I’m starting to cotton on to the fact that if I want to make something happen in my life I have to document it in my art journal! What better way to get back into a regular yoga practice than to create an art journaling challenge around it?
This is the plan:
Part 1: 30 days of yoga for 30 minutes a day.
Part 2: Draw a single comics panel about each day’s practice.
Here are the comics charting the first eight days of this challenge. From day 1, I found that I wanted to draw a single yoga posture for the day, including the sanskrit name along with the translation.
Top tip for starting any endeavour: just start! And I’m not sure I would have started if I hadn’t announced my intentions on Instagram and Facebook! This is one of the things I love about sharing a project such as this: it creates a sense of accountability that can be a much needed encouragement and motivator.
Day 2 was relatively easy because it was my weekly Iyengar yoga class, in which we focused on backbends.
Allow me to introduce some of the yoga props I use, which help me to remain aligned in my practice whilst also attending to the nerve condition in my foot.
The wooden tressler is a fantastic piece of equipment — a bit like a hurdle that a horse might jump over. It’s big and sturdy and helps me support some of my body weight so it doesn’t fall downwards onto my feet too much.
I wear crocs for the standing poses which help to cushion my foot on the hard floor. At the same time, they are still quite firm and supportive so my feet have something solid to stand on. And you can’t beat good ole fashioned cork bricks for pushing up against, leaning on, and standing on.
This is one of the things I love about the Iyengar yoga method: the intelligent use of props so that people with injuries and physical limitations are able to experience the challenges and benefits of each pose. I love how I can take care of my body and yet still stretch my capacity. This feels good!
After an awesome lunch with the lovely Emily Mulroney — including the most amazing piece of Black Forest Gateau — the last thing I wanted to do when I got home was yoga! I’m happy to say that I eventually turned up for my practice and felt all the better for it. The end to a perfect day.
Things started getting interesting on day 7 when my knee started hurting. I couldn’t straighten it completely or bend it completely. This happens from time to time and I knew it would ease up in a few days so I wasn’t too alarmed, but I did wonder how I was going to do my 30 minutes of yoga?
Up until this point, I had been practicing alone but this time my partner, Keerti, came to join me. Lucky for me, he’s a qualified Iyengar yoga teacher and a really good one at that! He showed me all sorts of things I could without stressing my knee out any further. My favourite was this savasana (corpse pose) with legs supported. With the sandbags on my legs, the muscles could let go and relax. Heaven!
This pose reminded me of one of my favourite poems, Think like a Tree by Karen I. Shragg:
‘Soak up the sun
Affirm life’s magic
Be graceful in the wind
Stand tall after a storm
Feel refreshed after it rains
Grow strong without notice
Be prepared for each season
Provide shelter to strangers
Hang tough through a cold spell
Emerge renewed at the first signs of spring
Stay deeply rooted while reaching for the sky
Be still long enough to
hear your own leaves rustling.’