retrospect & prospects – Week 8

What can I say about this week? After all the reorganization and challenges of last week, things have settled a little, it seems. My hip is still kaput… But otherwise, it has been a very calm 7 days concerning insights and revelations :)

Maybe then it’s time for a review of these last 8 weeks of consistent, daily practice.

What did I learn?
I started a beginner’s practice with the knowledge of an intermediate student. And since I had to start anew with (seemingly) simple poses, I learned a lot about subtle workings, flow and rhythm of asanas. I also got better at remembering the physical & psychological benefits, counterindications, counterposes and Sanskrit names of many poses. The other day I was able to improvise a short session for my mother who had serious neck pain – I had remembered the most important poses to relieve tension in this area, also the not so obvious ones (would you know that a standing pose like Extended Triangle is good for the neck???). And then I managed to group them together in a balanced way (flowing from pose to counterpose to counterpose and so on). And I think she even enjoyed it a lot :)

And then let me wrap the rest of my learnings into a single sentence: I learned how to embody my Yoga. :)

What do I want to learn?
There are several strands I’d like to weave into my Yoga practice – some of them I’ve already picked up. First let me state that Desikachar’s book „Light on Yoga“ has been a great inspiration. If you find  the time and you feel like it, I strongly recommend you reading a few chapters, they really explain A LOT what Yoga is about at its core… I found many insights I never came across in all these years of reading, listening and practicing.

  • Pranayama: Breath exercise is introduced in Iyengar’s programme, but only from week 15. Somehow I ended up doing breath exercise after Yoga this week, and the effects were simply *wow*. I’ll continue with it, but I feel like staying with a very simple Ujjayi (through both nostrils), 24 rounds at the moment.
  • Intuition: My hurt hip turns out to be a great teacher concerning my ability to trust my body, knowledge and intuition when costum-tailoring a Yoga session to suit my needs. I started varying the Yoga sessions in term of length, pace and emphasis (on certain groups of asanas) very much this week. … It’s interesting to follow these changes of constitution. On some days, I can do certain poses that I have to modify on others. Sometimes I notice I don’t have the concentration for more than 45 minutes – but on other days I’m going on the mat for 30 minutes just to realize I really want the whole 100 minutes treat. Indeed we are different people every day – and thus every pose is different every day – it’s even different every time you practice it withing one session!
  • Expectations: What do I do Yoga for? That’s a very important question – for all aspects of life. It’s good to ask yourself every once in a while what you want to gain from a certain behaviour/habit, even if you’ve been doing it for years and you know that essentially it’s good for you. It’s just a matter of checking in with the Ego and determining wether your actions are truly beneficial. For example, now that my hip doesn’t allow for strenuous standing and balancing poses – which I love so much – , I’ve skipped to arm balancing when I feel that I need something to wake up and create focus. Consequentially, I approach all of these Side Planks, and Crows and Side Crows with a very open mind, very playfully. I don’t have any specific goal in mind, since I’m doing them instead of something else. I’m not practicing because I want to be able to impress (myself or others) with aesthetically beautiful and challenging poses where I balance my body on my hands. And therefore I notice I’m making tremendous progress (my Side Crow is TAKING OFF and FLYING, did I mention?) without having worked on my upper body strength in a very long time…
  • Yoga Classes: I’ll try to put money aside to be able to got to classes once a week for at least one year. It’s important. Apart from the guidance I receive for my personal practice, I admit that I’m very curious to learn how to teach from my own teachers. A part of my consciousness is always alert in class, analyzing the sequences, remembering the instructions and learning learning learning. I’ve got plans concerning teaching, remember… :)

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