Best Laid Plans...

If you've been reading the blog lately, then you know that I've been having some trouble getting back into the rhythm of a 6-day per week practice.  I have many excuses:  my work schedule has beefed up, I had minor surgery, I went on vacation, etc... But most of all, I just can't get out of "celebration mode."  First, there were the results of the biopsy (negative in the most positive way), then my birthday, then a much-needed visit home to my family and best friend in the world, and the list goes on...  Every day, in every way, I feel like a medieval queen, shaking my skirts about and shouting, "More food!  More wine!" As I hoist a bronze goblet above my head.

To combat this ongoing revelry, I've been thinking about trying to design some sort of a weekly practice plan for myself to keep things manageable and straightforward, with a couple of shorter practices built in so I don't have to feel guilty when I don't have the time or energy for a marathon practice.  But then again, I have to ask:  why create even more expectations?  Why try to reshape the box when I can just eliminate the box entirely?

Allow me to field my own question:  Because it's easier than being honest with myself and assessing my own unique needs and energy level on any given day.  So, while I am wary of imposing further boundaries on something as ideally free and unfettered as the practice, I think perhaps that these simple reinforcements will help me stay productive as I transition from this EPIC introspective summer to the social, structured nature of the fall.

The first draft of my practice plan goes something like this:

  • Sunday:  Full Primary + Intermediate (whatever my current Intermediate chunk may be)
  • Monday:  1/2 Primary + Intermediate
  • Tuesday:  Primary to Supta Kurmasana + Intermediate
  • Wednesday:  Full Primary + Intermediate
  • Thursday:  1/2 Primary + Intermediate
  • Friday:  Full Primary
  • Saturday:  Rest

Now, at this point it's only Tuesday and already I've flown off course.  Yesterday was an incredibly busy day from morning to night.  I was barely able to squeeze in 1/2 Primary alone, much less add the Intermediate on top.  Nonetheless, it was a pleasant practice.  And (good news!) I got my backbends back!!  Friday I played with a bent-arm expression of Urdhva Dhanurasana.  Sunday, I did 6 rounds of Urdhva Dhanurasana with straight arms, but no drop backs.  Then, yesterday, I managed 3 straight-arm backbends PLUS 3 surprisingly smooth drop backs, all without any pain.  Huzzah!  So glad to be dropping back again.  It just feels soooo good.

Should be able to get back on track with the practice plan today.  I've got nothing but time this afternoon and the weather has been just perfect for turning off the A/C, opening all the windows, and sweating myself clean on the mat.  


  1. Congrats on the backbends, haha :-). Trust me, I know how it feels to "get it back"! And thanks for your wellwishes...I'm telling you, that Gregor Maehle book, I'm so glad I bought in stead of borrowed, but I had a hunch it'd be like that. I haven't ventured into the actual practice chapter - I am taking this "opportunity" of only very gradually improving to go really slow an get the foundations right, I hope, trying to breathe consciously and make the little adjustments. Thanks again for the recommendation - I literally don't know what I would do without yoga :-).

  2. How about just a week or two of straight Primary to get the discipline back ....you can include the leg behind entry to supta kurmasana and make the most of dropbacks at the end to cover backbends. once the discipline is back and youve stopped shaking your skirts add 2nd back on.
    just a thought.

  3. First, let me say that I really enjoy your blog, it has inspired me a lot as I work on my own practice. I'm really happy, and even relieved, for your good news.

    As I read this latest entry, Guruji's words "practice and all is coming" kept repeating themselves in my brain. Before I really started practicing Ashtanga I didn't understand what he meant. Maybe I still don't. But for me, right now, it means to not worry so much about doing a certain asana or a certain number of them. Thinking that if I practice all will come makes me focus more on the invisible yoga; the breath, the bandhas and to not be so concerned about whether or not I will ever get to do Marychiasana D or not in this life time. When I started becoming more aware of my breath and bandhas, I stopped looking around the room at other people, and I stopped being so proud of what I could do and frustrated with what I couldn't do. It seemed to me that the really important thing was something no one can see-- breathe, bandhas. So, I just do what I can do as I focus on the invisible yoga. Ironically, as I do this, my physical practice seems to get better. So, I would say, don't worry so much, breathe, "practice and all is coming."

  4. Anne - I'm so glad for you. Maehle's book is really rich with information. I can open it up to practically any page and find myself absorbed.

    Grimm - I spent a couple of weeks on Primary after the Doc gave me the go-ahead. Normally, I'd be fine to carry on with Primary indefinitely, I love it so. But with the Swenson teacher training coming up in a couple of weeks, during which we will cover both Primary and Intermediate, I'd like to have a fluid, if partial, Intermediate practice to work with.

    John - You are absolutely right. Thank you for the reminder.

  5. Love the medieval queen imagery!! With your hair floating all around I can see you shaking those skirts and chanting "more wine"! Enjoy yourself! I have no doubts that you will come back to your practice and discipline, whatever form that may take. You continue to be an inspiration.

  6. Anne, I just discovered your blog and am loving it. Just wanted to stop by and say hi and namaste!

    -Rachel @ alive in the fire

  7. Dottie - Thanks. It was good to see you at the studio on Monday. You are looking so beautiful these days.

    Rachel - It's doubtful that Anne will see your comment here. If you wish to say hello to her, I recommend you leave your comments on her blog. And there is no need to leave your link in your comment signature. Your username will connect interested parties to your blog. This is not a forum for self-promotion.

  8. Of course, forgot about the Swenson TT