Yoga, sleep, Savasana, insomnia… and the curious case of Paschimottanasana

Savasana versus nap Have you ever fallen asleep in Savasana? I rarely do, but one of my colleagues seems to doze off regularly. Although we don’t attend the same weekly class, we attend workshops together. If I’m in his vicinity during Savasana, I’ve heard him softly snoring each time. Me, I’m just the opposite. I lie down and let go as instructed. But, while my body rests, my mind continues to whir for a few minutes. So, unless we do a luxuriously long Savasana, I never quite reach mental stillness. When I occasionally do drift off, I know it’s not … Continue reading Yoga, sleep, Savasana, insomnia… and the curious case of Paschimottanasana

Pranayama, sleep, and other New Year’s resolutions

In the late 1990s, I took to yoga asana without a second thought. My body immediately loved it. I initially attended three to five classes weekly. My little apartment, with carpet and cat, wasn’t ideal for home practice, but I eventually appropriated a floor and wall space at the UC Berkeley rec center for my practice. Pranayama is another animal. Stillness, physical or mental, is not second nature to me. I’ve attended classes and done some reading on pranayama over the years. But adding breath work to my current two-hour asana practice simply hasn’t happened. The immaculate expanse of a … Continue reading Pranayama, sleep, and other New Year’s resolutions

Hina Matsuri, cherry blossoms, and seasons

Today is Hina Matsuri, a Japanese festival translated either to “Doll Festival” or “Girls’ Day.” It falls on the third day of the third month. (Note: the former Boys’ Day is now Kodomo no Hi (Children’s Day), on the fifth day of the fifth month.) For a straightforward background, read the Wikipedia entry. For the Hello Kitty version, check out the following blog post (the stuff you find by Google searching!). Hina Matsuri is associated with spring and cherry blossoms. Have you noticed the change in daylight and weather? Seemingly overnight, we’ve turned a corner. Seasonal pursuits One of my yoga … Continue reading Hina Matsuri, cherry blossoms, and seasons

Sugar, sleep, and Steve Nash

Phoenix Suns point guard Steve Nash credits two things to his excellent health and performance at age 36: avoiding refined sugar and getting enough sleep. See Nash’s sample daily diet here. (In case you’re clueless about pro basketball, Nash is a superstar and two-time NBA MVP who grew up in Victoria, BC. He was among the final five torch bearers at the Winter Olympic Games opening ceremony.) Eschewing sugar and embracing sleep aren’t novel ideas. For years I’ve known that sleep debt is cumulative and irreversible except by extra shut-eye. (I even read the book that Nash cites, The Promise of Sleep by Stanford University … Continue reading Sugar, sleep, and Steve Nash

All-or-nothing resolutions

He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future. George Orwell My free three-week pass at the mega studio elapsed on Monday. I took 25 classes in 20 days. A limited-time offer is a great motivator, isn’t it? Perhaps resolutions serve the same purpose. Here, the impetus is not a deadline but a vow, to oneself. I rarely make resolutions. If I do, they’re vague (read more novels; don’t lose temper; organize computer files; practice balancing in handstand) and too numerous for effective full frontal attack. Perhaps I’ll try a new tactic this year. Ever … Continue reading All-or-nothing resolutions