Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Miracle morning - the practice is back.....

Miracle of the body, the practice, the mind.....

This morning Marichyasana D, both side = done,
Supta Kurmasana = done.

I have absolutely no explanations about it.

After 5 days (one led class, one day off, 4 Mysore), it seems that my body is responded well.

Yesterday I read an article that Iain posted in his facebook page :

"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.

Namaste,

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Ashtanga yoga loosing the practice

Is it possible to loose the practice, completely?

My body is different.

I don't recognise 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,

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Ashtanga Yoga Ubud - The Seeds of Life

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.

Have a good practice!

Namaste,

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Ashtanga Yoga Crète

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 -

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Practice with Damien de Bastier and Andréa

I left Ubud for Canggu. We are conducting with Trupta a Yoga Retreat at Samadi Bali, therefore I took advantage of being there to practice with Damien and Andréa.

The Mysore Classes are not fully packed, which is really enjoyable, Damien was there for the first week then Andréa is now taking it.

I never practiced with a woman Ashtangi before, and she is absolutely wonderful. I love her adjustments in Marychasana D, the way she is pressing her foot on mine to make my spine twisted slightly deeper is just amazing.



I did work my backbend with Damien, a different approach from Ian and Steven, therefore I am learning a lot, and specially I understood that my legs were too weak.

Right now I stopped the drop back and work in depth the backbend from my mat, getting closer to my feet day by day.

The jump back from Bakasana to Chaturanga came back, I was happy.

My jump front are really really improving, actually I can do it easily without touching the mat, uncrossing my leg directly to Dandasana with the tiny lift before bringing my sitbone on the mat. I would never imagine that one day I would have done it, but yes !

However jump back from sitting pose are still in process.

Mark Robberds and Deepika are coming from time to time for their practices. It was nice to see them and awesome to have Mark practicing next to me. From Mark I am still learning how to jump back using Lolasana, one day I did one successfully however this day never happened again.

Ashtanga Yoga Practice is definitely a path, a full dedication, progress is coming in and out.... the all idea is to accept both way. One day it will be great, the next day it will not.

Once you accept it, then you can move forward easily wether in your practice or even with yourself.

The relationship between the practitioner and the yoga mat and the practice is always in evolution, we think we know while we don't and finally we acknowledge fully that we do not know anything ;-)

Enjoy your practice !

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Interview with Iain Grysak - Ashtanga Yoga Ubud

The first time I practiced with Iain Grysak was on February 2017. I attended the immersion Ashtanga Pranayama Course.

I was reading his articles since 2015. The first article I read was Reflections on Mysore 6 Weeks. I become instantly hooked to his writing.

2016 is the year I really jumped into the Ashtanga Yoga Method. I practiced with Ramesh from BNS Iyengar, John Scott, Sarawasthi and Sharat on the same year. It was easy for me as I was living in Srirangnapatna at that time.

On June 2016 I met Marie and David, students of Iain. They both told me: "In Ubud there is one Ashtangi, his name is Iain and you should go and practice with him".

On November 2016 while waiting on the bench facing the main shala entry for Sharat Conference I saw Iain outside of the crowed patiently waiting while others people where ready to kill to be first entering into the main shala.

Exactly the day before I was on his website wondering should I register for his immersion course. And then he was there right in front of me. I took it as a sign.

So here it is, "my" interview with Iain Grysak.

(c) Photo Credit: Iain Grysak


Enjoy the reading!

***

1. The discipline of the Ashtanga Yoga practice really helps me to manage OCD issues. Why does this particular practice "heal" the body and the human being?
The Ashtanga practice is a powerful tool. Like any powerful tool, it can be used for good or for harm. It truly depends on how we use it. It would be wrong to expect that simply by performing these sequences of asana and breathing, that we will automatically obtain healthy or healing results. 
The asana and breathing sequences must also be practiced with the right intention and awareness.
I feel that if we are using the practice as a vehicle for bringing about improved relationship and clearer communication between the conscious mind and the feeling body, then we are going to obtain good results in the long term.
Much of our lack of wellness in the modern world – both on the individual level and the planetary level – has its origins in the disconnection between the moment to moment awareness of the conscious mind and the experiential reality of the feeling body. 

We have become lost in the world of disembodied human abstraction and our actions and decisions increasingly ignore the felt reality of our biological human organism as well as that of the planetary organism.

If we practice with the intention of allowing ourselves to engage with the experience of the feeling body, we soon encounter many of our habitual patterns of reaction within the feeling body. Everything we are is actually contained within this quality of embodied feeling. 
If we can simply give space for these aspects of who and what we are to express themselves in the practice - without diving in and deepening them, nor running away from and avoiding them – then we open up the possibility of authentic and sustainable personal transformation. 
This is not an easy process, but those who practice this as a long term process will almost certainly experience positive self-transformation and healing.
Unfortunately, it can also happen that we use the practice as a destructive tool. This happens when we use the practice as a way to deepen or strengthen our habitual patterns of reaction.
When the practice brings up these aspects of ourselves, we can fall into the habitual grooves of reaction while we are practicing. One who practices in this way as a long term process can become a dangerous person, and the many public cases of teachers who have abused their students are examples of this.

2. While practicing sometimes we are "winning" one posture and after a couple of months of regular practice we are "loosing" it. Have you ever experienced it?

This is a natural aspect of the long term dynamics of the restructuring process of the practice.


Our beings are held in a stable, but malleable state of balance. This applies to all levels of our being – physical, emotional, energetic, psychological, etc. The postures and sequences of the practice are daily inputs which shift and change the tensions patterns which hold us in this stable state. As we continue to practice long term, the effect of the inputs of the practice on the tension patters of our being percolate deeper and deeper and the very structure of our being changes.

If we make a “breakthrough” and attain a bind, or some form of completion in a difficult posture, this represents the culmination of a shifting in the internal tension patters.

For some time we might continue to be able to perform this action in our practice, but eventually the system shifts again, possibly due to accommodating another form of movement we are working on, or perhaps just due to a phase in the process of deeper integration.

Then, we can lose the ability to perform that action. This is usually a temporary phase. It can last anywhere from a day to a year or more. In nearly all cases, the ability to perform this action will eventually come back with regular long term practice.

It is important to understand that there is no permanence inside. Practice should give us an experiential understanding of this phenomena of constant internal change and flux. We can then cultivate less attachment to certain internal states which we might judge as being favourable.

Every moment there are so many influences which our being is responding to and shifting to accommodate. We are stable, yet we are also fluid and constantly changing.

Learning to accept this dynamic of eternal flux and shift with grace and stability is one of the deeper lessons we should glean from long term practice.



3. Is it the normal assimilation process of the Method?

Yes, as explained in my explanation above.


4. How much time it will take to get mastery over the Drishti?

Drishti is an aspect of focus and concentration. It also has important physiological effects, but the ability to maintain the gaze in one place represents the ability to stay focussed.

I like to say that the main drishti is the breath.


When I am practicing, I don’t place much important on external gazing points. I tend to “watch” my breath as continuously as possible. 

This means being with the phenomenological experience of the breath moving inside. This also connects back to my answer to your first question where I said the main goal of practice should be to improve the relationship between the conscious mind and the feeling body.

When we are able to stay focused and absorbed in the phenomenological experience of the feeling body (and breath) as we move through the practice, then drishti is automatically engaged. In its true essence, drishti is an internal gazing practice.

As for “mastery”, concentration will wax and wane like everything else. 

Our goal should be to remain as absorbed as possible in the phenomenological experience of body and breath, but we should also expect that this will never be perfect.

Concentration is as impermanent a phenomena as everything else that we experience. Nonetheless, over time and with regularity of practice, we should see a gradual improvement in the ability to attend to what we are experiencing inside at the feeling based level.

Photo Credit: Iain Grysak


5. Is real Uddiyana and Jalandhara Bandha happening in Asanas (means without any Kumbhakas)

Bandha is simply a state of balanced alignment around the major joints and lock of the body.

If proper alignment and breathing are in place, then bandha will be there. Bandha represents the most balanced state that our being can exist in at any given moment. If we are practicing well, all of the bandhas will be engaged to some degree.

The specific intentional locks that occur in khumbaka pranayama are slightly different, and should not be engaged in the asana practice.


Photo Credit: Iain Grysak


6. Do you think that it is easy to follow the "parampara" when in Mysore there are more than 200 students to practice for one teacher?

Sharath’s instructions to each individual in Mysore are very clear.

He has the ability to understand each student’s strengths and weaknesses within a very short period of time and he then works with each individual accordingly.

If one trusts Sharath and applies his instructions, one can make a lot of progress in the practice under Sharath’s guidance.


My practice deepens immensely when I practice with him in Mysore. I think problems for others arise when they bring their own expectations for what they hope to experience there, and because of that they fail to surrender to learning what it is that Sharath can teach them.


7. At what time is your morning practice and are you still practicing the Primary Series?

I practice from 2:30 – 4:30 am when I am teaching, which is most of the year. I always do primary series on Friday mornings or whatever the last day of the practice week is.

I also sometimes practice primary series on the day before travelling, and possibly for several days after travelling if it has been disruptive to my state of balance.

Other times that I practice primary include times where I am going through deeper restructuring and need to pull back to stabilize myself, or in the rare cases where I become very sick or fatigued.

For example, I climbed a 6500 m mountain in Nepal in December of last year. It was extremely difficult and even traumatic to my being, especially on summit day when I suffered from altitude sickness, but pushed on to reach the summit.

Due to various factors, I was not able to practice asana at all for the second half of the expedition. When I returned home to Bali, I became very sick with pneumonia, which also prevented me from practicing asana for about a week. When I finally was able to start practice again, I felt very weak, and so did primary series only for several weeks, until I felt strong enough to start other series again.


8. Is there any series in the Ashtanga Yoga Practice that have been harder, longer to learn for You?

All of the series are difficult, if we learn them properly!


The aspects of the practice that we most need to develop are often the most difficult things to learn. There have been many things that were difficult for me to learn.

There is no one who learns everything about this practice easily and quickly.

People who say they learned primary, or any other series quickly often have a very weak practice which is full of holes. Full integration of any series takes time. For everyone.


9. From time to time are you still practicing Iyengar Yoga?

No. In my opinion, the two systems are not compatible and should not be practiced together.

They give very different types of inputs to the being and the internal intelligence would be very confused by attempting to integrate both types of inputs. It is best to choose one system or the other and practice it diligently.

There are valuable things that I learned from practicing Iyengar yoga which are still with me and which inform the way that I practice Ashtanga, but as far as using the Iyengar method of practice, no, I don’t.


10. What is the advice you will give to someone who want to start Ashtanga Yoga? Is there any proper diet that suits better the practice?

I consider diet to be a practice in itself.


For me, all practices – yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, meditation, diet, etc - are just different methods to improve the relationship between the conscious mind and the feeling body.

I do intend to write a longer article about my experiences and views on diet. I personally follow a vegan diet based on nutrient dense, whole foods. My dietary choices have been a gradual exploration and evolution which continues to this day.


I think the most important thing I can say about diet is that it is important to base one’s choices in food consumption on the authentic needs of the feeling body.

We can only truly feel the needs of the feeling body when the conscious mind learns how to communicate with it.


For most of us in the modern world, this is a long term process.

Exposing oneself to different dietary philosophies and systems is a very good thing to do. It is helpful to understand the claims of each system and to try out those things that make some sense to us.

But, then the real test is to feel the response of the feeling body to trying out different ways of eating. The body understands what is and isn’t good for it.

As long as we give ultimate authority to the feeling body and NOT to an external dietary dogma, we will learn how to make better and better dietary choices. I generally recommend against making drastic dietary changes in a short period of time.

Even if one’s dietary habits are not the healthiest or most efficient ways of eating, they do become a source of stability once we have adapted to them. Too much change too quickly is like pulling the carpet out from underneath someone’s feet.

It usually results in shock and a painful experience. Diet is no exception to this rule. I definitely encourage experimentation with different dietary choices, but to implement them gradually and to pay attention to the response of the feeling body with each dietary shift. We can then to make further decisions based on the feedback of the feeling body to each small change.

***

Iain Grysak is Level 2 authorised from the KPJAYI teaching all year long in Ubud, Bali.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Last day in Thaïland, last practice with Steve Hyland

These last two months (including end of December) my practice has been messy.

I was moving backward, maybe my expectations were too high.

I lost my jump back from Kakasana to Chaturanga, then suddenly I lost all kind of backbends, even a "simple" Urdhva Mukha Svanasana was painful, my upper back did not want to open, my lower back was squeezing and compressing.

I did not want to do any drop back and after winning Pasasana I lost it.

Was slightly down though. The practice was not enjoyable anymore, I was in pain all day long, left shoulder was painful like hell and my wound from my left hamstrings stop allowing me to do any forward fold correctly.

Then I felt in Kukutasana, pretty badly....

As well my mind was playing with me, a lot of anger came out without any warning. I started to be angry at everything that happened in my life, hating myself, hating my body and felt prisoner of it.

As my Ashtanga practice was not satisfying me anymore but really frustrating me I then add another practice in the afternoon and came back to my first love which was Pilates.

Also instead of practicing 25 minutes of pranayama I decided to practice it twice a day for a total of one hour.

I am following the blog of Anthony Hall (honestly speaking I am addicted to it) and found on Youtube one video where he is doing the Vinyasa Krama sequence from Simon Borg. I started considering it very seriously, therefore I added it the sequence as well into my evening practice.

Slowly (very slowly) I started noticing change in my body and during the morning practice.

Steve Hyland lent me the book of Richard Freeman "The Art of Vinyasa - Awakening Body and Mind through the Practice of Ashtanga Yoga".



In one part of the book Richard Freeman ask the question "Who am I?" and his answer to it was: "Everything".

My point is WE ARE NOT ALONE on the Ashtanga Yoga Path. And that is very important to understand that concept.

Each dedicated practitioner at one point of his/her Life will be facing his/her own demons which most of the time come from the Past.

There is this sentence that in some way is bothering me "One guru, one Student". I don't think so.

Personally I think it is very important to open our mind and to be able to meet, learn, speak, talk with all dedicated Ashtangis that have been paving that road for us. Without their experience, their knowledge we won't be able to move forward.

Our personal life and personal feelings are printed into our body and as practitioner we are not the only one struggling by following that path.

Today my practice was awesome. I don't have anymore burden on my shoulders and as a result I did the most beautiful drop-back I ever done.

Still I lost Pasasana and jump back from Kakasana but from a general point of view my all practice has drastically changed and evolved in many ways.

Thank you to Steve Hyland, Anthony Hall, Richard Freeman and Simon Borg. By sharing your experiences you helped me into my practice.

Next stop is Bali, Ubud where I will be practicing with Iain Grysak. No need to mention again and again how much I love to practice under his guidance.

From now and then I am planning my calendar in accordance with his schedule and hopefully I will be able to practice with him in 2019.

Have a good practice!

Enjoy Life :-)

Respect Yourself!

- Namaste -