Thursday, November 19, 2015

What is a balanced practice?



In yoga we have forward bending asanas, back bending asanas, twists, balancing asanas, inversions. We have asanas that focus on strength, others focus on flexibility. There are combinations of all this.

For me a balanced practice is if all these different sorts of asanas are practiced almost equally. Almost. I don't think it's necessary to exercise 5 forward bending asans and 5 back bending asanas and so on..... It's also fine to focus on one day on forward bending asanas, the other day on balancing asanas. Yet in sum it shall all be balanced.

Yoga exercises the entire body almost equally if done correctly. Even the toes and the perineum get attention (Janu sirsasana B and C). The hands become stronger and get stretched in many asanas. There is even an exercise for a strong neck (setu bandhasana).

The goal is to have an evenly exercised body. This can be achieved with a balanced practice. To practice primary over decades is not a balanced practice.

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My home practices are balanced. I focus on second series so to say. I practice the first half of it. I do extra asanas to prepare the deep back bending asanas like kapotasana. In comparison to all these forward bending asanas back bending was neglected in the last decade. I try to compensate this now. My practice today was painful. I took breaks when needed. One and a half hour is more than enough for me these days. My back gives me still trouble.
All doctors even sports doctors recommend moving. I do this, yet I listen to my body. I focus on what is possible and not painful. Otherwise I wait and observe what happens. Will my back be OK one day again? I don't know. However. I won't give up yoga.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Padmasana: right leg first. Really?


My goal is it to have a balanced practice. That is I don't want to focus on the legs more than on the other body parts. So many sportive activities don't challenge the body evenly. Runners get strong legs. Tennis player get the tennis arm. Body builder usually focus more on the upper body. Yet yoga has the potential to have a really balanced practice.

There are are few exceptions, exceptions that don't challenge the body evenly.

Usually the body is not 100% symmetric. Most people are right-handed. That is the right body side is stronger, the left body side is therefore weaker, yet more flexible. I always realize this when I do the twists.

It is said that one shall always take the right leg first when practicing padmasana. The reasons are the nadis. Yet what are the nadis. When searching the net one finds very different opinions. Nobody has ever seen the nadis. In the last 2 years I followed the rule: right leg first. The consequence: It's more difficult now to sit in lotus pose with left leg first. The right side and the left side of my body are no more balanced.

I'll change this again. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday I go for 'right leg first. On the other days I take the left leg first.

Lotus pose is an asana that is part of the series rather often:
1. Garbha pindasana
2. Kukkutasana
Here I'll always take right leg first. I get confused when I change this.

But when I do supta vajrasana I'll alter which leg I'll take first. When I'm alone I only sit for 5 breaths in the above pose.

In the closing sequence we have six poses with padmasana:
1. Urdhva padmasana
2. Pindasana
3. Matsyasana
4. Baddha padmasana
5. Yoga mudra
6. Padmasana

I'll alter which leg comes first.

Rules often make sense. But one can also question rules. Sometimes it's better to find the own rules, because nobody knows me better but myself.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

The counter poses



Sunday. The yoga week starts with intermediate series.

I practiced at home. It's November, yet it was like a summer day. I could open the doors to the balcony and practiced under the sun.

Not all asanas are pain free. It's difficult to get out of trikonasana i.e. I give myself support with the hands.
Most asanas are pain free, I can practice and this is indeed the good news. That I'm a bit stiff is not a surprise. To hold the counter poses longer than only one breath feels good. Often they are performed sloppily. They can relax when done with awareness and slowly. I try to find the limits and then I move on to the next asana.

My practice is shorter again. 90 min is enough. What is challenging comes first. When I focus on intermediate series, back bending comes first. I have still enough energy. I repeat asanas that are difficult, I add exercises. My wheel helps me to relax when I bend backwards. I do less , but more intensive. I don't hurry, I take time, I relax between poses when I need it.

After yoga I felt excellent. Many exercises that shall relief back pain are like asanas that I know. There are also exercises that are special back relief exercises.

Tomorrow again intermediate series. My goal is to have a balanced practice. To practice primary on Fridays is enough.

This back pain is not something that pleases me. On the other hand it seems as if I'm already used to it.

I plan to start my yoga practice at 7am tomorrow morning.