Monday, March 17, 2014

Ashtanga yoga: how often shall one check progress and how?

Yes, it happens. Sometimes one leaps ahead. Yesterday it was not possible to bind in one of the twists and the other day it's possible. Yet most of the time daily progress cannot be experienced. Often when an asana is learned it's volatile in the beginning. One day it's good, the other day it feels impossible.

- I'd love to see daily progress. It's rare.
- Sometimes I think an asana doesn't develop at all over years. This is not true either.
So how to get realistic.

My experience is that an asana feels differently than it looks like.

Years ago I discovered how my pictures helped me to learn. It was a challenge to get into the pose within 10 sec. The self-timer of my little camera only gave me so less time. But it was possible.
Looking at my pictures helped me A LOT. Pictures are a powerful learning tool for me the most powerful one.

Of course, if you're lucky and if you can go to classes it's likely that you get feed-back from a teacher. Yet no teacher can tell you everything again and again.

A picture is so convincing.

As written, to check progress in too short periods is frustrating.
After a year I usually can see that an asana got better. I created a blog for documenting my development: . Over the years I can see how flexible I got. This is motivating. This boosts my optimism. This keeps me going.

I label my posts. This allows me to see all sirsasana i.e. that I've published over the years.
Blogs can be kept privatly. If you don't take pictures of yourself doing asanas, I'd recommend to test it.

PS: I can also like me on facebook if this is convenient for you. Links are on the right side of this blog.

PPS:  Have a good start in the week. 


Francisca Gusmão said...

Dear Ursula,

Your blog and persistence have been very motivating to me, though my practice is not consistent in the present. It would be nice to meet you when you happen to visit Lisbon again.

Francisca Gusmão

Ursula Preiss said...

I love to meet locals when I travel. So next time perhaps we'll meet. This would be great.

Sometimes we are more consistent, sometimes not. Keep practicing, enjoy the ride.

Cordially greetings, Ursula

Say Squat said...

Thanks for your post. I have never been flexible but love yoga. Luckily I have a whole month off work and I would like to practice yoga everyday to improve and hopefully my body will yield to the positions and become more malleable. Are there any positions you suggest i could try each day to help? Your thoughts greatly appreciated! Ps I will try the photos - what a good tip!