Classes and office were suspended this afternoon so I get some time to read up on yoga. My friend, Jon, shared with me a book by Larry Schultz on Ashtanga Yoga. Reading it makes me think that someone has read my mind and thoughts about my practice and had put it into writing!
Anyway, here is his list of helpful hints for your practice;
1. Listen to your body. Only through your own internal awareness will you come to understand when to work harder or deeper and when to move more slowly.
2. The breath should always be louder than your internal dialogue.
3. Never force yourself into a pose, no posture is worth injury.
4. Take the ambition out of it. You are competing with no one.
5. Less is more with yoga. Take your time and build your practice slowly, there is nowhere to “get” to.
6. Set up a regular practice for yourself. Practice is the key to the entire science of yoga.
7. Enjoy your practice. Acknowledge and receive the gift you are giving yourself.
It’s almost the end of the workday and what have I to show? Not much but I did a lot of praying today.
(pic from andreastrussat.com)
I started the day with my spiritual practice of yoga. I made sure to make the opening chant. I was very happy to see Hoze, who was the first to teach me ashtanga and whose practice I truly admire. Seeing and talking to him makes me realize how different I have become since that first day when he taught me Surya Namaskar A and B! At that time, yoga was still a physical experience for me and the motivation I had was at a physiological level. Now, I practice other dimensions of yoga aside from asanas and it has affected much more than just my physical being.
After practice, I headed for an inurnment mass for one of our godfathers at our wedding. I have not attended a Catholic mass for quite some time but I thought that this was an obligation for me to do. I was looking forward to the homily but I couldn’t understand the priest (so much for that…) however, a male soloist was performing the hymns beautifully! The songs were touching and soul-wrenching (?!). It truly makes me want to hear mass regularly if songs were sang that way. Am now wondering: Can I play catholic music while practicing asanas? Hmmmm….?
(pic from freecomputerdesktopwallpaper.com)
The off I go again to another mass! This time an alumni from the College; an OT turned priest, said mass to give his blessings for the board takers this weekend. This time I was not disappointed with his homily! He interpreted for us, therapists and teachers, the parable of the sower from the Gospel of Matthew. This allowed me to reflect what kind of soil have I become; what kind of seeds to I sow and what kind of sower I am? I think these are questions I should constantly ask myself as a teacher and a therapist.
My realization today; hearing mass with a spiritual perspective may be worth doing after all…
To blog or not to blog…well, I can’t start working with a heavy heart so might as well do this first.
About three years ago, my yoga teacher Rajendra did not renew his contract with Mandarin and I was left alone without a guru. In my search for one, I stumbled upon Yoga Manila. I was exposed and immediately got hooked to the practice of Ashtanga Yoga; Mysore-style vs. Led classes. I appreciated being exposed to different teachers with similar teachings yet subtle differences in styles. But towards the end of my first year of practice, I realized I needed someone who would know me and my practice.
I chose Jon. I understood him (probably the anatomical terms we both use comfortably). I like his style of teaching (commanding yet giving). I took a deep breath to do evening classes despite my being a “morning” practitioner just so I can have learning time with him. He taught me asanas, asana preps, pranayama, mitahara, adjusting, veggie-eating and cooking, and chants. He has influenced me so much in practice and made me realize that yoga goes on even off the mat. I like my yoga practice now and he has made a huge contribution to it.
But Jon’s life has taken a turn (a pleasant and rewarding one) that would affect my yoga life. I now find myself in the same situation three years ago…without a guru. Things are different now, though.
I have established a consistent yoga practice. I am not worried about not having to practice despite not having a teacher. I think I am worried that no one will be able to monitor my practice and tell me what’s next. I am beginning to think that I have to learn how to direct my own practice… how far or how fast do I go?
Although I was able to practice this morning, I had a heavy heart knowing that I will not be going to Monday evening classes at the YMO shala for Jon’s class because there is none.
I am so grateful to have known a teacher like Jon. He inspires me to be better in my practice and to share the practice of yoga. I am sure he will continue to influence me despite the distance (Viber!).
With love and gratefulness in my heart…Namaste Jon!
It is not my intent to sound morbid and give a foreboding sense of doom but I honestly do think that when one dies, it would feel like a perfect sirsasana.
Floating…resting comfortably on the hands…lightness…no feelings of fear or insecurity…a relaxed smile on the face…contentment…peace…
But since I haven’t had this feeling when doing sirsasana… it makes me look forward to dying.
Posted in Asana
Tagged death, Sirsasana