Wednesday, February 09, 2011

What bloody beginners and advanced beginners have in common.

No matter how long you practice Asthanga yoga, there is always something to learn.
If someone does not like to learn or to work on the practice, this yoga style will become a burden.
Ashtanga yogis/yoginis usually like challenges. The first motive to do Ashtanga yoga is not: "I want to relax". Ashtanga yoginis think: "Where is the next horse to ride."

What changes with time:
- I think I can get closer to my limits without injuring myself.
- It's easier to stick to the correct technique during a practice. Mainly it's practicing uddjay breathing, but also engaging the bandhas/muscles. The correct vinyasa count also says something to me nowadays (after 8 years of practicing).
- Of course I also know better how an asana is supposed to look like.
- The attitude has changed: I'm no more so careless to think: I'll never ever be able to do this pose. Too often I experienced the opposite. More is possible than I thought would be.

Today I practiced second series in a Mysore class.
- I don't  like the seven headstands at the end. A thought came up: Pretend to have forgotten them. But that would be lousy. It's also my practice, I've not to prove anything.
- The mind works so: It always has preferences. This can make it easier to make decisions.
When I do my yoga practice I observe my preferences and I do the asanas or vinyasa, if I like it or not. So headstands were done. This is where the mind gets trained. This is where I think of the definition of yoga by Mr Swenson: yoga is a tool to enhance life. Yoga can teach methods that I can apply in daily life, too. My laundry is waiting for me to get ironed. I do the headstands, ähhh I iron my clothes of course. Yes. Hahahahaha.

Nice observance today in the Mysore class. A yogi appeared. I haven't seen him so far. His warrior pose was great, he stood deep.
We only betray ourselves when we practice sloppily.

What else made me happy: Manfred made again kapotasana with my body. It's such a great feeling to touch my little toes with my fingers. Yepeeeeeee I want to scream each time this happens.


Quentin said...

Thanks for your posts on Ashtanga Yoga. I enjoy reading and note your English writing is excellent.
7 headstands is advanced B as originally taught by KPJ, isn't it? Who changed 7 headstands to intermediate series? and when?

Ursula said...

Thank you for the compliment Quentin.

In all the books (Swenson, Sweeney) that I have the 7 handstands belong to the second series.
I haven't heard of anything else.
Happy practices.

Ursula said...

Hi Quentin,
I just checked the book by Lino Miele "Ashtanga yoga". Here the primary and second series are described in detail. Also in this book the 7 handstands are part of the second series. This book was created in very close cooperation with P. Jois. I think you need it. This is THE book that described the traditional series.

Quentin said...

You should order David Williams The Complete Ashtanga Yoga Series exactly as taught from 1973 to 1976 by K. Pattabhi Jois, Manju Jois, and Ramesh Jois. I believe the original Primary, Intermediate, Advanced A, Advanced B were that taken by Jois and his Guru from the Yoga Karunta. “[Pattabhi] Jois has often spoken about a text called the Yoga Karunta, an ancient manuscript on ashtanga yoga, which had been the basis of the practical lessons on yoga taught to him by Krishnamacharya. Attributed to the sage Vamana, it was one of the many texts taught orally to Krishnamacharya, which he learned by heart during the seven and a half years he spent living with his teacher, Rama Mohan Brahmacari. Karunta means “groups,” and the text was said to contain lists of many different groupings of asanas, as well as highly original teachings on vinyasa, drishti, bandhas, mudras, and philosophy. Before Krishnamacharya left his guru, around 1924, he was told that if he wanted to find this text he could do so at the Calcutta University Library. According to Jois, who has never seen the text and doubts that it still exists, Krishnamacharya at some point spent one year in Calcutta researching this book, which was badly damaged and had many missing portions. The remaining sections, which he transcribed, contained what we now know as the primary, intermediate, and advanced sequences of asanas. When Jois began his studies with Krishnamacharya in 1927, it was the method from the Yoga Karunta that he was taught. Although the authenticity of the book would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to validate today, it is generally accepted that this is the source of ashtanga yoga as taught by Pattabhi Jois (Yoga Mala p. xv - xvi, 2002).”

Ursula said...

Hi Quentin,
Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge. I see, I see, you study a lot, beside your practice.

I'll check your book recommendation. I want to read everything about Ashtanga yoga.

Nowadays the headstands are part of second series, so I do it.

Happy practices for you.