Friday, 10 December 2010

The Vinyasa Krama toolkit does it again, plus The Pandava, once a day,diet update

I tweaked my back sometime last week, when was that, one of the days we had snow. I was pushing my bike, slipped, managed to stop myself falling on my padasana, but then the bike slipped and while managing to stop the handlebars twisting out and both myself and bike toppling over I twisted/tweaked something in my back. Didn't seem like much, figured I'd stretch it out in the morning.

I don't know, perhaps I made it worse. I avoided 2nd series and the backbends and stuck with Primary, skipping UD and dropbacks, for a couple of days. Curiously, the tentative back stretches in the VK tadasana sequence I do at the beginning of my practice seemed OK, it was just the forward bends bothering me. Forward bends didn't seem to be helping so I switched from Primary to VK to cut back on them on a little. Still the gentle back stretches seemed OK, I tried urdhava danurasana after my shoulderstand and it was fine. Yesterday I decided to do second series and again no problem with the back bends, come the first LBH, eka pada sirsasana, and I felt the need to back off. I tried dropping back instead, no problems, it's a weird one. It seems to hurt most while coming back up from a forward bends. Oh and having one of those japanese heat pads stuck on my shirt seems to help.

So whats in the Vinyasa Krama toolbox? Inversions! For some reason inverted 'forward bends' are fine. Up in headstand bringing one leg into half lotus and lowering the straight leg so that the toe touches the floor is OK as is folding down the lotus. Anything like that, whether in shoulderstand or headstand. Legs towards the chest good, chest to the thighs bad.

But that's OK, lots to play with in the VK inversion and or Supine sequence until it settles back down again.




Actually it's not once a day yet, working up to that( this week and next will be more interesting). I started exploring this last Thursday so it's been a week today. This first week I dropped to two meals a day, Breakfast and Dinner and cut out any snacking in between. For some reason recently I'd been eating a lot of biscuits ( McVities Caramels) and the odd bar of chocolate, anything not tied down actually. Think I must have had a sugar rush when I had the tooth out and lived on trifle and ice cream for a couple of days and have been craving sugar ever since.

Anyway, the discipline of deciding to eat just twice a day seems to have cured that. I've been having a big bowl of porridge or Alpen with fruit on and that's set me up, pasta, risotto, Japanese curry etc in the evening. Was tempted a couple of times, several packs of biscuits open in the workshop and our customers keep binging us boxes of chocolate but so far I haven't caved. Felt a little hungry a couple of times but just enough to make me feel noble.

Today I moved into the next stage of the experiment, eating less in those two meals. The idea is to explore this from Krishnamacharya's Yoga Makaranda

'... fill the stomach until it is half full. After this leave a quarter of the stomach for water and the rest empty to allow movement of air'. then he (K ) writes something interesting, ' For example, one who normally has the capacity to eat 1/4 measure of food should eat 1/8'.

This morning I had half as much for breakfast as usual and got through the day well enough. Perhaps I feel a little hungrier but I'll probably get used to eating less over the next couple of days. Next week I'll drop to eating once a day, I'm thinking Lunch.

The irritating thing is that because of the back issue above I haven't been able to keep my practice regular so can't really tell if I'm eating enough to sustain the practice. It's seemed OK, but then I haven't been doing full primary or 2nd. A preview then, will need to explore this more thoroughly after Christmas/new Year is out of the way.

I know some of my readers are uncomfortable with this, my mistake was perhaps to refer to it as a diet. But I meant that, not in the sense of a fad but rather as a style of eating. I'm not looking to lose weight, I've been the same weight for a couple of years and feel comfortable at this weight (77, give or take a kilo).

Weight hasn't changed that much this week

Wednesday 78.4 (I'm usually around 76/77 , as I said too much Junk recently).

Thursday 77.7
Friday 76.8
Saturday 76.6
Sunday 76.6
Monday 76.9
Tuesday 76.5
Thursday 76.8

So pretty much my usual fluctuation

It's all inspired by two comments ' Eat enough to sustain your practice' and '...the Pandava's, like the Yogi's, ate once a day'. How much IS enough to sustain my practice? If the Yogi's of old ate once a day, is that enough to sustain my practice today? What's it like eating once a day? Obviously the meal I do eat will need to be as nutritious as I can make it and going by the Makaranda above, it can't be binging out. One small, nutritious meal a day, is that enough?

Just curious.


9 comments:

  1. Hi Grimmly, sorry to hear about the back, I hate it when things like that happen but at least you have the krama to keep you going :o)

    When I'm practicing through the week I generally only eat 2 meals per day, my breakfast is my most important meal, then I either have lunch or dinner but not always both. I normally find because I'm up early I have to have lunch then, because I practice in the evening, I do my practice on an empty stomach then later I may have a light bowl of serial before bed.. rice crispies normally!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Micqui, sure the back will be fine in a couple of days, trouble is it's Friday tomorrow and I hat the thought of skipping Primary on a Friday. Just had a thought, In VK you have all the same asymmetric seated postures as in primary but there's also a twist and counter pose for each of them. I'm thinking instead of the forward bend I'll just do the twists instead, will still feel like primary but I get to work around the troublesome bend, yet another win for the VK toolkit.

    I'm liking the two meals a day, seems to suit me. Breakfast was my most important meal too, just a light lunch, usually a pain au raison from this little french place and then, generally a light salad for dinner or a little pasta ( I say light but it was a Waitrose Ceasar salad then loads of extras, pumpkin seeds, half an avocado, chopped dates, goji berries, whatever was around) .

    Used to love rice crispies, we'd fight over the cream from the top of the milk and then add loads of sugar.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dear Grimmly
    Could you google and download cron-o-meter software and install it in your computer? Then enter what you are eating daily. That way you can measure that you are getting your daily RDAs. it's OK to lower your caloric intake. Mine is usually at about 1800 daily. But it's important to know when you might be deficient in some nutrients so that you can supplement ocassionally, or choose different veggies that will increase the nutrition. This is a good long term investment in your health. Your path is good, but it needs to be managed from a nutrition standpoint.
    Oh, and sorry about your back. Hope it feels better soon.
    hugs
    Arturo

    ReplyDelete
  4. I've sometimes wondered too about the quote on filling the stomach 1/2 with food, 1/4 water, 1/4 air...

    My question is how does one know the volume of his/her stomach? Do you just take an average volume from medical texts, or is there some other yoga Jedi technique??

    (My quick google research showed "average" stomach volumes ranging from 1-4 liters, which is a pretty big range!)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you Arturo, I'll do that. I'm thinking more and more that if I decide to eat so much less everything I do put in my mouth needs to earn it's keep as it were.

    Mike I've been thinking a similar thing. Doesn't your stomach shrink, or at least it seems. Eating untill your halff full two weeks ago is going to be very different from say two weeks from now after I've got used to eating less.

    I did hear something about the amount your supposed to eat is around the size of your fist ( which seems about right intuitively) but I can't really remember the context. Not so bad for me as I have big hands.

    ReplyDelete
  6. well, other yogis have mentioned this "leave some air" thing. It's all very intuitive, such as don't eat past the first burp. yes, the stomach shrinks if you're eating less. it's better to measure and weigh what you're eating so that you know scientifically what you're consuming. you can get an inexpensive electronic scale. i bought one by dretec in Japan and weight what I consume. once you do that for a while, if your diet is similar, you have an idea of what you're consuming. at first you need to measure and weigh and keep track with software. cron-o-meter is one; it's freeware. there are others such as fitday.com, calorieking and others.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Heavens Arturo, not sure I have the patience for measuring and weighing, will try to get into the habit of noting down what I eat though, unlikely to be very scientific though.

    ReplyDelete
  8. as they say in the CR circles, you get used to it. it's as simple as brushing your teeth. i don't measure and weigh every day, since i prepare all of my foods, except when i eat out. you can start by estimating, but it's good to invest in a small scale because you might not be calculating properly.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Artur, i'm sure it's a good idea, this is just a brief experiment this time but if I decide to explore it for longer next year perhaps i'll do as you say, buy a scale and try to get into the habit for a while. Experiment or not, counting calories or not, I'm sure it's a good idea to have better awareness of what you are or aren't eating.

    ReplyDelete

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A Reminder

from Kalama sutra, translation from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi This blog included.

"So, as I said, Kalamas: 'Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher." When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

"Now, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them. Buddha - Kalama Sutta
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