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Benefits of Ashtanga yoga

I am going to share the differences that I have noticed since I started practicing Ashtanga yoga.

  1. Digestion is better. I noticed a big difference when I started, going to the bathroom never is so easy in the morning, sometimes I didn’t even finish my morning 1L water before I go the the bathroom.
  2. Skin is better. I was reading guruji’s yoga mala, he suggested that any sweat should not be wiped away by towel but be rubbed into the skin, it will make the practitioner stronger. I followed this and felt that my facial skin becomes just gorgeous. Many times after practice when I went to wash my face it is so clean that I almost don’t feel the need to wash. And I don’t use any cleansing product, just some water and that’s it.
  3. Purifying force working inside me. I was having some period issues when I started, and has some dark red discharge for a while, then I started practicing, that discharge is gone and my period is back on track. Also I noticed that I sometimes feel a metallic kind of odor coming from the lung when I am breathing. Not sure what that is, maybe also related to the purifying force and although I don’t understand the asanas enough to say how they are doing the magic, I know that they are designed to cleanse and purify the body. And I can feel that.
  4. Better posture. Before when i was doing heavy lifting in the gym, other times I was just so tired. I don’t even want to hold my body straight. But I always always feel so good after yoga, and I started to have a much better posture, walking with my head high and chest open.
  5. More confidence and acceptance. I don’ t know how this is happening. But I care less what everyone else is doing. I just care about what I am doing and I don’t care that much what others think of me. I learned that what they think of me doesn’t matter but what I think of myself matters the most. And it is their problem what they are thinking of me. I feel like I have better confidence in life generally. I know that I have the ability to do things well, and whichever path I chose I will be fine. And I am even thinking of chasing my dream to work as a fitness trainer. Also, I don’t find weight bothering me much. I just know that I am strong and I am getting fit, and I don’t need a number to identify with. And I will keep getting stronger.

I know that every morning when I am going on the mat, that I will feel so good the rest of the day. And that’s see what this journey of yoga keeps bringing me good stuff.

 

 

 

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journey in yoga

Yesterday I was looking at some intro video to Ashtanga yoga, the instructor in the video was saying for almost all the asanas, “it doesn’t matter if you can reach your toes, if you can’t, just feel the length in your spine, and elongate.” And it struck me that whether you can get into the deepest possible pose is not the point, the point is you are progressing, and you are practicing.

Recently I has just started the seated sequence of primary series, and I got a little frustrated with the jump back and jump throughs.I know that these are advanced, and people practice years to be able to do that. But still, when you are just stuck in the middle of the pose and couldn’t get your legs back in between your arms, there can be a little frustration in my heart.

I remembered when I first started practicing in August, I was so looking forward to the morning yoga practice, coz I know I will be paying full attention to my body and let all my energy develop and flow in my body which feels great, and I always get a sweat on after the practice. But these past couple of weeks, I didn’t really feel the passion in me even though I still practice every day. It is just lacking the spark I thought.

And I know one of the reasons is that I start to get to new postures and some of them I can’t even modify to do it. But I remember the excitement when I can get a posture about right when at the beginning it was really hard.

Watching advanced practitioners practice let me know what each posture should look like, but yesterday after watching the intro level video, I start to realize some problems in my practice. I was struggling in some postures that my breath are shallow. But I think I should not struggle in the asanas. I should relax into the asanas, not pull or push into it. “Use asanas to get into your body, don’t use your body to get into asanas.” And I realize that the postures should be peaceful and graceful and relaxed. It should not be tense or struggle or short of breath.

“Practice, and all is coming.” As Pattabhi Jois said. I shall trust the process and my body will open to the postures as I go.

 

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yoga sutras

Practice (abhyasa) means choosing, applying the effort, and doing those actions that bring a stable and tranquil state (sthitau).

When the mind loses desire even for objects seen or described in a tradition or in scriptures, it acquires a state of utter (vashikara) desirelessness that is called non-attachment (vairagya).

Those who pursue their practices with intensity of feeling, vigor, and firm conviction achieve concentration and the fruits thereof more quickly, compared to those of medium or lesser intensity.

1.30 Nine kinds of distractions come that are obstacles naturally encountered on the path, and are physical illness, tendency of the mind to not work efficiently, doubt or indecision, lack of attention to pursuing the means of samadhi, laziness in mind and body, failure to regulate the desire for worldly objects, incorrect assumptions or thinking, failing to attain stages of the practice, and instability in maintaining a level of practice once attained.

1.31 From these obstacles, there are four other consequences that also arise, and these are: 1) mental or physical pain, 2) sadness or dejection, 3) restlessness, shakiness, or anxiety, and 4) irregularities in the exhalation and inhalation of breath.

1.32 To prevent or deal with these nine obstacles and their four consequences, the recommendation is to make the mind one-pointed, training it how to focus on a single principle or object.

1.34 The mind is also calmed by regulating the breath, particularly attending to exhalation and the natural stilling of breath that comes from such practice.

1.39 Or by contemplating or concentrating on whatever object or principle one may like, or towards which one has a predisposition, the mind becomes stable and tranquil.

1.48 The experiential knowledge that is gained in that state is one of essential wisdom and is filled with truth.

1.49 That knowledge is different from the knowledge that is commingled with testimony or through inference, because it relates directly to the specifics of the object, rather than to those words or other concepts.

2.1 Yoga in the form of action (kriya yoga) has three parts: 1) training and purifying the senses (tapas), 2) self-study in the context of teachings (svadhyaya), and 3) devotion and letting go into the creative source from which we emerged (ishvara pranidhana).

2.5 Ignorance (avidya) is of four types: 1) regarding that which is transient as eternal, 2) mistaking the impure for pure, 3) thinking that which brings misery to bring happiness, and 4) taking that which is not-self to be self.

2.15 A wise, discriminating person sees all worldly experiences as painful, because of reasoning that all these experiences lead to more consequences, anxiety, and deep habits (samskaras), as well as acting in opposition to the natural qualities.

2.29 The eight rungs, limbs, or steps of Yoga are the codes of self-regulation or restraint (yamas), observances or practices of self-training (niyamas), postures (asana), expansion of breath and prana (pranayama), withdrawal of the senses (pratyahara), concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana), and perfected concentration (samadhi).

 

 

Credit to http://www.swamij.com/yoga-sutras-list.htm.