Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Concentration - a trick


Ashtanga yoga is also about concentration. In the movie 'The breathing God' I learned that Indian students went to yoga classes in order to learn concentration. They had difficulties to focus on their studies for a longer time.

These days so many people are unfocused. Sometimes I think that there are people who are no more able to follow a 10 min conversation without checking the phone. However: concentration is a challenge. It's a skill that one can learn.

One can measure how long one is able to concentrate:
- How long can I practice without leaving the mat?
- How long can I meditate without opening the eyes?
- How long can I be in an asana without changing the position?

I found out that my concentration betters when I know how long I want to be focused. I set my timer. I practice 90 min. This is not a strict rule, It might be a bit shorter or longer. When the alarm clock rings I start finishing my practice with the last asanas. Then I do pranayama and meditation and relaxation. I want to give the relaxation parts more room. It's not all about the asanas.

My concentration is so much better than years ago. Also when I take breaks, I don't leave the mat. When I rest a bit between the asanas, my body needs it.

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I don't want to dedicate my back pain an entire post. So I write at the end of this post about it. Might my insights help others.
Last night I went to bed with pain again. I cursed. This morning I searched YouTube again. I search for answers. What causes this all.  I found a pain therapist. Most people who have SI issues have it because they sit too long. The hip flexor in front of the body is shortened. When we walk this muscles is engaged, too. There are no counter poses. The hip flexor must also be stretched in order to keep the body in a healthy balance. Otherwise the body tries to balance this unbalance and this can cause muscle cramps. Pack pain.
What do I learn for myself? I don't have a sedentary life anymore, yet I also sit  often and for hours. My practice in the last years was not balanced. Primary is a forward bending series. I did 95% forward bending asanas and a few back bending asanas. In daily life I sit, too. No more from  to five, but I cannot walk around all the time, even though this feels good.  Voilà.
Last Friday I did primary and I had back pain afterwards.
Today I focused on second series only and I did a lot of back bending asanas and I feel good.
I almost cannot believe it, but even forward split feels good. I keep the body upright when I practice this pose as a preparation for back bending. I saw that this pose was recommended by a pain therapist. I only wonder who is able to do it. OK, I am.
More and more I circle the causes of my back pain. It's nonsense to take pain killers. One must find out the causes. I get closer and closer. This gives me hints what to do. It's all about experimenting, too.
I also remember the feed-back that I got in Austria after a Mysore class. The advice was to focus on back bending as there is a huge gap between my forward bending abilities and my back bending abilities. My unblanced practice was the reason for this.
Most doctors say that the pain is not caused by arthrose, The causes are single-sided body postures on a daily basis for hours.
My right side hurts because of supta kurmasana. Always the left leg is taken behind the back first and then the right leg. The right side had much more stress, so to say. These 9 back bending poses of second series were not enough to balance almost 90 min of forward bending asanas.
I'm optimistic that I will tame the pain, but I know now that it can take time. The back pain didn't come overnight, it won't disappear overnight.
I can be wrong with everything. The pain or absence of it will guide me.
From Monday to Thursday I do second series. I want to get back to practice the entire series. For the time being it's not possible. On Friday I stick to primary.

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