. Argh, I just tried posting a comment and failed, now it's gone - how appropriate, I was just musing about how everything doesn't move FORWARD all the time - sometimes you'll have a flying week of yoga and if you're forced by circumstance or your body to relax for a couple of days italways feels like a bit of a let-down.

    Yesterday I WAS that dog in the picture, hehe...I kept napping and getting up and napping, and I even stoped beating myself over the head for not doing the yoga I'd thought I'd do, I was that out of whack. I had no idea about moon days! I'm not doing ashtanga by a long shot (yet?!) but I'm observing those moon days as per now, haha!

    Hope you have a nice weekend :-)

  2. M - you are a powerhouse, and the at-home-practice is admirable, but there is something about 'self-practice-Mysore-style' WITH community energy. It didn't take me too long to realize how much a Mysore Room feeds and inspires the practice. Maybe once a week at least. Thanks for all your writings!!

  3. I love how you are able to be flexible and do what your body needs, instead of adhering strictly to your routine no matter what.

  4. Anne - Ashtangis rest on days of the full and new moons. Supposedly, because of the gravitational relationship of the moon to the earth, moon days put us at higher risk of injury. Also, by recognizing the the lunar cycle, one becomes more in tune with the natural rhythms of the earth. It's also a nice excuse for an extra day of rest every couple of weeks. ;)

    ayKim - It's true, there is something so powerful in the group energy of a mysore room, or any good yoga class, really. I haven't been to a mysore room since the last day with Swenson two weeks ago. I should try to make the trip one of these days.

    Dottie - It's important to remember that we do this practice to strengthen and prepare us for life. When it becomes a burden or begins to make our lives harder, it's time to make adjustments. David Swenson really stressed this point to us during the Q&A sessions. Avoid burnout at all costs. The continuation of the practice is more important than the duration.

  5. Nice Dog
    I think it is tired
    non voice projects