DAYS 9 and 10 : Yoga Revolution Days 13 (Opening) and 14 (Forgiveness)

I didn’t have time to blog yesterday’s practice, so we have two in one today. This actually works out quite well, as although each Revolution practice builds on the ones before it, these two felt particularly connected.

Day 13 was probably my favourite practice so far, and one that I’ll be returning to once Revolution’s 31 days are up. On a day-to0day basis, I tend to feel physically quite tense and hunched up, plus I have a pretty high base level of anxiety which I hold in my body, especially my shoulders and hips. A stressful day can make me significantly more sore and less flexible for a few days afterwards. Unsurprisingly, I love practices that are full of shoulder, chest and hip openers. That sort of practice is, for me, a textbook example of how what you do with your body affects how you feel. When I’m physically more open, I feel less tense, anxious and, for want of a better term, emotionally volatile. I should probably actually do a short opening practice every morning, in addition to my planned daily practice.

I particularly loved this practice, because it included one of my absolute favourite poses, one-legged pigeon [this and all other images via PocketYoga]:pigeon_half_rThere’s something about this pose, particularly when I lean forward and rest my head on my hands, that just completely relaxes me.

I also felt quite proud of myself as I managed to “flip my dog” much more successfully than the last time I tried:

wild_thing_lApparently this pose is also called “Wild Thing”, which totally makes sense.

So, I felt rather good after Day 13. Things wobbled a bit going into Day 14’s practice. We received some hardcopy wedding photos this morning, which sent me down a bit of an internal despair spiral. Somehow I managed to separate myself from the dark swirling thoughts after a relatively short amount of time, but they still left a nagging feeling of hyper-body-awareness. The fact that the focus of today’s practice was “forgiveness” was probably pretty damn perfect. Goodness knows I need to be kinder and more forgiving towards myself, and spending half an hour on the mat focusing on that was just what I needed.

I liked today’s mix of restorative, strengthening and balancing poses (with a few extra chest-openers thrown in!). Noticing just how much my strength has improved in hovering cat was a great little mood pick-me-up, and I think every practice should have some of those awesome standing side bends. Half split was pretty tough, and let’s be honest my pose looked nothing like this:

splits_standing_rThe great thing about yoga, though, is that you don’t have to do a pose “perfectly” (the “” are there because what is a perfect yoga pose anyway?) in order to feel the benefits, both physically and mentally. Physically I know that my flexibility is improving, but at the moment the greater benefits from balancing poses are mental. I’m a perfectionist to the point of it sometimes (often, some might say) having a detrimental effect on my life, and these poses allow me to work on accepting where I am today and, yes, forgiving any perceived imperfections. That’s something I can take off the mat, because as I become used to cultivating acceptance and forgiveness in respect of my yoga practice, it should (in theory at least!) become easier to do so in respect of other areas of my life.

In other non-yoga news, I’ve decided to try to cut a significant amount of sugar out of my diet, so expect to see a few more food-related posts in future. Either that, or in a few days’ time I’ll complain that it was all pointless and admit that I just ate a whole jar of Nutella. It really could go either way.

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