I am always very shy when I start practicing in a new shala.
Even though everyone is practicing at their own pace, when you have to unfold your mat in between two practitioners, there is that particular moment during which you'll ask yourself "Do I have the right to be there?"..... the answer is yes absolutely!
When you enter a new shala, you will have to follow the rules that are in this place. I have seen some students being stopped for their first time, even thought their teacher don't tell them. Teaching might changed from one shala to another.
Some teacher will give you a lot of postures, that is what happened to me when I was in Greece, while other won't give you anything at all.
It is important to keep an open mind.
As for me, I did my "come back" this morning.
After 4 days of half practice due to my elbow injury, this morning was surprisedly over all expectations.
Boonchu Tantikarum (Level 2 authorised teacher) came on my mat while I was preparing the drop back.
I directly told him I was not really thinking of doing them, and explain him how last week I hurt my elbow while dropping back. As a conclusion I told him I was scared to do it again. He looked at me and asked "Can you come back up from it?", I told him "No". Then he said "We'll start from here, go in Urdhva Danurasana".
I laughed. In my perfect world, of course I want to be able to come back up first and then drop back like nothing. But the reality is totally different.
I told him: "Well, it's not gonna happen"....... on what he replied "Just give a try".
From my mat, I came into urdhva Danurasana. He then told me to swing front and back and at the third time to come back up. He placed his hands right behind the thighs, without really touching them, but with a fraction of movement pulling me forward gently, I came back without any problem. "See, its possible.... do it again"...
Came back in Urdhva Danurasana. This time he said "You will swing front and back four times, then on the fifth one you come back up". I did four swings front and back, and then from the fifth one I stood up.... I laughed and said "yeah, you did help me, I felt your hands behind my legs", he replied "they were just there, but not doing anything"....
For the third time he looked at me "This time you'll swing and at one point, I won't tell you when, I might help you to come up. Let's play that game"...
I came back up from the second swing. On my way up I was really on my own, feeling the all body working, stretching, pulling, breathing, organically coming from the inside like I never ever felt before.
He looked at me and said "Do it again". I've done it six to seven times.
Then he said "Tomorrow will practice again, that's it for today".
Mental blocks are also physical (most of the time they are) I know it, I do believe it, still I am not capable of integrating it into my day to day life.
Last week, when I thought my left elbow was completely gone because it did not unfold while dropping back, instead of telling me "I think you should stop practicing for a while", Iain told me "Come back tomorrow morning for the led class, and I will tell you how to practice".
Today when I said to Boonchu, I can't do drop back because of my left elbow, he did not even look at it. He said "your mental is playing with you".
Therefore I came back reading Iain's blog. Where he really talked about it : Iain Grysak blog.
I won't be lying by saying that my practices are having a direct influence, impact toward my thought, my desire, my goals, my personal development. By claiming that, some people can think it is putting too much pressure into the practice. However it is the truth.
Trupta is the first to say, when I am not practicing, I am unbearable.
Last month, one student asked me my recommendation after the course.
Was it to take a couple of days off, or should the practice go on?
At first I did not really understood the question, why would you want to stop practicing while this month was all about to learn how to practice on your own, to develop a personal practice, and to become fully autonomous.
One month of practice is nothing, barely the body start understanding the process of movement, why would you like to stop in order to give a break? I told her, better to continue, it was just the beginning of it.
That is inaction, the fact of not doing anything that kill the body and the mind.
Four weeks of practice is substantial but technically there is nothing extraordinary to it. Once you understand it takes at least twelve months, of a regular practice, for the body to integrate one asana, the breathing, the placement and start being comfortable into the pose.
I would add four weeks of practice is just the appetiser and the road is still very long.
Is the pianist stop performing scales after a month of it? I don't think so. Only the practice can improve the ability and the understanding of what and why we are doing it.
The connection between the Teacher and the student In the Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga practice, this connection is pretty strong.
The first time I practiced with Iain, I came with all my ego and more of it. Harder was the downfall. I first got sick, then pissed off. Second time, I fully gave up myself, and relied on him, whatever he said, asked to do, I was willing to do it. Since then, I won't ever judge, discuss anything he will say to me, I will just do.
All teachers I am meeting are very important to me. They all bring new perspectives on my personal practice as well on my personal development.
Being able to connect to the Inner "me" Unfortunately I can't really talk about it. I would love to be fully connected and in accordance of what I think, do, talk, desire. However it is not happening yet.
I said things but when it is time to apply in my day today life, I do the contrary because I am still scared of what I am capable of doing.
However, I do believe Yoga is a tool to it. Never give up, keep practicing. Namaste,
I do not have a "home", a monthly rent to pay, a loan, therefore I do not have any official address. My company has a domiciliation at my accountant office.
I am spending more than half a year in Asia, travelling to India, Thailand, Bali and when time comes I go back to France for a couple of months.
This year I will be travelling to Bangkok where I will be practicing at Ashtanga Yoga Bangkok for 2 weeks, before flying to Nepal where I will be attending Mark Robberds and Deepika Mehta Ashtanga Retreat.
Then from Nepal, I took the decision to travel to Hanoï, never been to Vietnam and always wanted to travel there.
I have found an Ashtanga Yoga Studio, it is a small community, but the teacher does not seem to be authorized. And you know what, even though I would have prefer, I think it really does not matter after all.
The importance is about the practice and the dedication toward it.
By the end of 2018 I turned 45 years old, and I am still amaze by what my body can do.
November and December practices have been quite challenging. Left shoulder was deadly painful, I had the feeling that the pectoralis was stuck somewhere not in the right place. Then the right shoulder start doing weird thing as well...... I was filming a small tutorial for my IG account about Supta Kurmasana, and right after it my right shoulder start hurting....
What a bad idea to film your practice AFTER the practice !
The feeling I have is that my collar bone seemed to be stuck somewhere..... I have lost part of flexibility for twisting in Marichyasana D for instance, still I can bind, but the twist is definitely not the same I used to have....
While in Goa I am practicing on my own, at my own pace, sometimes I just don't practice at all for 2 or 3 days, instead I go for a one hour swim. I used to be a swimmer before Ashtanga. So going back to crawl was really hard at the beginning, because of the shoulder pain, but in the end it did good to my scapular belt.
Now the flexibility in my body is just something I was not expected at all..... very very very soft and flexible.
I will be documenting my Nepal practice.
I have stopped writing about it, because my practice was reaching a point of no return. And I did not understand what was going on.
But now, I feel something is about to come, in my all body and therefore my mind.
I also have started Bakthi Yoga, and this definitely change a lot of my perspectives. Be happy ! - Namaste -
"More than once, I have heard people comment that the fact that I can perform certain asanas or movements well is simply due to the fact that I am "gifted with good genes". If only those people could begin to grasp the staggering number of hours that I have spent alone, in the dark, training those movements to take root in my body and nerves.
Scientific tests were performed on Reinhold Messner to determine whether he had some kind of innate abnormal physiology which allowed him perform the feats of mountaineering that he accomplished (he was the first to summit Mt. Everest without supplemental oxygen). Alex Honnold, the legendary rock climber who scaled the 3000 foot El Capitan without a rope (which has been referred to as "one of the greatest athletic feats of any kind, ever") was also subjected to brain scans to determine whether he lacked an average level of fear response to threatening situations.
These are only a few select examples of the unfortunate illusion that the paradigm of genetic reductionism has on the general public's perception of what is and isn't possible for a human being to change about themselves through lifestyle and focused and determined long term training.
I hold a degree in Biology and Psychology and did my undergraduate thesis on molecular evolution. More importantly, in the 20 years since then I have lived an experiential life, experimenting on myself and on others with just what is possible to change about oneself through determined cultivation of habit and lifestyle.
Genes are only one small factor in the greater system of who and what each living being is. Our choices and habits in life have a much greater effect on the sphere of who and what we are, than the base pair sequences of dna contained in our cells does. We all have the power to be the best we can possibly be, both individually and collectively."
It really resonates in me "We all have the power to be the best we can possibly be"......
Honestly speaking, when I woke up this morning, I was not in a fighting mode, but more with the feeling of being able to do whatever I wanted.
And it worked. I stop thinking my practice, I just practiced it.
How can it have changed so much is such a short time?
It takes so much time and commitment to build a practice, but as soon as you stop the daily practice, it is finished... how is it possible???
Here is my Marichyasana D from April 2018 :
At that time I was able to twist and to grab the wrist.
Then from September to October I kind of stop the practice on a daily basis. Honestly speaking I did practice maybe 6 times on the last 2 months, other than that I was practicing my own flow, doing whatever felt good for me.
Now that I am coming back to my daily Mysore practice, I have lost Marichyasana D on the right side..... the left side was difficult to twist thought...... AND of the top of it, I have lost Supta Kurmasana....
Not to mention that Janu Shirshasana C on the left side is not possible anymore.
Hopefully my body will react on a positive way, at one point I can not regress more in my practice, or can I? Will see tomorrow morning..... Namaste,
So happy to be back on my mat. After 6 months in Europe I kind of lost my practice.
The practice in Greece was great with Kristina Karitinou but since September I had problems going back on the mat.
I realised that my body was meant to practice under tropical weather. Whatever we said, practicing Ashtanga Yoga with a humid and hot weather is definitely the best thing to do.
The body response is completely different, the sweat is there and muscles are very happy.
Of course I am back to practice under the guidance of Iain Grysak. I have to admit yesterday when I joined the led class I was slightly ashamed as my body has changed since last time I was there.
I gained 4 kilos, all on my hips, therefore I can not bind anymore in Supta Kurmasana. Yes size makes the difference.
When hips are wider is it way more difficult to bind, that is so obvious.
Outside of it, I found more and more important to commit to the practice with one teacher and only one.
Lately I have been practicing with different teachers, with all respect to them, they did not have that much of knowledge or maybe it was not suitable for me.
In France there is not a lot of good teachers, to my personal opinion. And the practice is so different, atmosphere is different as well.
I have received an awful adjustment from a teacher, which wake up my sit bone pain. It was so bad that I could not practice anything for at least 3 weeks.
When you start practicing with one teacher, and you talked to him, then he will understand what are your possibilities and will notice good days from bad days.
We can not have the same practice daily, some days are harder than others, and that is the problem I encountered while in Europe.
The teacher wanted my left leg fully lengthen while I could not, then he did not understand that usually I do, but not this time. So he came and force me to use the full capacity of my left leg, which was already in pain. I did not stay quiet, I talked to him but it seems that he did not get my point.
For instance, I know that I won't have that problem with Iain.
So as they say "One teacher, one student". At the beginning I did not like the idea and the more I am practicing the more I understand that point.
Next month, actually in 3 weeks I am traveling back to Asia to practice with Iain Grysak and Sharat as well, as he will be there end of November for six days of practice.
I have to admit, that the organisation for Sharat in Bali is slightly unorganised, I have paid, still waiting for the invoice to come..... I do believe when you organise something for Sharat wether you send the invoice or not you know people will come right? so there is no need for them to worry about it; if you are not registering for it others will do.
I don't understand that point. I am working on my own, I do have my own company, when a student is registering to one of my program I do send an invoice. However in the Ashtanga world with "famous" teacher it seems that they just don't care, when you ask for an invoice, they first ask you to pay. Then eventually you will receive the invoice, I need it as I want to pass it as expenses fees..... but those people they just don't care.
I had the same issue for a retreat I want to do in Nepal with Mark Robberds. I asked for an invoice regarding the registration fees and even thought I finally got it, it was not that simple.
I am just wondering how do they manage their accounting, or maybe they just don't, but I do believe when you are willing to pay a certain amount of money for a week of practice, the invoice should be mandatory. While actually what is happening, those teachers are just sending you the link where to pay, without any mention of any VAT. Maybe I am not enough yogi, but this way of doing I just don't agree.
When I registered 2 years ago to a David Swenson workshop in Sweden, I had to ask thousand times the yoga studio in order to get the invoice. Even thought you are asking them nicely, with the name and address they just don't send you the right information. What I feel is that invoice annoyed people, a lot!
There is absolutely no problem for them to bill you an excessive price, that you will pay because you want to practice with that particular teacher, however how many of us will pay 600€ without any invoice? well yoga practitioner!
If you buy something in a shop, you will ask for an invoice right? or you will get the invoice as it is the general rule.
Well in yoga world you just don't, it seems that it is not the rule, when you start asking for it then you become the annoying person.....
Once of the worst thing that happened, I wanted to attend a full intensive with Simon Borg in Bali. And the price was quite expensive, so I have decided to take without food and accommodation, and surprise surprise, the place was charging extra fees per day for students for those not taking the accommodation and food !!! and even thought you had to pay something like 20$ per day it was not including the food !!! so basically I was asked to pay a fine for not choosing the food and accommodation...... of course, I did not register at all as I had the feeling it was only a matter of money making.
I am slightly disappointed by all of this, when you see big name of Ashtanga selling their retreat in some place, where you have to pay the registration fees through wire transfer and the rest in cash once onsite ! so basically you have to travel with 1000€ or more in order to pay your workshop with a big smile to a teacher that okay you really like, but in some way that is not very clear with accounting.......
I am paying my taxes, I am billing all my courses, retreat and training programs (because yes I am a bad teacher selling YTTC), and I want to keep my integrity as well on my financial and personal things.
Some of those teachers are blaming the modern yoga, shaming yoga courses, praising their lineage but in the end some of them are not better than anyone, it is just about money.
Continuing education is expensive, however I do not see myself stop doing it, I need to practice with others teachers, teachers that I am admiring for their practice and knowledge, but sometimes I am disappointed by the way they are handling their business. Namaste,
I am still doing my world wide tour of Ashtanga ;-)
I travelled to Greece only to practice with Kristina Karitinou. This morning was the opening of the season and I was the only one student!
It was such a privilege to practice alone under her guidance.
My breathing was not that good, especially I always found it very hard during the Suraya Namaskara B, when inhaling going to Virabhadrasana I, most of the time I am out of breathe. But when you are the only one in the shala there is no way to hide, therefore I tried my level best to extend all breathe but was not fully successful.
She gave me a lot of tips, such as when going in Adho Mukha, instead of looking right away to my navel, taking an extra breath by looking forward to extend it and then exhaling toward the navel. It was nice.
Also while bending the knee she explains, each time I am bending my knee to janu shirshasana for instance, when I place the foot it should be on inhalation and while bending the knee should be done on exhalation. Easy on the paper, but thinking of doing it for all janu series and marichyasana series was not that easy.
She explained that when we bend the knee on the inhalation we are blocking it, therefore we hurt our knee, as while you exhale it is releasing all tensions that might rise toward the joint.
Adding extra breathing was not that easy but highly beneficial, all my movement were connecting through a proper breathing, which I should have done before because I knew it, but to be honest I am not doing it properly. So having special attention to it was really helpful but keeping the focus was really hard.
I will be in Greece until July 10th.... and will probably come back on September.
Very happy to follow the Ashtanga Yoga Path, each time I am digging it that path, each time I realise that I don't know anything.... it is always a reboot, no place for ego... Have a good practice ! - Namaste -