Through the winter I've been glad to get back onto the yoga mat regularly. 6 days a week of practice at home seems like a lot to most people, but for an Ashtanga practice it's pretty normal. You go through the same sequence of poses through three different sequences with the same warmup and cooldown poses. On The Mat has the best explanation of the sequences. They say it takes about 5 years to master each series and I'm 3 years into the Primary Series now. But through Ironman training last year I had really stalled out, not having the time to learn the next poses in the sequence.
It takes time to really master the poses and stretch yourself out to get that foot behind your head or ease your way into a handstand. Over the last month plus I have actually been able to make some progress! Not foot-behind-the-head progress. But I have added the next 18 poses in Primary Series with some regularity. But the coolest thing is actually from the Standing Poses.
Photo Credit So I'm not exactly head-on-the-floor there yet. But I have been able to deepen this pose considerably. And having my hips opened up by this sequence is really going to help my swimming over the summer. Getting about 6" lower is serious progress. I'm also working on the movements to "jump through" and "jump back", which takes a crap-ton of core strength, a small belly, and serious flexibility. Progress is a really cool thing.
Plus the daily practice keeps me grounded, sane, and de-stressed. Ashtanga is designed to keep the core strong and flexible. That's going to pay dividends in triathlon season. Seriously, if I didn't have an upcoming triathlon season, I could totally see myself embracing the whole yogi thing.
Triathlon season is right around the corner. I am so ready for it. The hard workouts, 2 a days, bring it on. I'm ready to start shaving my legs again. Officially Ironman training starts in early April, I got my spreadsheet loaded up with the plan I want to use, more on that later. Actually I haven't made the final decision to do an Ironman this year yet. My weight is right on target, let the triathlon season begin! All of this great core work is setting me up for success.