Thursday, December 10, 2009

From nothing, nothing comes

I want to be provocative (but I don't want to step on the feet of anyone):
I feel inspired by a comment. Thank you.
Those who tell me that Ashtanga yoga does not hurt have never practiced it:

What happens when we stretch or when we build strength?
Usually we cannot go as far as we want with the body. The body simply does not allow as to do what we want. When we go further we feel something. This something that is felt is first a slight feeling which becomes stronger the further we go. This feeling in the body is called pain. It is a message from the body, I appreciate this message. It is possible to stand this pain easily when focusing on something else, i.e. the breath and being attentive nevertheless. Being relaxed despite the pain is something we learn and that brings the success (here flexibility). With time we can go further and further, we can stand more and more pain, but we know when we have to stop in order not to injure ourselves, overstretch ourselves.

Pain is a message, it can be joyful also. Positive helpful pain comes slowly. Enjoy.
In order to become more flexible and strong we must learn to handle pain. We must learn to interprete it, to be attentive to it. Pain is my fingerpost.

Becoming more flexible and stronger without any pain is not possible.


Anonymous said...

"If it hurts, you’re doing it wrong". said David Williams, one of the first Guruji's students and of the senior ashtanga teachers ...

May I suggest you to read this Cara Jepsen's article ?

May all beings be happy.

Ursula said...

I know Cara in person and I appreciate her very much.

When David Williams said something fine, it is another opinion. Nothing more.

I practice daily and I experience something else.

What I fear is that it is a discussion on words. Stretching and limits are felt, I call this pain. Others might have another name for it, but it is finally the same.

Life happens.

Debb said...

I too feel "the pain". It is ususally in my hamstring muscles. It is not true pain in the sense that true pain becomes a sharp alarming feeling. For me, it is more of an ache, yes an achy feeling. It is very necessary to feel this to progress, in my opinion. If I stopped at my discomfort (at my age of 55) I wouldn't get very far into the poses. I breathe into the area in the body that is feeling this achiness and I reelaxxx.. it is a wonderful feeling.

Ursula said...

Thank you Debb, exactly this is it.

Gledespiken said...

Hey! First time commenter, but I've passed by your blog several times the last couple of months! :-)

I totally agree with Debb. And your original post. Discomfort - the "wow this is intense"-pain - is something one can breathe into, thus relaxing the area and going deeper. It's not really *pain* as such, more a discomfort for me.

But some pains are different, the ones that come when you're about to hurt yourself: to warn you not to push it, or when you already have hurt yourself: and need to back off and let it heal.

Being a flexible person when I started ashtanga, it unfortunately took me two hamstring muscle attatchment-injuries to learn the difference :-P Luckily though, yoga can also help heal those injuries, once you pay attention to them and adjust the practice accordingly!

Ursula said...

Thank you for your comment.

It is also described very well, what I tried to express. English is my second language.

Also your post tells me that it comes from experience.

Ashtanga yoga makes us sensitive towards our body. We have to learn this. We get to know our bodies, we learn to relax, despite discomfort.
This is something important for life, too.

Liz said...

I totally disagree with this. You've got it all wrong. Yoga should not cause pain. If it does, you're doing it wrong. I'm not saying I have never felt pain, because I have...but this has been my own mistake in pushing too far, too quickly. Impatience, ambition, high expectations...this is what hurts. Not yoga.

Ursula said...

Thank you Liz for your comment. I like controverse discussions. So everybody can form his/her own opinion, hopefully based on experience.

We have all different bodies and we surely experience the practice differently.

Happy relaxed practices.

Helen said...

If pain is felt the mind focuses on that feeling and can not be at ease. These two are opposites. Pain and Ease. I think we ashtangis in general are high performance people who want to achieve and have difficulties in being content with where we are right now. Santosha. It is: Practice and all is coming. Not Push the limit and all is coming.