Week 8: Moving Toward Balance with Rodney Yee

I did it! I finished the course. After week 7 I caught a cold and I found myself only doing yin (with a tissue during the long forward bends) or restorative or couch yoga (in front of the tv, it counts) When I recovered I couldn’t wait to get back to this course, to get it finished!

Week 8, the last week, was about creating a well-rounded home practice so there’s not really much new ground to cover in terms of new asanas. At this point I was just glad to be moving again after my mega-cold. The main thing that was different from the other weeks was the (relative) long holds in headstand and shoulderstand which I thoroughly enjoyed. I think it was this week I had a massive breakthrough with my headstand which really warrants its own post. It was bizarre, here I was recovering from the worst (or only) cold in a year and I was closer to headstand than ever and because I wasn’t able to walk anywhere my hip flexibility was incredible. It almost made me want to stop walking!

So to round off my Rodney Yee yoga adventure I will sum up some good effects and bad effects of following this course.

Bad effects:

  • Meditation. I’ve been keeping up a regular, non-demanding meditation practice since March which I kept separate from my yoga asana practice. Since Rodney included a short 5-15 minute meditation after the asana practice I gave up my other meditation time. This meant that when the course finished, so did my meditation practice. This had repercussions.
  • General vinyasa fitness. My yoga practice usually involves lots of linking poses together, practicing jumping back and forward in the surya namaskar and generally a lot of movement. I noticed after practicing Rodney’s mainly static sequences for those weeks my fitness in my normal yoga classes decreased.
On to the good effects:
  • Left knee pain: I’ve had some vague joint pain in my inner left knee since February. Nothing serious but it stopped me trying half lotus and squats were hard too. I noticed that it helped to sit in hero pose but didn’t think too much of it. After several weeks of Rodney’s repeated long stays in reclined hero pose the left knee pain is no more! A miracle!
  • Headstands and handstands: I am now more familiar with these demon poses and well on my way to thinking about calling them friends. Or at least calling them more often.
  • Longer holds: The course has made me aware of how short my holds in downward dog and up dog can be. After some shameful arm shaking it’s put me in the habit of longer holds which has led to a stronger me and a stronger practice.
  • Restorative poses: There’s some fantastic ones which I will definitely be adding to my regular practice. Hello bolster!
  • Long passive backbends: I’ve rediscovered the wonders of passive backbends: reclined hero, supported bridge and supported fish all help to open me up for a deeper backbending practice. Sometimes slow and steady wins the race. The race for healthy backbends!
  • Slower pace, fewer poses: This has helped shift me away from the constant go-go-go you get in vinyasa sometimes and to a quieter more contemplative practice. I need to be reminded of the value of this every so often.
So that’s it, the good outweighed the bad and the bad was only temporary. This concludes my little yoga experiment, relinquishing control of my own beloved home practice temporarily has taught me many things. But I was so glad to get back to my own practice!
What next? Maybe the 300 week courses in the back of Light on Yoga??
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