Sunday, October 24, 2010

Go deeper.....

Yesterday I went to an Anasura class. I was so inspired afterwards that I didn't know what to write down first.

First Barbra Noh ,the teacher, told some words about yoga and why we practice:  going deeper (in our asanas, in our knowledge about ourselves, in our relationships) is the perhaps even unconscious wish that we all have when we practice yoga. Going deeper with sensitivity and a relaxed attitude (later more to the last point - my own ramblings) is what we want when practicing yoga.

The class started with chanting, I didn't know the text, so I listened.

The structure of Anasura classes are very different to Ashtanga classes. The very talented teacher Barbra  Noh (B) showed us asanas and gave explanations to them. I say talented because B could really show which body parts to move in which direction. She was able to show the correct way and the wrong way. She could express how to get the result we wish to have. This requires an excellent body feeling. Class was taught in English and German which I liked very much. After having seen her doing the pose, we repeated it.

In Ashtanga yoga we get hands-on adjustments, ideal for  kinesthetic people like me. Anasura seems ideal for visual and auditive people. We understand through our senses, all of them. For some yoginis it's easier to learn from seeing (videos, watching others), other yoginis learn best from reading and hearing explanations. A mixture of everything is perhaps the most effective way to learn.
We did a few partner exercises which was nice as I had a nice partner. We gave each other support in dhanurasana , the back bending. Deeper and deeper we went into this pose. The class was recommended for advanced yoga practitioner, for those who were able to do vrksasana (handstand) against the wall and urdhva dhanursana with straight arms. We did a lot of asanas that I did not know.
We also worked on urdhva dhanurasana, pincha mayurasana (forearm stand) and hanumanasana (forward split) and eka pada sirsasana (leg behind the head). (I will surely mention some details in coming posts).

We worked very detailed. To understand the pose, to know what it means to go deeper was a topic. When the pose was demanding the yogis and yoginis moaned. "When I hear how you breathe I know that you went deeper", B said. This is true, surely. In our Ashtanga classes we have also yoginis that moan a lot. "Now it's difficult for them, now the limits are reached", I think, "they fight".
But please, my humble opinion, my conviction,  this is the moment, where you can show that you can stay relaxed. Go deeper with a relaxed attitude, but how??? The breath helps. The breath helps, I must repeat this. Go on breathing evenly deeply, breathe into the body parts that feel discomfort. Stay attentive.
- Don't  moan as if you have sex, this is no sex.
- Don't hold your breath. We hold our breath when we feel fear. If it's not possible to inhale and to exhale relatively normal, then stop, remain in the asana at that point, this is your personal limit. After a while the body gets used to the pose, then go deeper. This protects you as well from injuries. Respect your current limits.

Be relaxed is so easily said. How to do it, is the important question. I stay relaxed while I keep my breath relaxed. Another possibility to stay relaxed is to smile, to have a relaxed face. Oh, I know how difficult this is, but these are the methods to stay relaxed. A deep and even breath helps to stay relaxed in yoga classes and in life.

When the body is in an asana it can become more difficult to breathe as deeply as in a relaxed pose like lying on the floor. I'm currently working on keeping my breath as deep as usual in poses like pashasana and urdhva dhanurasana. This allows me to deepen my poses enormously. I distract.

Back to Anasura: I was intrigued. To work on the details pleases me. To learn the principles how to do a back bending, a forward bending asana, a twist is so important. It helps to perform the asanas correctly. When the basics are understood even advanced asanas become easier. To have a bit more time to study the asanas in detail is very supportive.
An example: When doing chaturanga dandasana the shoulders go backwards. When this is exercised correctly it finally will become easier to keep the shoulders open when doing pincha mayurasana.

We held the asanas rather long, which surely also helps to go deeper into an asana.

My love is Ashtanga yoga. 
You ask me if I'd recommend an Anasura class with Barbra Noh: Yes, yes, yes.
To look from time to time over the rim of the own plate is very interesting. Yep, to be adventurous, to try new things is fun.

Picture: Munich, Hofgarten downtown.


Quentin said...

Om Om Om
Om Namah Shivaya Gurave
Sat Cit Ananda Murtaye
Nisprapancaya Shantaya
Niralambaya Tejase

If you like yoga teachers that talk excessively and hold poses too long and use phrases like Hug the muscles to the Midline, ground downwards from the Pelvis, extend from the base of the spine to the crown of the head, or Express yourself as the Goddess your are, open your heart, then you will love Anusara. In my humble opinion John Friend used his Iyengar and Ashtanga training developing this yoga. I like the instruction techniques used for inversions and arm balances learned from certified instructors of the Anusara training. see the following site

Ursula said...

Thanks for the text of the chanting.
Your comment made me laugh. Yeah, he is not the only one who created a yoga brand and obviously sucessfully.
Business and yoga is surely an interesting topic.

I like to sweat, I don't want so much philosophy. The practice teaches me my philosophy. That's why I love Ashtanga and you obviously, too.....
Happy practices.

TheVeganAsana said...

Your point about being able to express how the pose should feel is a good one. Sometimes I can't figure out what muscles to engage until someone describes to me what the pose should feel like.

Health said...

If you are interested in Healthy Living, you should be interested in Ayurveda. It's not anything weird - it means "longevity". There's a pretty good book on choosing foods that are best for your unique physical makeup. It's called "Foods Heal".