Yoga with a stiff neck

Bikram. Ashtanga. Hatha. Vinyasa. Yin. Iyengar. Even gong meditation. We love them all and at all times of day. Our weekends are devoted to a yogathon of sorts, normally spending at least half our weekend travelling to or from or actually “doing” yoga. But there comes a time when we need to take our foot off the gas a tad, and this is one of those weeks.

5.30am Ashtanga classes are awesome, because it is almost a normal time to wake up. And by the time the class finishes at 7am the day is in full swing as you move from breakfast to shower to car to office without blinking. Except this week, our regular teacher has gone for a two week training session – I am loathe to call it a retreat, but I suppose it is – and the stand-in teacher, unlike the reserve teachers at primary school, is entirely competent. The issue is we aren’t.

One of the appeals of Ashtanga is that it is a thorough workout, balanced with meditative sessions to open and close a class, but the main essence is to work your  core and whole body through a series of poses, postures and stances, body consistently shaking throughout. The only respite tends to be at the very end, when you hear what has quickly become my favourite yoga phrase: “shavasna“.

The Corpse Pose is apparently difficult, but after over an hour of fairly intensive stretching, focused breathing and balancing against my body’s natural instincts, it seems like the easiest thing in the world to lay on your back and breathe. MAybe I am missing something.

I digress. The new teacher normally takes the advanced classes and, being the teacher’s pets us MiNy’s might be known as, we pushed ourselves to the limit throughout and ended up with stiff necks the following day. Gutted. And the rest of the week has been spent recuperating and applying hot balm and getting Balinese massages. Not all bad, after all.

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