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The Golden Week – Yoga, Painting, Reading, and Reflecting: Day 7

Finally, the last day of the “retreat”. This gave me a mixed feeling of both relief and not wanting this to end. What I wrote on my to-do list for this day was “Finish the last day strong”, but, given the situation with my dad, the day is filled with obstacles made of worries.

First practice: Fluid Movement

This was the first video by Ashley Galvin that I practice with in this entire week. For me, Ashley is probably amongst the tougher teachers on my list of favorites – even tougher than most of the male teachers even. I remember nearly die of exhaustion from practicing her core-focus sequence, which felt more like a workout than a yoga practice – to be completely honest.

Fluid Movement practice confirmed me once again that morning hip-focus practice is tough. I could barely do a forward fold, and my low lunge felt really uncomfortable. One positive part about the fact that Ashley’s sequence is nearly always tough was that, with constant practice over the past six days, my body was super ready for power asanas. I ended up enjoying the high-energy flow and expansive asanas, struggling through the hip opening and forward bend, and, lastly, being relaxed at the end of the practice with restorative bridge.

Second practice: Strong and Fluid Vinyasa

I originally intended for this week to be filled with no same video twice. However, I decided to change last minute the video for the last day. I felt that this video – Strong and Fluid Vinyasa will be my final exam for this week. If I can survive, I pass the final exam with flying color. If I can’t, then I still pass – though not with flying color.

In the end, I skipped a few backbends because I felt that my back has been taking quite a lot of workload over the past days and during the practice. However, I managed to hold a few handstands, pushed through all the core works, and successfully get into all arm balances. This is what I would consider a “pass with flying color”!

Painting: bouquet for my birthday

As the last day was my birthday, as planned, I decided to do something for myself – painting a bouquet for myself. I planned a few practices of the flowers that are a part of the bouquet throughout the week, and I felt confident that I could paint those flowers individually. However, putting everything together into a single bouquet was more difficult than I expected.

At first, I planned to watch Jeanne’s tutorial video of painting a bouquet or a collection of flowers before I started painting. However, I got impatient and started painting only after one-third of the way through the video. As a result, I ended up making a muddy color in the middle – not very ugly mud, but still not good enough for my “birthday bouquet”.

I need to be more patient with painting and study techniques more.

Third practice: Front to Back Core

Core work has never been my strong suit, and I intentionally chose this to strengthen my core on my birthday (I lied – I felt like this is needed any day, but it just happened to be my birthday). In reality, the tough part has nothing to do with my weak core but rather the surrounding situation.

I kept being so distracted by pessimistic thought about my dad’s condition that I missed the cues many times. Even so, I managed to push through and finish the practice by just constantly trying to bring back my thoughts to the breaths and alignment.

One other realization was that I need to be more logical about how I think through things. Worries do not help my dad but rather make things worse by bringing my mood down.

Painting: second attempt at the bouquet

Despite knowing that I needed to watch the full tutorial before working on the bouquet again, my worries rendered me unable to focus on the video. I needed some actions to distract me from my worries. I ended up watching only up to two-third of the video – enough to know how to start the first watch. It must have been because I was also quite diligent with painting for the past few days, the second attempt ended up being quite nice. There was also a happy accident that added a bit of interesting twist to my painting. I hope that, in the future, I can make a bouquet even more bold. This is my future goal – perhaps for my big 30th birthday.

Last practice: Forward Bend and Free

I must admit that I nearly missed the last practice. I decided to have a cheat meal and some alcohol for my birthday dinner and evening. I finished a can of beer at 7 pm, and I was not sure whether or not I should do another yoga practice – especially since this video has a few jumps to handstand. Luckily, the better side of me trumped, and it was a great decision.

Not only did I finish the practice, I also could see a lot of improvement in almost all asanas. I could do the forward bend with one leg lifted. I managed to do the deepest forward bend in janu srisasana as well as seated forward bend – I think my forehead nearly touched the chin! Moreover, I could even hold the handstand even though I already had some alcohol in my bloodstream.

I guess I really finished the last day strong!

PS. I ended my last day of retreat by finishing another small bottle of soju. This was probably the first time I was tipsy in the moth. Still, since this was my birthday, I guess this is justified right?

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