9 September 2015

Two thirds Ashtanga, one third Iyengar

Since returning with great commitment to a regular yoga practice about 6 weeks ago, I've become aware of how much ‘life gets in the way of yoga practice’.
Of course this is ridiculous, because the reason we practice is to help us become more present and accepting of whatever arises, to remain awake, aware and centred through each moment of each day.  
Life IS practice.
For me, working long hours, often with early starts, makes a regular morning practice difficult.  Damage from past trauma makes it even harder to spring out of bed and into the day. Work extends into early evenings quite often and other evenings are taken up with helping my son.  Weekends come and go in a blur of back to back commitments.

Yoga practice sits like a little jewel sparkling in the distance.
When I get to practice, it is no longer a discipline, or an attachment, or even a spiritual communion, but simply a challenge and a joy.

This morning’s practice was short and, knowing I won’t fit in another yoga practice until Friday evening, I step back onto the mat tonight.

Starting with the sun salutes as I normally do, I move fluidly with the breath, no stopping in Dog Pose.  5 As and 3 Bs.
I follow the Primary sequence through all the standing poses with rhythmic Ujjayi breathing and a firm focus on Mula bandha.

My chest shows no sign of infection or heaviness tonight.

Ardha Baddha Padma Padmottanasana is the only hiccup in the flow.  The second side is persistently painful, but strangely, as stand upright, holding the left leg in Padmasana for 5 breaths, the hip begins to release and my knee moves down in it’s own time.  Resistance in the left hip succumbs and the bone moves out of the way, but only when I wait patiently.  I breathe deeply through the fear.

After Virabhadrasana ll, I do a long Handstand against the wall, then shift gears and quieten the practice down for the second half.  

Dandasana to Marichy A, with no vinyasas.  I stay seated, holding each pose for 5 very long, slow breaths, and connecting to the flow of prana.  This has become a seriously quiet Iyengar style practice.

After Marichy A…backbends. 
Not through choice – but through the tapas of necessity.  I am determined to break down the hard crystals that now live in my upper back and shoulders.  When the body relinquishes long held tension, a corresponding opening occurs in the mind.  Bit by bit, we can become more open, more giving, more loving, more free through this practice.

I lay over a block for a few minutes, hands interlocked behind my head to increase the chest opening.  Then Ustrasana.  Then Urdhva Dhanurasana.  I don’t want to do this pose, but I do…three times, and each time is a little less difficult than the last.

My practice finishes with the full Ashtanga Primary sequence of inversions, from Shoulderstand through to Baddha Padmasana.

I am loving my yoga practice again.

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