An interview Andrea Cranstoun – the May Mysore Challenge winner!

andreaTo what do you credit your May Mysore Challenge success for 2 consecutive years?
May is actually a very busy month for me each year with birthdays (read parties…), wild mushroom tours, and this year trips interstate & to NZ. Getting the calendar out to see if it was possible given the available possible dates, i.e. I would be in Melbourne, was the first step (this year I only had 24 days in which to complete it).
I think the success came from actively deciding I wanted to do it – I literally selected in advance all the days in my diary so I had a mental map of the month – the rest kind of flowed from there.
Also, my partner knows how much yoga means to me and he knew I had committed to the challenge, he was good at encouraging me to turn out my bedside light when I was up to a good part in my book…

Will we be seeing you for the 2016 Challenge?
Yes – although maybe my name should be taken out of the draw.

Did you have any moments of doubt you would complete the month?
I did occasionally, if I was feeling particularly tired or had gotten to bed late – I would
then tell myself that was ok – the tiredness – and, that I just needed to get there, on the
mat and see where it went. (Karyn, your posts on such things are great reminders.)
I save up moments of joy on the mat for times such as these, you know the ones, where
you struggle to get out of bed and the first sun salutations feel wooden and then all of a
sudden you have a moment of insight, lightness, or find yourself able to do something
you’ve been practicing for ages but never thought would be possible for you. These are
great for those moments of doubt – you can never tell when these will occur.

Do you have any tips you can pass on to your fellow practitioners?
Not being overwhelmed by the number of practices in a month – don’t think about the
number, you do them one at a time. Just think of the one.
Getting up quickly when the alarm goes off – not giving in to the 5 more minutes of sleep.
Putting one foot in front of the other.
Being organised the night before – eliminate anything that might turn into an excuse in
the morning. Thinking that I might decide what to wear when the alarm goes off is a
fantasy.
Observing and enjoying the beauty of the pre-dawn – the quality of sound, what it smells
like, the position of the moon – the brightness of the stars, other creatures up and about
to name a few. One of my favourite observations during May this year was of a possum
scurrying along the power lines who appeared to be doing the possum walk of shame. I
saw him several days in a row.
(I realise most of these seem to be about sleep and getting out of bed, I am naturally
nocturnal so these things are a bit of a preoccupation.)

Can you share what your typical morning schedule looks like?
Alarm goes off at 4.55am. I am usually up by 5 and putting coffee beans in the grinder &
boiling water for filter coffee soon after. Shower, dress and make coffee. I have a
morning ritual of drinking coffee or tea with my partner before heading off to the station
or on my bicycle.

What do you have for breakfast post practice?
Usually on week days, a long black with cold milk on the side, skippy toast (vegemite &
butter). On the weekends, highly varied.

Do you do any preparation for practice the night before? eg. pack bags etc.
Yes – checking the BOM site so I can decide what to wear/pack for the next day. Lay out
my yoga clothes, measure coffee beans or put tea in tea pot and fill kettle with water. Fill
water filter jug.

How long have you been practicing Ashtanga yoga?
Since 2004

Do you have a favourite and least favourite pose?
This is a tough one – at the moment my least favourite are probably Utkatasana & Janu
Shirshasana C – I feel a bit deaf to them. I am really enjoying Ardha Baddha Padma
Paschimottanasana at the moment and Marichyasana B & C – it amazes me where I am
with these given where I was in the beginning.

Did you feel any benefits from completing the May Mysore Challenge? If so, please
explain.
It has enabled me to feel/know/experience yoga as part of my life – not this thing on the
side that I do. That it is all about the practice. Some days are hard and some feel fabulous
and that is ok, it is just a thing to notice not to obsess about. That practice on the days
when it feels hard is just as important. I have found it useful to look at why it feels hard
and frequently find the act of doing that creates/allows a positive shift. Quite often I find
it is about my attitude and the little critic passing judgment on my performance.

Thank you Andrea!