Friday, January 16, 2009

Do I have to practice Ashtanga yoga 7 days a week? (part 6)

or can I rest from time to time?
Oh, it's the tradition to practice 6 times a week. On Saturday is a day off. It's also the tradition to practice not on full moon and not on half moon days.
I guess there are more people who do not follow these rules than those who follow them.
In India I was glad for every day off. I needed it. The practices were so intensive that my body hankered for a day off. My self-practice here in Germany in a cold climate is not so intensive like in India, where I in addition practiced in a group of ambitious Ashtangis. So I interpret these rules more or less as a recommendation and not as an order.
Nevertheless: from time to time a day off or a relaxed practice is very good. After such a relaxing day it might happen that the body is even more flexible.
A daily routine facilitates to find the way to the mat day by day. The Ashtanga series are so demanding that they cry for a daily practice. Ashtanga yoga is nothing that you can do half-hearted. Either you lick blood after a while and you start loving it, then you will soon find yourself daily on a mat, or you give it up. Your heart blood must love it, then there is no way back and one day it might be that you even travel to India to the source. (my humble opinion)


Monxo said...

I agree with you: I also feel that continuity is a very important part of it. The routine just makes it easier, not only physically, but psychologically.

I asked my instructor here in NYC to ask our studio to schedule a Sunday class of Mysore. Our studio -Pure Yoga- is a bit corporate, but it is relatively inexpensive, and the Mysore instructor -David Hollander- is wonderful, knowledgeable, experienced, funny, smart and humble. He is a student of Yoga, and that's the only way of being a good teacher.

What we do on 'moon days' in our studio is to practice the sun salutations, the standing poses, and then do some restorative yoga...and it is just heaven. David has devised this restorative sequence that is Ashtanga-sensitive (ha ha ha), especially designed for the pains and sores of us Mysorees.

All that being said, there are Saturdays that are MORE than welcomed. Ha ha ha. Not only because there is no yoga, but because you can sort of slack of a bit on Friday. Given that our practice takes place early in the morning, I usually never go to bed after 10:30PM, so on Fridays I usually give myself the space and time to go out with friends and hangout a bit.

Yoga is ALSO about being with others, uniting with them and having fun. Saturdays are a chance to do just that.

Thanks. Monxo

elephantbeans said...

As Sharath says, it is like brushing your teeth.

6 days physical practice, 24/7 mental

Kevin said...

If I don't do it, I really miss it.
But the odd day off is good, my body usually lets me know when it needs one, as opposed to my mind wanting one.

Practising with others always seems better, the shared energy, the heat of a warm shala.

Ursula said...

Thank you for your comment Kevin.

The trains in England seem to be unbearable. :)

Nevertheless I hope you are well.


Kevin said...

Hi Ursula, the trains are a joke in England, when are the Germans coming to sort them out?

pammi said...

A lot of people today are interested in Ashtanga Yoga poses. Basically, what ashtanga means in Sanskrit, is “eight limbs” (ashta stands for eight and anga for limb), which refers to the fact that the traditional yoga consist of 8 interconnected elements. Also, as modern times took their toll on many things, yoga wasn’t to be left aside in this storm of change.Aahtanga Yoga