Friday, July 20, 2007

Day 32

I took a day off of practice yesterday, though I did do a gentle half-hour of Iyengar yoga in the evening before bed. A good night's sleep did much to shake my exhaustion and yesterday was a good day for a break, since I needed to prepare for the camping trip I'm going on this weekend.

This morning's practice felt so good! Ladies Holiday is starting, so I skipped all inversions (most of closing sequence). My back felt better than yesterday (I was in a lot of pain yesterday) and the practice itself flowed for me. I found myself really savouring my Ujayi breath and enjoying the postures. I took everything down a notch (for example, binding to fingers instead of wrists in Marichyasana) and took the postures deeper in different ways. I particularly enjoyed coming into deeper twists because they are soothing to my back.

Yesterday, I spent some time reading an Ashtanga Yoga message board and I was a bit alarmed at how often people get horribly injured from forceful adjustments in Ashtanga (particularly Mysore style Ashtanga) and how this is widely accepted as 'normal' and necessary to advance in practice. I'm not sure I agree with that.

After some thought, I decided that even if I can do every single pose in the Primary Series before my 365 days are up, I'm going to stick with this series and not move forward. And if I do decided to go to a shala, I'll set clear boundaries for the types of adjustments that are made on my poses. I'm willing to experience this style of yoga, only as long as it doesn't damage my body.


jenna said...

In my experience, the blame for many of these injuries lie with the practitioner first, before the instructor. It is my responsibility to 1) tell an instructor if he/she is going to far in an adjustment and 2) let an instructor know of any existing issues/injuries that I'm bringing in with me. Also, the nature of the practice often attracts very goal-oriented or driven people, and sometimes this drive leads to injury. I've been guilty of this in the past, although I've learned to slow down when I need to.

Kaivalya said...

Thanks for the comment, Jenna. I wholeheartedly agree with you. It's essential for the practitioner to set clear boundaries. As a teacher, I also make an effort to communicate with my students about adjustments. Unless I'm absolutely certain my adjustment is welcome, I always ask first.

I nodded to myself when I read your comments about Ashtanga drawing more 'goal-oriented' practitioners. I've found that this practice has drawn out the more 'goal-oriented' aspects of my personality - not necessarily in a negative sense.