Friday, January 28, 2011

Back to yoga posting

Finally got back to class last Saturday. I was actually quite tired, lacking in energy, but of course I was glad I made the effort to go. Practice was good, and near the end ... well, one of my unspoken 'wishes' is to be able to do urdva dhanurasana. Currently I do a version of setu  bandhasana (bridge). I can't seem to lift myself up into the full urdva dhanurasana, although if assisted I can do it.

Anyway, on Saturday night one of the teachers asked me how long I was holding setu bandhasana. 5 breaths I said. Then she told me that Iain, the original teacher at the shala, had told her a long time ago that when students could hold it for 8 long breaths (3 times), then they'd be ready to attempt urdva dhanurasana! So ... this is another challenge that I am very willingly accepting!! (She does know how to motivate me!!)

Didn't manage to practice again until Wednesday (shock, horror!) when I went back to class. So, I was quite bendy, but of course strength wasn't exactly flowing. But hopefully as things settle down again here (work and home) after the floods, more opportunities for practice will be there again. I managed a short practice (sun salutes and seated poses) yesterday in my boss's room at lunchtime. She came back just as I'd finished which was good! I'm still doing the 'forbidden' Janu Sirsasana C and Marichyasana B poses in self-practice ... :) Hopefully I'll get MariB back 'officially' in the not so distant future.

I do have to acknowledge that the 'threading the needle' pose that I've been told to do in place of Mari B and D has actually focussed my attention on rolling my pelvis back in quite a few poses, especially forward bend ones. (Note: I find it hard to know whether the correct description is rolling it back or forward! Depends where you start from ... but what i mean is in effect, increasing the natural curve of the spine and kind of sticking my backside out!!)

Anyway, since I've been focussing on this I definitely feel like I'm doing something right. Seems like my back is straighter and longer in forward bends, hamstrings lengthening etc. So I'm pleased about that!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Flooded in ... the big adventure!

View of the flooded Brisbane river, just 100m up from my house
All photos taken by my neighbour Phil Roth
I've been away having an intimate experience with the Queensland floods! Not actually flooded - my house is up on a ridge and even if the dam upstream broke I don't think the water would reach me. But from last Tuesday there was no access out of this area at all - all roads heavily flooded, all bridges under meters of water. I'd gone into work on Tuesday morning, but after a couple of hours, decided I needed to get home while I still could. It was a very hair-raising drive back through sheeting rain, with water running over the road, and rising up under bridges, but I made it!

This is about 600m back from where previous photos of the Kholo bridge on
this blog were taken! This is how far the river has risen since then!!
It was nearly 1k wide when this was taken.
The electricity went out on Tuesday afternoon.  I kind of assumed that it was a 'normal' blackout and would be back on in a few hours' time ... Wrong! The next morning I discovered the phone had gone too. And, infuriating - the battery on my mobile was flat! The only contact I had with the outside world (apart from neighbours) was my iPad, which luckily was charged. So I was able to send emails to let people know I was OK, though I had to limit use of it to make the battery last. But thank god for the iPad - I'm so glad I got one, and so glad I got the slightly more expensive one with 3G capability!

Another problem for people living semi-rurally like me is that when the electricity goes down that usually means no water! All my water is tank/rainwater, and needs an electric pump to get it into the house! Plus there isn't a tap on the water tank (why, oh why?!!), so it's fairly inaccessible! Luckily on Tuesday afternoon when the electricity went, and it was raining really heavily, I managed to collect a lot of buckets of rainwater (they filled up so quickly!!). Had to resort to Indian-style bucket showers using the slightly green water from the pond (swimming pool turned into a pond a couple of years ago!) - but hey, better than nothing!

This is a few of a street (Skyline Drive) just 4 houses away. The river is normally
not visible but right next to the hills in the distance. The water you can see is the
river level spreading up the valley!
So, I did things around the house, did yoga on my back verandah, and read a lot of books. Luckily there are lots of books here - and this experience has definitely convinced me that no way am I converting 100% to eBooks!!! Did a bit of gardening - but was attacked by a lot of ants, so retreated inside again! The fridge and freezer obviously defrosted. Luckily I have quite a lot in the pantry cupboard, including milk powder (for bread-making) so food was never a problem. And at night I'd sit there reading with a book in one hand, candle in the other!!

By about Thursday I discovered my neighbour Phil (who took these photos) had a generator and he charged my iPhone and iPad for me which was great! Back in phone communication with the rest of the world! We had been so cut-off  I told my mother in NSW that she knew more about what was going on that I did!!

Heaps of helicopters flying around - this was probably a medevac one, landing in a paddock just a few meters away, lots of others to check how the river flooding was going. In case I hadn't mentioned this - there is a big dam a few ks upstream of me. This was built partly to prevent Brisbane flooding again (huge floods in 1974, with wooden houses floating down the river!) and partly for Brisbane water supply. But the dam had been allowed to get too full and so they had to keep releasing water from it via the floodgates. This was why the bridges etc were flooded - but apparently at the flood peak, the dam water level was only 90 centimeters below something that would have triggered huge floods and possibly the dam wall breaking!!

Anyway, finally on Friday evening I heard that the Kholo Creek bridge on the back road was finally passable again. Note: this is not the 'Kholo Bridge' - which has featured in many recent photos on this blog, including one in this post further up. That one goes over the Brisbane river which is the main flood-affected one. On the back way out to Brisbane there is another bridge over 'Kholo Creek', which has water coming into it from the D'Aguillar range and goes into the Brisbane river. And that had been about 4m under from the amount of water coming down plus the Brisbane river flood! I don't actually think the Kholo Bridge, which is/was my normal way out, will be usable again for weeks! It's still so far under that they can't measure it!!

So the next morning I went 'out' into the western edges of Brisbane. Had a shower at my aunt's place (hoorraayy!),  put some washing on there and charged my phone and iPad again. Did some supermarket shopping and managed (at the 3rd petrol station I went to) to join a queue to get some petrol. Came home, still to no electricity (but the phone had come back on Friday) but much better prepared.

And yesterday I went out to join in the clean-up. Ended up in the Brookfield Garden Centre - which had been completely submerged. You could see from the colouring/marks on the bamboo in the carpark that the water must have been at least 4m high there! And then when I got home - fantastic, the electricity was back on!! Such a relief!

Uni is closed till Thursday so I don't have to go back to work till then. I know my building didn't get flooded (luckily as it's the IT centre and we already went through a data centre fire a few months ago and all the disruption that caused!!) I know the yoga shala is opening again today, but with the roads and all, I think I'll leave it till Saturday before I go back to class. There's always my verandah here to do yoga, or inside if it gets too hot. (32degC forecast for today so I think it'll be inside possibly with the aircon on!) And maybe I can get back to the garden at cooler times of the day! We'll see - with electricity so much more seems possible 〈grin〉

Monday, January 10, 2011

I spoke too soon!

Really shouldn't have said anything about the Kholo bridge being passable again! My neighbour saw my previous blog entry (linked on Facebook) and told me that 'they' were going to open the flood gates at the Wivenhoe dam that evening. And now, 3 days later, the water is 5m over the bridge!! That sort of height is almost incomprehensible! About 3 me's one on top of the other, on top of the bridge!! (Update: it's now 6.15m!!) And this morning when I drove out to go to work the back way, there was water over the only road out. I probably could have gone through, but I didn't trust that I'd be able to get home again, so ended up coming home and here I am today!  I'll have to see what it's like tomorrow ... There have continued to be spells of really heavy rain every half an hour or so.

Had a nice day yesterday - despite the rain! Ross came over for lunch and we managed to put a 2nd old table into the pond in breaks in the rain, and then moved some of the pond plants around.  The water lily is now in a new place, where it can hopefully spread across the surface of the pond.

Had fun cooking too - made a spinach tart, and also this amazing starter that my Mum does (from a recipe book called Easy to Entertain by Patricia Lousada) - grilled stuffed avocado. Sounds mad, but you mix some mayonnaise, curry powder, ginger, chopped up mint and some prawns, stuff the avocado halves and then put under the grill for 3-5 minutes, or until it starts to brown. It is is just delicious!!

Yoga on Saturday afternoon was really lovely. I felt focussed and strong (at least until near the end!) And then at the end the teacher came over and started talking to me. Said that my practice was really improving! I couldn't believe it! The previous class I'd felt like he was ignoring me, even disapproving of me (ever the paranoid one!!) Anyway, I know these sorts of things aren't supposed to matter, but I was really happy when he said that!

Friday, January 07, 2011

2011 stuff

No more bridge pictures! The water is now under the bridge, but as far as I know the road is still too broken up around it for the bridge to be (normally) usable. I'll drive down and take a look on the weekend - this week I have just been driving straight into work via the back road.

I'm kind of contemplating whether I should get into big New Year's resolutions again this year. I know last year I said I wanted

  1. to be able to jump back. Well, failed but I tried, and I can sort of/partly jump forward now at least, so I guess that's something! and
  2. to be more sociable and have people over for weekend lunches. That's pretty much a complete fail! I think the only thing I can put that down to is complete laziness!!
So -  I think I'll have to carry No. 2 forward again for this year, and the other? Well, I think I'll just aim to be able to bind in Marichyasana C - preferably on both sides. (I fool myself by putting the word 'reliably' in front of 'bind', but to be honest in the past couple of years it's been rare that I can bind even one side!) And of course there's a whole long yoga wish list in my head, but I think I'll just leave it at this and see what transpires in 2011!

I'm really hoping I'll be able to get to Dena's Bali workshop again this year. She's doing a two-week workshop this time but I could only go for one week. However, I'll just need to wait and see how other eventualities pan out, because if there's a conflict then this would probably lose out this time.

And gardening - I really want to do some more work in the garden this year! (We're off resolutions now, just plans!) At the moment I'm concentrating a bit on the pond (which used to be a swimming pool!). It had got really overgrown with pond weed, but now I've got rid of most of that, I am able to add some more plants again. Got a really nice water lily last weekend - 'raspberry red'! Sounds nice! It flowers from October to May, so hopefully I'll see some raspberry red water lilies on the pond this year! And this weekend a friend is coming round for lunch (see, I'm starting on the resolutions!!) and I'm hoping he'll help me put an old table together (that he found for me just before I went overseas) and put it into the pond. That's what I've been using to sit the water plant pots onto in the pool. I'm just worried that someone (me really as it's my pond!) will have to actually get into the almost black water to place the table!! Oh well ...

Back to yoga. Over the holidays I did practice quite a bit - mostly alternating standing and seated practices. Went to my first class back at the shala on Wednesday, and my lack of intensity over the holidays was really shown up! I was exhausted (and soaking) by the end! Did short lunchtime practices today and yesterday ... yesterday I only managed some sun salutes, and felt pretty grumpy  <grin> But today was better - I did all my 'forbidden' poses!


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