Sunday, January 02, 2011
I was at a party yesterday. Musicians were guests and they played songs with a guitar, a trompet, an African drum and an harmonica.
This made me think of the rhythm of yoga:
- The breath gives the beat.
- It initiates each movement.
- Inhaling is as long as exhaling.
- A gap is between inhaling and exhaling.
- Inhaling and exhaling has an even speed.
One and two and three and four and five.......that's it.
- The movements/vinyasas are performed with one speed. It's not fast and then slower or the other way round. Sometimes I see on YouTube videos how yogis/yoginis throw their heads back at the end of upward facing dog, i.e. Oh, he is a wild one, I think then. Oh, she is a wild one. It looks nice, but that's not as it is supposed to be. Each movement has the same speed and it matches with the breath.
- Then there is the gap between the inhaling and exhaling. The body does not move. It's a moment of motionlessness.
- When the asana is performed the body is not motionless. With the inhaling the body lengthens with the exhaling the body goes deeper into the pose, the limits are pushed.
Three different speeds I see. Nothing quick happens. Yoga shall calm the mind. Indeed it's not spectacular. Yoga might have exciting asanas, the beat is rather basic and slow.
Uttanasana A (see picture): On purpose I showed how only my finger tips touch the floor. After the 5 surya namaskara As and surya namaskara Bs my flat hand is on the floor. The elbows are lose. When I start with my yoga practice the body is often that stiff that I can just reach the floor. There was a time where I was rather frustrated about this fact. I couldn't believe that my body became so stiff overnight. I wanted to start my practice and expected that I was flexible from the first minute on. I don't care anymore. I know now that there is progression. The body moves from "stiff" to "flexible".
Some further notes on uttanasana: The bandhas are engaged when I practice uttasana. This protects the harmstrings. Uttanasana is not only hanging forward, it's an active pose. The crest pushes to the floor and not the nose to the knees! The hips are the center of rotation. Neck is relaxed (so is the face) and in line with the spine. The back is straight, not rounded. When there is not much room in a class I move into the pose with the arms in front of me (it needn't to be the sides). Yoga is practiced with open eyes, this allows to take care of the neighbour yogi/yogini.
Time to practice. It will be primary again, like yesterday.
Comments are always welcomed.