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Everything posted by Hildegard

  1. Long story short: about three weeks ago I broke a toe. Eventually went to the doctor, confirmed it was a fracture and had my toes taped together for support. This helped tremendously, as I couldn't walk without limping and being in serious pain. I was told not to go wild and not to walk too much, but that was it. I've been trying to follow my doctor's advice, but I've found it frustratingly vague. The appointment was kind of rushed and I didn't get the time to explain that I do yoga and ask specific questions as to what kind of movement I should avoid. Getting another appointment with this doctor isn't an option in the near future. I lucked out to get one when I did. I've been doing my best to avoid any asanas that put pressure and/or weight in my toes. In plank or lunge, for example, I put my weight on my big toe (I broke the equivalent of my ring finger on my left foot). I'm not doing any jumps during sun salutations, any crouching poses. I've been trying to focus on core work and arm balances, while being very careful with my foot balances. Still, part of me is afraid I'm doing something wrong though nothing hurts during my practice (if it does I move until it doesn't). I was wondering if anyone had a similar experience and/or some advice to share.
  2. Thank you for the response. I've definitely been trying to include more inversions into my practice, following your advice. Unfortunately, I didn't receive very specific medical instructions (not to walk much, wear study shoes, don't do crazy things - whatever that means), so I'm just doing the bet I can.
  3. I used to do a short warmup video, but I've been skipping it for the past few months and I haven't noticed any difference in my practice. Since I do yoga at home, I'm free to meditate for as long as I want before my actual yoga practice. This helps me calm down and get into the receptive mindset that allows me to get the most from my yoga practice. As I tend to meditate in half lotus I suppose it also opens up my hips, but that's not really my goal.
  4. I was recently diagnosed with ADD. It came as something of a surprise, albeit one that makes perfect sense and helps me understand myself and the way my brain works better. I've started medication, but I'm also interested on finding out how my regular yoga practice can help me deal with my ADD. Being diagnosed as having ADD as an adult means that somehow I've come up with a number of tricks to counteract what I thought was my being absurdly absent minded (I write down everything), but that doesn't quite cut it. I've done a number of online searches on the subject, but much to my frustration pretty much all the results involve ADHD (not the same diagnosis) and/or children - i.e.: how yoga helps ADHD children, which doesn't really answer my questions as I'm neither a child nor do I have ADHD. I already do yoga every day and try to meditate daily as well, but I'm interested on how other people deal with it. I was wondering if anyone here has had a similar experience or any insight on the subject.
  5. yogafire: you've no idea how much your comment cheered me up. Glad to hear you found my experience useful :)
  6. It's not an uncommon situation at all. I've found that focusing more in my core rather than my arms has helped me with my arm balances. Making sure my body is stable means that my arms don't have to do extra work in that kind of asanas. It also means that when I fall it'll happen in a controlled way, which is good for my body and my ego. I've also found it helpful to make sure my alignment is always right. My chaturangas were a disaster until I realised that the placement of my hands and the orientation of my elbows was all wrong. Now the pose comes naturally to me. What has also worked for me is to incorporate more advanced arm balances into my practice, even though I'm aware the full expression of the pose is not going to happen in the near future. For example, I like to do my very limited version of astavakrasana toward the end of my practice a few times a week. I can lift my legs and sort of hold the pose for a millisecond before I hit the mat. I also like to do a few mini push ups when I'm in wheel pose. I don't like to insist too much with a pose that's not working for me at any given moment. I've found that when I get too obsessed with an asana my brain will block, which in turn will block my body. It's best to try a variety of poses.
  7. First and foremost, I'd like to apologise for taking so long to reply to the kind comments posted in this thread. Chronic depression did its thing once again, I'm afraid. I'll definitely try to incorporate more balancing poses to my practice. They're fun, and if I add the extra mindfulness component you mention, I think they'll prove to be even better for me. I tend to close my eyes more often than not during my practice, but now I'll do it with a sense of purpose. I think that's my problem - and my question - comes down to how to bring that sense of focus and mindfulness I experience in my yoga practice and meditation into my daily life. kdemps: glad to hear my post resonates with you. I'm on a slightly higher dose of ADD medication, once a day. I'm also trying to find coping mechanisms for my daily life and it's a challenge. I'm going to try adding mala beads to my meditation and see how that goes. Some days my meditation goes well and I'm able to find more moments of peace, some other days it feels like my mind wanders constantly. I haven't tried the productive app, but I'm going to check it out. So far I'm working with a bullet journal (basically a calendar + daily planner + to do list) and it's been quite helpful. As with so many things, it comes down to how much effort I put into it.
  8. KateZena: That's some truly impressive progress. Go you for all your hard work!
  9. I'm going to give that a go when the time comes, but for some reason I have a lot of issues when it comes to rhythm and tempo - I simply can't keep it. I'm rather tone deaf, too. I'm also tempted to try the RPG approach, but I fear it may be too much for me. Whenever I've tried mnemonics or something similar I end up remembering the mnemonic itself and I draw a complete blank on what it was supposed to help me remember. Unfortunately, visualising is not an option as I've noticed my mind has the tendency to photoshop, if you will, my own memories. I can't trust that the image I'm seeing in my brain is the real deal and not something I came up with. I've done the experiment of trying to visualise my own full name on, say, a random book's typeface and sure enough, I can see it as if it'd been printed on the page. I noticed this particular quirk while presenting my university entrance exams and I was trying to remember some definition from my textbook and every possible answer I came up with looked right (they all looked like they had the right typeface, same paper texture, ink colour, etc). My brain is a master forger, for better or worse.
  10. I believe this reaction comes from two places. First, reading lists of symptoms makes me wonder how no one noticed my ADD when I was a child, which would have saved me from countless stress and frustration. Sadly, back at the time, there was very little awareness of ADD in general, and most of it was focused on ADHD and how it presents on boys. It makes me wish I could go back in time, wave the checklists to my teachers and doctors and get a proper diagnosis decades ago. Secondly, I tend to have a hard time relating to anything that involves children. I avoid books or movies that have children as their protagonists because I just can't connect, almost as if they're an alien species. It's a very weird, very visceral reaction. My neurologist has hinted at a possible Aspergers diagnosis for a variety of reasons (eye contact doesn't come naturally to me at all), but we haven't focused on that. Now that you mention that it tends to be misdiagnosed as ADD, it makes sense. Maybe my brain kind of blurs the lines, but it's definitely something I should look into more thoroughly. There are certainly things in the article you linked that ring a bell (lots of bells, an entire bell tower's worth) for me. I hadn't thought of fidget toys, but maybe I should go back to doodling. I definitely need help to stay focused. When I was in school teachers would always notice me doodling on the edges of my notebooks and call me on it, asking me to stop, because they were under the impression I wasn't paying attention when I was. On hindsight, the doodling allowed me to stay focused while the teacher repeated a point I was already clear on or was busy answering someone's questions. I'd like to thank you for your very thorough and helpful answer. I really appreciate the effort that went into it
  11. Thank you! This is exactly what I had in mind when I made the post: something simple and helpful that I wouldn't have thought of on my own. I'll definitely give it a go and see how it works (or doesn't) for me.
  12. Oh yes it does. I have little to no short term memory and have serious problems memorising (learning by heart, word by word) anything, which is a huge problem considering I soon will start preparing for my law degree examination. I'm very forgetful and I have huge problems finishing projects and terrible, if not downright non-existent, time perception. I've only been on medication for ADD for little over a month and I already feel more focused. The almost constant noise, the thoughts racing in my head have diminished to a more manageable level. I still have a long way to go and a lot to learn, but I feel more at ease in my own skin.
  13. That's very good advice - thank you for sharing it. I'm going to try to follow it and see what happens. Sometimes (most of the time) my thoughts get in the way of my day. Anything I can do to stop being an obstacle toward myself, from getting in my own way, sounds like a good idea to me.
  14. I've found myself questioning an online instructor's sanity (and parentage) while doing a class that deeply disagreed with my body and my limits. Yelling at my computer was not one of my more dignified, let alone yogic, moments. Oops.
  15. I have a similar problem due to my flat feet. I wore special shoes for most of my childhood to correct this issue and while they helped a great deal, some problems remain. For example, I have a tendency to stand on the blades of my feet (the outer edge, your pinky toe side) rather than on the soles of my feet. It makes no difference as to whether I'm wearing shoes or not. Becoming aware of this quirk, so to speak, has helped in that I remind myself to use the entire sole of my feet to stand while being very careful to evenly distribute my body weight. Doing this has helped me a great deal, as well as trying to gently press down with my big toe to make sure my arch isn't collapsing. Another thing I've found very useful is to make sure that in warrior and lunge poses my knee is directly over the ankle. This helps distribute my body weight correctly and prevents injuries on my knees. Lastly, doing simple ankle circles - on both directions - also help to loosen up the ligaments on my feet, which in turn helps me prevent cramping on the soles of my feet during one-legged balance poses, like the ones you mention. Having said that, like everything else in yoga, this is a process and it's better to go easy on yourself. I avoided doing high lunges for a long time because of the painful cramping. Doing all the exercises and adjustments I mentioned earlier helped, but listening to my body and respecting its limits was just as helpful.
  16. I couldn't have said it better myself. Everybody's body is truly different and it would be pointless to do a hard and fast rule as to which poses are beginner, intermediate or advanced without taking into consideration the huge range of personal experiences. We all have strong points and weak points and past injuries or health (physical or mental) issues that affect how we approach any pose. Like yogafire, I'm still struggling with crow pose because upper body strength doesn't come naturally to me. I am fairly flexible, so binds, folds and twists are easier, but that doesn't make a more advanced/beginner practitioner - it's just where I'm at. My advice would be to note what comes easiest and what takes more effort from you in your practice. Be aware of where your limits currently lie and explore them gently. See which poses appeal to you, analyse them (do they require upper body strength? open hips?, etc) and give them a go - carefully. Maybe you'll be ready, maybe you won't, but you're still learning to listen to your body while you build strength and/or flexibility. Also, don't get too hung up if you can't do a certain asana just yet. Sometimes it's best to accept it's not going to be a part of your practice at this moment and rather than work on it obsessively, try to work on building the foundations for that asana. Look up that pose's alignment, just to make sure you're safe. The full expression will most likely come in time. ETA: yogajournal is a good reference when it comes to poses. The section for beginners is here, but I'd not go into it thinking that you have to do every pose in that section in order to move onto intermediate practice. For example, at this moment they have an article on eight poses for hanumanasana (splits pose), which is definitely a fairly advanced pose. Sure, you can learn from the preparatory poses, but you shouldn't worry about doing the end pose (hanumanasana). Read carefully, use your judgment and if in doubt, ask around! That's what we're here for
  17. While I agree that warming up before doing yoga isn't strictly necessary, I found it's become an important part of my daily routine. I do yoga first thing in the morning (warm up, meditation, then yoga), so my body can be quite stiff. Warming up helps me wake up and see which parts of my body need more attention, which in turn helps me decide what kind of yoga would suit me best for the day. I tend to do this video by Candace to warm up most days. Otherwise I'll do a very short series of spinal movements, just to see where I'm at.
  18. As @brenskip55 said, most styles of yoga don't have a defined list of which poses you must master before moving to the next level. For better or worse, it's a very nebulous zone and what one person might consider an advanced pose another can think of as intermediate. It can be very frustrating to be in that in-between zone, but at the same time it allows you to find your own pace and discover what you feel comfortable doing. It can be quite exhilarating to realise what you're capable of when you try a new class at a new level. Having said that, when you try an intermediate class I'd advice watching the entire video beforehand, especially if it's from an instructor you're not familiar with. I remember this online class marked as intermediate that included handstands during sun salutations and something of a supported headstand with one's legs in lotus position O_o, which I'm not ready for at all.
  19. For what it's worth, as a yoga student I have to say I appreciate the silent moments during class and I never think they're awkward. It's important for me to know how long we'll be in a certain pose (otherwise my brain starts going into overdrive trying to guess when we'll have to move), but if I'm told we'll stay in a pose for five breaths or that the instructor will let us know when we'll move it's all good. Moments of silence during class allow me to focus on my breath once again and find my center, calm down if I'm feeling a touch upset and just be in the moment. There's so much noise during out everyday lives that I truly appreciate the quietness you can find in so many yoga classes. Good luck with your teacher training!
  20. I'd never heard of the hedgehog and fox fable, but it's certainly an interesting one. I'd always hesitated to mention other online yoga instructors here - I couldn't help but feel I was being rude -, but while we're at it I have to admit I'm a huge fan of http://www.doyogawithme.com. Tons and tons of videos, short and long classes for all levels, a number of different instructors on different styles. It helps me keep my practice well-rounded, as well as introduce me to, well, different ways of doing things. Sometimes the cues we get for doing a pose just won't work with our bodies, but someone else might have the key. I think it's best to try a number of things and see what works best for us at a given moment in time. I know I've tried classes with online instructors that were a complete disaster, only for me to try them again years later and end up loving them.
  21. I often wonder how the process of deciding which poses are prerequisites to which poses came to be. Sometimes the process feels very obvious - one pose will help you build strength and flexibility which the other pose calls for, but sometimes I don't see the connection at all. Then again, I feel that each person's anatomy, as well as our unique backgrounds and personalities, will also dictate the path to whichever asana we want to incorporate to practice. In this particular case, I can see how kapotasana would help, but dwi pada shirshasana ... if I was told I must be able to do that pose before even trying to do pincha mayurasana I'd be tempted to quit yoga altogether, or at the very least I'd rule out pincha mayurasana for a long, long time. To me, a prerequisite pose shouldn't look more unattainable than the end goal pose.
  22. I far prefer working on supported headstand. Tripod headstand is something I'll work on once I feel safer/more confident while on supported headstand. Either way, you won't know what works best for you until you try. Candace's instructions on how to get into supported headstand really work for me. I find that trying to do the pose with my knees to my chest really engages my core, which in turn helps me feel more stable (and makes me work harder).
  23. I have relatively short arms and I believe that impacts my practice. I'm not sure if that's the reason why crow pose, for example, is a perpetual challenge. Flying pigeon doesn't seem to be an option and I wonder if that's one of the reasons why kapotasa isn't happening just yet. Of course, my upper body strength is not what I'd like it to be, but you could argue that possibly my short arms make a lot of the upper body strength poses more difficult or awkward. I'm mostly okay with twists and backbends as my flexibility helps me move my body deeper into the poses without relying on my arms to make the poses easier. I also find I have to adapt many standing poses as I my hips and thighs are somewhat wide. There's no way that standing with my feet together is a viable option.
  24. In my experience, and from everything I've read, the type of emotional release most often experienced tends to be more closely related to some deep-seated emotions (anxiety, fear, personal insight regarding one's life, a sense of peace and inner calm, etc.) than anything resembling sexual arousal. As the article points out, during yoga practice these emotions - which had been at best rather vague - tend to burst out and make themselves known, possibly forcing us to confront our emotions in a different way. As for the hips/pelvis being put in a certain position and it leading to sexual arousal and/or similar reactions ... let's just say that if that was the case going to the gynecologist would be a very different experience than what it tends to be for most of us. Gynecological check-ups is something many of us simply put up with for the sake of our health and it's far from enjoyable.
  25. I was doing yoga nidra earlier today as suggested by Candace's New You Yoga program* and I started feeling quite anxious and out of it. I started thinking (for any value of thinking because I felt really out of it) that maybe I should call it quits because it started to feel like a full-blown anxiety attack. I couldn't make up my mind, but the phone rang and I had to pick up. I decided to continue the practice, mostly out of curiosity and stubbornness, while also hoping there would be some sort of 'wake up' section toward the end of the session. I was able to carry on, but I can't say it was a very soothing experience. Now, this wasn't the first time I did yoga nidra, though it was the first time I did yoga nidra in the middle of the day. Previous experiences only included yoga nidra before bedtime and they all were very relaxing, nothing at all like what I went through today. I was wondering if the sudden burst of anxiety I experienced could be considered as normal, that is to say, if strong emotional release is a common effect from yoga nidra practice. If that's the case, I'm curious as to whether anyone have any advice as to how to deal with said strong emotions (anxiety) following the practice. I went on to do my regular yoga practice (a nice flow with some good heart opening poses and plenty of focus on my breathing), but the weird feeling in my chest that anxiety brought along hasn't gone away. __________ *not Candace's actual yoga nidra video. Can't afford it at the moment.