Saturday, July 14, 2012

Practise makes perfect

The week-long 'Yoga in the Heart of the City' was aptly referred to as 'an intensive.' Putting a chunk of time aside to focus on asana and yoga accelerates progress and helps to inform and transform daily practise.

Most of us can't head off to an ashram for two or three months.  We are householders, with lives and commitments that keep us 'in the city', and that's where we need to learn to practise yoga.

It's taken me quite awhile to get to the point of practising every day, but for the past year I have been doing a combination of yoga/meditation. As a result of the intensive I plan to make some changes.

bhujangasana (cobra pose)
Twice Marlene pointed out I was walking around with my hands crossed in front of my body or slightly hunched.  This type of posture is often seen in the cardiac patients that come to seek treatment.  Backbending and poses that expand the chest are the asana prescribed for their condition.  Heart problems do tend to run in my family, so I will take some preventative measures and weave more backbends into my daily practise. And try to stop walking around with poor posture.

I'm toying with the idea of switching up pranayama with the sitting meditation I'm doing, but I'm really attached to my Buddhist meditation (ha ha - buddhists are supposed to practise non attachment).  I'll have to thnk more about how I incorporate more pranayama into my routine

Since I've spent hours analyzing revolved or reversed triangle and looking for new ways to approach this pose,  I'll add parivritta trikonasana at least a few times a week.

And I felt really invigorated by new approaches to being upside down, with pincha mayurasana (feathered peacock pose or elbow balance),  salamba sirsasana versions (headstand) and adho mukha vrksasana (handstand).  So, definitely more inversions.  Combining a backbend with an inversion in a pose like urdhva-dhanurasana (dance-wheel), over the back of a chair and with the help of a belt, would combine the best of a few worlds.

Last but not least, something I have told myself at least once before... and that is to include a conscious savasana (corpse pose) at the end of asana practise.  B.K.S. Iyengar commented that this asana is the hardest to properly master.  It takes some discipline, because at that point the session seems finished and it is time to run off to the next part of the day.  Someone at the workshop said something that stuck with me, "I do savasana when I lie down to go to sleep at the end of each day.  This pose will be the last pose I ever do in this life, and it will lead me to what lies beyond."   These insights will help me bring new awareness to savasana.

illustration of savasana

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