Sunday, 10 March 2013

Just a quick Ashtanga post

The Confluence Countdown blog has posted several really good links that I want to repost here.

On stiffness and food, which I've noticed before in my own hamstrings, The Yoga Workshop says:

"Diet can definitely impact stiffness. There are no hard and fast rules relating particular foods to stiffness for everyone, so when you notice you’re stiff, it’s a good practice to review what you’ve eaten in the previous 24-48 hours. You might see patterns emerging. Some people find wheat (or other grains) make their joints feel inflamed. Others swear by a piece of toast before practicing. Alcohol consumption is generally not a great yogic practice anyway, but many people find it makes their body stiff and/or sluggish for practice. Cheese–a whole pizza for example or even less–can also produce a stiff, sluggish body. It really depends on you though, so the best way to figure it out is slowly and observantly." 
(The bold in the text is my doing)

Doritos, chocolate cake, salty, deep-fried mushrooms I blame you (but I also like you a lot, so please don't take it personally).

On the dynamic nature of the practice, on the purpose of asana (focus the mind), on history and tradition, Kate O'Donnell says:

"For me, what followed was a dance between practice and the rest of life for a good 3 years. The energies unleashed, yes unleashed, by that series required a whole new level of commitment and focus: food, drink, right speech, rest- all the time, not just in practice. I fell down and got back up so many times...
It is possible that Guruji was just pulling it out in a sequence for that student, at that time. The codification of anything dynamic always makes for trouble doesn’t it. I am so thankful for my crazy days with Nancy, because I was plucked off a rigid yoga path and stirred in the pot. Yoga is crazy. Yoga is fun. Yoga thwarts the mind. Now I can never see it as a static thing. Thank goodness."

The "pulling out a sequence for a student" is what really gets me (again, the bold text is my doing). Ultimately, does it matter which asanas, the "correct" order of asana, the precise number of vinyasas, even the breath count---do these things really matter? The fact is, some sort of organization exists for every given student. Perhaps "a sequence", not "which sequence", is most important in the real work of concentration, of focus, of clarity.

It is the practice of concentration, focus and clarity that brings me here in the mornings. Each day, I discover that there is more to Ashtanga than meets the eye.

Happy Moon Day everyone!

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