Thursday, September 15, 2011

Evening Lotus

Michelle mentioned that developing a nightly routine of both pose practice (asana), breathing (pranayama) and meditation (yoga nidra for sleep) might help with my insomnia. I have been using Michelle yoga nidra recording nightly (or actually several times a night) and it has really helped. It is really frustrating when you can't sleep, and try as I might not to focus on the fact that I am not sleeping, it occasional rears its ugly head in the back of my mind. Emptying my mind of all thought and just existing really helps me fight pain and calm my body. I sometimes notice that I am very tense while sleeping, my arms wrapped tightly around pillows, my face screwed up in pain. This is where the nidra really helps, by focusing on a small part of my body at a time and thinking about that part of the body relaxing. By shining the 'light of your mind' on a tense area of the body, your mind can calm this part of the body down, and piece by piece relax you.

I am working on editing an audio recording of our practice during class. Michelle explains the actions so clearly that it is possible to follow along without seeing anything. Its very relaxing just hearing a voice and not having to watch a video, especially if you are trying to reduce your exposure to blue light before bed.

Last night, as I was just a little way into my practice, working on mostly breathing exercises and hand mudras, I realized I could be sitting in half lotus for this. My joints are very swollen and painful, still and uncomfortable (although yoga is helping loosen them up!), so I decided to just go for half lotus. I found it incredibly easy and comfortable to sit that way, shocking myself. I thought, boy, if half lotus is this easy, I bet I could sit in full lotus (Padmasana), even though the last time I sat in full lotus was maybe 3-4 years ago. A month ago, before I started yoga, I would never have been able to even attempt a half lotus, and never would have dreamed of sitting in full! After just a few weeks of almost daily yoga practice, in relative comfort I could sit in full lotus! It was quite a stretch, and I couldn't hold it for a long period (I think because my joints are so swollen), but this is a fantastic start. I was just so proud of myself that I asked Mum to take my picture, even though I was in my clashing pajamas :P. As I was lying on my bed and lounging, I was able to sit in full lotus while on my back, which was a wonderful stretch. I suppose everything is possible with practice and dedication...a very exciting lesson for life.

first full lotus in 4 years!

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