10,000 Vinyasas

Archive for January, 2011

The Meaning of This…

by on Jan.12, 2011, under Uncategorized, Yoga, Yoga practice

“Pain is not a punishment. Pleasure is not a reward.”–Chodron, Buddhist nun.

My assignment for teacher training is to expound on the meaning of these aphorisms. First, we observe that many benefits come from pain, especially in the physical activity realm. I’m thinking specifically about when I broke my ankle; it was upsetting to not be able to do cardio for six weeks, but I addressed my upper body and core in that time and emerged from injury much stronger. Also, progress in yoga practice is only gained through effort (which might be called pain); certainly poses which come easily to one do not present a challenge, or an opportunity to deepen one’s physical practice. The observation that a perfect pose or sequence is the product of years of dedication and hard work certainly applies here too. Pain can also be a valuable warning in practicing asanas, sounding an alarm that the body is unready for the chosen pose. Conversely, indulging in pleasure often comes with an additional, sometimes unintended amount of pain. Giving in to one’s appetites for sweets or other culinary temptations produces a momentary feeling of pleasure, but later, this fades and is replaced with dissatisfaction with the additional weight gain. Drinking alcohol in excess is an even more obvious example. The natural human tendency is to seek pleasure and avoid pain, but as we can see, this strategy is shortsighted and fails to take into account the true nature of these two opposites. As yogis, we are called upon to recognize the deceptive appearance of pain and pleasure and rise above our natural inclinations. Ultimately, we should look at these two equally, with indifference to their effects, and treat them both the same.

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You Know You’re a Yoga Nerd When…

by on Jan.11, 2011, under Yoga, Yoga practice

1. you wear nothing but Lululemon, not just to yoga practice, but everywhere.
2. you practice counting in Sanskrit under your breath at odd moments during the day.
3. the words “pincha mayurasana” no longer strike fear into your heart.
4. the only thing you care about is getting to that next yoga class.
5. conversely, your home practice is just as satisfying as your studio practice.
6. bending over to pick up something is an exercise in pleasure.
7. you can wear through a travel mat in about 2 months.
8. you sit in Virasana while watching tv at home.
9. watching tv seems kind of meaningless compared to yoga practice.
10. you harangue your significant other into taking yoga classes.
11. you find yourself using ujjayi breathing throughout your day.
12. and it makes you calmer.
13. you mostly hang out with other yogis; other people “just don’t get it.”
14. you can turn on a light switch with your foot, while loaded down with bags of groceries (thanks, Becky!)
15. you can’t understand why people think jumping into seated is hard.
16. you think the opening and closing mantras are “cool.”
17. you’d rather sit on the floor than in a chair, to open your hips, of course.
18. practicing Primary Series seems more relaxing than strenuous.

Readers, any more?

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Progress In Practice and Teaching

by on Jan.04, 2011, under teaching, Yoga

Through practice (both Acro and yoga), my Pincha Mayurasana has improved to the point where I can know expect to perform it away from the wall, at least according to one teacher I took last week. I never thought I would get that one, at all; for some reason, I just found it to be especially difficult. On another note, my Primary Series practice has improved to the point that I’m able to do a passable version of about 90% of the poses. The practical effect of this is to make my self-practice even more enjoyable. Yesterday afternoon I went to a practice room at Spectrum and just worked through it…it was wonderful in restoring my peace of mind. I can now perform dropbacks and standups from backbend without a whole lot of fear, and once again, this is something I would never imagined doing even a couple of years ago. Steady progress does wonders for your motivation to practice more. It really is like a drug, sometimes. On the teaching front, I subbed for Ana a couple of classes at the studio, the more advanced ones, and had a great time doing it. I do like teaching a less mixed level class sometimes, and trying to get people into more advanced poses is fun.

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