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The Golden Week – Yoga, Painting, Reading, and Reflecting: Day 3

I finally adjusted my operating model for writing this blog post. For the first two days, I wrote this at the end of the day – after all the crazy practices, which rendered me being exhausted beyond imagination. Now, I crafted out time during the day to write the reflection of the day before. Hopefully, this will allow me to have a better-quality piece of writing.

Yoga practice: Fire and Water

Thinking back to my time at Vikasa two years ago, I have always really enjoyed the restorative practice led by Honza. He has a very soothing voice and cues that just help me getting into the most relaxing postures. At the same time, I also know the tough side of Honza through his class – Power Pose, which is a pure macho craze. I also loved Claudine’s class on Alo that focuses on my dream asana – Firefly, which I still can only dream of doing. Naturally, a combination of both would be both deadly and restorative (though more on the deadly side), and I should really know enough to prepare for that. However, I was foolish… or may be not awake enough by the time I started the practice.

This first practice of the day – Fire and Water is a combination of fiery leg and core galore class led by Claudine and a backbend class led by Honza. The fire part of the class was deadly because of two things: the one-legged standing sequence and the core work. I think it might also be because this is the first class of the day before I have even eaten anything that rendered me useless to do a lot of core works. Luckily, the latter part of the class by Honza was easy enough for my bendy body to actually enjoyed a bit of the rest.

Yoga practice: Conscious & Connected

Yesterday was actually a heavy day – yoga practice wise. Following the “warm water” class in the morning, I had two one-hour classes with Patrick lined up. Conscious & Connected is a back-bend focused class, and I really like this type of class by Patrick.

There is a saying in my yoga community that a male teacher typically teaches backbend class better than a female teacher. This is because women typically are more flexible in the back body than men. Hence, sometimes they don’t give enough cues or warm ups in their sequences to prepare the students for the peak poses.

For Patrick, I think it was not really about the cues but rather the sequence. Plus, I don’t see him as the most bendy person, so his class is not extremely hard in terms of the pose. However, with the right amount of holds that is not too much to the point over exertion and the sequence of poses that prep all the right parts of the body, I ended up with a very loose and free back body. In fact, this is probably the first time in a month that I practice kapotasana and scorpion pincha mayurasana. I even enjoyed the class so much that I video recorded myself practicing pincha after the class.

Yoga practice: Clean Energy

I’m not sure if I committed a yoga no-no of practicing an inversion class after a series of backbends, but I did it. Clean Energy is practically a handstand-focused class. The first moment I looked at the class description right before practicing, I went “uh oh”. However, I decided to go ahead with it.

Surprisingly, I think I did quite well. At first, I was a bit afraid also because, on the second day, I couldn’t even hold a single handstand in the sequence / class. However, I managed to hold quite a few this time despite my body feeling completely exhausted in the process. Was it because I practiced some backbends – on the contrary to popular belief? I don’t know…

Flower painting:

After not-so-successful attempts on the second day, I decided to go back to my guru Jeanne Haines’ videos and practice with her again. Since it was quite a busy day, I only had two painting sessions, yet both gave me quite a bit of satisfaction.

I think the fact that I painted these better than landscape is saying quite a few things. One, I still am just a beginner and need to practice single-object painting more to familiarize myself with techniques. Two, I actually am more suited with the loose style painting of Jeanne than other style that I was trying to pull for my landscape painting. However, I think I still should give the Kyoto foliage more attempt. I really think I could use some of the techniques I learned from these two there.

Yoga practice: Ladder Flow 2 & Practice Calm

Out of all practices one the day, these two are the ones I’m most familiar with since I practice these on regular basis. Coming with the familiarity is also the knowledge that these are tough! Both are handstand-focused classes with a lot of jumps and holds. However, it went rather smoothly! I didn’t get a handstand hold since I practiced these toward the end of the day, but I could really feel the strength I had gained when I did the poses like humble warriors or the tiger curls. That is very comforting indeed!

One overall downside though is that I started to feel the fatigue in my body despite all the gains. I hope I can push through. Actually no – I am pushing through, and I will succeed. I will emerge out of this being stronger and be proud of myself!

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