Thursday, September 04, 2014

"Hold it longer."

"Hold it (the pose) longer." 
Today I heard how our teacher MSch said this to a student. I was told the same for urdhva dhanurasana. It's such a good tip.

It is really not necessary to add preparation asanas in Ashtanga yoga. It's also not necessary to use blocks and straps or the wall. Those tools can do more harm than good.

An asana gets better if one holds it longer. 

Why? The longer I hold an asana the more comfortable it feels. When the asana is comfortable I can get deeper. And this can take time. Yet this is how it goes. doing an asana till the limit, then waiting till the discomfort disappears and then going deeper and and and.....
It's perhaps similar when runners get stitch. The tip here is keep running, it will disappear.
In a pose we can feel stretching discomfort. Yet when we stand it it fades away. And then the body is ready for the next step.

I'd love to share another experience that I made lately in a led class. 
In led classes for me the poses are held longer than I usually do in a Mysore class, the vinyasas are faster. I say the truth: I was not able to hold the hero pose virabadhrasana A as long as counted. I was one of the few in class who left the pose earlier and in led classes one can find the beginner. OK, 80% of the yogis/yoginis stand too high. The bent leg shall be parallel to the floor. This cannot be, I thought, that I cannot hold this pose for 5 long breaths after 10 years of practice. And next time I held the pose. I simply stay till my body gives up was my idea. My mantra 'I CAN' helped. Yet it was not the mantra that improved the pose. I realized that most of my weight was on the front leg. In order to be able to hold the pose, I shifted the  weight backwards to strain other muscles. And suddenly I understood the intention of the pose. It stretches the hip of the leg that is stretched. This pose prepares for back bending asanas. Now I can hold this pose as long as counted.

Holding a pose longer can help to understand it.

Holding the poses longer and to repeat them are the tools to improve the asanas.

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