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The Golden Week – Yoga, Painting, Reading, and Reflecting: Day 6

This was the day that I started to get used to the grueling practices; however, it was also the day that I started to feel the physical and emotional toll this week has taken on me. It was also the day of learning, discovering, and realizing new things in my practice – both yoga and painting – as well as myself.

First practice: Forearm Balance Flow

As the name suggested, this practice has a lot of shoulder strengthening works with dolphin and forearm plank holds. Through these holds, I discovered that I have gained quite a lot of strengths in my shoulder over the period of less than a week as I felt that these holds were easier even though this was my first practice of the day before I have even eaten a single drop of carb or energy.

I have also learned some new techniques about forearm balance, such as the relationship between arms and hands positions and the muscle engagement that come with each. This is quite useful especially when certain parts of my body become exhausted at certain point or day. I also managed to hold quite of a few forearm balances myself and continued to do some practice afterward!

Second practice: Ladder Flow for Strength – Total Body

I have always enjoyed ladder flow style of sequence. Although I haven’t practiced with this video for quite a long time, I still found this very fun and challenging despite very simple asanas – especially the starfish pose that comes at the very beginning of the sequence (and, you know, when something comes at the beginning of a ladder flow sequence, it comes on repeat until the very end). One thing I realized through this practice is that my jump forward has become much lighter and easier on my body than ever before even though I still cannot do as long of a handstand hold as before. I still don’t know though which part of my body has gotten stronger that allow such ease in jumping.

One note to self from this practice is that I need to be more present in the present moment – in the flow and asana. Presence is present of the present moment…

Third practice: Power of the Pose

I know it is going to be a tough workout whenever I practice with Josh Kramer on his “Transformative Alignment” video. The weird thing about this particular video is that Power of the Pose is not a fiery vinyasa that make this tough. It is the long hold at the max depth of the pose that was very very tough for me. The technique he used was the 5-10 pulses and pause at the last pulse which made me hold the pose at the very deep position. On top of that, a lot of poses require my arms to be held up, like low lunge, high lunge, warrior one, and warrior two. I sometimes cheated by putting my hands in prayer position.

In the end, there was one tiny proud moment where I managed to hold a handstand for 5 long breath as asked by Josh. This is probably the first time I managed to hold a long handstand in any sequence. YAY!

Painting: Get Well Card of Flowers

I’m planning to surprise my dad with a hand made card of my own painting once I get back to Bangkok. This is a card with purple chrysanthemum, red rose, and sunflower. I practiced painting a sunflower earlier in the morning, and it turned out quite nice.

The rose has been quite consistent. The problem was, as expected, the chrysanthemum. I think it might be because of my consistent practice over the past few days that made me quite calm and take a baby steps to fix the painting. Eventually, this turned out to be usable.

Fourth practice: Infinite Flow

This was a replacement for another video that is 30-minute long. I needed a minimum of 45-minute video to complete my 4-hour practice per day requirement. This is not a new video for me; however, I ended up struggled the most physically.

The sequence has a lot of movement as it is a mandala flow (front-to-back-to-front style). This, in generally, is super fun. However, I don’t know why I got very dizzy since the start. 30-minute into the practice, I ended up nearly fainted as I stood up from surfer’s lunge to standing starfish pose. It was very scary – my ears were booming, and I felt the earth shaking. Luckily, I managed to hold myself together.

Being a stubborn person that I am, I decided to continue the practice with more consciousness. I moved slowly and kept my drishti very focused. I finished it, and I was proud of myself for that.

Last practice: Ladder Flow 4

Amongst all the videos in the Ladder Flow series, Ladder Flow 4 is the one I practice with the least. In other words, this is the one I have run away from the most. The main reason was that this is very tough on my stiff shoulder. The sequence has a lot of chapasana, where I am required to swing my arm back to catch my foot. The correct way (non-cheating way) is to swing my arm overhead and back to catch the foot from behind. I typically could do it on my left side, but my right side is very stiff, and I couldn’t do the pose 80% of the times. This sequence requires me to do it on repeat!

Surprisingly, my shoulders have become somewhat more flexible and I could access the chapasana variation on my left side without fail throughout. I even managed to do it on my right side quite a lot of times. If the next few times this openness is still there, I might actually practice this more often!

Live painting: the sea

Live painting has been on my to do list ever since the before I arrived in Rayong. However, I have been quite busy with other painting. When I decided to do it as I was waiting for my dinner, it turned out to be a big waste of paper. It was the usual mistake of mine – impatience. I tried to rush into painting without waiting long enough for the water to dry first. I ended up with a big mash of and blotch all over.

However, as I tried again later on – though no longer live as it was already dark by then. The painting turned out to be quite nice.

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