The Case for a Quiet Yoga Practice

10058766When we meet for dinner parties where we expect people to talk we play some background music to cover the noise of the chatter that is gentle enough so everyone can hear themselves but not the immediate others. When it is a dance party then the DJ decides what to play. In this case, there are not long conversations in the room because people dance or go out to talk to each other. They play loud music at various gym classes like Step, Zumba or whatever, where everyone sort of moves to the beat so the music is an essential part of the class, also the instructor is able to cue over the loud music because s/he is wearing a microphone.  Continue reading

Oh, wow! Have I been lazy or what?

It has been over a year since my last post. If this blog were a house in the country, it would have been taken over by the ivy in the corner, the weed at the bottom of the steps long ago. The blog looks abandoned but I have not abandon it.

Writing down thoughts requires some certainty and some argument that the writer can support. When I used to write more about yoga, even if I did not post here, I did have a general idea as to my views on yoga, what my yoga practice should/ ought to look like and I did have a few people that I could draw ideas from which to develop my own opinions.

It is not like I used to take all of it in and not question but this last year or so has been quite different. I am no longer sure about anything in yoga practice, politics and economics of yoga. There is a huge tangled knot in my head about yoga practice, other types of exercise and the content and my preferred method of teaching yoga. The longer I waited for it to dissolve or transform into some kind of new perspective, the more confused I am getting. So, I have decided to come back to writing even if what I write sounds less sure, more searching, even more argumentative, and maybe a little bit judgmental of others and myself.

So, I have not been lazy, I have been “or what!” I have been reading and thinking a lot on yoga and on other related topics. I shall try to figure out what confuses and blows me away from my yoga practice.

Namaste,

e.

 

The (False) Promises of Yoga

These days yoga classes are fantastic, yoga workshops are splendid, the experience of yoga is divine, the yoga people you meet are magnificent, the flow is sensational, the smell of the food is out of this world, the mats are excellent, the tea, well, of course it is what yoga gods drink, the mat cleaning spray is simply mega, the shoe rack at the shala is breathtaking… Boy! FFS! Can’t we just do yoga, teach classes, workshops and let others decide what it was they felt or thought about the whole thing, after the thing has actually happened. Continue reading

What are your feet doing?

second-toe-bigger-big-toe_358fada6b3f18f15This is a question I ask often when I see idle feet, just lying around, not doing their part. I like to think that they know that I mean that yoga poses usually require the whole body get involved and even the tiniest body part has a role to play to bring about the “ease and steadiness” to the pose. Therefore, being more present in the pose will facilitate this ease and steadiness. Or. maybe, they just think that I am weird!

In my experience, yoga asana is more mental than physical. Whilst it is certainly possible to bend a knee without thinking too much about it, what makes yoga yoga is the fact that we pay attention, not to perfect the pose, but to observe and notice how it feels to be in the pose. The ultimate objective of asana is said to be to prepare the body to train the attention. Some would say that this should/can only be done in a sit-down meditation but I beg to differ, there is no reason why we shouldn’t train the attention to be more present in yoga asana and actually and sincerely mean to practice.

The following quote by Ray Long is an example of how our little big-toes go a long way to support our largest muscle, gluteus maximus:

… So how does the anatomy work? Muscles in your big 
toes support the ligaments 
and bones that make up 
your arches. Healthy arches 
(as opposed to fallen ones) 
act like shock absorbers, transmitting kinetic forces, or the forces of motion, up through the ankles to the knees and up the kinetic chain of the body, potentially causing issues with alignment, joint health, and muscle strength. For example, weak big-toe flexors, the muscles that bend the toe, may change the strength and effectiveness of your largest glute muscle, gluteus maximus. And the glute max is critical in supporting most poses. For the big-toe muscles to do their job well, protecting your body from impact and instability, they need to be dynamically stable, meaning they should respond to shifts in movement, weight, and balance. … * – Ray Long (M.D) full article

Big toes are important but other toes, too. So, next time instead of looking at the chipped  nail polish on your toes or trying to carry your weight with your hands in phalankasana, put your toes to work and observe how that feels. 🙂

Namaste,

e.