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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,┬ájust 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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Ashtanga yoga

I have done yoga before, but it never has become a commitment. Lately, I have been going to some power flow yoga classes and I am really liking it. I started finding out more about those more robust kind of flows and discovered Ashtanga yoga.

I have been practicing every day in the morning. I started following the primary series and right now I can go until the end of the standing poses.

Before this, I actually decided that I would do some yoga every morning, just for stretching purposes. And that’s what I have been doing, usually some side bends, some twists, sometimes sun salutations.

The spark came when one day I started to connect my breath with the postures. I find myself sweating a lot even just after a few rounds of sun salutations. I always think of sun salutations as a really intro level beginner sequence. But when I try to coordinate each breath with the flow of the postures, it really becomes much more engaging. I never thought it would be hard to do Sun salutations A and B. And I learned that the gazing point when we are in postures are also very important. For example, when we are in forward bend, we should be gazing at our nose, and it really made a difference and you can feel the pull inside your body when you are just shifting the gazing point.

So I understand that the poses are only one thing, and the breath that coordinates the poses is really important, if I am just doing the poses and the breaths are all over the place, it is not optimal for a calming and concentrating mind. So I should be able to breath freely when I am in a pose for 5 breaths. And also the gazing point when I am in postures helped me to stay within.

I feel that I am much more engaged when I am paying attention to my breathing and gazing point, even though sometimes my mind wanders, I can quickly come back to my breathing and gazing to find the place within. After half an hour of practice like this, I am really feeling good.

I think I was just not ready for yoga before, and I think I am finally ready for it. I feel really committed to doing  my practice every morning. And I know I am new and I am just beginning my journey, I already feel that the practice is really benefiting me in my everyday life. I am really looking forward to the practice in the morning besides the breakfast that I am also looking forward to.

They say it is a life long journey. I am curious to see what this journey brings me to.

Namaste.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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the journey of yoga begins

Recently I have got back to Yoga practice. I went to some power flow classes offered at the school gym and have some really fresh understandings about yoga.

First off, yoga can be challenging. I used to think of yoga as slow and not worth doing and spending the time if I want to get the most effect in fat loss. I mean it looks like only some stretches OK? But boy can it be sweaty and engaged! Added some core work into the sequence and I am getting sweaty all over!

Then, yoga can be beautiful. Sometimes we forget that we have a beautiful body. Society feeds the image of perfect bodies into our head, we didn’t even think about it and directly believe that it is what we want too. But what we really need is to appreciate our body, appreciate what we have. While i am doing some poses like warrior two, and looking at myself in the mirror, and looking at my elongated and straight arms, I learn to appreciate how strong and beautiful I am. And some poses, although it is not challenging, it is just simple and beautiful and so balanced and elegant. I also went to some barre burn classes, which is also so beautiful and makes me fall in love with my body and what my body can do all over again.

Then, yoga is a practice. The end goal is not some headstand or really really hard poses, it is about the feeling and the appreciation and being humble. I noticed that I really want to challenge myself to harder poses, but at the same time told myself that it is not only about the poses. It is also about breath. And as long as we keep practicing, our yogi path will start to deepen and enlighten our soul.

Today in the morning, I was just listening to my heart and didn’t follow any video. I do what I want and what feels good. I started with a simple sun salutation sequence, and then gradually add in one more movement and pose each time, and I finally understand why the classes are always like this. I remembered wondering: why do we do the sequence so many times? why can’t we just directly go to the full sequence? and today I understand that we need to ease into all the poses. The first time that I did the cobra is so stiff and I noticed the difference when I did it the second the third time. It is all a process. Don’t rush.

Namaste.