“Practice scales before trying to be a composer. …
Tradition can be a stumbling block if it is taken as the entirety of yoga. It is merely the wrapping in which it is presented… Now and than it is useful to experiment, to move beyond the accepted form and play outside the square. …
At some point just give it a go, even if the practice is a little rough around the edges. Do not fool yourself, however, that you are doing it correctly or that you have mastered a posture or a sequence when the reality might be quite different.”
Matthew Sweeney – ‘Ashtanga Yoga as it is’
After 8 weeks of practising asana about twice a day since I joined the Ashtanga Yoga Teacher Training Course at Tattvaa Yogashala, and after 2 weeks of introduction to 2nd series, last week was high time to essay full Ashtanga Yoga 2nd Series!
Building up strengh and flexibility so to develop the physical and mental stamina to work on more advanced asanas has been a high time of this TTC up to now… and though I’ve always been very traditional in the way I have learned, practiced and taught Ashtanga, I’ve been enjoying every moment of this continuous discovery in the world of asanas and yoga.
Over these weeks, we have been working on and attempting almost all postures in 2nd Series, so when on Friday Kamal stopped us after the standing postures with the request to move straight into 2nd Series and practice it fully, it didn’t came as unexpected.
But what was kind of unexpected was my reaction during the practice… Frustration because of my tight hips, dissatisfaction because of the poor transitioning between postures and a little irritation just to close it overall. Yeah, I know, not my best yoga practice! And useless to say, I didn’t enjoy it.
Last 2 days I’ve been constantly looking at that reaction and the question that came with it: ‘what is the point of attempting a yoga pose for which you’re not ready yet?’. In other words, I was putting under discussion the unconventional way I’m learning Intermediate Series… till this morning, when I finally saw it.
Moving from something that you master, at least to a certain degree, to something that makes you feel a beginner again has a lot of implications on the way we perceive ourselves. And, I was rejecting this new state, not accepting it for the way it is while at the same time failing to see all advancements in my asana practice that have taken place over the last 4 years as well as 8 weeks.
Now I feel ready for my next practice!
And you, how did you learn ashtanga? what are your thoughts on the topic?