Ashtanga – Primary Series – Practice

Ashtanga - Primary Series - Practice

The past two weeks, I have focused on the Primary Series. Haven’t done it – consistently – for a while. Wanted to get back into it – really missed it. It was so hard to do in the beginning years ago when I first started to practice. My body and system did not like all the forward bends. It really effected me – and not in a good way. I remember how I would not be able to do ALL of the postures. It took years upon years of practice to get me to a point of feeling good in the practice.

But it came at a price. I mangled my body and stressed it out just by working into the postures.

I have a very sensitive system – even my bodyworker whether it is a chiropractor/thai massage/SOT therapist, says that my body has extreme reactions to adjustments. In other words, the work that I do in my practice can really set off a chain reaction of pain. Shoulder pain, back pain. Stiff neck and back. Sore hips and aching legs. So I had to lay off for a while.

Now – it’s all back. The shoulder pain especially. It’s because my right shoulder leans more into the forward bends and it puts it out every time. Even when I am totally conscious of it.

That’s a part of the practice then isn’t it. The physical practice is easier – I know the postures I can get into easily, I know the postures I can get into with some effort, and I know the postures, for my body’s sack, I shouldn’t push. It is a part of the practice to know these things.

I need to work like this for a while and let my body slowly work out the kinks again.

I know that if I were in Mysore practice I would try to push myself too much – spurred on by the energy of the room. Although I really love that – being with all those people. It has never served me.

Today I practice quietly in my home – I’ve got a great little spot – breathing and working through the aches in my body with a clear and calm mind. I do not push. I listen and learn. And I love every minute of it!
Peace!

Asana practice: Urdhva Dhanurasana

Asana practice:  Urdhva Dhanurasana

Yes. It has always perplexed me – Urdhva Dhanurasana. Even as I take the pose it is not very comfortable for me. I don’t feel ease and I can’t stay in it long. It took me years of concerted and sincere practice to even get me here.

I never learned from someone who could do this posture well. They are the kind of teacher who can’t believe you can’t do it. You know the teacher that says, just do this, or that, and they think it’s that easy. I had one teacher give up on me. That didn’t feel good.

So I took what I knew – by that time 20 years of practice, and started to practice on my own (doing it for 12 years now), and didn’t rely on a teacher to see me through. What I learned about my body: what it could do when I moved into things the way that it needed to, was a real eye opener. I learned a lot and my body opened up considerably after in the years that I’ve been teaching myself. I always told my students that the people with the most difficulty in postures are the lucky ones. We are the ones that really feel our bodies open and change and even tighten up again. We learn that there is an ebb and flow.

So it taught me that for me, Urdhva Danurasana was always going to be a challenge and the things like Kapostasana, might not ever come. But it doesn’t mean I don’t venture into that realm of back bends – I keep practicing. There are days when I can feel what it’s all about. And then the next day it’s gone. I accept that about my body and that’s what yoga’s all about. Isn’t it?

So absolutely go slow. Ease into it. But most importantly – move as if there was no where to go. No goal in sight. Just keep expressing the energy of back bend, or forward bend, or inversion, or any other type of posture you’re doing. Doesn’t matter if it ‘looks’ like you are in the posture perfectly, it matters how deeply you can go into the feeling of the energy of the posture.

 

Ask me about anything: If you’re struggling with any posture including backbends, send me a note. I’d be glad to assist.