Saturday, October 08, 2011

Thinking about Ashtanga yoga

Since M is back I've the feeling I changed the streets. I was on a bumpy road and now I'm on the autobahn. With high speed my yoga practice will improve now again. This is at least my feeling. Motivation not to avoid the weak points is high. Making the best out of the time I spent with my yoga practice is what I want to do. No faking around, but practicing to the limits is what I want to exercise, and this is fun.

My finger type by themselves.  I wanted to write about self-practice:
My view is it needs to accompany  Mysore classes. The Ashtanga series invite even to do so, as they are fixed. It's not necessary to be creative in addition. Not everybody has this talent to invent anything.
Practicing alone helps to learn being self-disciplined, but not only. It helps to be more content on the way. There will always be situations where we are on our own. The teacher might move to another city or he might be on vacation. It can be that we travel a lot or that our work doesn't allow us to practice in classes. Then our home practice or hotel practice is available. It might be a bumpy road, but it can have it's beauties, too. There is no autobahn to heaven. Never.

In the last Mysore class M told a nice story, it fits here. Perhaps I may repeat it here, it's a nice metaphor:
Someone is climbing a mountain. After hours of climbing and sweating he/she finally arrived the top. An amazing view was the reward. Then he/she looked to the right. There was a parking slot with a lot of cars. People were enjoying the view, the same view. Nevertheless there is a difference.
(My remark: don't avoid effort, it makes the difference. The bumpy road is worth travelling, too.)

Jumping through: The picture today is an older one from 2007. From time to time I must have exercised already to lift my body up to prepare myself to jump through.
Yesterday I watched again the video by Maria Villella:
I think all the 4 steps that she mentions can be practiced isolated.
- On the picture above is step one. The effort is to bring the knees closer to the chest and to lift up the body as high as possible.
- Step two is to swing the legs through the arms. I can do this, too. But then I get weak already. I cannot hold this position long.
- Postion three is to bend the arms but to keep the legs in the air. No way so far to do it, I don't know how I should do it. This I must explore. I fear I need more strength.
- Position four is chaturanga dandasana. The legs fly back into this position.

Time for the moon sequence even though it's the morning. Hehehe.........


Quentin said...

Practicing Planche from gymnastics helps and also leaning forward using same muscles for planche.
Seems to me, maybe not to others, but the new generation being certified in Ashtanga use more and more of gymnastics in the practice. In the beginning, it seemed more basic and not as much gymnastics in the early days when P Jois taught. His grandson's jump backs from older videos are basic and simple.

Ursula said...

You might be right.

The more people practice Ashtanga yoga the more talented ones practice it. Each detail counts then.

Sharath's practice also developed within the years.
Perfection in the western world means something else than in the Indian world.

Quentin said...

Ashtanga says to engage mula bandha, gymnastics says to use hollow body compressing the core, lifting the rear upward and back while leaning forward and then float back.

Ursula said...

I don't want to be polemic, but in Ashtanga we engage mula bandha (pelvic floor) and uddjana bandha (abdomen in).

I'll try your advice to make the entire body strong.

In fact I do it when I fall out of the headstands of second series. It guarantees a "soft" landing.