Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Most people stop


Most people stop practicing Ashtanga yoga. Classes are full of beginners. Some people are talented and very flexible, yet they just started with the practice. Less than 10% practice a decade. Most people stop for different reasons after some time.
Most people retire one day. They don't want to work one day longer than necessary.
Most people have had friendships, yet one day the paths divided.

There might be very good reasons, but also excuses why this happens.

Not always people stop doing something. A few weeks back I went to an exhibition by Peter Lindbergh, the photographer. He is now 71. Someone asked him if he considered to stop working. He doesn't want to stop working. He is in the flow now. Now he can play with the different skills. He has the connections to people in the community. Why stopping?

There are few people who find activities, jobs they want to do till the last breath, till they die. It's worth looking for such activities. It's fulfilling.

It's of course also fine to stop an activity if interest fades away. Sometimes priorities change. Why not.

Often people quit a community, an activity or whatever with complaining, blaming, discontentment.
A few days back I found a blog post by an ex-Ashtangi, who explained in great detail why she stopped practicing. She has been an aspiring Ashtanga yoga teacher. There was no single good word about yoga. She wrote about Mysore and has never been there. The community was provoked. The list of comments were long and so committed.

It is an art to quit. I even think it's OK to point out the negative aspects. To have a critical view on something can solve issues. Yet to generalize and to think that the own feelings and experiences are the only truth is simply wrong.

This is also why I prefer to share my experiences. At the same time I wish that other practitoners who read my blog might be inspired, but everybody must make his/her own experiences. What is true for me, can be wrong for someone else. I enjoy the exchange of experiences and stories.

I'll surely not quit Ashtanga yoga that fast. I face obstacles, they are not huge enough to make myself doubt about my practice.

Also today I practiced. Today primary was on the schedule. After 90 min my alarm clock rang, I was still in the middle of the middle part. My practice became slow. The extra asanas need extra time, too.
My practice improves slowly, very slowly. Today I could do  kurmasana again. Eka pada sirsasana (a substitute for supta kurmasana) was possible, too. At the end the lower back pain (SI joint issues) dominated the practice and I was glad when I was finally in savasana.
Strange, but after the shower, first with warm water, then with cold water, I feel relaxed again, so does my back.

Today will be my first rolfing session. I'm very curious.



7 comments:

Scott Moore said...

Big fan of this blog as always.

I don't know if my experience is relevant, I have a degenerative neuromuscular condition (post-polio syndrome) so maybe it's just me but I face the question of continuining Ashtanga.
I'm 64 years old, started yoga in 1975 and in 1994 when I heard about Ashtanga, nothing could stop me from learning it. I found a teacher in New York, a student of PK Jois, who taught me. It was amazing what it did for me, making me feel lighter and stronger. Even then, though, I needed a couple of days a week doing non-vinyasa yoga, since Ashtanga was making my muscles feel tight, especially upper body. My teacher said he could understand that. In the last decade, I settled into a routine of 4 days of Ashtanga, 3 of non-vinyasa. It seemed more and more, Ashtanga made me eel tight and achy, but stronger. In the past 8 or so months, I've tended to do Ashtanga once or twice a week. If I do no Ashtanga at all, as happened in the winter when I was sick, I feel very relaxed and loose but weak. I get a craving to do Ashtanga again. When I do, it feels wonderful while doing it, and for a while afterward, then the rest of the day I feel pain, aches and tightness and cannot get comfortable. I really want to do Ashtanga, I think it's wonderful, but I have to ask myself if it's worth the trouble. I often think if I could get some tip, some advice on how I could do it differently so I don't feel tight and achy, it might fix everything but so far, no. The easiest thing would be to give it up but I resist that. I suppose I will have to someday, but I wish there was a solution. I've often wondered if other people face something like this. Do your muscles feel loose and relaxed when you do Ashtanga every day?

- Scott

susiegb said...

Well Ursula - I haven't stopped! I first tried it around 15 years ago, loved it and the only periods I've stopped have been due to illness! I rarely get to practicing 6 days a week though. Mostly I manage around 4 times ... partly at home and usually a couple of classes a week ... Mind you, I still haven't got to the end of first series though and wonder if I ever will! But mostly I'm content with where I am! Right now I'm in one of those 'coming back' phases after a big operation late last year and am still not doing all the poses I was before. Mostly focussing on re-gaining strength etc! All part of the process of living I guess (the up and down swings I mean)!
Cheers
Susie

Ursula Preiss said...

Thank you Scott for commenting.

I think self-study is very good. In the beginning we learn from others, of course. But at a very early stage I recommend to make your own experiences and to adjust the yoga to your needs.
I found primary very unbalanced. It's focus is forward bending. It's a good start and in the early years after only a few months second series was taught, too.

My muscles feel good. I got stronger. But Ashtanga yoga also makes me sleepy. In my tenties I practiced Aikido. I felt always so energized afterwards. This is not the case after my Ashtanga yoga practice. Mind and body are relaxed, but I don't feel energized.

Keep practicing, it's worth it. There are always ups and downs.

Ursula Preiss said...

He Susie,

So pleased to read from you as I know you now since almost a decade, isn't it?
Sorry to hear about your odysee of illness. We must always make the best out of every situation, isn't it. It's not always easy. Asanas, pranayama might help to find joy in the midst of trouble. I wish this for you.
Yoga is not a race. It's not about accomplishing as much as possible. It's rather to bring mind and body together.
All the best for you. Ursula

Anna said...

'... out of every situation, isn't it."

Correction: '... out of every situation, mustn't we.'

x

Ursula Preiss said...

Thank you, Anna!

You really motivate me to open my grammar again. Couldn't find this mistake.....

Anna said...

Ursula - this was your comment to Susie on 31 May.

'Isn't it' should be 'mustn't we'.

"So pleased to read from you as I know you now since almost a decade, isn't it?
Sorry to hear about your odysee of illness.

*** We must always make the best out of every situation, isn't it. ***

It's not always easy. Asanas, pranayama might help to find joy in the midst of trouble. I wish this for you.
Yoga is not a race. It's not about accomplishing as much as possible. It's rather to bring mind and body together.
All the best for you. Ursula"