Thursday, December 17, 2015

How Kino learns new asanas.


A few months ago the latest book by Kino MacGregor 'The power of Ashtanga yoga II' arrived. I sat down quickly, I was too curious. The book is about the second Ashtanga yoga series. I searched the page where she wrote about pincha mayurasana as this is the next pose after kapotasana that is difficult for me. I've spent years already learning this pose with no success.

Kino is a very talented teacher. One reason might be that she has to fight for the asanas. She is not one of those people who can do anything after a few repetitions. She really has to work on poses. This makes her understanding them.

Yet what I read about pincha mayurasana amazed me:
It took her 18 months to learn it. Every day she tried it up to 17 times in the middle of the room. She also exercised this pose close to a wall. She  held the pose for 25 breaths to get stronger.

Wow.

This is how one learns new poses, I thought.
Just adding a new pose and then trying it once is not enough. Also if one gets every day an adjustment it will take an eternity to learn the challenging poses of Ashtanga yoga. I even doubt in the meantime if one can learn some asanas that way at all.

Kino is in her twenties, I'm in my fifties. A body at my age needs more time to learn new things.

After having read the pages about pincha mayurasana it became clear to me, that learning a new asana requires much more time and effort than I thought. Doing it for 5 breaths and then expecting miracles won't do much.

I distinguish between practices that are more or less performances and those practices where I want to learn something. My strategy to do extra asanas and to repeat them again and again is a good one. I think I could still do a bit more. It's frustrating to try new things for more than 5 years with no success.

The classic Ashtanga method is that one practices till the pose that is difficult. One gets an adjustment. This was it.
This is not enough.
If one wants to learn the difficult asanas one has to repeat them more often. It might be helpful to do preparing exercises. This all is a tabu in the community. But those who are finally able to perform the asanas go this extra mile.

I highly recommend the book by Kino MacGregor.

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